My Kawasaki ZX-10R Ownership: A dream come true!

I had done about 300kms on day 1 of ownership. My lower back hurt so did my neck, but I had an un-wipable grin.

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An interesting topic. All of us dream when we sleep, well, I guess most of us do. And some of us dream when we are most wide awake, defining what we think and do every moment of our days.

One of my dreams dates back to way back when. A short, curly-haired schoolboy in the early ’90s. My school bag covered my shorts, a lunch basket in one hand, a football in another. I used to take the school’s back gate on the way back home just to get a glimpse of a fancy Green Superbike parked inside a house. Every day I used to be excited to see that bike. Then one fine day, I did not. and that made me sad. I guess the owner moved out. Who knows!

A few years later, all of us kids were loaded up in the back seat of Pappa’s Fiat. Amma is in the front seat, listening to some old Hindi songs. We were driving down Bangalore’s famous Brigade road when I saw a Blue Superbike parked on the side. It’s a long-haired owner sitting on the bike speaking to a friend. Amma asked me to tell him that it’s a nice bike, so I put my head out, gathered the courage and screamed!!


I remember the guy smiling and saying “Thank you!” when Pappa drove off.

A few more years later, now a pimple-faced teenager in Pre Uni, my brother’s friend had imported a Honda CBR 600 F4i. The year was 1999 (22 years ago!). I had gone with my brother to have a look at this fancy new bike. It had come in a box. from Dubai! Black in colour with a splash of orange. My jaw dropped. I ended up writing a letter to myself, mentioning how I had fallen in love with this new “babe” in town. ha! Teenage! This friend ended up dropping me to my tuition class once on that bike and then a few years later insisted I ride that bike around the block too. Those two events happened a few years apart.

I remember every superbike I ever encountered in my life. The ones that blew past me when I was riding my Royal Enfield. The ones that came into the same garage where I took my RD350. The ones that were parked outside coffee shops on weekends. Every single moment reminded me of the schoolboy staring at the green bike parked inside that house.

These bikes were SO out of reach, that it didn’t make any sense to aspire. But dreams are strange.

In November 2013, Triumph made an entry to India. Of course, I went to the showroom to see the British beauties. And there she was. My new obsession.

Now an earning adult. 30 years old. Married. I could afford it if I wanted to (Bank loan and all) but, priorities. So the next few years, this was the target. A seemingly achievable dream. A superbike of my own. I sat on my hands and continued finding excuses as to why I should wait. I gifted myself a test ride of this bike for one of my birthdays. The dream was almost real. Almost.

In 2015, I decided that the financial burden of a new Triumph Daytona was not something I was ready for. I was sitting on my hands for way too long. So the Ninja 650 came in to my life. Life was good. I loved that bike and used her every day. But I still wanted a Daytona. So 2 years later after about 20000kms on this Ninja, I sold her to a friend. I had to save and buy the Daytona. I was getting too old for riding a super committed Motorcycle and it was about damn time! And then, Triumph decided to pull the plug on the Daytonas. Yeah, Life is like that.

So here I was, No Ninja, No Daytona. But I had some money, so I hoped, that one day, the Daytonas will be back and I will be ready.

2 years went by, that money was spent and I started saving again. Time was ticking.

Fast forward... 36 years old. The last two years were spent thinking and overthinking about what next. I had a few friends I would call when on my way to work and just have these long conversations about what I would buy next. “Maybe I should forget about the superbike and just buy a tourer dude!” “Maybe the 790 Duke, it’s going to come right?” “How about a used superbike da? But the way these fools rev at standstill, fried valves. No?” I was beginning to lose it.

One evening, speaking to a friend on my drive back, we were speaking about a new bike that was open for Pre-launch booking. It was a motorcycle I had put on my list but in the back of my mind had thought I’d never buy because of the price. Then while speaking to this friend, while he was egging me on to “Jesssst book it man!”, the same bike from a previous model year, went past me. Was it a sign?

I slept very little that night. I had to take my hands off from under me. It was finally time to take some action.

The next day, I made a few calls, asked about their cancellation policy (because I had no clue how much the final on-road price would be and if I could afford it), was reassured that there was no charge if I cancel within 10 days of the launch and I made the booking. Just like that. I hadn’t sat on one, let alone ride one to know if this bike even fit me. It fit right in these past decades of dreaming, so reality should be close, right?

Then it began. A month of overthinking. How the… what the… why the... I played and replayed all the scenarios. Here, I must say, I am super blessed to have a very supportive wife. Frankly, I know she thinks I am a fool (I am), but she is fine with it. On more than one occasion, she has pushed me to “Jessst do it!” and I am thankful. This time was no different. She thought of me as a fool, was fine with it and said “do it!”

On June 8th 2019. Probably 25+ years from the time that a schoolboy started a dream of owning a Superbike, a dream came true.

I finally, finally bought a Green Superbike. 2019/20 Model year Kawasaki ZX10R.

So, when do dreams expire? My decades-old dream didn’t. For decades, I kept it alive. Dreams expire when you stop dreaming.


Day 1 and Initial Impressions!

June 8th 2019

Scheduled delivery day. I obviously had no sleep the previous month. My excitement had rubbed onto my little daughter and wife. My brother and his son picked us up, and off we went to Kawasaki. A friend joined in for the event.

The delivery experience was smooth. I had to sign a few documents, the bike was kept ready under covers, a cake was arranged, the electronics were explained and off I went, followed by my fan club of little munchkins in the car.

And immediately, I was in traffic.

I had mentally prepared myself for this though. This litre bike was destined to live here. So, like the humans who live here, she can choose to moan, or just get used to it. So we sat there, being stared at by other motorists.

Flash news: my zx10r is the first zx10r I have ever sat on. Ever. But it wasn’t my first bike, naturally. It wasn’t the first-litre bike I have ever ridden either. Back in 2007, I had ridden a 2003 Yamaha R1, in Thailand. My brother and I had rented 2 polar opposite motorcycles to ride around in Thailand. A Suzuki intruder 1800 and a Yamaha R1. That was some experience. In 2018, I had the opportunity to ride the 2018 BMW S1000rr around a race track for 5 sessions. Phew! Talk about getting hooked! Now I had my own. She was going to be touring and heading to the track. She wasn’t going to be commuting to the office though. Would definitely be needing a commuter bike in the garage. More on that later.

So the first stop was the fuel bunk. Filled her up and waited for the car to catch up. Had two, young enthusiastic boys with cameras, requesting me if they could photograph the bike. I better start getting used to this, I thought.

Once my fan club in the car arrived, we headed home!

Pappa’s first reaction was “Looks like your 250.” Hmm, she is a compact motorcycle, that’s for sure. It’s tightly put together. Unlike my 250, this one announces her arrival, both in colour and sound. Less Ninja-like.

The next morning, brother, friend and I took off for a breakfast ride. Put her on Low power mode, traction control in the mid setting, my rain gear and some random TShirts in a Kreiga (don’t ask me why. Ok I’ll tell you why. I wanted to test the Kreiga tail bag on this bike. And I’m crazy. The test was positive though.) and we were off. I was finally giving her some room to breathe free. Left the traction control on the mid setting, since it apparently doesn’t allow the front wheel to lift. Switched from Low power to Mid and then Full. The Low power mode is 70percent of the power. That’s about 140horses. I was comfortable with the power in all modes though. Errr because I didn’t really cross 7k rpm.

Prior to picking up the 10, I had spent months, watching every single video on the tube, including those from Thailand, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Ulambator, Tonga islands etc. Many of those videos complained that the zx10r is a little baby below 8k rpm. Maybe these guys live on the race track. Or have villas by the autobahn. The zx10r does 150kmph on the top gear at 7k rpm. That’s barely awake for the bike. BUT, that’s already way too fast relatively speaking. Relative to everything else on the road.

She isn’t growling and yanking her chain from 2k rpm and (as I learnt eventually) becomes this big beast with purple eyes, breathing fire and spitting venom after 8k rpm. This is, in my view, a good thing. She is rideable when you want to chill and ride sedately. Very very friendly if you treat her well.

I had done about 300kms on day 1 of ownership. My lower back hurt, my neck hurt but I had an un-wipable grin. I needed to get fitter. And spend more time on the seat.

So mid-week, I took off alone to a close-by hill. Some twisties. But there was too much traffic and my fun was restricted. Funny changing times. On a weekday, at 6 am, the place was full of self-drive rental cars with noob drivers and young college kids doing a photo shoot. Decided to just head back home. Nevertheless, that un-wipable grin was back. The back pain, not so much.

The following weekend, a friend and I took off again. This time the target was to do 400kms. Charted out a small route and left home really early. But my friend had forgotten his wallet at home and we ended up leaving the city at 5 am. It was a fantastic ride. Some beautiful roads and the 10 was getting more and more comfortable for me.

The 10 was surprising me with her mileage. I was getting 17-19kmpl depending on how much throttle I was using. And how I was using that throttle. With a 17ltr tank, I was looking at a fuel range of about 230-250kms. Not bad at all. While the range wasn’t a problem, the quality of fuel was. She was picky about her go-go juice.

Post this ride, I was about 240kms from the first service. Completed that the following weekend on a solo morning run. The body pain was diminishing. That un-wipable grin though...

Belly full of fresh oil, a new radiator guard later, it was time for a trip.. will cover that in the next post though.

We were bonding big time. I name all my bikes, this one was no different. After every ride on the 10, I kept saying ‘bloody missile!’ and then on the way back from my solo ride, It dawned on me. “I’m gonna take care of you, Miss.Isle!”

TLDR. Bought 10r, completed 1000kms in 2 weeks, service done, super happy, named 10r Miss.Isle, going for a trip next.

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