2002 Kawasaki ZZR600

Summary:

Flying sofa

Faults:

Battery discharged several times when still connected to the machine. However, with the battery disconnected, the battery retained its charge. Suspected immobiliser problem.

Engine wouldn't turn over due to a faulty connection between the immobiliser and starter relay. The solution was to remove the immobiliser altogether, in the hope of improving reliability.

Other than the suspected immobiliser problem, nothing has gone wrong with the motorcycle.

General Comments:

Despite the dry mass of 195kg, one is able to forget this, as the handling of the machine becomes quite easy, and corners are taken without too much effort.

Acceleration is quite impressive, and I have surprised many owners of larger bikes.

I have to admit, I expected the braking to be a bit sharper, but then the brakes are progressive and not fierce.

The seating is comfortable, and at motorway speeds, which is what the bike is designed for, it becomes a pleasure.

The luggage tie hooks are most certainly worth their weight in gold, and I have been able to tie heavy items onto the back seat with ease.

The gearbox is a bit clunky, but then that's just a characteristic of the machine and not a fault. Many bikes have clunky gearboxes, such as several BMWs and Moto Guzzis. The positive neutral finder makes finding neutral when stationary easier.

The engine is very flexible, and doesn't bring the worst out in you as do some of the other 600s, which demand to be revved. This engine pulls well low down at 1500 RPM in top gear without hesitation. Above 4000 RPM, it livens up. Above 7000 RPM, it gives performance to make you think you are on a full bred sports bike and not a sports-tourer, and there is a fantastic howl from the air box. If the oil is changed regularly, then these engines should easily achieve 100000 miles, as they rarely need to be thrashed, and the spacing between the cylinders are sufficient to enable good heat dissipation, therefore reducing the likelihood of a blown head gasket.

As for economy, around town with short trips I get around 45 MPG, but don't forget this is by far the least economical way of riding. On the motorway with hard riding, I got 52 MPG, but taking it more sedately, I've achieved 60 MPG. If I did a few tweaks, I could possibly increase that figure.

As with all faired bikes, servicing can be a bit of a pain, but an experienced mechanic such as myself shouldn't find this a problem.

There is a reason why these ZZRs are so popular, and that is because they are comfortable enough for daily use, and have the performance to take you just about any distance with ease.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th July, 2012

1994 Kawasaki ZZR600

Summary:

Like it a lot, but bit heavy though

Faults:

Front calipers stick need constant maintenance.

Exhausts suffer from rust on inside, but to be fair, in the 2 years I've had it, it's been outside in all weathers.

General Comments:

I reckon it's a quick bike; not far behind most 600s. The only problem I've got is don't get too close; they will out brake you, and it's also a bit heavy when you chuck it into corner at speed. Low speed scrape footrest no problem.

I can ride all day only problem, but it gets very thirsty if you screw it too much.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th March, 2008

1994 Kawasaki ZZR600

Summary:

A bit heavy by modern standards, but still a great, quick, comfortable and reliable machine

Faults:

Exhaust - middle section rusted out. Replaced with a great sounding Micron four into one system which unfortunately has left a gaping hole in the power-band between 4 and 7 thousand revs!

Front disks (rotors) - cracks appeared between the holes drilled into the disks, which required them to be replaced.

Battery - amazingly lasted for 10 years!

Rear wheel bearings - from years of over-tightening the chain.

Tires - Rear tyres last about 5000 miles whilst the front ones can do double that.

Chain & sprockets - on my second set, they seem to capable of 20000 miles if treated correctly.

General Comments:

The motorcycle still looks modern in most color schemes.

Reliability has been outstanding with the bike never leaving me stranded.

I have done track-days on the ZZR where I've worked the machine to the full to keep up and sometimes overtake the more modern competition.

I have also undertaken 2000 mile round trips with 1000 miles being covered in 24 hours! Whilst I can't honestly say that I arrived refreshed - I wasn't as sore as you might think. Wind protection is pretty good and you can ride at 85mph all day.

The fuel-gauge isn't particularly accurate, but I have managed more than 160 miles on the 18 litre tank.

In general, the bike behaves exceptionally considering it is now over 10 years old. It might not be the latest and the greatest, but then again nor am I.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd March, 2005

6th Sep 2005, 11:40

Excellent review.

I can't help feeling if people bought bikes to suit their riding ability and what they really want to use them for rather than image, the ZZR and others like it would be far more common on the roads.

Fashion victims scoff at its weight and the fact it's now a 15 year old design (with one major facelift). So what? 100 bhp and 195kg is still enough to wipe the grin off the face of any supercar driver until well into "ban" territory, and it's hardly ugly. I've also proved mine to be no slower than an R6 or GSX-R600 until you get well into three figure speeds. Taking track riding out of the equation, I don't think 90% of riders (me included) would be any slower on real roads on this than the latest and greatest 600 supersports bike.

Conservative chassis geometry means those of us who aren't WSB standard riders (more of us that would ever admit it) can press on without the bar wobbles and fidgeting that the sharper geometried 600 sportsbikes suffer. It's also insurable, all day comfy, economical and reliable, and the pillion seat is actually useable. After a couple of years of having to use cumbersome rucksacks or tankbags on supersports bikes, and having to stop for fuel every 100-120 miles, the bungee anchor points and hooks, and the 160 mile range are godsends.

I would say this is pretty close to all the bike you ever need for real road use. OK a Honda VFR is better, but for the same money as a barely run-in 3 yr old ZZR, you'd be looking at a shed of a VFR.

I've just gone back to a ZZR after several superbikes. A bit slower, but for what I need, far better on the road. I can ride it all day every day without needing traction, thieving scumbags (easily impressed chavs apart) ignore it, and I can tax, insure, fuel and maintain it in a year for about 3 months finance payments alone on a new 600. And for all that it does 90% of what a new 600 will do on the roads, the other 10% being the bit the majority of riders can't use anyway.

Shame Kawasaki aren't likely to replace it when it finally goes out of production. Some of us want a faired 600 four that doesn't cripple you or need revving to 16,000 RPM before it even moves.

27th Aug 2011, 19:07

I have just bought a silver 2002 ZZR600 (E10 model), as I wanted something comfortable with impressive performance to go with it.

I had a GS500E recently (just sold it), and got bored with it very quickly, and found it to be lacking in performance when approaching the 90mph mark.

I like the ZZR600, because they look the part and are actually useful. Okay, it may not be the latest R6 kicking out 129bhp, but so what. How on earth is one going to make use of an extra 29bhp and an extra top speed of about 15-20mph? At least with the ZZR, it has many years of proven reliability, and is easier to live with than latest 600.

I actually find the ZZR600 to be a handsome machine, even if some say it looks dated, but I disagree. I think the latest GSXR600 looks unfinished, and they aren't practical.

I am surprised Kawasaki ceased production of the ZZR, as it was a big seller from the start. Kawasaki brought the ZZR up to date in 2007 with a facelift and other mods, but I prefer the earlier model. To be honest, there isn't a lot of new motorcycles on the market I would buy, as I find them unappealing, such as the new GSXR range and the Z range. They look awful, so long live the ZZR!