1994 Kawasaki ZZR600
Fast, reliable all rounder, but watch out for brakes and exhausts
Exhaust downpipes rotted through.
Brake calipers partially seized and warped the discs (rotors).
Speedo cable snapped.
Would expect most of these on a 10 year old bike.
My first bike, now owned/ridden by my wife, and I still rate it really highly.
All day comfy, enough performance to keep up with any current 600 supersports machine, mechanically bombproof and cheap to insure. Very docile in the first half of the rev range, and surprisingly torquey for a 600 (will pull without spluttering from idle in the first four gears), but comes over all savage and snarly above 8k where it takes off like a scalded cat!
Like most Kawasakis, it has a cracking engine - with 25,000 miles on it, with a simple change of exhaust (still road legal) and a stage 2 jet kit, it's making a dyno proven 103 bhp, 5 up on standard. Still sounds gorgeous over 10,000 RPM with the trademark Kawasaki airbox howl.
Handling is OK, but let down by cheap and nasty suspension. Rear shock is awful, but I fitted a Hagon for UKP 250 which transformed it. Steers slowly compared to a sports bike, but this means good stability and a very forgiving nature to the handling. This was my first bike and I got away with all manner of ham-fistedness. E3 on (mine's an E2) got better front suspension by the way.
Goes really well two-up, but the centre stand decks stupidly early. I removed mine and now use a paddock stand for chain lube and other maintenance. The ZZR makes an excellent touring bike with loads of luggage securing points, a good fairing, a reliable 160+ mile tank range and more than enough grunt for any situation.
The exhausts last about 2-3 years though and be warned, if you change to a non-standard system on a ZZR, it will take several hours dyno time and a good tuner to get all the holes out of the power delivery. The OEM exhaust, despite its appalling quality and exorbitant price is actually very hard to improve on bhp-wise. The front brake is also poor, with cheap calipers which seize every year or so, and if left unattended, warp the (very expensive) discs.
To summarise, the ZZR is a great "do anything" bike let down only by some poor quality parts (exhaust, rear shock and brake calipers particularly) and looks which are now pretty dated. I bought a ZX7R to replace this bike, which I love, but I have ridden the ZZR several times since, and I'm still impressed by its comfort, speed and general all round ability.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th November, 2004