1994 Kawasaki ZZR600 from United States of America

Summary:

Money pit from hell. Never again

Faults:

Now I know you'll say it's an old bike, and I bought used, so of course it had things wrong. This I know all too well from previous bikes. But by far this bike was the one that I began to hate out of all the bikes I've ever had. I was constantly having things go wrong with it, starting with the carbs; tore into them many times before they actually started working right. This is no easy task to take them out.

Then after it started running OK, the rear shock blew out! Guess what, when it blows out it compresses and stays totally compressed. The bike was on the ground, not ridable, left me stranded.

Then it starts having the familiar 2nd gear jumping out, as lots of others have also experienced. So I had to pull the engine completely out, and split it open and replaced the gears and shift forks, and had to do it all in a weekend, because come Monday she takes me to work - it's my only transportation. Two all nighters later and I got it all done, and after work that Monday night, bang, I'm stuck again at a gas station, which luckily I coasted into off the highway, instead of pushing like I had to do so many times. This time it wasn't getting me home, because no matter what, she didn't fire any more. After diagnosing for about a week, I narrowed it down to the main ECU, the brain so to speak; another common issue on these, and hard to find in town, and wow are they pricey. Waited for another week and put it in. It fires up right up and away I go for another week

Then the reg/rect burns up in smoke and leaves me once again pushing the pig off the highway. Got another put it in, painted it real nice and shiny black with a flat black motor and frame; looked great and sold it for what I paid one year before.

This bike cost at least three times more than I paid for it, and it was broke down or needed to be worked on almost every time I got on it. Would never buy another Kawasaki Ninja again, especially after all the common problems they seem to have across many years and many popular models.

General Comments:

Piece of crap. Was always working on it and the cost to repair in parts was ridiculous, for a 30 year old bike.

But that said, it was comfortable and I could get 60 miles a day on it when it worked. And once I fixed the ram air and carbs, it really did have a nasty powerhouse in it. Loved how it would howl from the airbox when at WOP.

Not the fastest 600 in the day, but it held its head up high I think back in 94. But many years of abuse probably condemned it way before I got it. Anyway, I found too many problems among the Ninjas, and will never own another unless given one cheap, and I mean cheaply bought while drunk maybe.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th March, 2015

2002 Kawasaki ZZR600 from United Kingdom

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