2003 Kawasaki ZZR 1200 from Canada

Summary:

The ZZR 1200 is a fast, powerful and comfortable bike for a fun ride or cross-country adventure

Faults:

I've not had any problems with the bike. Change the oil, fill the gas, and go.

General Comments:

I've had a number of bikes over the years and this one is a keeper. It is very strong and can run with many modern sport bikes. It pulls very hard with no detectable dips in the power delivery. Very tractable from idle to 11,000 RPM.

One magazine said it likes an F18 on afterburner - it just keeps pulling and pulling and pulling. Kawasaki advertised them with 160 HP at the crank and bike magazines report 140-145 HP at the rear wheel pretty routinely. Before the ram air had any chance to help build power. Strong.

The rumours of a slight buzz in the handlebars between 4500-5500 RPM are true. 100 KM/h is about 3600 RPM so whether this will affect you depends on how fast you want to cruise. You can lose your license quickly if you want to.

The bike is fairly big but handles well. Very stable at high speeds (so I'm told) and more nimble than you'd expect for the weight. The brakes work well on the street, although I've had some squealing develop under light use. Goes away with a few hard stops.

It is heavy as a sport bike goes, but very reasonable as a sport tourer. You'd have to be well beyond reasonable limits for the street before you'd run into suspension limitations. I've got Givi bags hard bags on it and they fit very well. I've also installed Genmar bar risers, which were an excellent addition. The stock windscreen works well.

As for durability, I know people with over 100,000 KM on the bike with no signs of power loss or other problems. I've seen more than one for sale with over 160,000 KM. I'm aware of reports of cam failures, but I've never spoken to anyone who has had that problem. Steering head bearings can need tightening around 40,000 KM. Valve adjustments every 12,000 KM, which is a bit short. Otherwise they are very strong and incredibly reliable.

Overall, if you like this style of sport bike, it is hard to find something better.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2017

2004 Kawasaki ZZR 1200 from United States of America

Summary:

I just love the heck out of it

Faults:

The only failure was a flattened intake cam lobe at approximately 47,000 miles.

General Comments:

This bike is flawless in just about every category. The acceleration is intoxicating... so much so that it is very hard for me to consider my next bike.

This bike offers a great amount in all the pertinent categories... excellent range and fuel quantity, good comfort, beautiful styling, great reliability, and again that phenomenal acceleration.

This bike has a consistently great running demeanor in either blazing hot weather or freezing cold weather... it never fails to start or stumble and surge due to changes in the environment... and that is an incredible feat for a carburetor-equipped bike.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd October, 2012

2003 Kawasaki ZZR 1200 from United States of America

Summary:

Superfragilisticexpialidocious

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong with the Zed.

General Comments:

Great bike, that is getting harder to find. This is a quick bike with 140 to 160 hp. Suggested upgrades; Corbin seat, HeliBars.

This bike is not for beginners. It will kill you if you are stupid.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2012

2004 Kawasaki ZZR 1200 from United States of America

Summary:

Excellent all-rounder!

Faults:

Since I have owned it, nothing has gone wrong. I've done basic maintenance, new tires, brake pads and a valve adjustment, but otherwise she starts every time and goes without any fuss!

The speedometer broke during my test ride when I was considering buying the bike, but a replacement gauge cluster from ebay ($80) did the trick, and it's been fine ever since.

The headset bearings are beginning to show signs of wear, but at 30,000+ miles on such a heavy bike, this isn't really a surprise.

General Comments:

I have enjoyed every mile on my ZZR. It's a long and heavy bike, but Kawasaki did a great job at making it feel nimble and not nearly as big as it is. Around town in traffic, it can be a little bit of a chore, but once you hit the open road, the bike really comes into its element. Hours of high speed riding in the hills and backroads are effortless on this bike.

The engine responds instantly at virtually any RPM, and thanks to the fat torque curve, most situations don't require a downshift to get going. For being a sport touring bike, this thing accelerates surprisingly fast. As one reviewer has already said, will gladly do 180mph+ and click off a 1/4 mile run in the mid 10's. Even at 100mph a twist of the throttle produces instant and vicious acceleration... Hold on tight! The real beauty, though, is that you don't have to spin the engine very fast to get moving at an illegal pace. It's perfectly happy loping along between 2500-4500rpm, which is what Kawasaki was aiming for. It's a big engine, and it makes a bunch of power up top, but despite having fairly large carburetors and wild enough cams to breathe efficiently at 10,000+rpm, it's still very civil and torquey at low engine speeds.

Suspension is firm, but still fairly comfortable on most surfaces. At high speed on the highway it really shines, and it's very planted through big, sweeping corners. The brakes are powerful and easy to modulate, but the stock pad compound didn't have enough bite for my liking, so I switched to the EBC HH pads and I have no complaints. The stock riding position is a little sporty for longer rides, but with 1" Gen-Mar risers and a Corbin seat, it's pretty comfy.

The ZZR tends to "suffer" from little bit of buzzing in the handle bars right around 4500-5000rpm, which is right about where the engine speed winds up at 75-80mph. This seems to be the most common complaint about these bikes, but it can be mostly remedied by using different grips. Other than the little bit of buzziness, it's a great bike for long distances, and the bodywork does a very nice job of keeping you from getting beat up too much at high speed.

I've ridden mine as much as 650 miles in a single day through the mountains of Colorado, and at the end of the day I wasn't crippled! If I had been on a literbike, I'm sure it would have been a different story. I was also able to average 53mpg during that trip of mostly 70-90mph highway, and a couple of blasts well beyond that. Around town I average about 40mpg. I live in Colorado, so sometimes I can't ride, but as long as the ground isn't covered with snow, I try to ride my bike every day, and it never gives me any trouble. The ZZR1200 is somewhat of a well kept secret.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd February, 2011