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My review of my Kawasaki ZRX1200

By Richard Morris -

First rides & tests

 23 November 2006 14:17

Kawasaki claim 122PS and 112Nm of torque for the ZRX. In English that’s 120BHP and 82½ ft/lb, almost certainly measured at the crank. Dry weight is 223kg (plus 4kg for the half-faired S version). Compare that with a Suzuki GSX-R1000 (161BHP at the rear wheel and 166kg) and it’s clear that the ZRX is no pocket rocket.
Looking at the bike in the showroom, it looks like it’ll be a handful, but looks can be deceptive: whilst it may be a heavy old lump, it’s smaller physically than it looks.
I’m 6′ tall or thereabouts and 14½ stones.

As with most halfway decent bikes these days, 0-60 times are largely irrelevant: quicker than nearly anything four wheels - I’d guess at around 3½ seconds. Top speed? Who knows? I’ve seen 145mph on the clocks sitting up, but take a look at that riding position and the tiny fairing. How long would you want to be maxing it out on that? If top speed’s your priority then look elsewhere: musclebikes, naked bikes and retros are not for you. The ZRX1200R’s bikini fairing and upright riding position dictate a comfortable cruising speed of around 90mph where you can leave it in top gear and just cruise along riding on a wave of torque. With a redline at 10,000rpm, maximum power is delivered at around 8,500rpm and maximum torque at around 6,500rpm, so it can be a very relaxing ride rather than a frantic scream
When you want to hustle, though, it picks up its skirt and rocks! I use the ZRX for trackdays and take onboard footage when I can. Oh, and it’ll wheelie on the throttle in first so it’s no fat slag.
The ZRX1200R comes with two catalytic converters, one welded into the header pipe collectors and one in the silencer (which gets exceptionally hot - beware!). This, coupled with the Old Skool carbs and emissions gubbins, means that replacing the end can with a quality one or, better still, a full system will give you more than a few extra horses: with a Dynojet kit - no namby-pamby fuel injection here - freer-flowing air filter, the removal of the “snorkel” on the side of the air box and fitting a decent full system (Akrapovic is preferred), power rises from 112bhp to the low 130s at the rear wheel.