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Kawasaki ZRX1100 Naked Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki ZRX1100 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The Kawasaki ZRX1100 is one of those bikes which doesn't look that exciting on paper, or even parked up, but once you grab a big handful of throttle down a twisty road the thing comes alive. It's an old school, take-no-prisoners hoon machine and you can surprise yourself - and random sportbike riders - with its combination of solid braking, decent handling and raucous speed.


MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Kawasaki ZRX1100 engine is derived from the ZZR1100 motor, which dominated the 90s with its raw, locomotrive power, the ZRX's 1052cc engine has loads of oomph in the midrange and will eventually blast you all the way to an indicated 150mph - if you can hang on behind the bikini fairing. A highly addictive engine, very reliable too.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Kawasaki ZRX1100 takes some work, some serious weight-shifting, to get the best from it, but when you feel in the mood, it does play ball pretty well. On slow corners the sheer weight of the ZRX seems to make it want to `fall in' on itself, but otherwise, it can hang on in there with other big retro bikes.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Kawasaki ZRX1100's tiny nose fairing actually works very well, and it gives the big ZRX a distinct advantage over blunderbuss bikes like the GSX1400/XJR1300/Triumph Speed Triple 509 etc which have nothing at all to protect the rider from the force of the breeze at 100mph plus. Great 6 pot brakes on the Kwacker, nice stepped saddle, grab handles, but no centrestand.

Kawasaki ZRX1100 (1997-2001)

Detail Value
Used price range View Kawasaki ZRX1100 bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1052 cc
Power 98 bhp
Top speed 145 mph
Insurance group 13 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 5
Engine rating is 5 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 5
Value rating is 3 rating is 5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

Apart from the finish on some of the chassis parts - a typical 90s Kawasaki failing - the Kawasaki ZRX1100 is solidly built and wears well. The exhaust downpipes rust pretty rapidly however and the braced swingarm and brake caliper arm at the back are all exposed to a life of grime.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 5

The traditional Kawasaki green models seem to fetch a price premium and the ZRX1100 seems generally more popular than its successor, the flabbier looking ZRX1200S/R. Because it didn't sell well when new, used prices are that bit higher for the Kawasaki than for contemporary retros like the Bandit 1200 or Yamaha XJR1200/1300. Find a Kawasaki ZRX1100 for sale


Insurance group: 13 of 17

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Model History

1997: Kawasaki ZRX1100 launched.
1998: RRP reduced by £1200.
2001: Model replaced by ZRX1200S/R.

Other Versions



Top speed 145 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.6 secs
Max power 98 bhp
Max torque 70 ft-lb
Weight 222 kg
Seat height 790 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 125 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 13 of 17
Engine size 1052 cc
Engine specification 4 stroke, in-line four, 5 gears
Frame Steel cradle
Front suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Front brakes Twin 310mm disc
Rear brake 250mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17 in

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(1 review)

  • The best of the bargain nakeds


    Glendale, AZ USA

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    Stonking power, great looks and more than adequate handling and brakes. That just about summs up the big Rex! Big Kawasakis are known for their bullet-proof engines. The rex is no different. I have performed some simple mods, such as installing ZX11 cams, K&N pod air filters, Muzzy Stainless Steel header and Titanium end can, and an Ivan's Performance jet kit. This has taken the mild mannered 93RWHP sleeper to an amazing 129RWHP with NO loss of low and midrange torque. Even though it is rather heavy compared to current sport bike standards, properly set up it will not embarrass you in the twisties. A side benefit of the size is all-day comfort for two-up riding. Strengths: Stone reliaility! You can't kill it. Eye-catching great looks. Tons of great mods available. Best owners association in the world: Gobs of power from 3k on. Weaknesses: Weaknesses? There AREN'T any!

    20 January 2006


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