KAWASAKI ZRX1200 (2001-2007) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Big, beefy, retro with, in R guise, great Eddie Lawson replica looks"

Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding

"Big, beefy, retro with, in R guise, great Eddie Lawson replica looks"

  • At a glance
  • 1164cc  -  123 bhp
  • 35 mpg  -  125 miles range
  • Medium seat height (790mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a big, beefy, retro styled bike with plenty of grunt, a comfortable riding position and good looks (especially the Kawasaki ZRX1200 R version, which pays homage to the Eddie Lawson replica Z1100R of the '80s). But the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is really heavy, has a notchy gearbox and the handling and braking feels outdated compared to the newer Z1000 Kawasaki, or a stack of other 1000-1200cc sized naked roadsters.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is approaching its sell-by date in terms of ride and handling. The forks are multi-adjustable, but soft and the front end of the Kawasaki ZRX1200 loads up with weight and pushes the front tyre around when you corner hard. It also has a bit of a `bouncy castle' back end. In short, the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is fun to ride, but not too fast.

Engine 4 out of 5

Derived from the ZZ-R1100 of the 90s, the Kawasaki ZRX1200 motor is tough, does high mileages with ease and has more than enough power for a naked/half faired machine. The Kawasaki ZRX1200 breathes through old school carbs, rather than fuel injection, which some prefer, although it can be thirsty when given some stick. The five-speed gearbox is adequate, but the Kawasaki ZRX1200 feels like it could be made slicker somehow.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 motor will last forever with some regular oil changes. The chassis parts aren't quite so durable though and the short front mudguard allows plenty of wet weather road muck onto the matt black downpipes and engine cases. Various Kawasaki ZRX1200 fasteners also suffer from corrosion quite easily. It isn't any worse than many other budget big retro bikes, but needs some TLC.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

The big naked roadster sector of the market is highly competitive these days and the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is starting to look a bit old fashioned now. Rivals like the Z1000, Fazer 1000, Ducati Monster S4R, Honda CB1300R or Yamaha XJR1300 all arguably offer more bang per buck than the Kawasaki ZRX1200. Find a Kawasaki ZRX1200 for sale

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 S version has a decent half fairing, which makes the bike an acceptable solo touring machine, or commuter. The Kawasaki ZRX1200 also has a good underseat storage space, plus there's a good sized pillion perch and grab handles for the passenger. Soft luggage would fit the Kawasaki ZRX1200 pretty easily too.

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZRX1200 (2001-2007) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.2 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

muscle

18 August 2014 by coombyzed

on my 3rd zrx , love it Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Top bike

29 October 2008 by billy big skid

I'm on my second one, the first was an S model, this is a modified R model. My main beef with the S was the wallow when cornered enthusiastically and the build quality. The R has been fitted with a USD front end and i'm chasing some different rear... Read more shockers to sort the back end. I'm replacing the fasteners with S/S ones. I love these bikes because they are practical and will tour (as long as the uncomfy seat has been replaced)and scratch well enough to induce huge grins. Some modern "streetbikes" such as the Z1000 offer better handing but without the pillion provision or underseat storage of the ZRX. But then again the ZRX and other bikes such as the XJR were never intended to compete with the streetbike class. All in all, a lot of bike for a relatively small amount of money.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

So good, I bought it twice

05 August 2007 by MarkMac

I bought mine brand new in 2004, Ptx'd it 16 months later and bought it back a year on from that, from the same showroom, cuz I missed it's abilities. Mine was/is a 1200S version and is probably the most versatile 'real world' bike I have ridden,... Read more (Even after my VFR800). In June 2007, I rode it from N.W. Engalnd to Le Harve, France (via ferry of course), and then down to the Pyrenees, and into Spain and onto Alicante. A 3000 mile journey taking, 2 days there and 2 back on foreign soil,riding 600-700 miles per 10-11 hour day, with 2 days rest in Alicante, The bike didn't miss a beat. It's soooo comfortable and the 'S' fairing does a proper job of keeping you cacooned at silly speeds. Over these distances at high speed the fuel dropped to approx 30 mpg and I was filling up every hour, or sometimes less. Which meant day time, mid week fuel runs through France. The bike handled well on the none motorway stuff, but I've turned my eccentric axle cams upside down and dropped the forks 12mm, and then wound in front preload to max and rear to 4, just to try and speed up the steering and enhance suspension performance, as standard settings give it a Q.E.II kinda feel. The engine has huge dollops of pull (torque) and on the fast roads allows you to stay in top (5th) and ride it like a 'twist and go', overtaking every thing like some kind of video game. It was happiest at 5500-6000 revs for this sort of game, that being 90 ish, but it would happily drag you passed anything at warp factor 9 from 60 onwards. This will bring on the need for brakes, which are pretty good. The front wears 6 pot callipers and are the same as on Huyabusas, but need regular cleaning to keep all pistons sliding properly. I've found that the overall build quality is average to OK, but it doesn't get much better for any other muscle bike. I've replaced all my fasteners with stainless to keep it looking half decent, and with most ZRX's, you can buy an' bolt on a lot of blingy toys, and there are plenty of 'I'm a ZRX owner' web sites, some good, some blatantly run by mid 40's guys stuck in the 80's, maybe that's your bag! The 'Rex' is a great bike around town too, easy to balance 'n' filter with a standard riding position, allowing you to see properly without straining your black visored Arai noggin into un-natural positions only a ballerina could attempt. Overall it's nothing fancy by today's standard but is very comfy and very reliable and parts are easily sorted and easy to fit. It's 80's technology (carbs too!!) tweaked a bit, using more modern knowledge and components. Not hyper fast, but will probably out perform your 'real world' needs..I would buy another. Mac

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

touring

03 July 2007 by darn do

just back from a 7 day 2166 miles tour through france,belgum,switzerland & italy on my 06 zrx.a fantastic bike.rideing & handling was spot on. total petrol cost £203 which was great for a naked bike with tent,hard luggage & a pillion on board. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Totally disagree

13 March 2007 by jdunphy

The ZRX is the near perfect do it all motorcycle. I have ridden 600 miles in a day on it . I have taken it to track days and suprised the heck out of many a plastic fantastic. With a little bit of suspension work new front springs and some revalving... Read more , it can be made to handle surprisingly well. I get great mileage , about 43MPG on a commute. It apparently works as a great drag bike to. visit zrxoa.org or the UK zrxoc.com to learn what this bike can do . Awesome bike ,some bikes may come and go , but this one stays. Plus I got it for a song an 02 with 9K for < 3000="" english="" pounds="" .="" 3000="" english="" pounds="" .="">

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
Year discontinued 2007
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 123 bhp
Max torque 11.4 ft-lb
Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.4 secs
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 125 miles
Specification
Engine size 1164cc
Engine type 16v transverse four, 5 gears
Frame type Steel cradle
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 223kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake Single 250mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2001: Kawasaki ZRX1200S launched.
2002: Kawasaki ZRX1200R appears; same bike with bikini fairing, old school clocks instead of full dashboard, in blue or traditional Kawasaki green colour scheme. No major changes to date.
2007: Kawasaki ZRX1200R deleted

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review
  • Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle review - Front view
All related bikes for sale