KAWASAKI ZX-9R (1994-2002) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Began life as a sports machine, didn't quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer"

Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Riding

"Began life as a sports machine, didn't quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Like so many motorcycles the Kawasaki ZX-9R began life as a sports machine, didn’t quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer. It’s indecently fast and should put 175+mph on the clock with minimal hassle. Early Kawasaki ZX-9Rs were heavy but from the ‘C’ variant of 1998 onwards it’s light enough to be a capable if not cutting edge sports machine.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

Early Kawasaki ZX-9Rs weren’t good. The Kawasaki ZX-9R ‘B’ series from 1994 to 1997 was too heavy. Fingers were pointed at the rear swingarm and suspension too. It’s the least sporty of the bunch by some margin. Kawasaki ZX-9R ‘C’, E’ and ‘F’ suffix bikes are all much lighter but still stable and relaxed enough to make excellent road bikes. Brakes are effective unless neglected.

Engine 4 out of 5

Always a strong point on Kawasakis even when chassis development fell behind the competition. The Kawasaki ZX-9R's engine is a classic with modest low rev torque, no major fireworks in the midrange but enough urge to keep the Kawasaki ZX-9R swift. But rev hard and very little will pull away. The Kawasaki ZX-9R has a pleasing growly nature too.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

Reliability is good – Kawasaki ZX-9Rs will clock up huge mileages without letting owners down. But build quality can be patchy. Paint is so thin on the wheels even regular use of a lock can rub it off. Corrosion and stone chips are a common sight on Kawasaki ZX-9Rs. Shocks go off quickly and steering head bearings can wear fast.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZX-9R makes a good buy for two reasons. First, as it was always a close-but-no-cigar sportsbike, it’s seen as undesirable so can be cheap. Second, owners who do go for a Kawasaki ZX-9R are less likely to crash or thrash their bikes than those with GSX-Rs or R1s. Look for a bike with a Fenda Extenda and buy with a smug grin. Find a Kawasaki ZX-9R for sale.

Insurance group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Depends on your perspective. The Kawasaki ZX-9R’s well equipped for a sports bike, quite poor for a sports tourer. The fuel tap is an antique idea with little to commend it but is useful when removing the Kawasaki ZX-9R's tank. Grease nipples on the Kawasaki ZX-9R's rear suspension are a simple, superb idea which few other machines have.

Owners' Reviews

78 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-9R (1994-2002) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI ZX-9R (1994-2002)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
5 out of 5

15 May 2015 by Joseph Henry

Read more

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

Quick cheap machine

13 April 2014 by Leighj0121

This is a very quick bike, the myth these bikes cannot take corners is completely wrong and they love fast straights where you can really pin the throttle but unfortunately I cannot say how good it is without touching that this bike doesn't even have... Read more a fuel light or gauge on the 99 model that I own, so me as mr clumsy doesn't have a clue what kind of fuel I'm using but apart from the lack of equipment the price tag I paid of £1000 was more then worth it 4***

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

Great Budget Beast

11 April 2014 by Tomenski

This is the first big bike I had and Oh my was the engine a power house. It's weak points are the brakes but in the end I upgraded the callipers and they were fine. For a bike under 2k you can't beat it much better than buying a beaten up 600..... Read more Reliability issues were purely due to age but a main dealer found the fault in seconds were as a back street garage had it in for a weak and couldn't find the fault. Well worth using a main dealer in relation to your make bike and well worth chosing a bike that you have a local main dealer for...

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

Quite Possibly My Most Favorite Bike

21 December 2013 by TheKawasakiRob

An absolute do it all bike that is just as suitable to ripping up your local twisty road as it is taking a long haul cross country. I rode mine for 70k miles before slamming it into a Jersey barrier. I replaced it with a ZX12, and am having second... Read more thoughts. A solid bike. Love it Love it Love it

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

Quick n Comfy.

08 June 2013 by yamscot

First big bike after passing my test. After countless hours, reading reviews and researching this that and the other, I decided that the ZX9R sounded perfect. I knew I would have to take it steady for starters with such a powerful tool. I have to... Read more say, it's been an absolute delight. So easy to ride quick or steady. Great for comfort with that broad seat and sensible bar height. Cracking prices available on these bikes too. Parts are decently priced and also abundant. Well worth a look if your after some serious fun on a budget.

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
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Excellent all round bike for little money

30 April 2012 by wayofthedarkhand

Great all round bike which can be had now for less than £1500. Only grips are the short service intervals, and the OEM headlight. Nothing a quality aftermarket bulb doesn't fix though. Read more

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
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Underrated

26 December 2011 by Typhon219

Absolutely brilliant fun to ride. All the rubbish about it being bigger and heavier is irrelevant, it's a few kg more than a blade but has more horses to power it. It's longer wheel base makes it more stable in corners, it's riding position is more... Read more comfortable than other more modern sports bikes without taking away the control and focus when you want it. It adjustable enough if there is anything you want to improve and when are you ever gonna push it hard enough to need more anyway! The power delivery is incredible, the engine note addictive and overall the zx9r is without a doubt the best balance of performance and real world usability. I absolutely love my f1p and recommend a test ride to anyone looking for something sporty.

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
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Great Bike

22 November 2011 by billdavison1

Ive owned two of these now absolutely fantastic machines very fast comfortable may not be state of the art but a fantastic every day bike Read more

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

ZX-9R

11 June 2011 by CBR11X

These were bloody rippers when they first came out. Wonderful bikes with a ball-tearing top end rush. Read more

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

enjoyable

06 June 2011 by banditman2010

not into sports bike but had one ofthese and fully enjoyed it. not as good as my bandit but great little machine.till it was killed by car driver. she handled pritty well very cumfertable. the only down side is the numness came to the hands very... Read more quickly

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
Read all 78 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1994
Year discontinued 2002
Original price -
Used price £1,400 to £3,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 143 bhp
Max torque 74 ft-lb
Top speed 175 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Specification
Engine size 899cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 183kg
Front suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression, rebound, ride height
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1994:Kawasaki ZX-9R B original model launched.
1998: Kawasaki ZX-9R C completely new model, new frame and engine, single reflector headlight.
2000: Kawasaki ZX-9R E minor mods including stiffer frame and twin headlight top fairing.
2002: Kawasaki ZX-9R F final version with heavier crank and four piston front brake calipers.

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

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  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Front view
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  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Front view
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  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Riding
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