KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2006-2012) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Not only the fastest, most powerful motorcycle you can buy, but happens to be an extremely capable all-round machine too"

Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding

"Not only the fastest, most powerful motorcycle you can buy, but happens to be an extremely capable all-round machine too"

  • At a glance
  • 1352cc  -  197 bhp
  • 39 mpg  -  185 miles range
  • Medium seat height (800mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 is not only the fastest, most powerful motorcycle you can buy, but happens to be an extremely capable all-round machine too. Limited to 186mph (300kmh) – but the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 will do it with a gear to spare. Capable of commuting, two up sporty touring, track days, drag racing, posing – almost anything is possible on the big Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 - just don’t try taking it dirt riding.

 

Watch the 2008 Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 take on the 2007 version

Watch the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 take on the 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa and the BMW K1200S in our long distance road test

Watch the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 compete against the 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa in our top speed test

 

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Ultra sports-tourers can’t be track bikes but the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 copes superbly on the road. With 215kg to carry it’ll never flick as fast as the latest dedicated sports bikes but it’s smooth, predictable and sporty in a road orientated way. The Kawasaki ZZ-R1400's brakes are awesome and it’s plush enough for those European blasts.

Engine 4 out of 5

Bordering on insanely powerful for a motorbike. Its builder says the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400's the first of a new generation of engines which owe nothing to the outdated ZZ-Rs of he past. 197bhp with ram air is an astounding figure. Torque on the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 is plentiful too but at low revs Suzuki’s Hayabusa out-grunts it.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Since 2003 the new improved wave of Kawasaki models have been better than previous ones in every way including build quality. The Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 seems to follow that trend and no real weaknesses have been identified yet.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 is not that cheap but it’s the hot kiddie of the class until something more powerful is released, so a good buy. The Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 was late arriving in dealers showrooms in 2006 which led to stock being left unsold late into the year and some discounting, which affected new and used value. Find a Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 for sale.

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

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZZ-R1400's riding position’s compact for a substantial bike and comfy for one or two. The screen’s surprisingly effective considering it looks low and allows the insane top speeds the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 is renowned for. Instruments are very comprehensive and a genuine Kawasaki tank pad is available for the Kawasaki ZZ-R1400.

Owners' Reviews

35 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2006-2012) 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 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.7 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Rapid

17 July 2014 by plumbgod

The zzr 1400 is the sought of bike that leaves you trembling, a little frightened yet you want to go again. The bike has endless power and you quickly run out of road or bottle one or the other. As some have already said, the engine is a little rough... Read more low down, like it really resents going slow, and the clutch is a little too light for me, with little difference in lever movement between grab and go The suspension set up is soft as standard, especially on the front end, where the slightest pot hole will make the forks bottom out, i plan to have mine set up soon in the hope it will solve this issue. The brakes are awesome, as you would expect and otherwise things are properly sorted Crazy fast lots of fun mostly in straight lines tho

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

1 yr on update

11 March 2012 by Anonymous

After a year and 2,500 miles the bike has had highs and lows for me. Nice in poor wintery conditions even on sports tyres but clumsy and not that sporty in the dry...until I dialled in the suspension and got rid of the stock cans. Comfort isn't as... Read more good as the seat makes you think and even with a higher screen the windblast can hurt the neck much more than the Busa ever did. Wife loves the pillion side of things but having tried the gen 2 Busa out she finds its broader seat better on long runs. Its stupidly fast but flighty as well near the red line in 3rd and 4th so could do with a steering damper just to add confidence and with the suspension working as it should its much easier to go constantly quick than on any sports bike as gear changes are rare so you can focus on where your going rather than what gear you need next. Now it runs true and smooth from low revs and is filling in the job of my old busa quite nicely so no regrets just yet and a nice 48+mpg.. Build quality is so so..plastics are like tracing paper and are beginning to show cracks around the dash infill screws and the fur on the radiator core just makes it look cheaply made. I tried the new 2012 model and apart from having a better from the shop suspension I see no real benefits for road use as i've never had any traction issues with my riding style. I would consider getting a slipper clutch fitted as the downshift can get the back end moving about when on it coming downhill. Doing a back-back test against a Gen 2 Busa in a few weeks so that will be a fun day.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 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

gentleman's express

05 September 2011 by piwake

Had bike for just under 3years, 48,000kms. Minor weeping at valve cover gasket and tip over sensor that won't stop vibrating. Recently did valve adjustment, throttle sync and plugs -much smoother in all conditions. Been using PR2's and can't see a... Read more reason to try anything else. Have Yosh R-77 slips and blocked off kleen air recirc, and mra dbl bubble racing screen. Otherwise stock. Huge difference getting suspension sorted. For me, settings are very sensitive and took forever getting close to perfect. But once do, very controlled, predictable and just can't ask for better. Well, ohlins might make so but fine tuning gets to where I no longer feel it can get much better. With suspension working just so, everthing just seems to fall into place. Braking, shifting, turn in, exit. All good. Only major complaint is there always seems too much traffic and never enough pavement to ride. It goes without saying that it's fast but that's not what makes this bike such a great street/sport tourer. It's it's effortlessness, no fuss, any condition/road, do it all ability.

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Early views

21 May 2011 by tman39a

just got an 09' model after 4 yrs on a Gen 1 Busa.......so far it is lighter to control, faster and better in the wet.....but engine low down aint that smooth and theres no onboard storage of any kind....engine is less vibey and a bit more... Read more economical...its early days but so far happy with the change.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 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

Just brilliant!!

01 April 2011 by Anonymous

2 years and 11,000 miles later...it's time to give my silver ZZR1400 a review. Let me start with the negatives first... The part of the fuel tank under the seat is prone to corrosion. Keep it covered in ACF50 and then everything's fine. Erm... I... Read more guess that's it! It has been 100% reliable. Great build quality. Rides and handles brilliantly after the suspension has been set-up for your weight. The engine is just stunning. I've never been on a drag strip, so I'm still to reach it's limits. Absolutely shed loads of torque torque and more torque. 80mph is just 4k rpm, and returns a 180+ mile tank range, comfy, confidence inspiring, (relatively) forgiving, fantastic brakes, oh and did I say it was fast as ****? If you're reading this review and wondering whether to buy one...look no further, just go put your money down.

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

What a bike

17 March 2011 by blue200tdi

I've just bought an 07 ZZR1400. What a bike, my god I thought my ZX10r was fast but this thing is just in another league. The engine is so smooth, just roll on the throttle in 6th gear at any speed and it just keeps pulling like a train. 150MPH on... Read more the way home no problem (71mph honestly officer)It's friendly round town and the weight keeps it smooth and planted in bends. Very comfy, with loads of room, I'm 6' and have no trouble. This bike is immense, if you want a bike that is fast and comfortable, this is the bike for you. Ok, ZX10's and the like will out corner you, but you'll catch up on the straight bits with out any trouble. If you're thinking of buying one, buy it, you won't regret it.

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

lived up to expectations!

04 March 2011 by Anonymous

I took a bit of a gamble on buying this bike, I saw one of the last black models with gold wheels at the old price and prior to the vat increase. My Blackbird had served me well but was 10 yrs old now, snow and ice meant a much shorter test ride than... Read more I would have liked. First impressions were this was a bike designed to fulfill a number of roles. A sporty riding position, but not extreme as my mates blade.The engine was a revelation, I thought my Blackbird was smooth and had power but the ZZR is in a different league. Initial acceleration is rapid but get into the mid range and it really takes off, you either run out of road or bottle it. Overtakes are a dream and the combination of smooth engine and a slick gearbox ensure progress is rapid but controlled. Plenty of room for pillions and luggage, but my Autocom used the last of underseat storage space. Another nice suprise was the buld quality, huge improvements in all areas and definitley up there with Honda now,the clocks are fabulous with a mix of digital info on consumtion and fuel range etc which I find useful! this is my 5th Kawasaki and I have no regrets buying the ZZR. Handling, power, stability, looks, brakes, this bike ticks all the boxes and a trip to France in summer beckons, I can't wait to give this bike a good workout. This is not a bike for novices or those with poor anger management skills though, I have had to recalibrate my riding as everthing happens so much quicker now, when compared to my Honda. I am glad I bought my ZZR and my gamble has paid off, I have no hesitation in giving this bike full marks in all departments, one hell of a bike.

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

zzr1400

17 May 2010 by KJNASH2001JESS

i bought a 08 zzr 1400 and i have just got back from a 3000 mile european tour through france , switzerland, and spain , the bike was immense and extremely comfortable and practacle, and for a big powerful bike fantastic on fuel, it carried me and my... Read more luggage all over without any hassle and with great ease , this has to be the best bike i have ever owned, i have had a blackbird, hiyabusa and a sprint st , this is the best bike ever, a real credit to kawasaki , they have produced a real class leading sports tourer...:-)

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

11 April 2010 by Anonymous

To date (2010) there are really two flavours, pre-2008 and 2008 onwards with one big difference. Early (06/07) models have gutless low down caused by Kawasaki restricting them to make them easier for new riders, somehow having CG125 power up to... Read more 6,000 rpm, then immediately exploding into a ZX10R on steroids made them safer? From 2008 Onwards this was fixed, but early bikes can be easily sorted if you remove secondary butterflies and fit a Power Commander, this costs a few hundred quid so be aware if looking at used bikes. Every owner I know who has done this rates it as the best mod they have ever done to any bike. Some early ones were re-called due to frames cracking where the engine mounts had been overtightened in the factory, should all be sorted now but wirth checking if you have 06 / 07 or are planning to buy one. Generally they are quite good out of the crate: Later models or flyless early ones are mega grunty from 3,000rpm upwards, even two-up with luggage you rarely need to go above 6k or drop more than a gear or two for overtakes. Early ones with flies in are very flat and often need 3-4 downchanges when overtaking - very tiresome. Handling is OK for a big bike, but can be made much better, they are better than ZZR1100's and such like but the front end is a bit harsh and the rear struggles with two people especially if you tour with luggage. I had my forks and shock re-sprung and revalved and it became a different bike, cost about £500 but improved handling, feedback and comfort immensely. Felt about 20kg lighter afterwards, much closer to sportsbike handling. Everything else is OK, clocks etc work well, comfort is pretty good, some serious mile munchers add bar risers, taller screens and Gel Seats but compared to any sportsbike it is a sofa. Reliability is generally OK but there are some common issues, early bikes could leak oil from head or balancer shaft area, discs warp repeatedly, the Kawasaki ones are awful and can go in as little as 3,000 miles, I am on third set in under 10k - once warranty is up replace with aftermarket items. Top fairings can crack around screws where lowers meet up as screws are so close the edge, look out if buying and be very careful when removing / refitting panels. Tanks can rust under the seat, keep clean / dry and apply something to protect them. I have been abroad quite a bit two-up with luggage, with the lowdown power sorted it was very good but suspension struggled first time on the roads of the Pyrenees, especially when loaded. Second Euro-trip involved reworked suspension and the handling was excellent, bends could be enjoyed even with two people and full (hard Luggage) Stable wallow free handling with stacks of feedback - perfect. Generally a very good bike let down a bit by a few niggles, but they are very easy to sort and can be massively improved quite cheaply making early ones a bargain. Running costs are HUGE, Service every 3750 miles, minors are about £200 and Majors (every other) over £300 at stealerships. OE tyres are poor, fronts feel vague and many owners get well under 2,000 miles from rear, I shredded two in under 3,000 steady (ish) mainly touring miles. Better rubber will see 3-6k depending on "Style", Roadsmarts and BT-021's are popular as all round tyres. loads more info on www.zx14r.co.uk

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Try a test ride

02 October 2009 by nailitdotcom

A great bike- smooth and with heaps of torque, great stability, easy to read at a glance uncluttered instruments and good views from mirrors (although everything in them soon becomes a micro dot!). ps Keep an eye out for what's up in the sky in North... Read more Wales- it's not the clouds I'm talking about!!!!!!!

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 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 35 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2006
Year discontinued 2012
Original price £10,613
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 197 bhp
Max torque 113 ft-lb
Top speed 187 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 39 mpg
Tank range 185 miles
Specification
Engine size 1352cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium monocoque
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 215kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 250mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2006: Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 launched.
2011: Available as Kawasaki ZZR1400 ABS [£10,613] and ZZR1400 ABS Performance (Inc. Akrapovic silencer, tank pads, seat cover, higher screen) [£11,634] 

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 motorcycle review - Riding
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