KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012-on) Review

Published: 05 April 2012

"The new king of speed and power, beating the formidable Hayabusa hands down"

KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)

"The new king of speed and power, beating the formidable Hayabusa hands down"

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

Simply put Kawasaki’s new ZZR is the new king of speed and power, beating the formidable Hayabusa hands down. It produces more power and torque, and accelerates quicker than any other road bike but unfortunately is still restricted to an agreed 186mph limit, but will get there in breathtaking time, hitting the limiter with ease, still with plenty in reserve. Not just a one trick pony either, now comes with ABS, power modes and traction control as standard.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The ZZR is now slightly sportier thanks to revised suspension and chassis which means it handles far better than its size suggests. Stiffer springs have been fitted front and rear to give a sportier ride without compromising comfort. Peg scraping, knee down angles of lean are easily achievable but at the same time it's stable at high speeds.

Engine 5 out of 5

This is the ZZR's killer punch, the engine, one of the finest you’ll find on any motorcycle. Kawasaki is quoting 200bhp, 210bhp with ram air, backed up by a whopping 119ftlb of torque. The increase in power is the result of a virtually new engine, longer stroke with raised compression, and a fine tune to the cylinder head with reshaped and polished ports. Pistons have also been lightened and there’s new bypass holes to minimise pumping loss. It’s not all about performance - it’s also more fuel efficient than before.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Considering the very reasonable price; you are buying the fastest bike on the planet the level of finish and quality is very high. There’s no reason to question the reliability of the motor as previous engines have proven bullet proof even when tuned slightly. The level of finish is arguably higher than its closes competition from Suzuki.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

Has to be five out of five, there’s a hell of lot of bike for the price. It’s officially the fastest production bike on the market and all yours for less than £11,500. Traction control, engine modes and ABS all comes as standard, makes it a bit of a bargain really, an accomplished attractive sports tourer, which is the current fastest accelerating bike on the road.

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

Equipment 5 out of 5

ABS comes as standard, as do the petal racing discs. But more importantly there’s an all new three-way traction control system which combines the best qualities of the ZX-10 and GTR1400 system. Modes can be changed on the move with the throttle in the closed position. Rear suspension has pre-load adjustment and the forks are fully adjustable. There’s also a huge list of aftermarket quality parts which include a top case and race Akrapovic exhausts.

Owners' Reviews

8 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012-on) 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 ZZR1400 (2012-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 4.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

Kawasaki ZZR1400 - Bike of my dreams

19 April 2016 by Johnnyoneye

Torque in any gear, stable, grip from the standard S20 Bridgestone tyres, wet or cold (or occasional warm days), smooth throttle, the comfiest seat I've ever sat on, and a metallic bright green paint job that a 75 year old granny said looked... Read more stunning when I was out doing some meat shopping on it one Saturday morning. The guys in the butchers thought it looked great too.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Front end is wonderful, rear can get a bit flappy when you push on down a bumpy road. Brakes are strong but need a good grab - not the sharpest first bite when you initially brake.
Engine
5 out of 5
Whoo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
All good so far, paint and fasteners still look great
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
35 to 45 to the gallon - not bad for the fastest accelerating bike in the world......
Equipment
4 out of 5
Stick with sticky tyres - accept that all that power is why you bought the bike - so why put a Z8 on it and bimble round telling everyone your getting 60 to the gallon?
Buying experience

Bought from Seastar Superbikes - got a decent deal, and they fitted a Kreiga seat pack for me for free for me before I rode away, also offered a deal on new tyres - can't complain

5 out of 5

Awesome bike and my second ZZR1400, they're that good.

21 February 2016 by bluezzr1400

Awesome, simply awesome. If you ride any bike in your lifetime it has to be the ZZR1400. Fast as anything out there, it'll corner too and will easily keep up with any sports bike unless it's ridden by a racer. More comfortable than a sports bike... Read more though and feels more planted because they are longer and heavier. They are heavy bikes, but their weight disappears once you start moving. Ok, they aren't flickable like a sports bike, but that isn't what these bikes are about anyway.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Ride quality is good. One thing that transforms a bike is having the suspension set up properly. It only costs between £25 and £40 and it makes a huge difference on any bike, not just the Zed. You could spend a lot on suspension but for most people just a simple set up is all that is required. My model has the Ohlins rear shock which is quite simply in another league compared to standard shocks. Brakes are awesome but be aware that some Zeds suffer from disc warp. Easily fixed with aftermarket discs. DO NOT buy chinese ones! Think they have fixed the problem on the Gen 2 Zeds but just a need to know fact.
Engine
5 out of 5
The engine? Well, what can I say. If you're coming from a 1000cc sports bike you'll be amazed at how smooth the big Zed engine is. It has two balancer shafts and is silky smooth and has immense power, or rather, torque. You don't need to rev them, 60mph in 6th, wind open the throttle and it'll pull your arms off all the way to the limiter stupidly fast. Just a small thing. The earlier Zeds had a slight rattle on start up, this is caused by the hydraulic timing chain adjuster. It loses oil pressure over night so it rattles for a few seconds. It is normal so if yours does it, don't panic. If you're really bothered by it you can buy a manual adjustable one which cures the rattle. My MY14 Gen 2 doesn't seem to do it so maybe Kawasaki have sorted that on the newer ones. But the power and smoothness are brilliant.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
I had an MY07 before I bought my MY14 performance sport and have never once been let down. Caliper bolt heads tend to not like salty roads much but other than that it is holding up well to winter riding. Yes, I do ride in the winter, no point in paying all that money for something and hiding it in a garage for nine months of the year.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Servicing is good value. Not a bad price for a yearly service from a Kawasaki dealer. 7500 mile service is £300 but that includes a spark plug change. Valve clearence check is around the 24,000 mile mark.
Equipment
4 out of 5
I've given this category a four because although it's a sports tourer, it doesn't have much in the way of touring equipment. The dash is good and has a fuel gauge, temp, average mpg, instant mpg, outside temp, gear indicator and such like. But a centre stand is an optional extra, a screen is an option, so is a rear top box bracket. I personally think that a bike like this should have at least one USB charge point, or maybe I'm being a bit optimistic. LOL!
Buying experience

Rather not say what I paid for it, the wife might read this. LMAO! Bought it from CMC and while they are very friendly, helpful and polite, I have had some issues that I suspect were caused by the previous owner that are slowly getting sorted. Still not sure why I need a grab rail with no luggage hooks attached, as they should be, but hey! Bought them myself in the end, too much mucking about and I've given up now. They do need chasing up though, unless that is just my experience of them. I would buy from them again, at no point have I been put off buying another bike from them.

4 out of 5

The real ZZR1400

02 October 2015 by Renny73

It's all about the engine and the fact that you can use it all, nearly all of the time. However the standard suspension, although good, does start to give up the fight against the power/weight when you start to press on, which this bike encourages... Read more you to do. Don't recommend it to as friend as you don't want them to keep up. Stick a GoPro on the tail unit facing backwards and marvel at how Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and BMW all build there litre sports bikes with a reverse gear...lol

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Comfy ride on long distances and brakes are ok, however fitting HEL brake line kit front and back with EBC prolite discs and HH pads sees a huge improvement. As standard the suspension needs the compression increasing on the front and rear (more so on the rear) and some rebound increase on the front. To get the best out of it though, you will need to get the rear shock re sprung for a heavier spring, as well as re shimmed. At the front a 4 valve piston kit with softer springs and setup is needed. Its a cost but the results are night and day. Keep it in good tyres (something with stiff tyre walls like S20's for the road) and it will handle far better that a 250Kg sports tourer has any right to.
Engine
5 out of 5
Dyno tested at BSD with 196.7bhp at rear wheel after ECU flash with BMC filter and MTC slip on cans. Nuff said.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Build quality is ok. My bike has over 26,000 miles on the clock and does use a little oil on long fast runs. The paint and panels are fairly good quality but the finish on the frame has quickly worn where boots have rubbed.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
MPG is ok on a run, but you soon run down into the mid thirties on a fast run. As expected it goes through rear tyres quickly.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The traction control is very good. Top tip, if you want to stop the pogoing/weave when accelerating hard out of bends leant over...leave it on Traction mode "3". Trust me, because it intervenes sooner it actualy helps stop the rear shock being overwhlemed by the power and therfore alows it time to cope with the power and torque better. As you start to pick up the bike, the intervention reduces and because it is a very smooth system, feeds the power in just as well as in mode "1", but without the rear shock having been stressed half as much. Give it a go, if you don't think it helps, then you can put it back.
5 out of 5

if Carling made motorcycles

25 August 2015 by Richard 1958

Better than any bike I have ridden over the last 40 years, fast, comfortable, fast, slick, did I say fast? effortless, planted, FAST. Best feature is the 1441 power plant worst feature, I have not yet found anything I don't like about it. I would... Read more recommend everyone to try one if only to find they don't like it. This would save me having to listen to people who have never ridden one saying how the busa is better or some such rubbish.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Brakes are very good ABS unintrusive, can ride all day and still get off feeling good at the end of 3 to 400 miles and I'm old and broken
Engine
5 out of 5
It's 6 out of 5 really, its a pussy-cat around town and a bengal tiger on A roads and dual carriage ways
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Nothing to report
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I have done 7500 miles since buying the bike in mid March, I also have a bandit 12 and have done a further 4.5k since May when I got that to save the kawa's mileage, some chance NOT.
Equipment
5 out of 5
If it made esspresso it would be perfect. Seriously heated grips are a must
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer and he did haggle but that's between him and me, but I felt I had a good deal.

5 out of 5

The true monster

28 July 2015 by Le chef

the best bangs for the bucks!! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
fierce brakes that really have awesome stopping power ...need getting used to
Engine
5 out of 5
absolute monster or a pussy cat if required
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
completely bulletproof
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
only had one service which was negotiated free at point of sale..but main dealer servicing is not cheap at list prices are high ...so get a deal here as well!!
Equipment
5 out of 5
all that you need in performance edition spec seat cowl came as standard ...but shouldn't have!!
Buying experience

bought new from Preston Superbikes unfair to say what discount I got ...but they will deal

5 out of 5

Personal Starship

03 November 2012 by warby57

I've ridden pretty much every kind of big bike - Blackbird, Triumph triples, FJ1200, 'busa, v-twins, flat-twins - and the big Z beats them all for its whizzo powers of acceleration combined with stable handling and comfortable day-long touring. I get... Read more mid-50s mpg too, which is unbelievably good considering the capabilities of its engine. Good grief, what an engine.

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

Amazing all rounder

12 July 2012 by Anonymous

Jumping off a Yamaha Mt01 sports tourer and not testing ZZR sports tourer before purchasing was a big gamble, I love my Mt01 and can't believe anything could match it, well looks can't!. ZZR1400 2012 absolutely brilliant 110% better in every area... Read more than other bikes I've ridden, what a bike, endless power in the dry or wet with the electronic's of course, stopping is unbelievably easy and quick. On British roads you'll never over rev the engine in any gear unless you break the law, so should potentially last for ever. Rides at any speed with ease and smoothness endless torque, ideal for any style of riding. Pillion commented: "the most confy bike she's been on. Accelerating above 8000rpm's- I'm told- there's another power band to red line 11000rpm, it's mind blowingly quick upto 8000, track here I come after running in. You don't notice a pillion is with you and has no effect on performance. Quality of the bike is on par with the Mt01, vast improvement for Kawasaki. It Goes around corners with shear ease and confidence. The fuel consumption trip meter and gauge gives you average, instant and indicates when your riding economically unlike the MT01 which never had fuel gauge. With a few optional extra's the bike is even better. Kawasaki dealer ships are head and shoulders above Yamaha where I've had a bad experience with yamaha UK and local dealer. I've done 450miles so far, not quiet as comfy as Mt01 but there's no vibration like with a big vtwin. Gamble paid off and hope that this stay's a rare bike-I don't think. View based on my 2 year limited experience of bikes, returning to riding after 30 year gap. Did'nt want a tourer too slow and bulky and didn't want a sports bike with raw power and basic and uncomfy, now have the perfect compromise.

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

What a bike

19 April 2012 by drjon

I have only test ridden a 2012 ZZR but I can safely say it handles like a sports 600 with almost unlimited power delivered in amazing smooth fashion. It also got 100% from my very expert pillion. I have put my money where my mouth is and I am... Read more awaiting delivery.

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 8 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued -
New price £11,699
Used price £7,300 to £14,500
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £280
Performance
Max power 200 bhp
Max torque 119 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 1441cc
Engine type 16v (84x65) inline-four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium monocoque
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 239kg
Front suspension 43mm fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single fully adjustable
Front brake 2x310mm four piston caliper
Rear brake 250mm disc single piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 190/55x17

History & Versions

Model history

2006: Model introduced

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

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  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
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