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Kawasaki ZX-9R Sports Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

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.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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.

Kawasaki ZX-9R (1994-2002)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£1,840 (1999) - £2,960 (2002)
Private used prices
£1,730 (1998) - £2,450 (2002)
  View full used price info
Engine size 899 cc
Power 143 bhp
Top speed 175 mph
Insurance group 16 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

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.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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

Insurance group: 16 of 17

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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

Specifications

Top speed 175 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.6 secs
Max power 143 bhp
Max torque 74 ft-lb
Weight 183 kg
Seat height 810 mm
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 16 of 17
Engine size 899 cc
Engine specification 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound, ride height
Front brakes Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

See all Kawasaki ZX-9R motorcycles for sale

Kawasaki
ZX-9R

28702 miles

£1,950

Kawasaki
ZX-9R

29000 miles

£1,995

Kawasaki
ZX-9R

3900 miles

£2,995

Kawasaki
ZX-9R

15439 miles

£2,799

Kawasaki
ZX-9R

4826 miles

£3,999

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(77 reviews)

  • Quick cheap machine

    Leighj0121

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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***

    13 April 2014

  • Great Budget Beast

    Thomas Ellery

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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.. 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...

    11 April 2014

  • Quite Possibly My Most Favorite Bike

    TheKawasakiRob

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 thoughts. A solid bike. Love it Love it Love it

    21 December 2013

  • Quick n Comfy.

    yamscot

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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.

    08 June 2013

  • Excellent all round bike for little money

    wayofthedarkhand

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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.

    30 April 2012

  • Underrated

    Typhon219

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 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.

    26 December 2011

  • Great Bike

    billdavison1

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
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    Engine

    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

    22 November 2011

  • ZX-9R

    CBR11X

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
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    Engine

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

    11 June 2011

  • enjoyable

    paul reed

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    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 quickly

    06 June 2011

  • fair

    paul reed

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    i enjoyed the bike although i had alot of over heating problems... appart from that nice ride

    27 April 2011

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amitava

amitavasays

Most exciting rides around

The ZX9R Ninja is one of the most exciting rides around, think this is mainly because of it's very lively and entertaining power delivery. The Ninja is great on the road and no doubt one of the fastest road-burners on the market. Farmers Auto Insurance Agent

17 January 2011 11:43

amitava

amitavasays

Improved, evolved bike

The new ZX-9R has many improvements over the '98 version that felt like a 600 with a huge engine. This time it is an improved, evolved bike, not a total redesign. Which is fine, considering that more-than-competent last version came to us ten years ago. car cover

17 January 2011 11:41

amitava

amitavasays

The ZX9 is somewhat larger and heavier than most of its rivals, but this fact alone is sometimes very welcome. The fairing gave great protection whilst riding but the screen is not quite as high as I would have liked. It does give you a bit of buffeting unlike the ZX6. cheapautosinsurance.com

03 January 2011 09:19

meanbean

meanbeansays

b1 zx9r

i have a chance to own my first ninja ridden for years ,had allsorts ,its the model wwith usd on the front ,does anyone know the real power output is it 125 or 148 bhp,anything i need to look out for ,

25 October 2010 20:55

sdv9r

sdv9rsays

ZX9R-e2

I had a C1 first and that bike was faultless except for vauge gear change's up the box, this developed into a broken gear box so i bought an E2 which was must have been satan's love child as it didn't like high speed corners or any corners for that matter, anyway 12mm drop on the forks and a 60mm jack on the back (which took a long time to find) cured all of it's previeous problem's as most of my mates who have late model blades,r1's,zx10's and so on say at very high speed the 9 feels better than there own machines, but vague gearbox changes where there from the start and the only way to get a clean change is without using the clutch on the way up the box. It's now covered 18.500 miles which isn't a lot in 7 years but i do have 4 other kawasaki's  to use and though i have tried lot's of other bikes and liked them modern sports bikes are to small for me and the 9 isn't, it's a great all rounder and i love it 7 out of 10.

04 November 2009 14:16

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