Excitement of new Ninja

Published: 04 November 2006

One thing I did notice though, the fuel tank holds 19 litres about 4 gallons, and in highlands of Scotland petrol stations are not as common as one might think, so with approximately 40 mpg (driving pretty gently) every time you pass a filling station you’re almost certainly checking your gauge if not filling up anyway.

The journey I did today was 137 miles at which point the gauge started flashing to remind me there were only four litres left. Around 30 miles, a total of 167 from full to bone dry not the biggest tank in the world is it? In the fullness of time when my gonads get a bit bigger I reckon the consumption could fall further and full to empty could be achieved in a mere 100 miles or so.

With this and the rear end height seeming to go down as fast as the fuel gauge since the rubber wrenching performance of this machine rips the middle off the tyre off quicker than you could imagine.

Coupled with my new found confidence in the exit of corners it would seem that in the right hands a tyre won’t last too long either, without some serious self control when it comes to the throttle hand. As I said everything about this bike is big……including the running costs but with the reputation it has I don’t think anyone who decides to by a bike like this won’t have thought about it for a full nano second and then instantly dismissed it for the performance figures which make the pocket pain all worth while.

One thing I did notice that was missing from other Kawasaki’s was that loud induction roar. The frame design coupled with the fuel cell set up seem to have dampened the addictive noise the big Ninjas of the past have generated. That’s not to say the 12r doesn’t have an involving growl which makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, it’s just like everything else about this bike…different.

So with the performance explored a bit more and the handling and comfort all ticking the right boxes for a big guy like me, I think I have made the right decision about this bike. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea but there is a bike out there for everyone and at the moment this one is for me.

Bigness in every area makes it appealing to the taller rider and its sports style gives lanky people an option in that area and with its blisteringly fast abilities it has the wow factor that still surprises even the most experienced of riders.

Compared to the ZZr the handling was impressive the bike is easy to throw into corners and changes direction quicker than my old bike. It has to be said here that if you were jumping off a modern 600cc you would probably find this guy a bit on the heavy side to say the least, at 213kg it isn’t light but it is lighter than I’m used to so feels like a 600 to me.

Comfort is ok but don’t expect an armchair here it’s heavy on the shoulders and wrists but not as extremes as other sports bikes I’ve ridden. It’s not for the inexperienced rider either it, does build confidence but is still able to take you by surprise if your not totally focused on what your doing especially when pushing the upper reaches of performance which I can only liken to a star ship on wheels, maybe an astronaught’s licence would help.

Don’t buy this bike as a commuter to do the 40 mile round trip to and from work, it’s not for that, it can do it, but its purpose in life is high speed A roads long sweeping bends and even twisty B roads if you don’t mind muscling it round corners. Make sure you have an idea where the petrol stations are and get some shares with one of the big tyre manufacturers. You’re going to need them.

If like me you’ve wanted one of these bikes since they arrived on the biking planet none of the costs will matter to you since you would sell your wife, children and all your belongings on e-bay to fund the running costs. Well worth the time putting them on the net for.

This is the most exciting bike I have ridden and I probably haven’t ridden it to 80% of it’s own performance and I’m already at 99% of my own so I’m off to buy an oil company and a tyre manufacturer and see if I can get up to speed with my new Ninja, I don’t think I’m ever going to have the capabilities to see the other 20% of it’s performance but I always knew that.

I just had to have it anyway. My performance won’t affect its personality which, like everything else…….. it’s got a big one of them too.

Keep reading to share the excitement of reader colin Joyce's experience of receiving his new Kawasaki Ninja ZX12R:

So, it finally arrived 8.20 September the 3rd 2006 not a day I’m going to forget in a hurry. This was the day the most extreme bike I’ve ever had the strangely twisted pleasure of riding was wheeled into my garage, and its cage.

It was late arriving that night from a dealer in England but it was a day early so I didn’t mind, I’m not so sure about the big Kawasaki though. I’m almost certain I heard it growling as I walked away from it, probably as disappointed as I was that it wasn’t getting it’s first outing in Scotland till the morning.

I looked at it as I closed the overhead door of the garage and I have to say it scared me a bit…….it looked BAD to the core, moody in black and a bit intimidating in the semi darkness of my unlit garage, with only the B3H sharpened headlights showing.

I felt like I had just captured a beast which had escaped me for a while and I just locked it up, I hoped I wasn’t going to regret it. Compared to my C1H model ZZR this bike was sure to be a different proposition all together.

The big ZZr was a great bike though, did everything it said on the tin and some. It was very fast, dead reliable, smooth and comfy as a bean bag on top of a hot air balloon.

It handled well for a big sports tourer and I done many a fast mile on it in the company of all sorts of bikes and never arrived home last or most contorted with the pain of the miles showing in every joint I moved to get to the much needed Toilet. Yip it was a ballistic couch and tomorrow I would find out how the Ninja would compare to it, and my last Ninja the ZX9r. Quality bikes for sale: Click here.

Bike reviews: Click here.

Product reviews: Click here.

Saturday brought clear skies and bright sunshine along with a 41-year-old father and husband who hadn’t slept much and was acting like an 8 year old on Christmas morning who hadn’t actually found his presents on top of his parent’s wardrobe.

Before I was fully clothed I felt the urge to dash out to the cage and open it up, for two reasons, to get another look at the monster within and to reassure it that I would let it out, only thing was I’d be on top of it this time.

One hastily slurped plate of Honey Nut Flakes later (which I did resist the urge for a second helping of…they're not that good!!!!) and I wheeled it out to take in the full details of this mental motorcycle. It was the B3H model black with black wheels which had polished rims, black swing arm, and gold upside down forks.

Radial mounted tokico brake callipers and a titanium end can the size of a scud missile……launcher. This was the biggest sports bike I’d ever seen and at 6’ 3” one of the reasons I had bought it.

I inserted the key and switched it on. The clocks did the usual check dance and I heard what I think was the fuel pump priming, I pulled the fast idle switch to two thirds on, left the throttle well alone and pressed the start button……. what an insanely mental motor this bike has. It burst into life like a sprinter that had just been wakened from a deep slumber by an air horn in his ear…….It was off and running.

The huge can does a great job of damping the sound of the motor but like most Ninja’s it still sounds pretty good for a stock can. I hastily pulled on my leathers and after a quick check round I decided to take it for a few miles to scrub in the new Dunlop 208 rear tyre.

I swung a leg over the Big ZX and found it to be slimmer than the ZZr, not by much but enough to notice. The monocoque chassis idea certainly paid off on the size thing, for a big bike it certainly seemed small when you actually sat on it. The absence of frame work around the top of the engine makes the bike narrower. It was however tall, ideal for me but the smaller rider might struggle a bit to get both feet on the ground at times.

The reach to the bars wasn’t too bad either but they were lower and further forward than the ZZr, although not as bad as I was expecting.

Long distance miles would give me a better Idea of the comfort side of things but already I new it wasn’t going to be as plush in this area as the ZZr. But that’s not why I bought it.

The guys who developed this bike must be expecting all the owners to have fingers like E.T. cos the clutch lever (which isn’t adjustable like the brake lever) was about six million miles out from the handle bar, and takes a bit of getting used to.

I’m quite a big lad too so if I think the reach is long some of the smaller riders must have to hang their hands over a balcony with a brick tied to each finger to get enough reach to pull the clutch in with confidence. To top it off its cable operated so it’s a bit stiffer than a hydraulic one.

Anyway once pulled in the bike slipped into gear without any fuss or clunks that might have been expected from such a big motor and on release the bike moved forward with hardly any prompting from the engine.

Up through the box the action was smooth and seemed to need very little upward travel from the gear lever to engage each cog. With a shinny new rear tyre the next 50 miles or so were taken carefully easing into bends and gently accelerating from one curve in the road to the next until a rough finish was applied to the 200 section Dunlop all the way from one side to the other.

During this time it became obvious that the 12-r wasn’t as much of an animal at low speeds and town type journeys as I had thought, it had enough torque to pull with linear smoothness from 2000 rpm and picked up speed faster than a Scotsman picks up an accidentally dropped pound coin. So far there are no surprises in any particular area of the rev range I have explored on my shinny tyre it just pulled like a bull on its way to the farmer’s house that just cut off his gonads, till your bottle goes.

The seat is also quite roomy and with a pad at the back to rest your butt on you seem to be able to get some more purchase on the machine which makes you feel a bit more part of the whole proceedings and not just a passenger on a concord’s nose cone slipping further back as the bike stretches its legs.

The riding position was definitely sports orientated but not quite as extreme as the latest versions of the current litre or 600cc classes, for a sports bike its bigness certainly saved it from a slating in this area. The more the miles were covered the harder I attacked the corners or should I say the harder the bike attacked the corners because before I knew it I was on the edge of the tyre every time I came to a corner without even thinking about it.

Funnily enough the corners started appearing more regular than before too, on my favourite road from Arrochar to Inveraray. The bike was super stable on the long sweeping corners that are plentiful in this neck of the woods and the acceleration from one curve to another was mind boggling, this thing is filthy fast and seems to have the suspension to match it for the corners too, which it charges out of like a horney elephant chasing the elephant world’s answer to a buck naked Pamela Anderson.

Nothing this thing does is small everything seems to be super sized. Frame, engine, tyres, and brakes even the seat is big for a sports orientated machine.

Since I haven’t mentioned them up to now, it’s worth saying that the radial mounted tokico’s are more than capable of hauling the up the charging ZX with confidence and tonnes of feel even when hotter than a pair of my wife’s hair strengtheners on nitrous.