KAWASAKI ZR-7 (1999 - 2004) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£80|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
With its proven engine, accessible power and easy handling, the Kawasaki ZR-7’s the ideal choice for newbies, couriers, and anyone wanting an easy life. At its budget price, it’ll appeal to the frugal, too. What it lacks in presence and excitement it makes up for in practicality and affordability.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Again, softly-softly is the approach here: nothing’s too challenging with the Kawasaki ZR-7. The suspension’s comfy, if a bit spongy, and the brakes are adequate, whilst handling’s good enough for most things: just don’t go too berserk. The ZR-7’s very forgiving of mistakes and easy to ride but it’s quite a heavy lump and performance suffers as a result.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Kawasaki ZR-7's been around so long it’s virtually prehistoric but that also means it’s a good ’un. It’s very softly tuned, so perfect for inexperienced hands, and power is delivered gently and steadily. There are no hidden glitches (but no hidden moments of naughtiness either, alas). Predictable, a bit fluffy, but powerful enough for a top speed of 126mph. Could be worse.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Ample pillion provision, a good seating position with upright bars, a huge fuel tank… The Kawasaki ZR-7’s pretty versatile. Adjustable clutch and brake levers, wide mirrors (which work), a bit of underseat storage: all relatively basic but useful, like the rest of the bike. Rear light cluster’s nicked from the ZX-9R
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The word “budget” is often used to describe the Kawasaki ZR-7 but rivals such as Suzuki’s SV650 and the old Bandit 600 could be regarded as better bikes for the same money. What the ZR-7 does have in its favour are good fuel consumption figures and a design which makes it very easy (and cheap) to work on. Find a Kawasaki ZR-7 for sale.
Ample pillion provision, a good seating position with upright bars, a huge fuel tank… The Kawasaki ZR-7’s pretty versatile. Adjustable clutch and brake levers, wide mirrors (which work), a bit of underseat storage: all relatively basic but useful, like the rest of the bike. Rear light cluster’s nicked from the ZX-9R.
|Engine type||8v inline four, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||22 litres|
|Rear suspension||Preload and rebound|
|Front brake||Twin 300mm discs|
|Rear brake||240mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£80|
11 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||75 bhp|
|Max torque||47 ft-lb|
|Top speed||126 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||12.4 secs|
|Tank range||204 miles|
Model history & versions
1996: Kawasaki ZR-7 was introduced, bearing an engine taken from predecessor, the Zephyr 750 (and a number of others before that). Minor changes only until it was discontinued in 2004.
Kawasaki ZR-7S: Half-faired version of the standard bike which ran from 2001 to 2004.
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZR-7 (1999 - 2004)
9 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZR-7 (1999 - 2004) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£80|
Annual servicing cost: £50
super reliable, good fuel tank range and for me a lot of fun and plenty fast enough
as a 70's biker it is all good for me
great engine, plenty of go, super reliable
finish is a bit poor in places but super reliable, never broken down in over 20,000 miles added to it, no on over 50,000 miles
just uses consumables, brake pads, tyres etc and fuel/oil
all good and has the essential centre stand as standard
Buying experience: bought from ebay nearly 7 years ago and still my go to machine
Annual servicing cost: £50
Bought mine a year ago as a second/winter bike and very glad that I did. Totally reliable (so far), very comfortable with a good range. It's not the most exciting bike to ride, but has a certain charm handles well enough and the gentle power delivery is very unlikely to catch anyone out. Standard rear suspension is too soft with a passenger on board, but that is easily fixed. It's grown on me and I like it far more than I was expecting to.
Suspension (particularly rear) is a bit on the soft side. Seat and riding position are just so very comfortable. It is machine I can happily ride all day without issues. Brakes are more than adequate for its performance with good feel.
Power delivery is very predictable and gentle, and none the worse for it. Gearing is a bit on the low side. Working on the air cooled lump is a doddle.
A year in and no issues at all. Finish has stood up pretty well to 16 years all things considered.
Never particularly popular, so they are great used buy. I paid £1200 for mine with 16,000 miles on it a year ago - superb value, if you ask me. I service this one myself as it is such a simple piece of kit, so no more than about £50 a year in consumables.
What equipment?! It's a very basic bike, but doesn't pretend to be anything else.
Annual servicing cost: £150
Worst feature is no 6th gear! Any speed above 60 and your aching to change up. Best features, under seat storage and huge fuel tank for 200+ miles.
Great suspension, low comfortable seat, brakes do what they should.
You are never going to win any races on a ZR-7! A little lethargic under 3000 revs but soon picks up from there. Great for touring, especially with my aftermarket fly screen.
Whilst a “budget” bike back in the day, that said build quality is ok, mine is 14 years old and no corrosion anywhere. Chrome parts are still gleaming and paint job is great.
Under seat storage
After years away from bikes I fancied getting back into them but on the cheap and nothing sporty. Just over a year ago I got an ‘02 for €1,800 with 30,000km on it. I’ve done about 6,000km since then, mainly days out and a couple of trips. I took it to Italy and Switzerland in the summer, ran without a hitch and was lots of fun. For last month I’ve been commuting on it too. It’s dead comfy, did 10 hour days in the saddle and only had sore shoulders some days. Very economical and I get 230 miles from a tank before reserve. After a long time out of bikes it’s very reassuring to ride, I’m no scratcher though. Very little power below 3000 revs but from then up to 6000 is smooth as silk, apart from a slight vibration at 110kph. As somebody else has said if you want to go over 6000rpm, this isn’t for you. I like the looks a lot, even though mine’s tatty. A screen is pretty much essential for touring, wind blast is an arse on any naked. Nice to have centre stand and fuel gauge. Only complaint is I’d like a 6th gear, but that’s a minor quibble. If you want a cheap reliable bike you can ride on all day at legal speeds you can’t go far wrong with this. Whoever did the MCN review lives on a different biking planet to me!
I managed to pick up a 2004 model with just 3k on the clock from a "Born Again" biker. Got her for just £1500. I have used this bike, rain or shine. Snow, Ice, Fog you name it. It's bomb proof! Regular checks on the usual and the odd spray of chain lube and she's ready to go. I easily get 45mpg and clear 200 mile to the tank on my daily commute. She wont break landspeed records, looks boring but she's a proper workhorse! I've had loads of bikes and she's as good as any I've had! Cannot fault it! Added a screen and heated grips for winter comforts, apart from that totally standard.
Had mine for 3 years,paid £1800, toured France lots of times, Spain and Italy as well, 230 miles to reserve, cruising at motorway (+) speeds easy , two up touring with luggage and tent, and a corbin seat for comfort now at 23000 miles I,ve still got it, and I'm not going to change it unless it gets too heavy for me at my age (63)
been running my ZR7-S for 3 years now, no problems whatsoever. A very capable scratcher and a nice tourer, Handling is a lot better than I would have imagined for a hybrid sports/tourer. Engine pulls well but could do with a 6th gear for cruising on mtorways as it's a bit revvy.
I bought this bike a cheap, hopefully reliable, run-about which I could use during the summer months to get me to work and the occasional run at the weekend. I'd previously owned a Hornet 600 and Bandit 600, so thought I'd try Kawasaki for a change (my nearest dealer is Kawasaki so it made sense). At £1900 for a 4000 miler 03, bought privately, so a decent price. First impressions are pretty good, certainly not as good a handler as the Hornet but on par with a Bandit. One thing it does have is loads of low down torque - this bike will happily run from walking pace in 2nd or 3rd gear, making it a relaxing bike to ride. If you tried this on most middleweights, they wouldn't be happy, except the old Fazer 600, which has the best engine of the bunch. It's only got five gear and to be honest there's little point revving it past 6000rpm - if you're in a hurry this is the wrong bike for you! It seems to carry it's weight very well and with the low seat height is a very easy bike to ride. In terms of maintenance it should be a doddle - air cooled and 8 valves. Good fuel consumption too (50+ mpg). Cheap to insure. It was also sold in the US for while, so parts are never going to be a problem. Build quality if pretty good, but I have serious doubts about using this bike over the winter - it doesn't look nearly as winter resistant as say the Hornet. The engine in particular look prone to corrosion. Stainless pipes look good though. Another aspect I like is the looks. In blue, it looks great. Putting aside preconceptions about it's performance (not up there with the Fazer and Hornet), for me it's the best looking middleweight. None of the watercooling / plumbing you get with most of the other contenders and I'd say it's better looking than the Bandit (just). So if you're after and low maitenance, good looking, cheap to run and buy, "proper" sized, slightly cumbersome run-about, this might be worth considering.
Great commuting machine, with a flexible engine. Gets 50+ mpg and and 200 miles on a single tank without a problem. Suspension too soft to be pushed in the twisties, although the brakes are surprisingly effective for a heavy budget machine.