KAWASAKI ZRX1100 (1997 - 2001) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Kawasaki ZRX1100 is one of those bikes which doesn't look that exciting on paper, or even parked up, but once you grab a big handful of throttle down a twisty road the thing comes alive. It's an old school, take-no-prisoners hoon machine and you can surprise yourself - and random sportbike riders - with its combination of solid braking, decent handling and raucous speed.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Kawasaki ZRX1100 takes some work, some serious weight-shifting, to get the best from it, but when you feel in the mood, it does play ball pretty well. On slow corners the sheer weight of the ZRX seems to make it want to `fall in' on itself, but otherwise, it can hang on in there with other big retro bikes.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Kawasaki ZRX1100 engine is derived from the ZZR1100 motor, which dominated the 90s with its raw, locomotrive power, the ZRX's 1052cc engine has loads of oomph in the midrange and will eventually blast you all the way to an indicated 150mph - if you can hang on behind the bikini fairing. A highly addictive engine, very reliable too.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Apart from the finish on some of the chassis parts - a typical 90s Kawasaki failing - the Kawasaki ZRX1100 is solidly built and wears well. The exhaust downpipes rust pretty rapidly however and the braced swingarm and brake caliper arm at the back are all exposed to a life of grime.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The traditional Kawasaki green models seem to fetch a price premium and the ZRX1100 seems generally more popular than its successor, the flabbier looking ZRX1200S/R. Because it didn't sell well when new, used prices are that bit higher for the Kawasaki than for contemporary retros like the Bandit 1200 or Yamaha XJR1200/1300. Find a Kawasaki ZRX1100 for sale.
The Kawasaki ZRX1100's tiny nose fairing actually works very well, and it gives the big ZRX a distinct advantage over blunderbuss bikes like the GSX1400/XJR1300/Triumph Speed Triple 509 etc which have nothing at all to protect the rider from the force of the breeze at 100mph plus. Great 6 pot brakes on the Kwacker, nice stepped saddle, grab handles, but no centrestand.
|Engine type||4 stroke, in-line four, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel cradle|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||Preload, rebound, compression|
|Rear suspension||Preload, rebound, compression|
|Front brake||Twin 310mm disc|
|Rear brake||250mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17 in|
|Rear tyre size||170/60 x 17 in|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||35 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||-|
13 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||98 bhp|
|Max torque||70 ft-lb|
|Top speed||145 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||11.6 secs|
|Tank range||125 miles|
Model history & versions
1997: Kawasaki ZRX1100 launched.
1998: RRP reduced by £1200.
2001: Model replaced by ZRX1200S/R.
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZRX1100 (1997 - 2001)
3 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZRX1100 (1997 - 2001) 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:|
Bought 3 years ago and I'm the 7th owner ! Loads of great goodies had been fitted but none of them matched to each other. Full race Muzzy system. Nissin brakes. 7 feet of useless and dodgy wiring. Naff led's. A boat horn , a cigarette lighter, a dodgy rear torsion arm. 5 month rebuild back to nuts and bolts last winter, K&N filters fitted. Frame, wheels, forks and springs stove enamelled. New fork innards, fork brace. All tolerances checked. New original pattern lights. Battleaxe tyres. all nasty bits removed and genuine parts refitted.
Standard brakes are OK but a lot of folk upgrade. Mine came off a GSXR750 and she'll stand on her nose now. Tyres make a huge difference. Bridgestone Battleaxe are excellent but each to his own.
Tons of torque. Standard cam with Muzzy pipe and K & N's, tuned carbs and jets to match exhaust. Dyno'd 119.7bhp (rear wheel). Many owners fit ZZR cam and can get up to 150bhp with no loss of reliability. Unburstable.
Provided you keep her clean and don't leave road salt to eat into the frame these are very solidly built. The engine? Incredibly strong. 17 years old . the bores are untarnished, the pistons cleaned up like new, gears unmarked, crank like new, oil-ways all like new, no adjustment needed to shims.
£1600 gets you an old snotter which you could spend another £1500 to transform or pay £2500 and get a good condition bike with a stonking engine. Expect anywhere between 30 and 44mpg. Change the oil and filters every 3000 miles.
Looks and hugely surprising performance. Great in the twisties. Pulls, pulls and pulls some more.
Buying experience: Private purchase. Paid £1800 but have subsequently paid about £1200 making her look and feel like new. I wouldn't sell her because I love the soul and feel of a fairly big muscle bike that will last for years and surprise many pocket rockets.
Stonking power, great looks and more than adequate handling and brakes. That just about summs up the big Rex! Big Kawasakis are known for their bullet-proof engines. The rex is no different. I have performed some simple mods, such as installing ZX11 cams, K&N pod air filters, Muzzy Stainless Steel header and Titanium end can, and an Ivan's Performance jet kit. This has taken the mild mannered 93RWHP sleeper to an amazing 129RWHP with NO loss of low and midrange torque. Even though it is rather heavy compared to current sport bike standards, properly set up it will not embarrass you in the twisties. A side benefit of the size is all-day comfort for two-up riding. Strengths: Stone reliaility! You can't kill it. Eye-catching great looks. Tons of great mods available. Best owners association in the world: http://www.zrxoa.com Gobs of power from 3k on. Weaknesses: Weaknesses? There AREN'T any!