KAWASAKI ZX-12R (2000 - 2006) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£300|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
For many owners the Kawasaki ZX-12R combines the best aspects of the Honda Blackbird or Hayabusa, but mixes in a dose of good old fashioned lairy fun. The Kawasaki ZX-12R is a beefy, roomy sports-tourer, with an engine that keeps tempting you to open it up. Decent build quality too.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
For a sports-tourer, the Kawasaki ZX-12R handles very well indeed and it has an unusually steep steering head angle of 23.5 degrees, making the front end feel fairly nimble. The unique monococque frame is certainly stiff and stable enough at high speeds and the brakes – especially post 2004 with radial callipers – allowing the Kawasaki ZX-12R rider to push that bit harder than a Hayabusa owner might dare.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Not quite as fast as the later Blackbird, or the `Busa, but the Kawasaki ZX-12R is very close indeed and few bikers can argue with a 180mph plus top speed as being more than enough. Tweaks to the motor in 2002, as well the fuel injection, with more fuel map fettling in 2004 make the later Kawasaki ZX-12R models a little quicker off the mark, or rolling on in the higher gears.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Early Kawasaki ZX-12Rs lack the more polished finish of the facelifted 2002 onwards Kawasaki ZX-12Rs, but are still durable bikes. The motors are excellent and can easily handle high mileages. The Kawasaki ZX-12R has a bit of a flagship feel and is a cut above the average Kawasaki sportsbike.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Kawasaki ZX-12R isn’t as fashionable as some other mega sportsbikes and during its production run it struggled to match the success of the Hayabusa and Blackbird. But the Kawasaki ZX-12R is every bit as good a bike to ride and buying one used is a good bet – loads of performance for the money basically. Find a Kawasaki ZX-12R for sale.
The Kawasaki ZX-12R has an impressively large dashboard, but an analogue speedo reading to 220mph is hard to read at any serious speed. There’s a fuel gauge, plus a clock there too. Pillion pad sits beneath the Kawasaki ZX-12R's seat hump, and thanks to an old fashioned side exit exhaust, there’s a stash space under the seat too. No grabrail though, so Kawasaki ZX-12R pillions need to hang on tight to the rider.
|Engine type||16v transverse four, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Twin spar aluminium|
|Fuel capacity||25 litres|
|Rear suspension||Preload, rebound|
|Front brake||Twin 296mm discs|
|Rear brake||Single 256mm disc|
|Front tyre size||110/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||35 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£300|
|Used price||£2,900 - £6,000|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||178 bhp|
|Max torque||98 ft-lb|
|Top speed||185 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||10 secs|
|Tank range||180 miles|
Model history & versions
2000: Kawasaki ZX-12R launched.
2002: Kawasaki ZX-12R updated with new bodywork, ram air intakes, gearbox tweaks, engine retuned for snappier acceleration, crankshaft strengthened. Bike NOT available in typically Kawasaki green paint.
2003: Black and gold and green paint schemes introduced for Kawasaki ZX-12R.
2004: Radial brake callipers fitted to Kawasaki ZX-12R, more fuel injection tweaks to boost throttle response.
2005: No major changes to Kawasaki ZX-12R, all black paint option.
2006: No major changes. Kawasaki ZX-12R discontinued.
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZX-12R (2000 - 2006)
45 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-12R (2000 - 2006) 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:||£300|
Annual servicing cost: £300
Having ridden most bikes from blade to ktm I have got to admit this is a hidden gem. It performance will have you screaming like a banshee as standard mine topped out at 189mph on the autobahn. It's a great all-rounder comfortable on a long ride but also a mad machine in sheep's clothing. Handling it not bad for a heavy machine but follows the zxr history built for fun. Missed its place among the top bikes to zx10r and zx14r but having ridden both think it's equally a pants filler when you push it to the limits
Handles well not a train on tracks but pretty damn close Change the brake calipers to 4 pot calipers much better and more reliable than the six. An adjust the suspension set up to what suits you the best. Hard will handle well at speed but every bump will put the good old boys (knackers) off the fuel tank. Soft and you loose some of that excellent handling. You choose
Almost bullet proof as long as you keep up to date on Scheduled servicing and keep the levels topped up.
Once you get over the charging problem common on these bikes then you are onto a winner
Depending on how you ride like a demon possessed or the fairy princess will determine of the chain and sprocket life but as for servicing most can be done by the average mortal without much knowledge
Good old fashioned guages with a digital mileometer Recommend putting a voltage display as the stator(charging system) and regulator seem to be the most common fault and up to now the only real problem I've had
Buying experience: Bought as a trade in
Annual servicing cost: £500
More than enough speed, power and acceleration.
Very comfortable! Easy to ride for hours.
Grab rail would be great
I tend to spoil my bike, preventive maintenance is always better than repairs.
Buying experience: I bought privately and the previous owner was meticulous.
Version: Grey/silver- now resprayed to a modern green and grey, I like it.
Shows it’s age more than other makes None of the modern electronics. Never was good at cornering.
Confident ride feeling, 100 miles no issues, Brakes are its let down, no ABS or any modern electronics Changed the handlebars to a more sit-up style.
Very good for its year, it just goes, still my favourite.
Furs up easily, most bolts have been replaced twice. Engines solid and reliable. All lights are now LED. Still has original exhaust.
Oil change by me. Filters by me. No Kawasaki dealer within 35 miles plus they’re expensive
Pirelli Diablo are good Changed the tachometer background to a white, it’s easier to read. I don’t like aftermarket exhausts, I like the whistle the stock titanium has.
Buying experience: Part-ex a fire blade, from a dealer, the robbing gits. Haven’t been back since.
Annual servicing cost: £50
find a smoother ride if you can, had mine 10 years and in the dozen different test rides ive had in that time i havnt found a smoother engine or gearbox, perfect two up mile muncher and 250 miles on a tank, what more would want,
once i removed the £450 quid corbin seat and refitted the factory one the wife and i will go from tank too tank on a long run, been really picky 1" lower rear pegs would be better for the wife, the zzr1200 is better than the fjr1300 we swaped for in 2005 comfort wise, after 12 months swaped back too a zzr1200
apart from service work never had an issue apart from the dealer fitted meta 357tv2 alarm going wrong buy way of its internal battery only having a none changeable 10 year life span.
out the crate perfect, ive added full set of colour matched givi mono key boxes, and a garmin zumo sat nav, plus an autocom ( proper plug in type has blue tooth crap) so can talk to partner while on the back or on her bike listen to music and get sat nav instructions, stick with the factory bridgestones tryed a few but none last or give the confidence has the bridgestones, avoid scot oilers (what a mess) when they work, bined it wurth chain lube before and after each ride works for me
Buying experience: bought from dealer ernshaw,s in huddersfield payed 8000 grand in 2004 great bike shop bought 3 new bikes from them family firm.
Annual servicing cost: £700
This is a big and heavy bike, you need to be able to get your feet down or else you might have issues when moving around at slow speed or making parking lot turns. The seat will "kill" your bottom after about 2 hours of riding, but thats not really a problem, because youll run out of fuel in about 2,5 hours (or sooner depending on how happy you are with the throttle), so take a short break every 2 hours and youll be fine. The bike fits my 186cm and 95kg perfect, I do have and recommend an aftermarket windscreen that is a little higher than OEM. Buy one and give it lots of TLC and youll have a bike that will put a smile on your face for many years. The price of the ZX12R is not much these days, and for the price you pay, you do get a lot of motorcycle. You may loose a little when cornering to the new bikes, but you will be able to catch up pretty easy once you roll out of the corner and open up the throttle...
Worst in my mind is the OEM brakes, BUT change them out for a set of Nissin 4 piston calipers, a Nissin Radial MC and new discs, BEST mod ever on this bike. Second thing is to revalve and respring the forks and buy a new and better rear shock. Set the sag and find a good fork and shock setting and your golden. This makes such a HUGE difference in ride quality, and once done, you will be able to keep up through corners with the new sportsbikes... Making these mods (-Yes the mods are not cheap, but..) will transfer the ZX12R into an even more awesome bike. After mods the bike will get 5/5. About riding. This bike does not like slow moving in town/city traffic, its heavy, it gets hot, the throttle (EFI) is a bit quirky... other than that, it will put a huge smile on your face when ever you ride it...
Only issue I have on my 2000 ZX12R is the throttle response (EFI) quirkiness, but you get used to it. From 2003 and up its better. Other than that, you have all the power you need. I do not personally see any sense in buying a full exhaust and Power Commander + Dyno time to set it up... Spend that money instead on redoing/upgrading the forks and a new rear shock. You will NOT run out of power with this bike! Only thing I added was a Yoshi RS-3 slip-on and took out the catalytic converter, more for sound than power. I also did a timing mod (advanced timing by 4*) and reset the Throttle Position Sensor. Easy and cheap mods to do and they do make the bike run better.
Like anything that is old there are small issues with corrosion and pitting. My bike does have some beauty issues, but nothing that bothers me that much. I think the build and parts quality has held up rather well on my bike. Looking at older bikes, they all will have issues with rust/pitting. This is something to fix over the winter months. If buying a ZX12R you do need to check the bike through out, like with any other used bike.
Most of your money will be spent on tires, specially rear tires. With my riding style and the tires I use (PirelIi Diablo Rosso III) I go through a set of tires ever summer. Also I have spent money (hopefully one time only money) on upgrades to the bike. If nothing catastrophic happens, you do not need to spend that much, other than on your usual service parts like oil and filters. Paying for fuel will be your major expense with this bike! You can, if you are mechanically adapt, do all the service yourself, like changing spark plugs, check the valves, etc.. Its not a difficult bike to service. Only thing that makes it not fun, is because of the way the frame and engine are bolted together, not much room for your hands or tools. BUT to make things easier, check out ZX12R forums and you will find allot of info on how to do service stuff yourself!
The looks of it are timeless. 2000-2002 OEM mirrors are ugly, easy to change though. Recommend a higher windscreen.
Buying experience: Bought the bike from a dealer. Dealer did a service on the bike before I took it home. For the price I payed for the bike I got, in my mind, so much more. If you find a good one, it is an excellent bike and even though its "old", the design and look is ageless and with a few mods, it will run along with out any problem, with the new sportsbikes... ..so find a good/nice one, take care of it and youll be rewarded with great time riding it!
Annual servicing cost: £150
This bike handles great. It's very fast and better than all other bikes in its class. The ride is as if you are on the track. Modern bikes won't keep up with the state of the roads. This bike is planted. Buy and see for yourself, don't be frightened.
Handles excellent at high speed and easily keeps up with new 1000s.
Easy to operate.
Great quality and fantastic build.
Buying experience: Very cheap for the quality.
Annual servicing cost: £500
18 years old and still can run with new bikes. Back in 2000 this was amazing technology... Brute raw horsepower best suited by experienced rider.... all it needed was Muzzy titanium full exhaust system and Power Commander 5 for fuel mapping. Oh, and it’s not for sale lol!
Big comfy and fast maybe.. front damping improvement in order
Will pull front wheel in first three gears easily
These bikes run 20,000 to 30,000 miles easy
Use high-quality fluids
Big fat tires and brakes
Buying experience: $3700 and $4000 in parts in yr 2018 it’s like new with 10,000 miles
The 12R is a Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde bike, I had a 2000 model and it was mental! the first bike I did a gps verified 203mph on with basic bolt ons. I now own a 2002 model and it's a much better bike than the 2000, it is more refined and quicker off the line also, handles well for a big 1200, easily keeps up with the 1000cc bikes and smokes the Hayabusa
Buying experience: Great value
Version: zx12r A2
Annual servicing cost: £300
Big, fast and comfortable. Also, did i mention FAST!
Me being 20st i find the ride quality very good. Brakes are proper ace with double H pads fitted.
EErrr, might get locked up for saying this, but i have seen 190 on the clocks. Couldn't believe how it got there so quick and felt so stable. Through the gears, it doesn't show such high speeds like the modern crop of sports bikes. Fuel injection feels snatchy at low revs, cured by fitting Yoshi Rs3 end can. Fitted a full system with pc3. Very dissapointing, lost midrange until 8,000rpm!
Nothing has failed so far. However, gearbox feels clunky at slow speeds.
Tyres, well the proper size, are expensive. Loves fuel too and brake pads.
2x trips usefull. decent mirrors and good head lights
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer. Saw bike on a revolving turntable and fell in love. Part exchanged a Suzuki GSX1400 2004. This was a few years ago
Annual servicing cost: £200
Best bike I ever had with superb build quality and stomping engine. Downside was my legs were just a little too short for the seat height, which made the heavy.weight an issue when moving it with my feet. You also have to use the gears more than expected, although the engine is very powerful, it has long gear ratios and the power is biased towards the top of the rev range, so similar bikes are faster on the top gear roll on. Sadly crashed it 2 years ago on ice, ended up being run over by my own bike and broke most of my ribs. Still miss it badly.
Plush as you like, although it's more head down than similar bikes with a harder seat. Brakes are great but can fade when going balls out, they also corrode easily (only part of the bike that does) and are a pain to maintain through winter. Handling is stable but cumbersome on tight twisties.
You have to use the gears more than expected, although the engine is very powerful and shoots you into the horizon, it has long gear ratios and the power is biased towards the top of the rev range, so similar bikes are faster on the top gear roll on. Quickest bike I've had off the mark though, mind bending. If you drop the bike and smash a case, good luck trying to find replacements, they'll all be on kit cars!
It lived outside through all weathers, not one one bit of rust. Nothing broke and the fit and finish is superb. A 10 years olf bike looked like new.
It gets through tyres quicker than most due to the weight and power. Otherwise surprisingly economical.
Fuel guage is awesome, although you often find you have more fuel left than it shows. The calipers are prone to seizing (6 pots) in winter and are difficult to maintain, swap to later model 4 pots if you can. Tyres are expensive, but don't skimp as you really need the grip on this bike.
Buying experience: Bought from dealer for full asking price of £3500 in 2013. They hold the value well and can only go northwards, so hard to find a bargain or even haggle.
Version: B2H -2002
Annual servicing cost: £50
Best: Engine. it is just lovely, lovely and more lovely. Suspension has a wide range of settings so should suit most riders if they know how to adjust it. Worst: Outdated gauges and indicators, might be hard to read in some circumstances. Original saddle is horrible constantly making your pants ride up and cleave yer nuts.
It is the best on high speed twisties and OK as an all round if you raise the bars a little, install a Corbin saddle and make sure not soot it down by thug around at 1200 rpm at high gears. Pillions will last down to the city center for a fancy latté and not much longer.
A 5'er if you sort the connector (hardwire it) between the stator and the rectifier.
Valve jobs is time consuming due to the cramped access, spark plugs also but it is a not too often needed thing.
You got all you need. Consider a 190/55-17 rear for better agility.
Pros- I love this bike. It's a gentle giant as far as im concerned. A joy to ride at any speed. In town, on the highway, or on the twisties I just enjoy every second. The handling is way better than I expected, the bike just feels stable and capable of doing what I ask of it. Cons- This bike is a pain in the butt to work on. Absolutely nothing is simple to work on!. I am educated and trained as an aircraft mech. I've worked on small planes that were easier. To check the air filter you have to remove the front seat, remove the top tank plastic and lift the tank. the remove the air filter bolts and fight to get them out and back in. This requires 2 Allen wrenches, a Phillips screw driver, 10mm socket, 8mm socket, and about 20-30 minutes of your day. The good news is that changing the oil is a snap...more or less. and the battery is accessible without making you cry.
The brakes could be much better. They aren't the worst however, IMO the go & whoa ratio is off.
Not as good as my Honda engine as far as reliability goes...but what is. Other than that this is well built machine that just wants to run. 'nough said.
Everything is complicated and I don't always have time so off to the shop it goes.
The dash board is horrible. speedo is a hard to read. I spend more time than i want to be trying to determine what my speed is.
Fantastic, comfy, if-a-bit-thirsty, sport-touring cruise missile, with personality! Also, a great used bike buy. You can buy one of these in good shape with low miles for under $4k, and it will still rip the face off most liter-class Supersport bikes, all the while being comfortable and looking rather stylish. No, when the road gets curvy, it will not scrape knees with them, but on the straights look-out. Not sure who wrote the review saying it was slower than the later Blackbirds, as the 12r makes about 12+ more hp at the wheel in stock form than the 'Bird made at the crank. Anyway, if you aren't into dragging your knees around every turn, and just like a big powerful sport-tourer that feels very light on its feet for the weight, and delivers punches like (the old) Mike Tyson when asked, then check out a ZX12R, you will not be disappointed!
Nice stock brakes and ride quality. Yes, Brembos and Ohlins would be better, but for the weight and power of this bike, the stock bits are very impressive.
Best. Engine. Ever. Rev's like a 600, docile around town at low speeds, quiet through the stock pipe, and at WOT - MY. GOD. POWER. Really fast.
Best motor I have ever ridden period. And I have had many.
Service is a PITA, engine must be pulled for plug changes! Frame makes service difficult. Good thing is you should not need much.
Bike is fairly bare bones. Being a cheap bike, having things like fuel gauge is novel, but the average rider may find the cockpit a bit sparse. Less stuff to break IMHO!
Annual servicing cost: £300
Best features are its 'solid' feel on the road, the sheer power which will make the bike pull like a train in any gear and what I consider to be a very pretty machine. Worst feature is the amount of 'fiddle' involved in doing any service work on the engine. Just getting to the battery involves removing the seats and tank cover amongst other things.
The bike is at it's best out on warm, fast, dry roads. It is a big heavy bike, which will do most things pretty well, except taking your Mrs out for a spin. The pillion seat is a definite after thought. You can throw her around if you know what you are doing (the bike that is). It steers well, is stable on the bumpy bits and stops well for an old bike
More power and torque than I will ever need. Very smooth too. Can't say anything bad about it.
Very well built and finished. My bike has been well serviced and looked after, yet at just 20k miles, I am dogged with a difficult to solve battery charging problem.
In terms of power per £, unbeatable. Mine was mint, relatively low mileage and lass than £3k to buy. Not a cheap bike to run. Unless you ride like a total wuss, you are going to need regular tyres and chains. The tyres you can't do a lot about, with the rear being particularly expensive. The chain is doing a lot better with the addition of a Scottoiler. All in all, if you want the kind of power and performance this bike has to offer, you have to accept that it will cost you! I'm not a maniac on the road, but 35mpg seems to be about the average fuel use.
The first bike I have owned with a fuel gauge and a clock. I fell very spoilt in that respect. Fairing does a reasonable job for a sports tourer. Seat is big and comfortable. Bars and pegs are about right for me at six feet. I struggle to read the speedo at anything much over 60mph and the mirrors just about do the job.
Annual servicing cost: £200
Lets face it, these are big bikes, so care is needed when parking, putting on paddock stand etc. Having said that, the weight is low down and balance at low speed is very good. Clutch action is cable and will improve your grip strength, firm might be a good description and riders with small hands might struggle. Control buttons and switches are basic as is the speedo and rev counter, the speedo dial is hard to read and takes more than a glance to see. All things mentioned are easy to get round with routine maintenance and it must be remembered that this bike is a high performance, good handling machine that is still a 'looker' and is very enjoyable to own.
You can certainly hustle on this bike but after about an hour your back and wrists do start to ache. Pillion position is good with no complaints from the back! Riding position is 'sporty' the ZX12R is not a tourer for long distances, however the seat is comfortable although you do find yourself sliding towards the petrol tank. My bike has the six pot calipers fitted and are a poor option and have to be checked often for brake dust affecting performance. I had disc warp on both sides and had to change the caliper seals, don't even go down the Kawasaki genuine parts route as they (and other items) are eye wateringly expensive!! I have fitted braided brake pipes to try and improve things but stopping power is only average.
Mega engine, I can't really give an opinion because when I bought my bike second hand it was fitted with a full Yoshimura system with Power Commander and K&N filter. My favourite feature is the bikes tractability at low engine revs, up to 4000 revs it is very smooth, easy to ride in traffic just using the throttle. At 4001 however warp speed engages and the engine pushes you forward faster and faster!! I am by no means a slow rider but red lining this bike in any gear is theoretically 12000 revs, good luck trying, you could lose your licence in second gear!!
I have covered problems with the bike in the previous section. It is very reliable, well put together and has good quality paintwork.
Rear tyre wear is average to poor depending on your right wrist. I've included the cost of tyres, it is to remember that my bike is now 10 years old, it only cost me £3750 three years ago so I have a good back street mechanic do the work on it rather than a dealership that charge high labour costs. Quote for re shimming at 24000 miles was £600.
I have used Metzeler Sportec tyres since I bought the bike, these tyres have good performance and excellent tread depth. I have fitted a double bubble screen as the original does not give much wind protection also a pair of Stomp Grips for the back of the tank to stop sliding back and forwards. Clutch action is cable and will improve your grip strength, firm might be a good description and riders with small hands might struggle. Control buttons and switches are basic as is the speedo and rev counter, the speedo dial is hard to read and takes more than a glance to see.
Tried a blackbird but they all looked a bit to dull and felt a bit to soggy, then I looked at some busas but they all looked to tired and flakey, then I found the zx12r oh yea she was just right! This bike gets your heart pounding just look at, the design is an absolute work of art and when you ride one you realise it isnt just dam good looking its seriously quick and very smooth at any speed. The build quality in my opinion is the best in its class its a proper bike that looks big and yet handles like a bike half its size. The zx12r is simply an awesome machine that makes you feel so good you wouldn't believe it.I guess the only negative I can think of is the speedo is a bit difficult to see but once you own one of these macines you really wont give a rats behind. Love It the best bike ever!! :)
I think this review is wrong, the ZX12 was much faster than the Bird, and had a better top end than the Busa, Can't say I've ever seen a Busa's tail lights.. but anyways.. this is the best bike I've ever owned and honestly i can't see myself getting the 14, the 12 looks better.. and just feels better.. none of these electronic traction control settings etc.. the few problems with the 12 are that it's well.. not very economical.. infact you spend more time in the fuel stations than anywhere else, but who cares really.. the feel of the bike and presence is great, mine is a 2000 full power version and pretty much standard tuning wise.. it's a good handling monster for what it is as well as comfortable. The best part is just blowing pretty much anything away without really trying, even high end cars like Lamborghini's etc. The top speed however is around 190-198mph.. I've had a gps verified 194mph out of mine completely stock.. Yes there may have been some tail wind but hey.. the best part is that the speedo was near enough dead on (speedo healer ftw) anyways.. it's great to own a dream bike that lives up to what you expected. 5/5 on everything from me
Ihave owned my zx12r since 2002 not found a bike better to ride only cost me for tyres and main service in all those years looked at the zzr1400 but pound for pound i couldn,t justify the price for the better performance if it is a little better i will stick with my old mate better the devil you know
For start, there is some data that need to be corrected TOP SPEED: 190 MPH FUEL CAPACITY: 20 LITRES FRONT TYRE SIZE: 120/70 x 17 REAR TYRE SIZE: 200/50 x 17 I have a 2000 model and "she" makes me happy every time i ride her!!! I don't think she's to heavy for mountain roads (my tyres can show that) and off course she's an heavy lady comparing with ZX10's R1's and Gixxers, but in the Hypersport class it has far better handling than a Busa or a Blackbird!! The engine is made of parts from a Nuclear Space Rocket... and after 13 years, it still makes other riders with new sport bikes chill, when they see "her", in their mirrors!! It´s a part of history too, because it was the 1st Hypersport bike of the 21st Century and the last one who had 220mph/350km/h marked in the speedometer!! Be careful with the engine temperature in the 1st models 2000-2001, because the radiator is not big enough and only has one cooler!! In the 2002 model they corrected that by installing a bigger and curved radiator with two coolers! My advice is to change to a water-free coolant product! Other than that it's a nice bike, that ages with nobility, and can be a really good mate in travels (forget the passenger!!).
At 6'4" I have had problems with a lot of bikes instantly being dwarfed when I sit on them. I was concerned that the ZX12r would be too much for my aging body and would not be comfortable especially on long journeys. I have been very suprised to find it feels great. The bike makes me smile all of the time, except when trying to bleed those front brakes - aaaarrggghhh!!!! Quality is great and handling is superb but then I am not a track day fan therefore probably dont push it enough to detect any short comings. I have wanted a ZZR14 for many years but wanted to ensure I experience the ZX12r before I move beyond it. To be honest I think it will be a while as the Ninja is just great, but perhaps not that great for my Missus - after 2 hours its hell apparently!
The zx12 was my dream bike I had zzr1100s & found the handling a touch awkward as were the brakes.On my first run down a country lane I was impressed it handled amazing for such a big bike riding position was nice and with pirelli corsas it handled fantastic in the wet very forgiving for such a powerful motor. My brakes were not so good so gave them a rebuild and braided hoses much better but still not great and they fade also the disks don't last that long. My bike had a race can on that was way to loud so I brought a sports can k & n filter & had a power commander fitted and had it set up on a dyno. The problems started when I went to do a Lands end to John o groats with a friend on a Blackbird we went to John o groats from Birmingham by the time we got there it was no longer my dream bike. People only say 1 thing when they talk about the zx12 power this power that but no one talks beyond that as a tourer it is rubbish the fuel range is crap and the seat is very hard. The brakes are poor at speed (6 pots). The engine is great but kills the chain and with no center stand you can't adjust on the go. It says that the engine is not as fast as the busa or bird but I think it's faster than the birds just that it's all top end. The busa is a better tourer and the bird better than that. I managed to swap bikes for a while and the Black bird is a better package. If you want a sports tourer get a black bird if you want a sports bike get an R1 or GSXR1000. If you want power get the Busa it's less peaky and tougher motor although the zx12 has good build quality. tip make sure you have an extension from the battery to charge it as the battery is a pain to get to also the clutch can be a bit fragile.
it is mind blowing an unique misle
In 2002 I jumped on my cousin's ZX12R (2000 A1 Model) & I couldn't believe how comfortable it was & how it handled. So I got my 1st ZX12R (2002 B1H Model). Cut a long story short, I'm now on my 3rd ZX12R (2005 B4H Model). Based on my size/build I dwarf the R1's, BLADE's & the GIXXER 1000's so the big 12 is for me! Don't like the look of the Busa& the ZX14, to UGLLY!!! The ZX12R speed/power is second to none. Love it, love it, love it!!! I get told that when I shoot off I'm gone & it's hard to catchup & these guys are on 600 - 1000cc. LOL!!! The brakse are very good, even better when/if you change the pads to Sintered ones. Pros: Looks wicked-(people still stop % stare & turn their heads). It's big & it's my size. The power is somthing to respect - trust me!Very comfortable. Handles good. Cons: Fuel consumption is like an alcoholic! What do you expect, it's a BEAST! It eats rear tyres but that depends how you ride. Slightly heavy in weight. Make sure you fit an aftermarket exhaust it will sound wicked!!! Overall, I can't see my self looking/buying another bike for now unless the manufactures design something simialr & better.
I have a size and weight issue (large) so opted for a 2003 (B2H) 12R a few years ago. At first I really thought I'd made a big mistake, as the bike's smoothness and power kept tricking and luring me into situations whereby I'd be going insanely quickly without realising it, all at the wrong times. Thankfully my licence and I just about survived those first few months and I eventually got to grips with the 12R and decided to keep it. I go out with blokes that ride a broad spectrum of superbikes with differing riding abilities and my 12R ensures that my fat carcase is always there with them, on whatever type of road we might choose to ride. The handling is truly awesome and I have no complaints whatsoever. I can only assume that those who do complain about the handling are too small in stature to throw such a powerful ride around. I'm now in a situation whereby my bike is beginning to age but I don't want to be parted from the 12R because there's nothing out there that ticks my boxes like a 12R does. I plan on eventually selling my current bike and buying another out of a box and registering it new. That is how much I like this bike....
Love my bike so much power it's untrue, just pulls amd pulls and your eyes get sucked to the back of their sockets. Not good on tight bends snake pass type but loves the open high speed A roads. First time I saw a black & gold 12 I knew I had to have one terrible to keep the black clean.
I wrote last month about the ZX12 that I had recently bought, and I've now been on my 1300 mile sojourn through France, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium and thought I'd drop a few lines down here on my thoughts of the bike and how it performed. Naturally, I'm biased because I bought the bike - so I arranged to be accompanied by a buddy who was riding an Aprilia Caponord. He would also comment on the ZX from an unbiased position - However, after one short ride on my ZX 3 weeks ago, he went out and choped his in for a 2002 model... there went impartiality! The ride! We took the tunnel from Folkstone and darted all the way down to Strasbourg using the French Autoroutes - 690km door to door and in the last hour we were beginning to ache. Mainly in the bum department, but it was 7 hours in the saddle so it was to be expected. The neck ache from high speed windblast was addressed with the use of an Alpine Stars "Neck" brace. Speeds on the way down probably 'averaged' 100mph and the ZX ate that for breakfast (and lunch). The run then took us though the Black Forest, which was an excellent ride location in the late sping sunshine, but in the twisty roads that took us up over the top of the hills the ZX's weight and high CoG made it's self apparent (added to by probably another 50kg of gear) and the fast hairpin decents became a little too hair-raising. The blast along the B500 to Baden Baden was a blast to behold! From there it was up the Rhine to Koblenz and then down the Mosel valley to Luxembourg. On the short autobahn stretch we were comfortably able to chase a porsche at 160mph (with luggage!!) and then comfortably cruise up the river roads... the ZX's took it all in their stride and really were a pleasure to ride. The final 400 miles, yesterday, in the wet, were great too. The ZX's were comfortable, and the levels of weather protection were better than I thought they would be. I got home, safe and sound, but more importantly still able to move and walk after 4 long days in the saddle. The ZX can be a beast, but is relatively easy to tame and an absolute joy to ride.... However, it's eaten an almost new Dunlop D207 in a little over 2,000 miles...
I've had by ZX12R for a little over a month now, and at first I was very dissapointed after previously having a Gixxer Thou and a Mille. The handling was woefull and the fueling felt awful... I can only assume the previous owner was a guargantuan ape, as all of the suspension settings had either been turned to max or min. Sorting those out (return to stock settings) has been a revalation and now I have a beast of a bike that can really handle well (better than the K2 Gix!). The power is awesome! Some would say that they would want more mid range and that a 1200cc shouldn't deliver this much power this high up the rev range. However, I like it like that as it means you have to make a conscious effort to use the power and its therefore less likely to catch you out. Comfort is better than I thought too. A recent run took me down 245 miles in an evening (first long ride of the year too), and whilst I had neck ache and the starting of numb bum syndrome it was not as bad as I would have thought. I'm planning on taking the ZX on a 2000km buzz through Germany next month and I'm not overly concerned with the comfort (although I will report back!!)
I have recently swapped my GSXR 1000 for a 2002 model zx12r. I wanted somthing slighty bigger for touring and commuting but still be able to excite me on sunday blast. The hayabusa was an option but seem very expensive second hand compared to the ZX, so i got a later model Red ZX12r. This bike is the BEST all round bike i have ever owned (R1,ZX9,GSXR1000,CBR600,TL1000r,Monster,Bandit) it has power anywhere and everwhere, handles supurb for a big bike, is great at motorway cruising and cant be beaten in a straight line by anything ! The ZX12 is heavy when moving around but loses the weight when it gets rolling, it is also very, very comfy. All in all i do not regret making the change from litre class sportsbike to sports tourer although its much more sports than it is tourer!!
Not trying to sound to smug , but lm a one of the lucky one`s , at the moment l own a 12r and a busa at the same time. Bought the 12r as an impulse thing, glad l did aswell . Its a total different bike to the busa , better at low speeds, due to the increased height it flicks about a bit easier. Wasn`t totally overwhelmed at first but its grown on me considerably. Swapped my GSX1400 as l never wanted to ride that after buying the busa. Thought if l got a similar performing monkey there`d be more chance of it entertaining me. At first found it a distant second on power to the busa(due to the busa`s mods) upped the 12r`s power and made it a far better bike to ride. Quite a handful now. Clocks could be better, like the busa digital items would be better, can`t read em at a glance once over the ton mark. For tyres l run Avon Storms, what a tyre, the both bikes are shod in em. They`re amazing, used to use Azaros on my bandit, good but killed em quickly. The storms do 3000miles on the rear on the busa , done 2000 on the 12r and plenty left. Engine hunting at tickover, nothing major just annoying at junctions, caught it on the down side at a lazy take off only for it to stall on me. My fault as much as the bikes. Mine is met. green a stunning colour, if it wasn`t that it would av to be black. Insurance , got 3 bikes on my policy with Express insurance , a cbr1000 streetfighter to, all for 450 quid fully comp protected , 3yrs NCB, 3 points. Brick garage.
fuck me this is quick,bought new in 2005 after part ex'n my k2 gsxr1000,at 6'5 i wanted a bigger bike physicaly,better bike for 2 up days,and something a little different.all boxes ticked.put a full akropovic and pc3 and kn's on and full dyno with cresents in verwood 186bhp a the wheel is enough for anyone.2 up makes no difference to the way this thing gets from a to b.got the radial brake version and they seem fine bearing in mind they have to stop 1/3 of a ton from 150/160 mph.few down sides most of which are well known.if you want cheap running costs this aint the one for.eats rear tyres,drinks like amy winehouse and finish on the shiny bits isnt the best either.insurance isnt bad £300 f/c for a 32 year old.i love this bike,every time without fail i ride this bike i enjoy it.if you want a bike that IS quicker than anything else on the road with more comfort than an out and out sports bike this is the one.go one treat yourself
Having just recently chopped in my R1 after nearly 8 years of ownership and taking delivery of what can only be described as a Cruise Missile, I was a little apprehensive at first as to how I was going to get on with it. At first it appeared absolutely HUGE in comparison to my, from a cereal packet, R1. However, the stability amazed me and I found myself wafting along at silly speeds. Cornering stability is so much more predictable than my old R1, which seemed hell bent on trying to kill me every time I took it out for a spin. Maybe it’s the slower steering, or the extra weight? The engine is absolutely stonking. Even short shifting through the gears you find yourself miles ahead of practically everything. The most shocking thing was the fuel gauge. Having just put it in for a service I had them check the fuelling was ok as the tank range seemed ridiculous. I’ve been taking it relatively easy while I get used to it but the gauge seems to drop at an alarming rate. It’s the only bike I know that uses fuel just “looking” fast. Oh well, it’s only money…
Simple awesome... just so glad Kawasaki made this beast, its incredible. Best of bunch for sure. =o)
A fantastic bike how ever its top heavy and really not suitable for mountain roads with tight bends.I have toured Eurpoe on mine. It has been Maxtonised front and Rear. For all normal roads its very hard to beat but as soon as you hit any slow tight bends it shows its short comings.Long motorway hauls are a pleasure if you can control the urge to ride quickly. It needs a bigger fuel capacity, as at decent speeds it will drain a full tank in 80 miles. Back tyres should be ordered as soon as you fit a new one. Mine last 2000 miles aprox I think the new ZZ14R is pig ugly so will keep mine until Kawasaki build a prettier alternative.
I bought mine as a pre reg. It is an awesome bike. Fitted a 190 to the rear and dropped the forks 8mm so she even handles better ( I'll never do 185mph on it btw). My only downside was a BIG fallout with the warranty dept. so I'll never EVER be buying another Kawasaki...but if you want a good fast COMFY bike ( oh and fit a pair of HELLI BARS, brilliant ) then this is a good bet. Not as well finished as my Triumph though :-( Finally, ditch the Dunlops..seems to be a world wide recommendation but as we all know..tyres are a personal touch.
Bought in March 2006 . Banned May 2006 . Sums up were this bike can take you if the right hand is allowed to rule the head. Simply awesome.
Surprisingly agile big sports bike, excellent brakes, lights and comfortable riding position. Did 3500 miles in the first two weeks of ownership and didn't have a problem, what more can I say! Strengths: Good handling, sensible proportions, great lights & brakes. Weaknesses: Slightly too low handlebars, poor pillion seat, could do with more range.
Like one of the previous reviewers I used to own a zx7r and thought that it was pretty quick having owned a ehem er5 previously to gain my experience. But fuck me. This thing is fast I fitted a Blue flame Evo dual port can to it and I swear it has added at leat 8bhp. This thing flies I shit myself at the thought of what it could do if I dared. You need to recalibrate your brain to deal with the fact this thing goes so fast. The speed can be very deceptive though and you need to constantly be aware of the needle so you dont go too mad. It can be a bit heavy in the corners and the brakes do need sorting. I fitted some braking disks and braided hoses and it made all the difference. Its is definately a bike for the road (real world) Whils you can huslte it round a track i think its strenghtsd lie in fast A and B roads. I am certainly not disappointed and would def buy one again. Strengths: Unbelievable power like you have never felt. Pisses on a R1 without even unzipping its pants. Looks like Mike Tyson on steroids. Weaknesses: Poor fuel tank range. My god you need to fill up as soon as you replace the cap and start it. Poor brakes. You need to write them a letter a week in advance to notify them of a corner. Also I have been informed by the missus that the seat is so hard it could give you piles.. No bad thing I suppose at least then u can go out on your own.
Bought one from scratch 2 years ago but had it nicked from a quiet London street, so decided to save money and get a slightly used one, same glorious black and gold livery. Now had this one 6 months and still really pleased with it, for the most part. In London, insurance is a problem - standard garage of Bikesafe is compulsory, and even then it's a fortune for fully comp. Not good for city use really. Never gets out of 1st/2nd, heats up, guzzles fuel and feels temperamental, jerky and snatchy. Depends a bit how you tune it, but I always find mine frustrating till at least 2k and until past 1st gear. Might end up getting a runaround for London and keeping this for Sunday best/touring abroad. Riding position is great, long-haul trips a joy, no complaints on the ergonomics front. Strengths: Great pull after about 2-3k, very smooth in any gear above first (see weaknesses below) and beautiful finish (while it lasts?). For its cubic capacity, the profile is pretty slim. I managed to follow a mate on his new ZZR6 through really tight London traffic, so must be about same width, I would have thought. Great set of tripmeters and alternative displays. Weaknesses: No centre stand . No hard luggage available to speak of (not quite true, found some ultrasmart but practically naff, tiny hard panniers in the US that would have cost £600 to buy, another £100 to spraypaint same colour as bike and probably a good £50+ to ship over from the US). Cruising range too short for my liking (especially abroad and in remote areas): only ever managed to get 120 out of her on a full tank, even riding carefully without urban stop/start palaver.
I bought the bike brand new in 2004 after riding a ZX7R for three years and nothing could prepare me for the awesome power of the machine, this thing kicks arse believe me. People say that this bike eats rear tyres, well maybe they should try pirelli diablos as they give plenty of grip and are slower wearing. Mine is now fitted with a twin port blueflame exhaust and none of my mates on there bikes; r1s, blades etc can keep up. The bike is very capable on long journeys too with a very comfortable seat especially two up and suits my 6ft frame easily, but the only downside is the limited fuel tank range but when you have a bike this powerful you can expect shortfalls (ballistic missile). Strengths: Very very torquey engine,handles quite well,looks good,good brakes,grin factor.. Weaknesses: Tank range.
I took delivery of the Z new having chopped in my ZX6R but befor that I had a TLs, TLr, Blade etc and when people say you can't beat CC's they are right and the Z has plenty. Once past the flat spot at around 3K the bike will pull until you bottle it and wheelie like a TL from the gun. Handling is not that bad once you get in to how heavey it is but then again bike are cool when refered to by none bikers as a monster, normaly followed by how quick is that and yo0u can say faster than anything you have ever see EVER. The bike is happy on the track, down the local pub, in the twisties and two up touring. Fancy one JUST DO IT you will not believe how good this bike is. Strengths: Stability, handling and looks This is a proper bike from when bike were big and CC's were the name of the game. Don't fall in to that micro small bike trap go big get a Z. Weaknesses: Being big has it's down sides Back tyre will take a beating and moving the bike from a parking space requires time but once moved it's like the ZX7R light on it's feet and full of attitude.
Bought this bike after briefly straying from Kawasaki to the nightmare world of Italian V-Twins... I made the decision to never stray again the first time I opened the throttle and fishtailed down the road! When you look at the figures that this thing boasts, it should terrify you every time you ride it, but it is by far one of the easiest rides I have ever had. Buy one. You won't regret it. Just avoid the pre-2002 models. Not because they are bad, just becasue the post-2002 model is so much better looking! Strengths: Fuel costs notwithstanding, this is a surprisingly cheap bike to run. Insurance is not a bad as you'd think (mine is cheaper than my Aprilia insurance was!) and servicing is reasonable too. So reliable it makes me suspicious! Mine has done 21k now, with no signs of trouble. Breezed both of the MOTs it has been subjected to. Weaknesses: I'll agree with the others that the brakes can seem weak, but if you grab a handful this beast will stop dead. You need strong arms if you really want to haul this thing up in a hurry. Also, it loves back tires. Alot.
Bought the bike after a 3 year break. Owned a 99 blade before which was like a kids toy in comparison to this little beast. Lot of bike for your money. Strengths: Torque and shear power are awsome, I thought the blade was quick but this is something else. Weaknesses: Weight, I`m a big chap but find it is heavy while trying to park in a confined space. Finish could last better in my opinion.
I has a Hayabusa when I bought my '12, but the 'busa went after it could not come close in looks, performance and handling. The ZX12 will eat Hayabusas once you hit the ram air about 10K revs. It needs tweaking though, PC111, G-pack, braided hoses, sintered pads and wavey discs. Then it becomes a serious tool. Strengths: Suspension and handling sweet once tweaked to your own style/ weight to handle as well as most sports bikes. Power and accelaration in 2nd and 3rd is mind blowing and it leaves everything behind. Weaknesses: Poor standard brakes and lacks low down torque. Pillion seat cover is flimsy and poorly designed.
Great engine, handling, brakes. no problems with the seat comfort on long journeys. believe the hype it is all true. Fuel range is poor when caned hard but ok when ridden as law intends (boring!) different machine when pushed. Strengths: Creamy torgue of the engine and great prescence on the road. Stable on long A roads buta bit lardy on tight bends. Brakes are exc ellent, running costs are acceptable for a bike this size, pay for what yer gets. Weaknesses: Tank range and no grab rail. I bought mine for touring, scratching, everyday use. No thought to pillions is bad. not a bike for the home mechanic which adds to running costs.
Great handling, been to Bournemouth and Poole, over to Portland bill (not in one day) for the week. Brilliant through the New Forest, Hampshire. Then back home to reality (That sucks). It gets very warm quickly through the towns. On the open roads you have to watch your speed, if you forget to keep your eye on the speedo, next thing you know there's this blue light trying to get your attention (not me though). Next long trip will be the TT. Strengths: Power, Handling. Weaknesses: Fuel range, Storage space, comfort can be sorted with a gel seat and pillion (no grab rails).