KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012-on) Review

Published: 05 April 2012

"The new king of speed and power, beating the formidable Hayabusa hands down"

KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)

"The new king of speed and power, beating the formidable Hayabusa hands down"

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

Simply put Kawasaki’s new ZZR is the new king of speed and power, beating the formidable Hayabusa hands down. It produces more power and torque, and accelerates quicker than any other road bike but unfortunately is still restricted to an agreed 186mph limit, but will get there in breathtaking time, hitting the limiter with ease, still with plenty in reserve. Not just a one trick pony either, now comes with ABS, power modes and traction control as standard.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The ZZR is now slightly sportier thanks to revised suspension and chassis which means it handles far better than its size suggests. Stiffer springs have been fitted front and rear to give a sportier ride without compromising comfort. Peg scraping, knee down angles of lean are easily achievable but at the same time it's stable at high speeds.

Engine 5 out of 5

This is the ZZR's killer punch, the engine, one of the finest you’ll find on any motorcycle. Kawasaki is quoting 200bhp, 210bhp with ram air, backed up by a whopping 119ftlb of torque. The increase in power is the result of a virtually new engine, longer stroke with raised compression, and a fine tune to the cylinder head with reshaped and polished ports. Pistons have also been lightened and there’s new bypass holes to minimise pumping loss. It’s not all about performance - it’s also more fuel efficient than before.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Considering the very reasonable price; you are buying the fastest bike on the planet the level of finish and quality is very high. There’s no reason to question the reliability of the motor as previous engines have proven bullet proof even when tuned slightly. The level of finish is arguably higher than its closes competition from Suzuki.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

Has to be five out of five, there’s a hell of lot of bike for the price. It’s officially the fastest production bike on the market and all yours for less than £11,500. Traction control, engine modes and ABS all comes as standard, makes it a bit of a bargain really, an accomplished attractive sports tourer, which is the current fastest accelerating bike on the road.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

ABS comes as standard, as do the petal racing discs. But more importantly there’s an all new three-way traction control system which combines the best qualities of the ZX-10 and GTR1400 system. Modes can be changed on the move with the throttle in the closed position. Rear suspension has pre-load adjustment and the forks are fully adjustable. There’s also a huge list of aftermarket quality parts which include a top case and race Akrapovic exhausts.

Owners' Reviews

17 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.7 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Still no viable alternative

23 June 2018 by Ian Davies

Good points; Stonking engine. Great road presence. Slick gearbox. Comfort. Handling. Not so good; No underseat storage. No hard panniers available from the manufacturer. Electronics are getting a bit outdated compared to the next generation of bikes. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Brakes are exceptional. Brembo calipers and braided lines get it stopped way quicker than you would think a bike this size could ever manage.
Engine
5 out of 5
The engine really is the star of the show. As the old saying goes "no replacement for cubic displacement". Responsive, smooth. It will pull cleanly from 30mph in top gear with no issues at all.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I've had a couple of niggles. The clutch went at 3k. Sticky starter button doesn't always engage. Fuel filler cap is always seizing.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Depends on whether it's a major or minor service. Tyres cost a fair bit and I've not included them in the above figure. Fuel costs are quite heavy as well. My best mpg is high 30's low 40's, however I ride.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Could do with an update for things like cruise control and TFT dash. Semi active suspension would be a welcome addition too.
Buying experience

I paid £10,500 for a 66 plate performance sport with 3k on the clock, which would have been the bargain of the decade had the clutch not been slipping. I only discovered that after a few days.

5 out of 5

Dogs Danglies

20 December 2017 by deano

You have to ride one to believe it. When you try to describe the experience to others they think you are exaggerating with the exception of the guy in the corner, who will sit there with the knowing grin, he's obviously an owner too. Fantastic... Read more experience does everything you want and the performance will blow your mind. Buy one while you can, in this nanny state we live in its a miracle its still legal to buy one.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Ride quality on the Performance Sport is excellent, easily adjustable to get the right settings solo, two up or two up with luggage. Brakes need a good squeeze when pushing on but do the job (just).
Engine
5 out of 5
Once you have sampled it get it remapped for that as good as it gets feeling. Warning once you have done this everything else will feel inadequate.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Unfortunately the finish on the plated parts (ABS rings, Brake hoses etc) is pants, they corrode at the drop of a hat. Front wheel bearings failed at @ 8000 miles in Germany next set didn't last much longer. Previously had 2012 standard model and wheel bearings still good at 21,000 miles.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
If you ride it, servicing costs are high, the valves are a awkward time consuming expensive job as is injector balancing. After 2600 miles had my rear shock (Ohlins) and fork oil changed and it was well ready for it
Equipment
4 out of 5
Could be better as others have said, should have power socket as standard. Best thing to fit is centre stand but again on a sports touring machine this should be standard.
Buying experience

Bought both bikes from dealers, in 40 years of motorcycling can't say I've ever enjoyed the buying experience but its the means to the end.

5 out of 5

Put this bike on your "Bucket List"

30 April 2017 by Mike Farrell

Best features is the engine, gearbox and handling. Worse features the anodised parts corrode really quickly if you don't clean the bike after every ride in the winter (same as all Japanese bikes). MPG at 38-40 around town and 44-46 on open road is... Read more good. I would recommend anyone looking for a large capacity bike to own one of these before they hand up their boots. You don't have to ride it to its capacity to enjoy it, but it really does fly when you wind it up.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Ride quality is fantastic. It's really stable. Make sure that you regularly look at your speedo as riding at speed feels really safe and planted. Brakes (when compared to Fireblade and BWM K1200) could be better. A Servo would be useful for a bike of this weight.
Engine
5 out of 5
Great engine and gearbox are fantastic. I much prefer the wider spread of gear ratios to those on my 2009 Fireblade. A close ratio gearbox may be fine for the track but on the road I prefer the ZZR spread and higher top gear for cruising. The slipper clutch is really good. The Fireblade had a slipper clutch on that it affected the operation of the clutch such that made it feel like a frayed cable that was about to snap.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Good quality build. The engine runs cool on the open road. Typically it runs at about 63=66 degrees C which is low when most bike run at about 80-90. Around town the temperature will get higher until the fans cut in at 95 degrees. I had an issue with the gear indicator on mine. Fairly simple fix simply by dismantling the sensor and cleaning the brass contacts and contact plunger. Make sure you clean everything as this is not the ideal design. It would be better to have a magnetic sensor mechanism. The exhaust downpipes and section before the silences tend to rot. I will dismantle mine before holes appear and spray with VHT paint spray and at the same time do the shims as the bike does have some minor rattles that may be sorted out once the shims are done. I resprayed the exhaust pipes on my K1200 and it really does make a difference to appearance and longevity.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
DIY maintenance for oil and filters is easy and can be done without removeing fairing so no reason not to do it yourself. Keep a copy of receipts so that you can prove the work has been done. Air filter does require tank cover to be removed but it easy to do so long as you read the service manual in order to identify how to remove the plastics.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I love the electronics on the bike. The KTRC works really well. When accelerating hard on traction setting 3 they cut in to keep the front wheel on the ground really affectively. I haven't tried the other settings yet to see their impact but understand that on the lower settings you can remove the level on control. There are two power settings but this doesn't make any difference until you get up the rev range. As you don't have to rev this bike very much in order to well exceed the national speed limit you don't really benefit from the power setting option. The multi function display and controls are easy to use and give all the information you need. Being a bit of a gadget fiend I would like to have cruise control and a speed limiter fitted as standard. If nothing else than to have the bike control speed around town when you want to keep to the limits. I like the facility that enables you to adjust the point at which you are made aware a pre-defined rev limit is being breached. The economy indicators don't seem to serve much use to me as I seem to drive economically all the time although when using the power I don't spend much time inspecting the indicator! Too busy like at the horizon arriving at warp speed.
Buying experience

I bought the bike privately and saved myself a shed full of money. If I was going to buy one of these from a dealer I would probably go for residual last years stock as you can get these fairly close to the second hand bike prices being offered by dealers. You're unlikely to buy one of these that has been thrashed.

5 out of 5

Finally a stunning looking sports tourer that is exciting to own

12 January 2017 by Big W

For decades I could not understand why the manufacturers felt that those that wanted a bike that was both capable of some decent performance riding also had to look drab. Capable machines that were aesthetically boring. The ZZR has massive... Read more performance, great handling, looks and the ability to allow you to enjoy a ride out either solo or two up. It does all, literally! If you gave your friend one, they would soon be your best friend!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The combination of Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes is so well balanced. The feedback from the brakes is the best I have known. Brilliant! I can ride solo or two up without altering any settings or compromising the handling and ride quality. I do find the original Bridgestone tyres quite nervous in cold wet conditions but understand that Michelin can save the day when I get to change the tyres. No doubt all very subjective as with many other "feelings" based view points.
Engine
5 out of 5
Ballistic and yet so tractable and easy to ride given the performance. The established and developed Kawasaki rider electronics package helps on rainy days and more, but does not take over the riders control and involvement with the bike. Dial it into suit the conditions or your mood! Best engine i have ever known.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The only reason thus far for not giving the bike 5 out of 5, is the fairing issue reported elsewhere. With less than 1500 miles my own bike has had its top fairing replaced under warranty for what appeared to be small cracks on the second screen studs from the front of the bike. Fragile in this one area comes to mind, which for a high speed long distance bike is not ideal.hopefully this is an isolated issue. I am used to old school HRC paint so perhaps the ZZR does have a hard act to follow.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
What price happiness and excitement! Far less than a years cigarette or pints of beer bilge!
Equipment
4 out of 5
Yes you could argue it needs a radiator guard and rear hugger, being honest the bike gives you the raw material to adapt to your own usage for the bike, whether sports, touring or a bit of both. Kawasaki has left space for some personalisation, which is what most bikers like surely? I have already fitted some accessories and the bike feels more like my own already, rather than what left the factory. One point dropped not because of the absent gear but rather the very limited options offered by Kawasaki, a missed opportunity. Triumph for instance have learnt that lesson well.
Buying experience

Bought from the local dealer as they had previously lent me a ZZR for several try outs and I like supporting local retailers for most things. Price was very reasonable and they fitted a number of accessories I wanted for free and have sorted too the fairing issue. Keep it local I say!

5 out of 5

Starship ZedX14

06 January 2017 by Racerxz51

The engine pulls like the Starship Enterprise, and the bikes handling belies its weight. Road trip -absolutely, commute-hell yeah, track day-litre bikes look out ! It's the best all around bike I've ever ridden. Really cannot fault it anywhere. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
no fade even after hours at TWS, great suspension !
Engine
5 out of 5
Warp drive on command !
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Beautiful fit and finish, higher quality than my Repsol Honda ! Multiple trackdays hammered it in the Texas heat more than once on back to back days without issue. Dead reliable !
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
really don't worry about costs, I track it a lot so oil changes and new tires are common lol It def eats tires !
Equipment
5 out of 5
Favorite feature-the engine lol It should have a damper as standard IMO but plenty of people do without one. I felt the stock pegs were high enough but about 1-2" too far forward so I swapped for Vortex rearsets, not to raise them but move them back. Really only an issue at the track though.
5 out of 5

Awesome all rounder

02 August 2016 by Lee

Best feature is everything really. Worst feature has to be the fact you cannot fit Givi panniers because the exhausts are so big and high. There are ways around it, EG lower the exhausts, buy after market ones ETC, but on a sports tourer, why should... Read more you have to mess about so you can fit panniers? Also needs a 12V socket or even a USB charging point, easily fitted, but again, as a sports tourer it should be standard. I tour on mine and a great job it does, 2000 miles last week alone without fault, averaging nearly 50MPG. Would I recommend it to a friend? Oh yes, most definitely.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Only four out of five because the suspension is a tad hard on the front for my liking but it still hustles along on the roads of Luxembourg and Germany, staying right on the tails of the sportsbike riders quite easily. I can easily empty the fuel tank before I need to stop which can be just over 200 miles on a long run. These bikes are brilliant all rounders, from twisty mountain rounds to drag strips and everything in between. The only thing it won't do is off roading....maybe.
Engine
5 out of 5
If you ride sportsbikes then you need to try the ZZR1400, the engine is so smooth you'll think your sports bike is a tractor. Power delivery is unbelievable, these bikes pull and pull and pull, they will not stop all the way to the limiter at 186mph, no slowing down as they reach that speed, they just keep pulling.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
My 07 gen 1 never missed a beat in 20,000 miles and this 2014 gen 2 has been faultless for 9,000 miles already.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Seems a bit expensive to service but I use mine all year and I tour too so my mileage is much higher than the Sunshine only boys.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Could be better for a sports tourer, it needs a charging point and the pannier situation could be made easier but on the whole not a bad bike once you spend a bit if you tour a lot. Bar risers, lower pegs, touring screen, panniers, top box (I have the 47 litre colour matched Kawasaki one) a charging point and a sat nav bracket that can accept Tom Tom or Garmin Zumo bike specific sat navs. I love the traction control which includes anti wheelie and three power modes too. Don't worry, if you want to be a looney it can be turned off with the handlebar control. I use Michelin Pilot Power 3 tyres but a lot of ZZR owners use the PR4, both great in all conditions with good longevity.
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer for a great saving over a new one. New the Performance sport is £14,449, I paid £10,500 for a year old one with only 3,000 miles on it.

5 out of 5

01 August 2016 by eddie

This bike is second to none.This is my third zzr1400 since 2006. Absolute beast of a bike. Pity the stock bike does not come with Akrapovic as standard. Not the most practical around town so I use my Honda Silverwing for that. But once you own one of... Read more these bikes its very hard to change to something else.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

the power and the beauty

12 July 2016 by JAMIE RYE

Best feature is its beauty and power. Worst feature is the lack of a huger as standard. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
Power socket should be standard.
Buying experience

Excellent

4 out of 5

A very fast bike let down by overal lack of quality

10 June 2016 by Chewbakker

The engine is the stand out feature of this bike. The stupidly thin material on the fairing is very poor. My 2008 version of the bike had a much better quality fairing. Would I recommend this bike to a friend, probably, but be wary of the quality. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
For such a fast bike the ride quality of very good. The suspension as delivered from the Kawasaki dealer was a bit soft so I took it to an expert and once set up it handles really well.
Engine
5 out of 5
Is there anything better in a motorbike? I doubt it. It is very smooth through out the rev range, and obviously is insanely powerful for two wheels.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
I am on the fourth front fairing !!! It keeps cracking at the centre of the front around the screen and at the front securing screws. Kawasaki just can't seam to sort it out even though they have had the bike back three times for this issue.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
Standard bike does not come with much for touring so these need to be added. Disappointed at the lack of a radiator guard as standard.
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer. Fairly easy to deal with. However, the bike was not ready when I collected it, so had to wait around for a few hours.

5 out of 5

Kawasaki ZZR1400 - Bike of my dreams

19 April 2016 by Johnnyoneye

Torque in any gear, stable, grip from the standard S20 Bridgestone tyres, wet or cold (or occasional warm days), smooth throttle, the comfiest seat I've ever sat on, and a metallic bright green paint job that a 75 year old granny said looked... Read more stunning when I was out doing some meat shopping on it one Saturday morning. The guys in the butchers thought it looked great too.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Front end is wonderful, rear can get a bit flappy when you push on down a bumpy road. Brakes are strong but need a good grab - not the sharpest first bite when you initially brake.
Engine
5 out of 5
Whoo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
All good so far, paint and fasteners still look great
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
35 to 45 to the gallon - not bad for the fastest accelerating bike in the world......
Equipment
4 out of 5
Stick with sticky tyres - accept that all that power is why you bought the bike - so why put a Z8 on it and bimble round telling everyone your getting 60 to the gallon?
Buying experience

Bought from Seastar Superbikes - got a decent deal, and they fitted a Kreiga seat pack for me for free for me before I rode away, also offered a deal on new tyres - can't complain

Read all 17 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued -
New price £11,699
Used price £6,000 to £15,300
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost £420
Performance
Max power 200 bhp
Max torque 119 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 1441cc
Engine type 16v (84x65) inline-four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium monocoque
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 239kg
Front suspension 43mm fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single fully adjustable
Front brake 2x310mm four piston caliper
Rear brake 250mm disc single piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 190/55x17

History & Versions

Model history

2006: Model introduced

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
  • KAWASAKI ZZR1400  (2012-on)
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