KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012 - 2020) Review
- Fastest accelerating bike on the road at launch
- Smooth engine with loads of torque
- Comfortable over long distances
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£380|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Kawasaki ZZR 1400 was the new king of speed and power when it was launched in 2012, beating the formidable Suzuki Hayabusa hands down.
It produced more power and torque, and accelerated quicker than any other road bike but unfortunately was 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.
This version replaced the 2006 model and was updated again in 2017. You could buy the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 new until 2020, when it dropped from the firm's line-up due to its inability to pass Euro5 emissions regulations. Its spiritual successor was the Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX.
Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, why not join an online forum to meet likeminded people? There's a thriving community at ZX14R.co.uk.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Kawasaki ZZR 1400 was slightly sportier after 2012 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.
Buying a used Kawaaski ZZR 1400 - suspension and brakes
Lots of gripes about this on most models (the Öhlins shock on the Performance Sport version is better). The front’s not too bad, though it’s a bit choppy over rough surfaces and you’ll sometimes find the stanchion coating wearing prematurely, causing leaky oil seals. The standard rear’s not really up to the job and there’s no remote preload/ ride height adjuster.
An aftermarket rear shock (Nitron fitments start at £438), ideally with remote preload, is popular but a specialist can work wonders with the front. Almost every owner we spoke to recommended MCT at Stowmarket (www.mctsuspension.com). Before you do anything to the suspension though (in servicing fact, before you even ride a brand-new ZZR), strip and grease the swingarm pivots, suspension linkages and head bearings — Kawasaki never got the hang of greasing them properly at the factory.
And the brakes? Warped discs are very common. Some owners reported getting through several pairs during their warranty period. Kawasaki changed the pad material for a less-harsh compound but the problem persists. Aftermarket discs are the way to go. Like most Kawasaki calipers, the ZZR’s need a bit of love to keep them on song — regular cleaning helps keep the pistons moving freely, but it’s also worth changing the fluid once a year as well.
EngineNext up: Reliability
This is the Kawasaki ZZR 1400's killer punch, the engine, one of the finest you’ll find on any motorcycle. Kawasaki was 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.
— Motor Cycle News (@MCNnews) March 20, 2018
Despite its speed and power, the ZZR is actually something of a pussycat to ride. Although chunky and long, it’s not particularly cumbersome. It’s grunty with light controls, making it a breeze in traffic.
Then once out on the open road, the Kawasaki is utterly slick, steadfast and smooth. Sure, it’s not exactly nimble or flickable, but it is surprisingly easy and predictable with a monstrous powertrain that still delivers a hyper drive few other motorcycles can match.
Kawasaki ZZR 1400 engine - buying used
Fundamentally incredibly tough. The only actual failure we’ve heard of was due to a lack of oil at a trackday, and we’ve heard of one head-gasket failure (probably caused by overheating due to a faulty cooling fan). Early models suffered cam-cover gasket leaks — a revised gasket is now supplied, but extra washers under the cam-cover bolts help apply a bit more pressure and cures it anyway. Don’t be alarmed by low-speed rattles from cold — the automatic camchain tensioner takes a while to build pressure and until it does it sounds awful. Either live with it, or fit an APE manual tensioner and tweak it as necessary. Where possible, leave the bike on the centrestand. On the sidestand, the oil drains from the right-hand end of the camshafts.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Our Kawasaki ZZR 1400 owners' reviews show overall adoration for this machine, with high scores across the board. "If it made espresso it'd be perfect", says one owner. Negative comments are around the lack of a decent TFT dash and cruise control, plus poor OEM tyres. There don't seem to be any prevailing problems reported, though.
Common faults explored
High-end Kawasakis are usually quality pieces of kit, with few faults worth mentioning - especially when looked after - and that’s certainly true of this ZZR14.
Although high performance, the engine is robust, the chassis is sturdy and dependable and the bodywork and equipment is quality and durable. That said, consumables get a hard life, so check the tyres, pads, chain and - being a big old bus - the bodywork, bar ends and levers for signs of drops.
The Mechanic: 'Sometimes first impressions aren’t all they seem'
Shaun Lock is the After Sales Manager at multi award-winning Bridge Motorcycles in Exeter
"I’d describe it as a bit of a workhorse. You don’t get many people buying them for pleasure and they tend to buy them for high mileage commuting.
"We’ve a few customers who use them for just that. One guy’s a doctor who uses his to visit loads of different hospitals and the ZZR14 does that pretty well. But, they have got a few issues that can cost quite a bit of money.
"The front brakes take an absolute hammering, going through pads - sometimes discs - with the calipers requiring overhauls as well. They’re also pretty heavy on front wheel bearings. Because of the weight and performance, the front end seems to take a lot of abuse.
"Then there’s the radiator – they’re seriously expensive and, again, because of the high mileage riding they’re used for, I’ve seen quite a few with radiators corroded away.
"Often they can look nice and shiny but as soon as you start jacking them up and checking over the chassis, you can tell they’ve had a bit of a hard life and done a good few miles. Look for wear and tear on the brakes and so on. You need to be careful and have a good look underneath the fairing, too.
"The engines are really strong, though. But then they’re so powerful, I guess they don’t get revved that hard! From a technician’s point of view they’re a nightmare to work on, especially for something like valve clearances, because the frame goes right over the top.
"You’ve got to do everything by feel as you can’t actually see anything. If you fancy doing it yourself, it’s probably one of the hardest bikes to do it on."
Fairings can hide corrosion
"Cosmetically, at first glance they do look good, but it’s only when you take the fairings off and get in behind them that you see how they can suffer.
"Accessories-wise, aftermarket cans are common, but they’re usually run of the mill quality ones that don’t cause any more issues than the standard ones. People also generally fit touring screens, heated grips, sometimes luggage. A main stand is a bonus and makes maintenance that bit easier.
"Overall, it’s a solid bike, but it’s also one you need to take a close look at. Sometimes first impressions aren’t all they seem with these bikes. They can look all nice and shiny, but be a bit of a horror story underneath."
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Has to be five out of five, there’s a hell of lot of bike for the price. It was officially the fastest production bike on the market and all yours for less than £11,500. The price inflated over time and a 2020 Performance Sport spec version cost £15,849.
That original price made the bike a bit of a bargain, especially when you consider that traction control, engine modes and ABS all came as standard and it was the fastest accelerating bike on the road at the time.
Parts and servicing
Sensible owners ignore the pointless interim 4000-mile services and consolidate the only useful bit (air filter change at 12k miles) into one of the ‘proper’ 7500-mile services. These include oil-and-filter change, new spark plugs, throttles balanced plus a general chassis check, bearing adjustment and regreasing where necessary.
The valve-check interval is 26,000 miles but can be a faff. Throttle balancing can be tricky but it makes a big difference to low-down feel. There’s no need to remove bodywork to change the oil and filter but access to spark plugs is tight — the original tool kit spanner is the best bet. Be VERY careful removing the stick coils as the rubber grommets stick in the heads and it’s easy to break the coils. Don’t fancy servicing it yourself? Contact the acknowledged expert Enzo through zx14r.co.uk.
Kawasaki ZZR1400 vs Suzuki Hayabusa
If you’re after a Japanese hyperbike of this era, the choice usually boils down to either this or Suzuki’s Hayabusa. After our short ride, it’s evident the first generation ZZR still has an awful lot going for it.
It’s mind-warpingly fast, comfortable, classy and well-appointed (if lacking the electronic rider aids of the succeeding version). It’s also impressively timeless, durable and even reasonably versatile.
Yes, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s also a big, long, heavy machine, but few motorcycles have such presence, stature and distance-crushing-ability – and all for so little money!
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 part. Paniers are a no-brainer for many ZZR 1400 owners.
Kawasaki ZZR 1400 modifications
There are a few heavily modified Kawasaki ZZR 1400s about but they’re the exceptions, especially in the UK. Most owners are happy with simple bolt-ons. First is the exhaust. Aftermarket silencers and a de-cat link pipe saves a load of weight. Akrapovic is the most popular choice and was available through dealers. Scorpion cans are popular and start at around £400 a pair for steel or £550 for carbon.
Taller riders like a doublebubble screen, with loads of options from around £45. The standard seat is a bit sparse and a bit slippery. Kawasaki does a gel version (over £400) and there are aftermarket options but we’d go to Tony Archer in Huddersfield (tonyarcher.co.uk) and get him to re-cover a standard seat. It makes sense to fit some kind of crash protection.
Main frame protectors from R&G are around £170 a pair and fork protectors £35 (they’re the same as Alex Carter, superbikefactory.co.uk 2003-on ZX-6R, so shop around). R&G also does a tail tidy for £59 and an unobtrusive radiator guard for £71. You can easily double the life of your chain and sprockets by fitting a chain oiler and since new genuine parts are well over £350, you’ll save the cost in no time. Scottoiler’s the most popular option, with vacuumoperated VSystem kits from under £100 and electronic kits from £239. There’s a new midpriced electronic XSystem version too.
|Engine type||16v (84x65) inline-four, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium monocoque|
|Fuel capacity||22 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£380|
|Used price||£6,500 - £11,000|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||200 bhp|
|Max torque||119 ft-lb|
|Top speed||186 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||10 secs|
|Tank range||180 miles|
Model history & versions
2006: Kawasaki ZZ-R1400 launched.
2011: Available as Kawasaki ZZR1400 ABS [£10,613] and ZZR1400 ABS Performance (Inc. Akrapovic silencer, tank pads, seat cover, higher screen)
2012: This version first released.
2016: Tweaked to conform to Euro4 including -
- Revised ECU settings
- New exhaust and evaporative system
- New instruments and LCD display
- New Brembo M50 radially mounted brake calipers (Performance Sport model)
- Öhlins TTX39 rear shock and Akrapovic silencers (Performance Sport model)
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012 - 2020)
26 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZZR1400 (2012 - 2020) 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:||£380|
Version: Standard 2012 bike
With the exception of green laning it does everything well and some things outstandingly well. For me, a nigh on perfect mix of mile crunching cruisability with blisterring performance and "punch below it's weight" handling.
Rid etime is limited by tank capacity. For eally long runs (500m+) I use an Air Hawk seat
How much more power do you need! Superb.
No issues so far at 37k miles.
Done my own from new, excluding first service. A stone through the rad at 1 year old was painful at £600+, fitted myself. Now have a rad guard fitted
TC is useful on wet roads and the fairing offers pretty good protection for it"s class. Tried a Kawasaki touring screen which I didn't like and replaced it with a cheap screen from Ebay which I think performs better, looks good, fits perfect and only cost £20
Buying experience: Bought from dealer in March 2012 from the first batch. Paid list price whatever that was back then but got good deal on riding gear.
Annual servicing cost: £300
It gets 5 stars for being immense fun, but in many other ways it falls short of being perfect, or even particularly useful. Many reviews call this bike a "continent shrinking missile" or similar. Well, I can tell you that the bike as standard and the rider being 6'3" and over 60, this bike is agony to ride and downright lethal as it's impossible to check the blind spot due to the riding position. However, the good news is that it's a cheap and easy fix. Hunting around eBay I found some risers that added 2" to the bar height for £24. Be careful as some kits are sold for £100. These came directly from China and fitted perfectly.
The handling was a revelation, I wasn't expecting something akin to my Aprilia. Brakes are awesome. Not the rear one of course, my Guzzi will lock up the rear wheel, but I've never owned anything else that will do that.
This might be the swansong engine for the biking world before we enter the world of hybrid and electric engines. There might never be another 1441cc normally aspirated brute like this. The engine is awesome, the power, the noise.... oh my.. Get it spinning above 4000 and you'd better be holding on tight
Quality oozes from every cranny, as it should for a bike that costs as much as a car. Stainless fasteners on the fairing, but mild steel washers on the exhaust disappoint.
It eats tyres, brake disks and pads. If that's a problem to you then buy a moped. It's not cheap to run, maintain or insure, but surely no one expects it to be. You get what you pay for, great handling, space warping acceleration and a big grin on your face. Everybody should aspire to one of these..
There's none of the amazing electronics that grace the latest bikes. Two power settings, disappointing and full power, and three traction control settings. But I didn't buy it for any of that stuff, and I am not in the least bothered.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer, A&D in Wales. The whole thing was done over the phone and internet. The bike was delivered straight into my garage - brilliant!
Version: Performance Sport
Smooth power, brilliant handling and the 2019 bikes are the best looking PS's ever - good investments too now they've stopped making them!
Big, roomy, and brilliant TTX suspension
Long warranty, understressed, what's not to like
I think these bikes are actually really underpriced when you look at what you get for your money - build quality is great too.
It feels like the twist grip is directly connected to the back wheel
Version: Performance Sport
This bike is built for travelling distance, fast and in comfort. Good Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension and a cracking engine make this bike fun to ride. Worst features are the bike is very heavy at low speed manoeuvres and tipping into corners but it is 1400cc! If this machine had a pannier fitting system as standard it would be the ultimate touring bike.
Sublime handling at speed even two up with full luggage this bike eats miles. My wife and I have been on numerous trips and your only requirement to stop is toilet or fuel breaks. Very comfortable but I would say 250 miles a day is a good measure.
Dislikes Nil This bike is akin to a space shuttle and its heart is the 1441cc power pack. The engine is superb being powerful enough for any road, track or trip but equally docile if you want to potter about. Power delivery is insane but you have rider modes if you need or want them to help cope with the power in changeable weather conditions
This bike is known as bullet proof, I’ve owned three and neither ever let me down.
Most bike services are not cheap but the 7500 mile service on a ZZR can be expensive because access to the plugs check adds quite a bit of mechanics time. Your plugs should be ok at 7500 miles so most garages ask if you want them checked or not. If you opt for no it will save you around £150!
Favourite feature would have to be the Ohlins suspension. I have fitted bar risers to everyone of the ZZRs I have owned as personally I like the extra 10mm rise for comfort. Michelin Road 5s are the tyre of choice for me, great handling, longevity and rain beating performance.
Buying experience: I Always buy from a reputable dealer to be sure of history, comeback and trust
Version: Full options version
Annual servicing cost: £300
Extremely powerful, stunning look and surprisingly smooth, easily to adapt. Outstanding handling, dexterity, stable response. Good overall quality and reliability.
Brembo M50 brake calipers works well, they offer sufficient stopping power. Ohlins TTX works really great when you try to run fast on the twist roads and offers stability while you try to over 180Mph.
You will meet no rivals when you push your throttle all the way. You don't need to rev higher when you want shift up during jogging.
Nothing abnormal, even exposed after 4 days of thundershower. Gaps between panels are better than before.
Tire wearing faster because it's heavier. But for better overall handling, performance oriented tyres still recommend. It's a mega sport bike, not really a tourer.
Well, what I need of this big boy is a small place to put my raincoat, that's all.
Buying experience: I brought it from a dealer what I was very familiar. Good overall service.
Version: Gen 2
Annual servicing cost: £300
The pure power and grunt of this bike just makes me giggle like a girl every time I open her up
Once the suspension had been set up by MCT it transformed the bike.
No engine does what this one does. Amazing
OEM tyres aren’t good. Replaced with Pilot 5
Best bike that I have ever owned. Worse feature is that it cooks your legs in heavy or stationary traffic with the heat it produces
It’s used all year round, hour commute no problem. 200 miles before aches set in,but specialist seats, bar risers, lower pegs are available to help those in need
Brilliant, love it, It doesn’t need revving to the redline as it’s quick enough for most. 8 to 9 is sufficient to enduce the smile and giggles
It’s gone through 4 winters , as with most bikes used all year round, alloy tarnishes., but nothing regular cleaning and a good dose of copper slip to prevent any seized fasteners
Valves need doing at 24000 so bigger bill expected then. It will go to a specialist for that. Owners forum good for help
It’s ok , could have done with a modern digital screen, in colour., Bought heated grips, Scottoiler, Kawasaki centre stand and a different screen. That’s it. Original bridgestones lasted 2000 miles, Michelin pr5 the tyre of choice for many but expensive. Avon storms also last well and a cost a lot less. For me they do just fine, grip well in the wet and dry, 6000-7000 for a rear, They are dual compound and never had an issue with them unlike some other riders who have
Buying experience: Bought from Drayton Croft Hinckley 6 years ago as Richard did me a good deal on their demonstrator that was coming up for sale. Saved a lot over list price which kept her indoors happy. It still had its outstanding warranty and have had no issues since owned.
Version: Standard ZZR not performance model
Annual servicing cost: £200
As 2020 is the last year of manufacturing of the ZZ1400. Times running out to buy a new one. But I do and would 100% recommend this bike, to anyone that has a few years riding 600/ big bikes. As you can use it every day if you want, as it so flexible it can do commuting, lanes and long hall touring.. The bikes best features are the intoxicating blend of acceleration/ speed, with ease, comfort and Handling much better than a bike of its size and weight should be able to do. It’s worst feature is due to its performance it can get you in trouble So easily with the speed limits in seconds, so you need to control the right wrist.
The brakes are really powerful, especially after fitting HEL performance braided brake lines. I only use single finger braking and the ABS hauls the 260kg bike down from 70-0 almost instantaneously. Finding the right setting, for bumpy country lanes and smooth main roads, is as ever a bit of a compromise, but the bike is generally a really smooth ride.
The engine performance and especially the acceleration is mind blowing, it always gives me a massive adrenaline rush, even after 51/2 years of riding the bike. The torque of the engine makes any overtaken at any speed and in any gear so easy!
Has been ultra reliable. As with most bikes you have to keep on top of any carrion issues, I.e. cleaning and spraying venerable pars et. With DW40 or the aerospace equivalent. The biggest effected area is the top of the swinging arm, after my dealer gave the underside a bit if a steam clean, the surface paint disappeared and the steel underneath started corroding. So I had To temporarily Paint the area with corrosion inhibitor paint, till I can get it re enabled or replaced.
With the Standard Bridgestone S20 fitment tyres I was going through a rear every year @£110 + fitting and a front tyre every 2 years @£85. But in 2018 after my review and discussion with the dealer I fitted a set of the then new Mitchelin Road 5 tyres, I love the wet grip and confidence the give me and the tire wear is outstanding this first set has done 8,500 miles and I will only need to get the rear change next month! Highly Recommended!
My only Gripe is that the bike doesn’t have a digital speedo, I fitted an aftermarket GPS unit, which great for keeping a check in 30-40 limits, + at higher speeds,
Buying experience: I bought in June 2014 it from my local Kawasaki dealer Alfs Motorcycle’s in Worthing, who I have been going to for years. I payed slightly under list price, but had a £350 Datatool tracker fitted prior to collection, which meant it was just over list.
Version: Zx14r Ninja
Lovely looking bike. American paint work just dazzles and pops. Engine is amazing and the ride is very good. Causes slight back pain i am 6 3 tall, and maybe not the best for long long rides.
Good brakes as standard. Can be slightly sore on back and left wrist in my case.
No problems with reliability so far
Big bike so can be Sore on fuel, but pretty reasonable to insure as it's not classed as a sports bike.
Good do with modern TFT dashboard and maybe quick shifter and auto blipper. Possibly Crusoe control. If new models are going to be made hopefully they will all be added. Oh and heated grips would be nice
Version: Performance Sport
Annual servicing cost: £300
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.
Brakes are exceptional. Brembo calipers and braided lines get it stopped way quicker than you would think a bike this size could ever manage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Annual servicing cost: £500
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 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 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).
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.
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.
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
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.
Version: ZZR1400 FDF
Annual servicing cost: £80
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Version: ZZR Performance Sport
Annual servicing cost: £700
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
What price happiness and excitement! Far less than a years cigarette or pints of beer bilge!
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!
Annual servicing cost: £300
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.
no fade even after hours at TWS, great suspension !
Warp drive on command !
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 !
really don't worry about costs, I track it a lot so oil changes and new tires are common lol It def eats tires !
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.
Version: Performance sport
Annual servicing cost: £800
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 these bikes its very hard to change to something else.
Annual servicing cost: £800
Best feature is its beauty and power. Worst feature is the lack of a huger as standard.
Power socket should be standard.
Buying experience: Excellent
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Annual servicing cost: £200
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 stunning when I was out doing some meat shopping on it one Saturday morning. The guys in the butchers thought it looked great too.
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.
All good so far, paint and fasteners still look great
35 to 45 to the gallon - not bad for the fastest accelerating bike in the world......
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
Version: Performance sport
Annual servicing cost: £200
Awesome, simply awesome. If you ride any bike in your lifetime it has to be the ZZR1400. Fast as anything out there, it'll corner too and will easily keep up with any sports bike unless it's ridden by a racer. More comfortable than a sports bike though and feels more planted because they are longer and heavier. They are heavy bikes, but their weight disappears once you start moving. Ok, they aren't flickable like a sports bike, but that isn't what these bikes are about anyway.
Ride quality is good. One thing that transforms a bike is having the suspension set up properly. It only costs between £25 and £40 and it makes a huge difference on any bike, not just the Zed. You could spend a lot on suspension but for most people just a simple set up is all that is required. My model has the Ohlins rear shock which is quite simply in another league compared to standard shocks. Brakes are awesome but be aware that some Zeds suffer from disc warp. Easily fixed with aftermarket discs. DO NOT buy chinese ones! Think they have fixed the problem on the Gen 2 Zeds but just a need to know fact.
The engine? Well, what can I say. If you're coming from a 1000cc sports bike you'll be amazed at how smooth the big Zed engine is. It has two balancer shafts and is silky smooth and has immense power, or rather, torque. You don't need to rev them, 60mph in 6th, wind open the throttle and it'll pull your arms off all the way to the limiter stupidly fast. Just a small thing. The earlier Zeds had a slight rattle on start up, this is caused by the hydraulic timing chain adjuster. It loses oil pressure over night so it rattles for a few seconds. It is normal so if yours does it, don't panic. If you're really bothered by it you can buy a manual adjustable one which cures the rattle. My MY14 Gen 2 doesn't seem to do it so maybe Kawasaki have sorted that on the newer ones. But the power and smoothness are brilliant.
I had an MY07 before I bought my MY14 performance sport and have never once been let down. Caliper bolt heads tend to not like salty roads much but other than that it is holding up well to winter riding. Yes, I do ride in the winter, no point in paying all that money for something and hiding it in a garage for nine months of the year.
Servicing is good value. Not a bad price for a yearly service from a Kawasaki dealer. 7500 mile service is £300 but that includes a spark plug change. Valve clearence check is around the 24,000 mile mark.
I've given this category a four because although it's a sports tourer, it doesn't have much in the way of touring equipment. The dash is good and has a fuel gauge, temp, average mpg, instant mpg, outside temp, gear indicator and such like. But a centre stand is an optional extra, a screen is an option, so is a rear top box bracket. I personally think that a bike like this should have at least one USB charge point, or maybe I'm being a bit optimistic. LOL!
Buying experience: Rather not say what I paid for it, the wife might read this. LMAO! Bought it from CMC and while they are very friendly, helpful and polite, I have had some issues that I suspect were caused by the previous owner that are slowly getting sorted. Still not sure why I need a grab rail with no luggage hooks attached, as they should be, but hey! Bought them myself in the end, too much mucking about and I've given up now. They do need chasing up though, unless that is just my experience of them. I would buy from them again, at no point have I been put off buying another bike from them.
Annual servicing cost: £200
It's all about the engine and the fact that you can use it all, nearly all of the time. However the standard suspension, although good, does start to give up the fight against the power/weight when you start to press on, which this bike encourages you to do. Don't recommend it to as friend as you don't want them to keep up. Stick a GoPro on the tail unit facing backwards and marvel at how Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and BMW all build there litre sports bikes with a reverse gear...lol
Comfy ride on long distances and brakes are ok, however fitting HEL brake line kit front and back with EBC prolite discs and HH pads sees a huge improvement. As standard the suspension needs the compression increasing on the front and rear (more so on the rear) and some rebound increase on the front. To get the best out of it though, you will need to get the rear shock re sprung for a heavier spring, as well as re shimmed. At the front a 4 valve piston kit with softer springs and setup is needed. Its a cost but the results are night and day. Keep it in good tyres (something with stiff tyre walls like S20's for the road) and it will handle far better that a 250Kg sports tourer has any right to.
Dyno tested at BSD with 196.7bhp at rear wheel after ECU flash with BMC filter and MTC slip on cans. Nuff said.
Build quality is ok. My bike has over 26,000 miles on the clock and does use a little oil on long fast runs. The paint and panels are fairly good quality but the finish on the frame has quickly worn where boots have rubbed.
MPG is ok on a run, but you soon run down into the mid thirties on a fast run. As expected it goes through rear tyres quickly.
The traction control is very good. Top tip, if you want to stop the pogoing/weave when accelerating hard out of bends leant over...leave it on Traction mode "3". Trust me, because it intervenes sooner it actualy helps stop the rear shock being overwhlemed by the power and therfore alows it time to cope with the power and torque better. As you start to pick up the bike, the intervention reduces and because it is a very smooth system, feeds the power in just as well as in mode "1", but without the rear shock having been stressed half as much. Give it a go, if you don't think it helps, then you can put it back.
Version: Performance (with akros but standard suspension)
Annual servicing cost: £500
Better than any bike I have ridden over the last 40 years, fast, comfortable, fast, slick, did I say fast? effortless, planted, FAST. Best feature is the 1441 power plant worst feature, I have not yet found anything I don't like about it. I would recommend everyone to try one if only to find they don't like it. This would save me having to listen to people who have never ridden one saying how the busa is better or some such rubbish.
Brakes are very good ABS unintrusive, can ride all day and still get off feeling good at the end of 3 to 400 miles and I'm old and broken
It's 6 out of 5 really, its a pussy-cat around town and a bengal tiger on A roads and dual carriage ways
Nothing to report
I have done 7500 miles since buying the bike in mid March, I also have a bandit 12 and have done a further 4.5k since May when I got that to save the kawa's mileage, some chance NOT.
If it made esspresso it would be perfect. Seriously heated grips are a must
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer and he did haggle but that's between him and me, but I felt I had a good deal.
Version: performance edition
the best bangs for the bucks!!
fierce brakes that really have awesome stopping power ...need getting used to
absolute monster or a pussy cat if required
only had one service which was negotiated free at point of sale..but main dealer servicing is not cheap at list prices are high ...so get a deal here as well!!
all that you need in performance edition spec seat cowl came as standard ...but shouldn't have!!
Buying experience: bought new from Preston Superbikes unfair to say what discount I got ...but they will deal
I've ridden pretty much every kind of big bike - Blackbird, Triumph triples, FJ1200, 'busa, v-twins, flat-twins - and the big Z beats them all for its whizzo powers of acceleration combined with stable handling and comfortable day-long touring. I get mid-50s mpg too, which is unbelievably good considering the capabilities of its engine. Good grief, what an engine.
Jumping off a Yamaha Mt01 sports tourer and not testing ZZR sports tourer before purchasing was a big gamble, I love my Mt01 and can't believe anything could match it, well looks can't!. ZZR1400 2012 absolutely brilliant 110% better in every area than other bikes I've ridden, what a bike, endless power in the dry or wet with the electronic's of course, stopping is unbelievably easy and quick. On British roads you'll never over rev the engine in any gear unless you break the law, so should potentially last for ever. Rides at any speed with ease and smoothness endless torque, ideal for any style of riding. Pillion commented: "the most confy bike she's been on. Accelerating above 8000rpm's- I'm told- there's another power band to red line 11000rpm, it's mind blowingly quick upto 8000, track here I come after running in. You don't notice a pillion is with you and has no effect on performance. Quality of the bike is on par with the Mt01, vast improvement for Kawasaki. It Goes around corners with shear ease and confidence. The fuel consumption trip meter and gauge gives you average, instant and indicates when your riding economically unlike the MT01 which never had fuel gauge. With a few optional extra's the bike is even better. Kawasaki dealer ships are head and shoulders above Yamaha where I've had a bad experience with yamaha UK and local dealer. I've done 450miles so far, not quiet as comfy as Mt01 but there's no vibration like with a big vtwin. Gamble paid off and hope that this stay's a rare bike-I don't think. View based on my 2 year limited experience of bikes, returning to riding after 30 year gap. Did'nt want a tourer too slow and bulky and didn't want a sports bike with raw power and basic and uncomfy, now have the perfect compromise.
I have only test ridden a 2012 ZZR but I can safely say it handles like a sports 600 with almost unlimited power delivered in amazing smooth fashion. It also got 100% from my very expert pillion. I have put my money where my mouth is and I am awaiting delivery.