Kawasaki launches ZZ-R1200

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Kawasaki has given its new ZZ-R1200 an official unveiling in Paris, giving us the chance to bring you more details and pictures of the new super-tourer.

The 1164cc engine is expected to make around 145bhp, about the same as its shaft-driven Yamaha rival the FJR1300. But according to Christian Bourgeors, marketing boss for Kawasaki France, it is capable of reaching a top speed of 174mph, where the FJR is much more a 150mph machine.

Bourgeors said: ” The target price for the bike will be the same as a Honda VFR800’s. We see it as giving customers a 1200 for the price of an 800. ”

That means it should be priced somewhere in the region of £8300.

Kawasaki claims the handling is better than the ZZ-R1100 it replaces, too.

Many of the ZZ-R’s major components, including the 17-inch wheels and pre-load adjustable 43mm forks, have been lifted straight from the ZRX1200, and the chassis is a derivative of the one used on the original ZZ-R1100.

The aluminium twin-beam frame has been redesigned for added stiffness and improved rigidity and handling, with a tighter steering head angle and a new, lower swingarm pivot to help get the power down more efficiently out of corners. The aluminium swingarm is totally new, and swaps the old ZZ-R’s eccentric chain adjusters system for more conventional sliding rear wheel spindle. The cush drive and fuel gauge are borrowed from the ZX-12R

” The ZZ-R1100 was the fastest bike in the world and was once our flagship sports bike, ” continued Bourgeors, ” But the role of the ZZ-R1200 is slightly different, we have re-positioned it very much as a sports tourer. ”

As you’d expect from a bike intended to cover long distances in complete comfort, the ZZ-R1200 also has a load of touring friendly features including grab rails for a pillion and tie down hooks for securing luggage.

Colour-matched panniers are also available and there’s an under-seat plug for hooking up electrical kit – the alternator output and battery size have been upped to allow it power heated handlebar grips or jackets.

Braking is provided by twin semi-floating 320mm discs and four-piston Tokico calipers at the front, and a 250mm single disc with a single piston sliding caliper at the rear.

The rear shock features a remote pre-load adjuster to allow riders to quickly turn it up when they pick up a pillion or load up with luggage.

The stainless steel end cans have been fitted with dual catalysers to meet pending European emission regulations,

It comes in blue, silver or black and should be available from dealers in the UK by March.

See our previous pictures and story about the ZZ-R1200 (including other colours) in our LATEST ON NEW BIKES section.

There’s more on this in MCN, published on October 3, 2001.

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff