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World’s first test: ZZ-R1200

Published: 25 March 2002

Updated: 19 November 2014

We’ve been riding in France to test the new ZZ-R1200 for the first time.

The full test will be published in MCN, out on Wednesday. But here are our first impressions:

i. Even the updated engine has a slightly vibey old-style feel when you rev it.

ii. It may be tuned for more mid-range than all-out top-speed punch, but the ZZ-R1200 remains one of the fastest bikes on the planet,

iii. It’s supremely comfortable and though it feels like a big bike, it takes on back roads like something much smaller.

iv. The changes put it back into Hayabusa territory. It’s nothing amazing, just a package that can take on everything you throw at it and do it at speeds you wouldn’t believe.

v. The bars are wider and higher than the old bike’s, the pegs are lower to give you more leg room and the seat is big, luxurious and very welcoming. Like the old bike, the dash is plain, but comprehensive. There’s a temperature gauge, fuel gauge, speedo, rev counter and a digital clock.

vi. Nothing prepares you for the new bike’s gorgeous whining sound and instant thrust off the bottom end. Hit 8000pm and it’s really hauling, with loads of torque and loads of power.

vii. Line it up for a corner and the bike needs a bit of effort to set it up, but the whole experience is very predictable. Give the ZZ-R enough time to react and it goes in predictably and holds a tight line.

Once it’s cranked over in a long bend it just starts to get a little weave on, but cranking up the rear pre-load makes it a bit stiffer and responsive.

viii. Start really working the new four-piston Tokico calipers and you can feel the weight beginning to overpower the brakes, but 99.9 per cent of the time the set-up is spot-on.


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