Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Well, it doesn’t get any more explosive, and yet more refined, than Kawasaki ZZR 1400 in the world of sport touring motorcycles, does it? No, and it won’t, at least for a while. This missile has all, the build in electronic control features to keep you as safe as possible but not a full proof unfortunately. We’ll come back to this but let’s see how this all began.

Looking back at the history in 1990, Kawasaki was proudly producing the world’s fastest production motorcycle, the ZZR 1100. With the power of 147bhp it was capable and fast machine reaching the top speed of 170mph. For the time this was a dream sport touring motorcycle that delivered everything an all-rounder should with many of us that kept it for years.

Yet again in 2006 they’ve introduced the sophisticated 197bhp machine, Kawasaki ZZR 1400 with its limited top speed of 186mph. The unrestricted top speed remains still open to many debates.

The ZZR 1400 is equipped with a very clever 3 way adjustable traction control system. This can be disabled completely, but it is recommended only if you are an experienced sport rider. On board, there is also an alternate power mode (Low) that limits your maximum power by 25%. With this the throttle response is also milder. The ability to adjust the traction control and power mode is a very handy feature and the fact that they both can be set independently give you a number of possible combinations to suit any riding conditions or preference.

How good is Kawasaki ZZR 1400 and why would you consider it?

Isn’t it just a heavy missile that goes well on straights runs? Will it offer you the fun of a sport motorcycle when the roads get more twisty? Sure, it can help you gobble up large distances on motorways with so much ease offering spacious and comfortable position. But despite its weight (269kg wet) the handling is agile. The wheelbase isn’t as long as in the Honda’s Blackbird but it doesn’t belong to short ones either. In fact, it is exactly the same as the Hayabusa’s 1480mm. This gives the ZZR superb stability on high speeds with as little as possible compromise on turning capabilities. The suspension has been truly refined with stiffer springs and restudied damping which feels excellent. It may not be as quick in turning as the lighter sport bikes but it is surprisingly easy to ride fast on twisty roads. The rake angle is only 23° vs 25° on Blackbird and 24.2° on Hayabusa which from the structural perspective ZZR1400 should give the bike much better turning abilities on tight roads than the other two bikes. However, because the Kawasaki is a little heavier, it may not feel that obvious.

It accelerates to 60mph in just 2.7 seconds and to 100mph in 5.5 seconds. That's just insane!

If you happen to approach your next turn faster than you thought, there is more than enough break power to slow you down quick with the 310mm break discs at the front and the radial fitting callipers. The ABS come as standard from 2008 with few very important modifications from that year on to make your life easier. Those modifications were around the fuelling and exhaust management system. As a result, Kawasaki ZZR 1400 produced now more power in mid-range and at the bottom end which made the bike a little smoother and more user friendly and powerful below 6000 RPM. Above all, the fuel economy was improved and the 200 miles range on a tank makes now the ZZR very effective sport touring motorcycle.  

The body work was designed in the wind tunnel so on longer journeys or colder days, you will stay well protected from the wind. The seat height is low and the foot pegs aren’t too high to give you ample legroom.  The bars are placed in a way that you don’t have to stretch to reach them. The front is narrow which makes it easy to keep the knees close together in any riding conditions and when you stop your feet are well placed on the ground. In our opinion the blend of comfort and performance is perfect which makes Kawasaki ZZR 1400 top class sport touring motorcycle.

The choice of tyres are huge with size of 120/70 ZR17 at the front and 190/50 ZR17 at the back. From other reviews the Bridgestone Battlax BT 023 score the highest on average considering dry and wet grip, feedback, comfort and wear. The millage on BT 023 range between 1k miles when ridden hard to 4.5k miles and anything above 3k miles with the bike of this weight we think is very good.  

Do you own or have ever owned the ZZR 1400?

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