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Kawasaki ZX-12R Review

Kawasaki ZX-12R 

The Kawasaki ZX-12R was first introduced in 2000 and still manages to hold the reputation of being one of the best sports bikes. Officially, production for the bike was stopped in 2006 but that didn’t stop the bike’s fans from buying the sports bike for years after, either through second hand dealers or through collectors. Owners love the bike and some even consider it to be the perfect combination between the Hayabusa, and some well-balanced fun. Let’s delve into some of the important aspects of this beast.


The ZX-1R has a great build – it is reliable and perfectly compliments the speed and power that the bike has to offer. It’s built to be roomy to help you own the road while staying comfortable. However, this does not mean the bike is big by sports bike standards. It has a unique monococque aluminum frame which makes it slim, light and relatively compact. The bike offers ample legroom though so you can zip past others with ease. The bike weighs around 231kgs but still manages to handle corners and zig zag roads really well.

To improve turn-in measurements of the model, the steering rake is set to be around 23.5, which is pretty steep for a sports bike. Along with this, the fork offset has been reduced and the crankshaft rate has been increased by 2kg. With the uplift, came the reshaping of the nose to include ram-air intake in tfe front cowling.


The engine of the ZX-12R is incredible and can produce over 175bhp. This isn’t as good as the Hayabusa but owners can boast of top speeds over 180mph. From 2002, the bike was given an uplift which included fuel injection to get you off the mark quicker. This system allows for excellent responses even when riding around  corners at high speeds. Spent fuel exits through the 4-2-1 system through the stainless steel headers. Overall, the engine can produce over 10000rpm and provides a comfortable ride.


If you actually take a look at your bike, you notice all the things that make the bike so fun to ride. Other than the obvious speed and consequent buzz, the bike comes with a complete and well-desiggned dashboard. This dashboard has a digital display with 2 trip meters, an odometer, a clock, and the fuel gauge. Traditional analogue speed meters are also present and are easy to read no matter what your riding position is.

Transmission and Chassis

The handling for the ZX-12R is amazing and changing gears is effortless thanks to its six-speed transmission. Both the clutch and the lever pull are easy to handle as well. All these improvements have to do with the increased shaft diameter which offers a better feel while changing gears.

The chassis of the bike was also redesigned to add more weight to the front of the vehicle such that it remains planted at high speeds. This has worked wonders as the bike offers no instability while zipping through traffic on the highway. Slow speed corners are where the ZX-12R’s deficiency and weight starts to become noticeable but this is negligible for everyday users. Those looking for track riding are supposed to use bikes like the Blade, GSXR and R1.

The entertainment factor

Although most of the monococque frame is well hidden, the bike manages to stun onlookers with its exposed parts in the rear. The bike is covered in powder-coated alloy frames and plastic covers that mix well. These are paired with a carbon fibre exposed fuel cell, that leads to the huge end can that is highly visible and is part of the signature Ninja look. You can arrive at your destination in style with the powerful brakes that can slow down the beast rapidly.

The verdict

The Kawasaki ZX-12R is a bike that is perfect for riding at all times. Be it in traffic or on the highway, the bike can offer a smooth, comfortable ride. If speed gets you going, then this bike is perfect for you with its high speed and power balance.  It’s an exciting bike to ride and is super fun to cruise in. It can compete with bigger bikes in terms of speed and handling. Long rides become desirable when you own this bike with its 110-130 miles mileage offering. Speed is inherently present in the bike, and even the stock models can reach speeds of up to 198mph, given the right conditions.

The only downside is the seat height which might be a deterrent for shorter riders. Adding to this, the bike may require professionals to get fixed and requires servicing every 4000 miles or so. As long as you maintain your bike well, this information is negligible. If you’re thinking speed, power and reliability, the ZX-12R is the bike for you.

Kawasaki ZX-12R Review was last modified: May 10th, 2019 by Alan Charnock