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Thread: Abducted by a ZZR

  1. #1
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    Bug Abducted by a ZZR

    Hi everyone, I am new to this forum but having been a passionate biker for the better part of nearly 20 years I decided it was about time to join and share my interest in bikes.

    I recently purchased a Kawasaki ZZR1200 and decided to share my experience over the last couple of days and hopefully get some advice from the experts. My last bike was a BMW F800s and I remember when searching for a bike (before the F800s) I looked for something sensible and comfortable for my 2 hour daily commute but with enough power to drive comfortably on the highway yet save some gas while doing so. I managed to find a F800s which ticked all the boxes, it was comfortable, had sufficient power compared to the competition, extremely reliable and was a fuel saver, plus from what I had heard, I gathered it was still a pretty wild bike when you needed it to be. It reminded me of that last long relationship you had before meeting the missus or mister. You knew she/he is wasn't the prettiest, or the best at anything but she ticked all the boxes and you were ready to settle down. Then as the relationship progressed you gradually grew more comfortable and you learned to love her/him more and more but in the back of your head you were always wondering about the other girls/guys. That was the relationship I had with the F800s and it grew on me like moss on a damp tree. Everyday I drove it, I loved it more. Although it was good at doing everything it was master of none but that was what I loved about it. Unfortunately, an inconvenient meet up with an distracted driver in a 1960s Nissan and the rear end of my F800s ended our relationship abruptly. Uncanny how it reminds me of that relationship with that girl I was talking about earlier. Except in my case the 1960s Nissan was the scrum half of the varsity team.

    Regardless, what I came here to talk about was the ZZR1200. So, after spending some time recovering from my broken hip and the missus' scorning and lack of dinner when ever there was mention of buying a motorbike, I finally mustered the courage to pull the trigger on another bike (after all it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission). To my surprise, upon delivering the news to the missus she was rather excited to be riding again. I should clarify that at this point I decided that I would no longer be commuting with a motorcycle as I made the assumption that spending less time on the road would mean that I would be exposed to less risk.

    Before purchasing the ZZR1200 I wrote down my requirements: I wanted a bike that would not break the bank, was reliable and could be serviced and fixed myself when required to do so, was comfortable (especially for the pillion rider as my wife did not enjoy the rough vibrations of the F800), and lastly was powerful enough to keep me away from the distracted drivers. I chanced upon a few ZZR1200 while searching but could never quite get past the look of the rear end. It looked sort of what I imagine it would look like if you ever surprised an alien and grasshopper mid intercourse. The VFR1200 was my original pick but try finding one in a decent condition that doesn't cost you the deposit on a house. I went through the Bandit 1200s (lovely bikes but scared myself ****less with an old 750 in varsity and swore I would never drive one again), the BMW K1200s (seemed like a money pit once I read about the complaints), the legendary Busas, the zx14s, the GS (I have a 650 at home and it's not my style) and finally arrived back at the ZZR1200. Actually, I chanced upon one for an unbeatable price that seemed in very good condition (remarkably all the ZZR1200s seem to be kept in very good condition). When looking at it, it reminded me of the old CBX 1000s which never sold well originally, probably because it looked like a vertical brick with 2 wheels welded on and it also had that weird thing going on at the tail, like the Kawa. I decided to phone and arrange a test drive and the next Sunday my brother and I hooked the trailer just in case we decided to bring the old girl back.

    It was like the first time I met my wife. I didn't know that she was the one but I knew I was in to deep. I walked over and stroked the back, threw my right leg over and immediately felt the comfort and I knew... daddy likes. I pressed the start switch and the 1165cc in-line four rumbled to life as if she was just as eager as me. Now at this point there are two things I need to mention. First, I've never had a particular like for the screaming sound of an in-line four, I much prefer the sound of a V4, a V twin, a triple or being able to retain my hearing in general. Second, I had driven bikes in the 100+ hp range before but never something quite like this. The sound the ZZR1200 makes is unique in itself. She purrs like a sleeping kitten as long as you keep your hand off the throttle but as soon as you twist the hand slightly its like the sound of Cringer in He-man. Yes, its probably a little outdated. But it reminded me of the time when motorcycles didn't have ABS, traction control, wheelie control and every other control but could still do in excess of 200 km/h. Don't get me wrong, I am all for progression but wasn't the appeal of the motorcycles in the first place to get a little bit out of control? Here between my legs was a 158 hp motorbike from the 2000s that could do 280 km/h. The fastest production carbureted motorbike built to date. This was a time when men didn't mind hair between the legs, a time when the Japanese 3 competed viciously to create the fastest motorcycle in the world, the time that Rossi won race after race on the Honda and the iconic Blackbird was built.

    Needless to say, the ZZR1200 drove like a dream. I came back from the test drive and my brother said, "you better stop smiling, or else you won't be able to negotiate with the seller." I couldn't be bothered, I was in my happy place. There is something about driving a motorcycle that brings us close to who we are fundamentally. A momentary bag of bones with a pump and organs that convert grub into usable fuel for propulsion. Yes, its raw but its what reminds me to spend some time enjoying life in between all the daily routines.

    I bought the ZZR1200 and my experience since can be summed up as basically racing home each day just to jump on her and go for a drive. It's like we're a newly wed couple (the wife gets a bit jealous). The only thing I have had to get used to so far has been the buzzing numbness at between 4k to 6k rpm. Otherwise, she runs remarkably smooth throughout the rev range. There are a couple of things I would like to know from the wiser riders on these forums who've had experience with these bikes, namely:

    1. There is some lugging in first and second gear below 3000 rpm? Is this common? Would I bee correct in thinking that it is perhaps that the carbs need to be synced?
    2. Is there any solution to the numbing buzz between 4000 and 6000 rpm on the highway? My wife and I plan on doing some touring in December and the between 4000 and 6000 rpm happens to be right where my cruising speed is in 6th gear. On short drives, its not such an issue but going down to Parys over the weekend I noticed my hand getting pretty numb after about an hour.
    3. Any other advice or things I should look out for on the ZZR1200s? Preventative maintenance and such? As far as I gather they are pretty reliable and don't tend have been hard driven or abused by their owners.

    Thank you for the advice and letting me share my story. The whole experience with the ZZR1200 reminded me so much of my first bike when I was a kid I felt I needed to share it. If anyone else would like to share their story, it would be a pleasure reading it.

    Best to you all and many safe miles.

    P.S. Will post some pictures if I get a chance.

  2. #2
    Az Dawg

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    Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing

    I'm not sure but under 3000rpm for a 1200cc sounds pretty low, I would think that is normal.
    Does it have the standard sprockets on?

  3. #3
    Lightship Captain WBro's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Great post and welcome to the TB Forum.
    All my posts are my opinion and not those of TB or any other sane human

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Az- View Post
    Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing

    I'm not sure but under 3000rpm for a 1200cc sounds pretty low, I would think that is normal.
    Does it have the standard sprockets on?
    Firstly, thank you for welcoming me. It is great to share my passion of the two wheels and to hear it is enjoyed by others.

    It might be normal, I'm not quite sure as I don't have too much experience with the 1000cc + carbureted bikes. I have driven some fuel injected 1000cc bikes and in my experience, most of them don't appreciate low revs. I was just concerned that it may be the carbs that need some balancing or cleaning. To my knowledge the sprockets are bone stock but I would have to confirm that.

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