ZRX1200S Page (cont)


The handling of the ZRX was the biggest surprise. With twin rear shocks and all that weight I expected it to be a handfull in the handling dept. I could not have been more wrong. This bike feels as light as Gwyn's ER5 in corners! Even on uneven surfaces on bends it stays planted firmly where the Fazer would have become jittery and just touch the throttle and it comes out out bends like a rocket! There is not as much engine braking on the ZRX as the Fazer so the approach to bends, juctions etc. has to be done with more brakes or the approach started earlier. 

This bike is going to have serious performance when I can use it, even now just tickling the throttle dispaches whatever you want to overtake as if it was'nt there. The engine seems so unhurried whilst churning out wagon loads of torque and once in 5th you rarely have to change gear.


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The rear shocks are adjustable for preload, rebound and compression damping. The forks are adjustable for preload and damping. However, I don't think I will alter the factory setting as it seems great for me as it is. I may up the preload a notch for 2 up. The suspension seems a little stiffer than the Fazer even though I had the Fazer adjusted up 1 notch. The ride however is firm but very nice. I have read write ups on this bike and its predecessor and the Journos have always said the handling was too soft. I cannot understand this, perhaps it is because I am only light.


As you can see the swinging arm assembly is very different to most bikes and the chain is adjusted by turning the centre boss with the axle located off centre.


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One big drawback for me is the fact that there is no centre stand on the bike. This makes cleaning very awkward and oiling the chain will be difficult. If I ever get a puncture wheel removal will also be difficult. I think a paddock stand is called for although how you get the bike on one on your own I don't know as the bike will be on the sidestand at the time and at a difficult angle to lift it with a paddock stand.


Instrumentation is quite comprehensive, there is the usual speedo and tacho but also a fuel and temperature gauge. Unfortunately there is no clock as there was on the Fazer, I really found that clock handy!  The temperature gauge is very like the ones on the Scooters i.e. it does not move until stationary in traffic and when it does rise the fan cuts in below the centre points and cools her down again. The fuel gauge is a little strange as when it shows nearly empty the bike only takes just over 2 gallons, but the tank holds over 4 gallons. There is about a gallon on reserve so there must be about a gallon left when the gauge shows empty.


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The exhaust has one of the biggest cans I have seen on a bike. The whole system is stainless steel but apart from the can it is painted mat black. The exhaust is quite quiet, not as quiet as the Fazer but it has a rather nice tone as the revs rise. I would have preferred the downpipes polished like the can as I remember trying to keep the Fazer downpipes looking good was a pain! The system also contains a catalytic converter for the environmentally friendly among us.

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I am very impressed with the build quality of the bike. The Fazer came in for some stick over this but I feel this will not be the case for this machine.

There is quite a large storage area under the seat it is large enough for my wet gear, disk lock, with room to spare. I now have no excuse for not taking the camera when I go out.

All in all although I have only had the bike a couple of days I am extremely impressed with it. I was a little dubious about a larger bike as I was concerned with the weight (only weighing several ounces myself!). With this bike my fears were unfounded it handles like 500. Although there are, I am sure, those who disagree I really like the look of the bike its retro looks take me back to my earlier motorcycling days.

The ZRX has 400mls on the clock at the moment and it it is booked in for its 600ml service next Thursday. At 500mls I will be able to take it to 6,000rpm which will be around 110mph in top gear. The first 400mls at 4,000rpm has not been bad at all as this equates to about 75mph. My friends have still had trouble keeping up with me on the twisty bits but left me for dead on the big dual carriageways. But not for long though HaHa!!

I have now covered 600 mls on the bike and from 500 I am able to rev to 6,000rpm. However I have not really had the opportunity to do this as the roads over the Bank Holiday weekend were a little busy. I did get her up to 5,000 which is just over 90mph and the mirrors vibrated worse than ever. I could see there was something behind me but I could not tell what it was! These mirrors need re-designing Kawasaki!!!

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I did have one scary moment when I had stopped in the mouth of a driveway to turn round. The surface was a bit uneven and the ground was not where I thought it was. I ended up with the bike at an angle - and it felt like it was going over with me on it! At this point I felt the weight of the ZXR and only just managed to hold it. As I struggled with it the throttle opened and the poor thing really revved. It must have hit the red line - not good for an engine with only 500 mls on it.

I have also found out the hard way that the side stand is not safe on the slightest incline. I had the bike parked up outside Gwyns garage, a place where I had regularly stood the Fazer  there was only a slight incline but it managed to roll forward off the stand. Luckily I was still there and it trapped me between it and the fence that runs down the side of Gwyn's house. The bike only suffered the mirror folding in and I got a nice bruise for my trouble. The side stand is quite short and goes only slightly past the vertical so should the bike move forward at all it will fall!

One thing I have noticed is that the paint on the tank where your knees touch it has already started to dull. This did not happen with the Fazer but I have since checked Gwyn's ER5 and her is doing it slightly too. Is this a Kawasaki thing? I think some sort of protective stick on thingy is called for.