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ZZR1200. What to love and hate?

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  • ZZR1200. What to love and hate?

    Hello. I do not own ZZR1200 yet. Considering now and I would like to hear current owner’s voice.
    I would appreciate if you could honestly tell me real pros and cons on ZZR1200.

    What I think based on what I hear and read.

    Pros: Awesome power. Higher RPM
    Dependable best out of 90’s Kawasaki technology. Carbs, no ABS. Chain drive
    Great handling. Sharp turning in.
    Low price.
    More “sports” than “touring” C14. FJR etc.

    Cons: bad vibration.
    Riding position (clip on too low. Legs are too tight. )
    Not great window protection.
    Break feel and stopping power.
    Heavy when energize is off.

    I have been riding since 16 on and off.
    Last 15 years. ‘96 VFR750. ‘98 superhawk. ‘01 ZRX. ‘01 Yamaha Roadstar (cruiser bike - not my thing but only bike I have now after Rex is gone last year)

    I sold REX to get fund to buy car for my 16yo son. But i got itchy for non cruiser bike. More sports touring
    I can not afford garage queen so reliability is very important for me. But Honda in-line 4 bike does not do much for me. Superhawk was fun.
    ZZR1200 seems to be good price (really cheap) however no ZZR1200 near me (Atlanta GA area)

    Young active 50 yo. Able to ride supersport for fun but do not wish to own myself. Lol. 5’9” 190lbs inseam 30in (short leg)

    if you could share your experience (maybe compared to my previous bikes) I would appreciate it.

    Thank you
    Last edited by Mcdoggy2000; 04-19-2019, 05:38 PM.

  • #2

    I believe the ZED and REX are comparable in terms of horsepower and weight. The ZED might have a bit more HP though. They are both BIG bikes. Then again, you are dealing with 1200 cc engines and steel frame parts.

    Of course, the ZED is going to give you much better wind protection and be a better sport touring machine than the REX. Definitely sportier than a C 14 or FJR. The bike handles as well as you'd expect for a bike of it's size and weight.

    As for the brakes, I never had an issue with mine.

    The vibration I believe you are referring too is/was typically due to the carbs needing adjusted and resynched. I never experienced the issue with my '02 model.

    As for riding position, I never had an issue with legroom or the clip ons being too low. I'm 6'2".

    For the money, I don't think you could find a much better bike. The few shortcomings you MIGHT encounter should you buy one can be easily overcome.

    Believe me, we've been fooling with these bikes since they were introduced in 2002 and there isn't a problem or solution we haven't encountered.

    Ironic that you can't find a ZED near Atlanta. We used to have our Annual Rally's at TWO in Suches and many of the attendees were from Georgia.

    Anyway, if you liked your REX I believe you'll like a ZED.

    Keep looking, they're out there. Hell, for the price they are going for you could pay to get one shipped to Atlanta.

    Welcome to the site and feel free to post up any other questions you might have.

    I have neither the time,or the inclination, to explain myself to a man, who rises and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner, in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say 'thank you' and go on your way.


    • #3

      I was in the market for a ZED and had to settle for a REX initially.

      I have neither the time,or the inclination, to explain myself to a man, who rises and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner, in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say 'thank you' and go on your way.


      • #4
        Thanks Mike for quick reply.

        Just curious....are you Oregon Duck? From your avatar logo.
        I went u of o from 1989:to 1993. Eugene, OR was hippy town when I was in school but now looks cleaner. Lol

        yes, main reason considering ZZR1200 is same engine. ZZR got bigger carb and more hp. With 6 speed

        I used to meet guys at Delonega area so I know Socha well. And many club hold meeting there.
        I like sports handling at twisties more than drag racing straight way. So ZZR seems better than c14( maybe not in my budget now) or FJR.
        Forward riding position won’t be issue for me on mountain. Just at low speed or freeway bar handle conversion might be good compromise.

        I join forum member do get best solution for each bike’s weakness or problem.
        I am really reglet selling Rex now but window protection was major negative when I ride with C14, BMW friends. so ZZR is attractive.

        I woulda like to join the meeting when I get ZZR1200.



        • #5
          I can give a little input on the ole ZED. I bought mine (2002) in April of 02. I really didn't know exactly what to expect.
          I'm 6'2" and around 210lbs. I've been riding for around 45 years and have had a few bikes over the years, not many, but a few.
          The ZZR1200 has been the best bike I've ever owned, and I ain't (or it) ain't done yet. This thing fits me. Both riding style,
          and ability. It hauls ass when you want, putts around when you want (a little heavy when real slow) but does it all.
          Very well too I think. I'm just giving the all around report on it. There are faster, better handling, better braking, I know.
          But, like was said, this bike can still hang with most, be forgiving, and get the job done, day in and day out. Mine's
          been my therapy for 17 years this month. .Mine has had some minor things done to make it mine
          (seat, slip-ons, carb shims, 2005 front forks) and other little nit-picky things, I still enjoy riding it, every time I get on.
          I'll bet you there's not a whole lot of riders that can't make that statement, honestly
          "If it ain't broke, don't fix it...
          but sometimes it just needs a mod"


          • #6
            Well I have owed about every model of Kawasaki that’s not a cruiser. My favorite to this day is the 02 Zed. 02 is the fast year !
            find one , buy it , love it squeeze it and call it Gorge.
            Dads Little Girl, Collette, I Miss you everyday !
            Nina once told Me "Dont worry dad Big fishes take care of little fishes"


            • #7
              Dude, what the others said. And I too have a 30 inch inseam, leg room was fine for me. Keep looking, they are out there and they are tremendous bike for the buck!
              "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids


              • #8
                Thanks for your comments.

                I agree ZZR1200 got best cost performance which is perfect for my situation with 3 kids (2 more cars to buy for kids in few years)
                Extending search to Kentucky to Florida and hopefully enjoy the ride.

                Hopefully, join this club soon with my ZZR1200.


                • #9
                  Love my 05. Of course the only other bike I've owned is an 84 GPZ 550....Here's one in PA. There were a couple of low mileage ZZR's on the local craigslist recently as well.


                  • #10
                    That looks like a nice bike Scott ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

                    Here is one that I found on Cycle Trader

                    It's only about 4.5 hours away from Atlanta.

                    The seller might be a little high on price but it appears to come with bags and racks at least.

                    Don't know what the OP's price point is???????????

                    There are a couple of more on Cycle Trader.
                    I have neither the time,or the inclination, to explain myself to a man, who rises and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner, in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say 'thank you' and go on your way.


                    • #11
                      I had a zzr for about 7 or 8 years. Actually at one time i had an 02 and an 05..combine i rode about 85k miles. Many 650 miles per day loop i use to do. The seat was not great for long ride, the Corbin was an inprovement but not fantastic. Im 5"7 , 30 inseam and about 165lb. No problems moving the bike around in the twisties, or in traffic (use to commute to work everyday) very stable at high speed.
                      Brake line (like most mc) should be replaced with braided line. A fork brace make a big difference.
                      I had a bit of vibration in the handlebars but added some heavy bar weight and it was good to go. A bit larger screen is better. So nothing really major for con...a bit more power would have been nice

                      Sent from my LG-LS998 using Tapatalk



                      • #12
                        I had my 05 for about 7 years but didn't ride it much after I bought another bike. But that was more down to a change in needs rather than not liking the ZZR1200.

                        As already said, they are a big, heavy bike with plenty of useable power. I bought mine with the idea that I'd do some touring with my wife, but it didn't happen. I ended up using the bike for half day rides on back roads near Auckland, which isn't what it's best at.

                        It's a great bike for the wide open spaces, where you can open it up and use the power. It corners well on smoothish roads but the weight, long wheelbase and suspension are limiting factors on tight, bumpy roads.

                        Good size for me at 6'1. Yes, it was tight for my long legs but lower pegs fixed that without really affecting ground clearance.

                        Wind protection is OK. No, it's not a BMW RT, but keeps most of the wind and rain off. I could never find a screen that I liked and still have a small collection on the shelf! Went back to stock in the end.

                        Brakes are fine with decent pads. I also had to replace the rotors as they were warped when I bought it.

                        Very little vibration if the carbs are synced and the valve clearances correct.

                        They are hard on rear tyres - the most I got was 6,000 miles and it was well gone by then.

                        "You don't get slower with age, you just get more cautious." Michael Rutter

                        06 Ocean Blue ZZR1200, the coolest colour.
                        99 Yamaha R1


                        • #13
                          Thanks Moise.

                          i used to have ZRX (detune ZZR1200cc engine.)
                          Where I ride was north GA, TN & NC mountains so my rear tire BS S20 about 3500 miles. B023 or T30 around 4000mi so I know what you mean. but it is good about the motor. I think.

                          Reason on I got Yamaha Roadstar is to do 2up thing with wife (that was her idea) but both my wife and daughter prefer on ZRX or FJR/Connie type bike just because more fun on cornering.

                          As as I stated above, I do not wish to spend $6-7000 to buy Connie or VFR1200 right now so ZZR1200 around $2 - 3500 with higher mile with good maintained bike is suitable.


                          • #14
                            I have both ZRX and ZZR 1200's. ZZR is more powerful and is just fine for long hauls. Has longer wheelbase and is heavier but that is why it is better on the interstate. But if you are not looking for something to go across the country go back and find that ZRX. What possessed you to get rid of that gem in the first place ? I have the expensive LSL bar riser conversion on my ZZR, which I feel is necessary for long rides. I can now ride it all day with no problem.


                            • #15
                              Thanks for your comment ZRX/ZZR.

                              Initially. I thought about getting ZRX again. Nice one with black/purple. Or red. Mine was fastest color candy lime. Lol.
                              I remember used to ride with BMW, Connie and FJR friends(really good riders) . Full faring and 6th gear are great for skyway type high speed area. Hey 26 or war woman. I think I was faster because on ZRX. So currently, I am very attracted ZZR as nice mix of comfort and sports.

                              About riding position, maybe you are right for loans haul. I tried bar handle convention from clip on in past so hopefully get there.

                              Thank you for all of your input. And please advice and guide me when I got bike.
                              Problem solving and advice.