Kawasaki ZRX1200 Overview
At the turn of the century. Kawasaki had a strong contender in the naked muscle bike stakes with its 1997 ZRX1100. But by 2001 it had serious competition from bikes like the Yamaha XJR1300. So Team Green gave the ZRX a hefty upgrade, releasing it as the ZRX1200 for 2001.
The obvious change is to the engine, which was bumped up from 1,052cc to 1,164cc capacity, and gained an extra 20-odd bhp, now up to around 125bhp. It stuck with carburettors and a five-speed gearbox though, and was a little on the low-tech side even for 2001.
The chassis looks identical to the 1100 at first glance, with a steel tube cradle frame, braced twin-shock swingarm and six-piston brakes. But the swingarm is different, with a stronger double-tube braced design.
Another big change was the variety of models available. The 1200 came in three forms: the base ZRX with a round headlamp and no fairing, the ‘R’ version with the same nosecone as the 1100, and a new ‘S’ variant, which had a larger bikini-style half fairing, mounted on the frame. That housed a new cockpit with different instruments, and made the ZRX1200 S into a decent option for touring, or long-distance all-year commuting (a new rust-proof stainless exhaust system also dealt better with winter riding).
The ZRX1200 was discontinued in most markets from 2008, as its carburetted engine couldn’t comply with tightening emissions regulations. The 2003-on Z1000 took over the role of a big-engined naked roadster, but it didn’t offer quite the same retro style of the ZRX.
Nowadays, the ZRX1200 makes a handsome everyday machine – the S variant is still a solid option for longer trips, but most folk prefer the R or base variant with the single headlight and nosecone option – indeed, many S models are being converted back to retro style R spec.
Take a look at the ZX1200R in action…
Kawasaki ZRX1200 Spec
- Top speed155mph
- Average fuel consumption35mpg
- Seat height790mm
- EngineFour stroke, four cylinder, water cooled DOHC
Kawasaki ZRX1200 Insurance
Ride quality very good, but most bikes will need them replacing by now, loads of options for suspension on the market.
Not only an awesome engine, it's a ZZR1200 tuned for torque but it's very tuneable and loads of advice on ZRXOA.ORG
Average running costs unless you really use all the revs, then you will be filling up every 120 miles or so.
Much better than Kawasaki are known for, it's not Honda build quality. but then the bike is much better!
Brakes are six pots, some say they are a bit average, but I've no complaints
Subtle, light, flickable, it's none of these. It's long and low and doesn't really want to turn at all. But, and it's a big but, once it's gets the message it corners like it's on rails. You have to be very firm with those bars and push your shoulders into it too. Nothing half hearted. Uphill hair pins are fantastic, sweepers glorious. Downhill needs real commitment but it all works.
More grunt than I'll ever need. Cruises comfortably at anything up to 110 .
A tank range of 150 miles used to be quite decent but newer bikes get more and more miles due to improved efficiency. So group riding on often the one who has to stop first.
Forty thousand miles, fifteen countries, never let me down. Perfect. The alloy is just starting to fur a little but given the hammer I've given it....
It's a long heavy beast so takes some stopping. But the brakes do the job nicely.