Kawasaki ZX-9R Overview
Nowadays, the litre-class of superbikes is very common, and no-one thinks twice about it. But in the late 1980s and early 1990s, litre bikes were far from the sporting cutting edge. It was 750cc bikes that ruled the superbike roost, and litre bikes were kept for high-speed, heavyweight sporty touring duties. That changed in 1993, when Honda’s CBR900RR FireBlade was launched though. It had the light weight and sporty chassis of a 750, with the power of a litre bike, and transformed supersports motorcycling overnight.
It was a massive success, and firms like Kawasaki immediately sought to match it. Kawasaki engineers took elements from its 750cc ZX-7R superbike, and expanded the capacity up towards 900cc, and produced the first ZX-9R Ninja, the B model, in 1994.
It was some way off the FireBlade, being 30kg heavier, and while its 899cc inline-four engine was 10-15bhp stronger too, that didn’t quite make up for the weight handicap. It was a fast, stable road bike – but didn’t have the magical ‘X’ factor which the Honda offered.
Kawasaki kept working on the Ninja, gradually catching up with the FireBlade, until the 2000 E model surpassed the Honda, with more power (144bhp), less weight (183kg) and superior handling. BY then though, the FireBlade itself had been toppled by Yamaha’s R1, and Suzuki had just launched its GSX-R1000. The 900s were dead, and Kawasaki would soon launch its full 1000cc ZX-10R, and slingshot right back up the classes again.
Nowadays, the ZX-9R is still a fast, capable motorbike, and makes a stable, comfy, high-speed sporty road bike. Reliability is good, and if the chassis is maintained, modern tyres fitted and suspension fettled, you can even hustle one pretty hard around a track.
Don’t expect anything in the way of modern rider aids of course – ABS and traction control were a long way off the superbike world when the 9R roamed the Earth…
Kawasaki ZX-9R Spec
- Top speed175mph
- Average fuel consumption41mpg
- Seat height810mm
- EngineLiquid cooled, four stroke, DOHC, four cylinder
Kawasaki ZX-9R Insurance
Kawasaki ZX-9R Photos
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Nice to ride if a little heavy compared to latest sports bikes
151 engine bhp on dyno with Akripovic can and jetting. Great performance!
Lack of fuel warning light. Battery access awkward.
Have had no problems
F2 model with more powerful front calipers so brakes very good
Being an older model the ZX9R does have quite a lot of weight to it but handles fantastically well. Handles nice on corners even for new riders.
I personally like this engine. It pulls through every gear, with over 130bhp this bike has no trouble getting up to speed.
Unlike it's newer versions the c1 is rather weighty.
These bikes are built well and to last. Never let me down. Only problems I've encountered were caused by myself.
The six pot twin brakes provide very efficient stopping.
Heavy, but super smooth and balanced.
Plenty of power that is very controllable, winding the throttle slowly in the lower rev range provides a gentle surge of very manageable power. Push it up the rev range and the front lifts easily and the acceleration is wonderful.
Brakes need improving. Access to oil filter definitely needs improving too...
Superbly over engineered, high quality finish and parts.
The standard brakes leave a lot to be desired. Have fitted Brembos on the front which are a big improvement, rear brakes could also be better.
the 900 kawasaki engine is everything you would expect on a ninja smooth and powerfull the bike its self is big and heavy again in comparison to a modern day supersport but handles well
140+ bhp as standard and around 170mph for track days great power for an old bike which you can pick up for about 1500
not the most efficient when it comes to fuel but good to insure so good saving there
Kawasaki engineering what more can you say only thing to watch out for on these older models is the gearbox after 50k everything else on mine with 50k+ is running great
only down side to these older models they have the old 6 pot calipers on them they where on everything and they take a bit of maintenance easy to work on but most swap them for pot nissans
Very well balanced
Plenty of power when required
Totally fine for what it is
Just the usual running costs
6 pot callipers can give bother if not kept clean
Rides well and is well balance for long fast corners
The bike has lots of power and performance
Bike does not really have high running costs
Only replaced the battery
Six piston front brakes