Endurance test interim results for the Kawasaki ZZR 1400


Endurance test interim results for the Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Endurance test interim results for the Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Power touring

How does the most powerful production motorcycle manage the balancing act between traveling and racing, how does 190 hp prove itself in everyday life? And which accessories top the bolide?

You are the leader. «Buki and Hoti, two very friendly Kosovar Albanians, drive the Fireblade and Hornet 900. At the Albanian border they leave the Kawasaki ZZR 1400, the most powerful production motorcycle of all time, politely took the lead. The customs officer checks the ZZR’s vehicle registration document. Before the EU registration laws, everyone is equal: »two-wheeled motorcycle without a sidecar > 45 km / h «is there succinctly.
Extreme low-leveling given a Vmax of six and a half times 45 things: The Kawa only seals off electronically at a real 296 km / h. But what use is that if the speed limit is 120 or 130 almost everywhere in Europe? Little at the moment. And in real life it is completely irrelevant that the endurance test specimen of the promised 190 hp actually “only” lets 181 horses gallop.
Much more bothersome in everyday life that the supposed high-flyer starts all too tame at low speeds. “Little pressure from below” is the most flattering entry in the logbook. Another driver puts it more clearly: “The four-cylinder engine disappoints around the bottom.” Editor-in-chief Andreas Bildl writes: “Passage not bad ?? for a 750. «Hard to believe:» You have to downshift the ZZR for brisk overtaking like a narrow-chested 600. «A 1400 with weak torque? “You could really think,” speculates MOTORRAD tester Georg Jelicic, “the ZZR has a slip control.”
The fact is: other Big Bikes step much more into the cross without being immediately impassable. No, the ZZR lacks the thrust expected in view of the 1.35 liter displacement. In addition, the balancing hum is throttled gear-specifically. Ka-wasaki Germany is not aware of this, but MOTORRAD measured it: The ZZR increases its power from gear to gear.
The “weakest” is the 1400 in the first, it only achieves its maximum performance and maximum torque in the sixth. However, this effect can be mitigated. This is impressively proven by the ZZR tuned by Kawasaki dealer Popko. It is also much fuller in the lower gears (see MOTORRAD 12/2007).
Regardless of the gear, from 5000 tours, the standard ZZR shows its second, different face. Then she becomes the “angry brutal animal”, mutates into the “Autobahn boss”. This is how jet pilots should feel when they turn on the afterburner. But the brute performance boost comes out late, too late for country roads. 5000 revs in gears one to six already mean speedometer displays 60, 80, 100, 120, 140 and almost 160. The two-stage power development can hardly be called homogeneous.
In the city the noisy gearbox is a nuisance: when engaging first gear, the long-term Kawa kalosing hard, when downshifting into gears three to one, the shift hits hard. “Greetings from BMW,” comments a colleague. The background noise has increased over time. Can that be such poor shifting comfort with the Japanese? This is accompanied by heavy grinding noises while idling. These disappear when you pull the clutch lever, which requires tight hand force.
MOTORRAD therefore dismantled the clutch, which was hydraulically operated by a radial pump, in the workshop. However, found no defect or noticeable wear and tear. The steel disks were flat, the friction disks looked excellent. After all, the clutch has done its job 31,000 kilometers with the first pads so far. compliment.
When starting from cold, the engine now starts with a “hard creaking” sound, as if a hydraulic timing chain tensioner was running with little oil pressure. The idle speed fluctuates from time to time: “When driving off, the engine only accelerates hard and slows down,” says the logbook. An effect that was seldom and difficult to reproduce. And the digital engine management did not provide any error messages. Normally, the four-cylinder hangs smoothly and delicately on the gas and shows tolerably few load change reactions. His running culture got cultivated. Annoying vibrations are nil, thanks to two balance shafts.
Hardly measurable: the oil consumption of just 0.45 liters between oil changes ?? on 31,000 kilometers! It’s just a shame that the 1400 engine is always quite thirsty. On a long tour, the injection gargles six and a half liters of premium gasoline; Even with a homeopathic twist on the throttle, the documented minimum consumption is high at 5.7 liters. With a moderate driving style, better values ​​should actually be achieved. Over the entire test distance, consumption averages seven liters per 100 kilometers, including occasional savoring of 300 km / h on German motorways.
But Kawasaki has to work on the engine management software again anyway. So far, the U-Kat-reinforced ZZR only complies with the outdated Euro 2 emissions standard, and can only be sold by way of exception. The 2008 model must comply with the Euro 3 requirements. Then a regulated catalyst is required.
The sports tourer has only stopped once so far. After 27,930 kilometers at medium speed, the drive chain broke without notice. It was still the first, which certainly speaks for its quality. Now a bolt was broken. Whether because of a material defect cannot be clarified. Fortunately, the chain rolled off without causing further damage. The day before, the chain and the sprocket showed no signs of excessive wear when lubricated.
The design clearly shows what the ZZR is built for. She obeys the dictates of the wind, crouches low, looks long and flat. Stretched like a panther before the jump. However, the wind protection should be better. MRA’s loud touring screen provides more effective protection. In addition to this, MOTORRAD has installed a superbike handlebar from LSL instead of the wide handlebar stubs that are somewhat deep for touring purposes. It is not overly wide, but significantly higher, which significantly relaxes the otherwise very stretched seating position for smaller pilots.
The disadvantage: the front wheel gets more buoyancy with the handlebars moved backwards, and there is no longer any need to be small. The great straight-line stability also suffers: “Now the otherwise super-track-stable ZZR starts to move around the steering head from a speed of 240.” This is also due to the necessarily wide luggage system. With suitcases, there is also strong handlebar flutter between 60 and 80 km / h.
The knee angle is pointed due to the high footrests. Very strange, considering the fearful nipples of no less than 3.5 centimeters long underneath. And even with that, the lean angle is extremely generous. There would be ?? there is still room for deeper rests. The wide 190 rear slider requires a lot of inclination, rasps itself down after 4000 kilometers with courageous gasping. Hopefully the tire will hold up, this thought is a constant companion on tour.
Back from Albania: return tour through the Alps, with very little tread on the tires. Nevertheless, the 1400 still falls quite harmoniously and, thanks to the superbike handlebars, surprisingly manageable into the bends of the Sellajoch and Jaufenpass. No doubt the tires do their abrasive job really well.
Just like the top brakes. They have the speed rocket under control, anchor well dosed and powerful, do not let up when going down passes. Radially screwed four-piston calipers, controlled by the sensitive, late-acting ABS, bite safely into stylish wave brake discs at all times. Which, including pads and wheel bearings, were exchanged on guarantee after 24,838 kilometers due to brake judder.
The logbook reports little about the chassis. For good reason, it works great: “Fits nearly 300 things on the A 8, without being too tight or stubborn at country road speeds.” The compromise between comfort and stability is a complete success. The damping or response behavior of the spring elements has not deteriorated over the service life. They are still suitable for brisk power stages and sporty touring. Even on miserable Albanian roads.

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Endurance test interim results for the Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Endurance test interim results for the Kawasaki ZZR 1400
Power touring

Accessories put to the test

The accessories industry is gradually adapting to the 1400 balancing hums that have been sold around 1000 times in this country.

Bos carbon


Like the other retrofit systems, Bos uses two silencers. The easy-to-install slip-on dampers weigh 8.7 kilograms, while the standard dampers weigh an impressive 13.1 kilograms. The price is 1119 euros in carbon coated with cat and 919 euros in stainless steel / cat. The rather loud, dull-sounding Bos pots outperform the series at 3000 rpm and pack a whopping four horsepower on top.

Remus slip on

The Austrian Remus pots also sound more robust than the subtle series parts. In addition, they are very light at 6.5 kilograms and have a good fit. Like the Sebring system, they are also compatible with the main stand. The Remus dampers (price stainless steel, black, cat: from 1049 euros) only outperform the standard system between 2500 and 3500 rpm, otherwise they are on the same level or below.



No other system is so difficult to assemble: In addition to the moderate assembly instructions, there are sharp edges and the annoying fastening with clamps. The 6.5 kilogram pots offer a deep, dark, excessively loud sound. The »Evolution 2« slip-on dampers are inexpensive because they lack a catalytic converter: in aluminum from 589 euros. The extra power of two horsepower is low, the torque curve is worse.

Sebring Twister


In terms of weight at 7.2 kilograms in the midfield, the Sebring pots convince with their simple assembly and low volume with a muffled sound. In aluminum with Kat they cost 988 euros, in titanium version 1198 euros are due. The performance development was not very successful: As with Remus, the torque hole of the series alone has been smoothed at 3000 tours, otherwise there is hardly any increase, rather little reduction in performance.


The front brake pads held out a total of 17,708 kilometers; they were changed at the 18000 inspection. Soon afterwards, entries in the logbook about “rubbing brake discs” began to pile up. That is why our ZZR received two new brake discs and the eight individual brake pads on a guarantee after 24,838 kilometers. In addition, the worn front wheel bearings were replaced. Because of the low oil leakage, a new valve cover gasket was already available after 19622 kilometers, also under guarantee. The inspection costs were pleasingly low: between 74 and 379 euros. This makes short 6000 maintenance intervals a problem.

Luggage systems

Tank bag

Bags Connection

The “Engage Sport” tank bag for 149 euros fits well on the ZZR. It holds up to 25 liters. Two spacious outside pockets for small items and a holder plus pocket for the GPS (52.80 euros extra) are practical. The fastening by means of screwed retaining rings on the tank cap is full throttle (19.90 euros). When removing the tank bag, the additional straps around the steering head need sharp fingers. And a superbike handlebar bumps while maneuvering.

Porter and suitcase
Hepco & Becker

Because of the wide rear cladding, the sturdy pannier rack (199 euros plus 135 euros for the luggage rack) has to move far outwards. The result is an impressive 1.16 meters width with mounted 40 liter »Junior Flash« suitcases. So be careful when meandering through traffic jams. Both cases (set à 355 euros) hold a full-face helmet, can be easily attached or detached, or opened and closed.


The advantage of the “Quick-Lock” carrier at 179 euros is clearly that it does not look thick: The actual adapter plates for cases from different manufacturers (these cost extra) can be dismantled in no time using quick-release fasteners ?? see enlarged section. The system lacks stiffening struts from the left to the right side. The cases sit on the long lever arm, making the entire system a little unstable.

attachment parts

Main stand

SW-Motech (www.mo-tech.de)

Not a 3-D puzzle. But just the safe standing aid from SW-Motech. This means that the 1400 is stable at all times, and the highly stressed chain can be easily cleaned and greased. Jacking up is easy even for little people, the freedom from leaning is not impaired. Price: 139 euros.

Superbike handlebars

LSL (www.lsl-motorradtechnik.de)

The not too wide handlebar is higher than the series stub and moves all the way back on the elegantly milled fork bridge. Installation is difficult because the brake line has to be replaced and holes have to be drilled for the fittings. Price: 39.95 euros (steel) or 49.95 euros (aluminum) plus 329 euros for the complete conversion set.

Protective crash pads

LSL (www.lsl-motorradtechnik.de)

The rounded, pils-shaped crash pads made of aluminum are available in different colors anodized or coated. The set costs 49.95 euros, plus the mounting kit costs 99.95 euros. With the ZZR, however, assembly is difficult, and the cladding has to be stripped in a laborious manner.

Touring screen

MRA (www.mra.de)

The higher touring screen from MRA for € 75.90 can easily improve the rather moderate wind protection of the standard windscreen. It takes a lot of wind pressure off the upper body. But in spite of two openings serving for the backflow, it is deafeningly loud behind the MRA disc. Without the best earplugs you can’t stand it for long. Maybe it’s still worth experimenting with the MRA spoiler or racing screen

Tire recommendation

The original equipment leaves a much better impression in the special specification SL (front) and L (rear) than in general when testing the sports tires in MOTORRAD 12/2007: good-natured and great straight-line stability.

Sufficient grip, decent mileage, very stable

A bit cumbersome, not very precise

Good grip, very good steering precision and cornering stability make the Contis a good choice. The moderate wet grip is now said to be significantly better thanks to a new rubber compound. And the mileage is now higher?

Light-footed, handy, precise turning, good self-damping

Slips in cold and wet conditions, low mileage

Driver opinions

Surprise from the first meter

Rolf Henniges,

It works for a long time. And heavy. Against mine
1.68 meters almost like a monster. But surprise: the 1400 is not only extremely stable, it is also handy and precise to steer. An ICE that takes me to my home route 450 kilometers away. There the fun just continues … #

Nobody needs that much effort

Norbert Kappes,

It’s a tingling and exciting feeling to have a motorcycle with you
having so much power under your bum. But I can’t remember any situation where I really wanted to use it. In addition, with so much displacement, I expected significantly more pressure from low revs.

The blue miracle

Gert Thole,

I want that about the engine characteristics
Cover the cloak of silence. What is all too easy to forget during the “air pump” discussion: the great chassis of the ZZR 1400. The smooth suspension, the unshakable stability, the great straight-line clearance ?? simply phenomenal.

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