Review Kawasaki ZRX 1100
It looks like the legendary Z 1000 R. Fein. And it should be a real torque miracle. Claims Kawasaki.
An ordinary motorcyclist get-together, somewhere in the northern Black Forest, in the middle of winter. Passionate gasoline conversations. The frost-plagued biker has to pass the long months until the long-awaited spring with something.
“The new Honda XX is supposed to go 300, have you heard?” A unanimous murmur. Almost anyway. The knee slider anecdotes leave you cold. Günter Rothfuß, good friends can call him Önal. Drives a Suzuki GSX 1100 E, built in 1986, the Önal. With 60,000 kilometers on the clock. But looks like new, the good one. Önal never wants to part with her. Because only one thing counts for him on a motorcycle: torque. If possible without end. The top speed doesn’t interest him. He wants to move forward quickly but relaxed and not worry about the current gear when overtaking.
“Stay away with your yoghurt cups,” he would say, “why don’t the Japanese just build motorcycles again without anything, but with a lot of torque?” Build them, Önal. For a couple of years. Above all Kawasaki. The Zephyr 1100 caused quite a stir. All other manufacturers had to add more. But none of this is a reason for Önal to give up his GSX 1100 E. Why should it, because with the values of this Big Bike you can still make a state after twelve years. 97 Newton meters at 6500 rpm. Actually enough.
But not for the Kawasaki ZRX 1100. With 106 Newton meters at 6000 tours, it not only plays a league higher in terms of torque. It’s unbelievable what the Kawasaki technicians can conjure up from the fat four-cylinder – it comes from the GPZ 1100 sports tourer. Tamer control times ensure more thrust from the lower speed range. On the other hand, he doesn’t like high speeds. Fortunately, there are enough alternatives for friends of double-digit revs, including from Kawasaki.
One can argue about the appearance of the new “old”. “Nice is different,” teased one of the repainted yogurt cup group. “Looks like Eddie Lawson’s superbike based on the Z 1000 R,” says another. Right. Should she too. Not only does the expert recognize the extravagant swing arm design and the deep-drawn bench. With machines like these, now often smiled at as iron piles, Lawson won superbike races non-stop in the early 1980s. Fortunately, nothing remained of the terrifying driving behavior of the Ur-Z.
It is a pity, however, that the robust sound of earlier, fat Kawasaki four-cylinder engines fell victim to the strict noise regulations. Probably also the reason why the aluminum rear silencer of the four-in-two-in-one system turned out so huge. Önals Krauser luggage system would not fit on the rear of the ZRX. But Kawasaki is working on a stylish luggage rack. Made of aluminum, of course. The 20 liter tank can be called elephant boy compatible. You know, the big one to lash down, without a magnetic plate. And its storage space is sufficient for the long weekend in the Vosges, the Alps or just anywhere where there are beautiful narrow country roads with many curves. Which is also fun for two. The rear footrests are a bit high, but despite the more bent legs, a passenger on the ZRX feels comfortable even on longer trips.
Be warned, however, if you plan on long, fast stretches of the motorway to get to the motorcycle area. Not because of the slight sensitivity to longitudinal grooves or the lack of stability. No. Not at all. But the small handlebar fairing is really only for the look; from 170 km / h the wind blows at hurricane strength. In addition, the ZRX drinks indefinitely at high speeds: 10.9 liters when driving quickly on the motorway is too much of a good thing.
The Kawasaki feels right at home on the country road. Almost nothing of the total weight of 248 kilograms is noticeable. Fast curve combinations? No problem, changing lean angles are surprisingly easy. Also thanks to the relaxed seating position and the wide, raised handlebars. It is also nice that the brake and clutch levers can be adjusted four times. Turning behavior? Neutral, which is due to the relatively narrow 170 rear tire by today’s standards, Brigdestone BT 57 brand. A good choice. Jerking during load changes? Yes a little. But not annoying. And then this six-piston front brake system: a poem. Not as snappy as usual from Kawasaki. But easy to dose and stable. In addition, the appealing front fork and two nice, conventional spring struts at the rear, each with adjustable spring base, compression and rebound, which swallow even coarser blows without any problems. And all of this in combination with this great guy from an engine, which, however, approves of seven liters of normal gasoline even at a moderate speed. From 1500 rpm it takes on the gas cleanly, and it also has a fantastic cold start behavior by Kawasaki standards. Do you start in first gear? What for, the second one does it too. At a little over 3000 rpm the engine already delivers 100 Newton meters of torque, and that nicely constant up to 7000 rpm. Admittedly, then the last kick that many would expect from 1052 cubic centimeters displacement is missing. It does not matter anyway. Gear number four and five are enough on country roads anyway. However, switching is not particularly fun. The gears engage precisely, but only forcefully. In addition, the switching paths are too long. Not for racing boots, more a case for touring boots.
D.afür reconciles the gradation of the control center, which harmonizes very well with the high-torque motor. Arguments that will make even friend Önal ponder with his veteran GSX. Even if he is actually a thrifty Swabian.
Conclusion – Kawasaki ZRX 1100 (T)
Well done Kawasaki. Let others ride the V2 wave. You prefer to present the ZRX 1100 to us. This is called value conservative. In any case, my friend Önal would be enthusiastic about the powerful hum. And not just that. 16490 marks are a fair offer. With it you can rush comfortably and quickly on country roads. And the passenger has no reason to complain, even on longer tours. You should only work a little more on fuel consumption. Matthias Schröter
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