Sporty – Test of the new Kawasaki ZZR1400: at 300 km-h, and fast! – Benvenuti a Nardò

Test of the new Kawasaki ZZR1400: at 300 km / h, and fast !

Sporty - Test of the new Kawasaki ZZR1400: at 300 km-h, and fast! - Benvenuti a Nardò

To present its new ZZR1400, Kawasaki has chosen the Nardò test center and its ring, a rare circuit in the world where two and four-wheel sports cars can be pushed to their limits. The watchword for the first test of this novelty 2012: gas !

Benvenuti a Nardò

Ah, Nardò! Its thousand-year-old cathedral, its baroque architecture, its fine sandy beaches … and above all its circular Prototipo circuit (ex Fiat) with a circumference of 12.5 km, allowing the maximum speeds of the most powerful cars and motorcycles to be tested in complete safety. of the world !

Suffice to say that Kawasaki – who wishes "settle once and for all the question of supremacy in very large cars"! – couldn’t have chosen a better place to present his new ZZR1400 to the European motorcycle press (read) !

The wonderful world of Nardò

The conference room also served as a "control" room, since the lenses of our cell phones were duly sticked there to avoid stolen photos of prototypes roaming the vast complex. In addition to the circular circuit, the center indeed includes two acceleration tracks, a road circuit, an all-terrain circuit and a multitude of garages and workshops. In January, we do not finally meet many people (MV Agusta F3 and KTM motorcycle side), but we still hear sublime mechanical melodies, Italian V12 in particular !

After recalling the main changes made to his flagship, the green men invited us to get on their new 2012 motorcycle to join the first of three workshops planned for this presentation: the road course

The bikes are waiting in the cold – it’s just 6 ° C deep in the Italian boot – but the Kawasaki Europe staff have taken care to preheat the engines. Under the leather suit, the temperature is also at the top: a quick little turn around the bike and we rush to the circuit !

A quick – but piercing – glance reveals some differences with the first generation ZZR1400. Aesthetically first of all, the 2012 vintage is more intimidating than the old one, with its sides scratched in a deeper way – we would like to believe that the heat dissipation has improved – its sharp optics, its hull reprofiled rear and pentagonal mufflers.

The driving position, however, does not seem to have been revised, and that’s good since the ZZR offered – and still offers, therefore – a position which perfectly matches its "sporty road" category..

The 800mm high saddle is slim enough up front to allow the short legs to touch on both sides. At the same time, the older ones appreciate that the footrests are not too high and do not excessively bend the knees..

The tank – with its covering below – continues to slightly spread the thighs, which is not embarrassing: the biker is not proud of having a big one between his legs ?!

The handlebar position hasn’t changed either and still requires the rider to lean forward to grab it. It was at this precise moment that the pilot noticed the appearance of three new buttons on the left half-handlebars….

These multifunction keys are used to manage the display of average or instantaneous consumption, the remaining autonomy, the battery voltage and – new for 2012! – the temperature of the outside air. Thanks to them always, no need to leave the handlebars to monitor mileage trips (1, 2 or total).

By first pressing the central "selection" button, you can also select new mapping modes ("Full" or "Low") on the one hand, and traction control (1 or 2 for trackers, 3 for backpackers, or "off" for rogues) on the other.

All this information appears on the digital screen – very close to the old one – which still covers the two analogue blocks of the speedometer and tachometer. The metallic contours of the latter, their black background and the Kawasaki badge elegantly dress the whole..

The increased attention that the Japanese have paid to the finish of the new ZZR is also evident in the emblems "Kawasaki" on the tank and "ZZR1400" on the rear buckle: the most attentive bikers will notice the double tone of the ZZR and the reminder of the four claws of the fairing on the "1400". Better than stickers !

We also appreciate the presence – as standard – of a rubber protective pad on the tank, which prevents the zippers of the jackets or the press studs of the jackets from scratching the paint after two trips. !

But of course, most of the engineers’ work cannot be seen with the naked eye: if the geometry of the aluminum monocoque frame is retained, its composition and rigidity have been redesigned. The engine develops 10 horsepower and an additional 8.5 Nm (210 hp with Ram Air and 162.5 Nm), the swingarm is lengthened by 10 mm, the suspension settings are changed and a torque limiter is introduced..

In addition to these mechanical evolutions, as we have discovered thanks to the left commodo, the two engine mapping modes – the softer of which gives access to 150 horsepower all the same, ie the power of the legendary ZZ-R 1100! – and the very last version of the K-TRC system, synthesis of those which equip the ZX-10R and the 1400GTR.

So many changes for 2012 that Kawasaki invites us to discover first on the road course of Nardò, then on its ring of more than 10 km and, finally, on a drag track … Ready? Gas !

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