Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Your wish is my command
From the mailbag:
"Hey Tim, when are you going to write a review of your new bike? Come on! I demand to be entertained in selfish ways by the free service you provide!" - Eddie
Well, I kinda thought I already did that, but whatever -- you asked for it, you got it:
My new (to me) 2004 ZRX1200R
I had been threatening to buy a ZRX1200R since it first hit the US market in 2001. I himmed and hawed for several years, looking for the right deal, and all the time feeling no sense of urgency since I already had three bikes in the garage. But when I read that the '05 would be the final US model and the '06 would be the last European model, I started actively searching.
It took over a year, but I finally picked one up from a dealership in West Texas. It's a 2004 model in silver, gun metal and black -- just like the one pictured above.
I can sum-up the Z-Rex in two words: Hang on.
Contrary to many of the other ZRX1200R reviews you'll read, the Rex is not necessarily a high-horsepower motorcycle. With oversized jets and a free-flowing race exhaust, mine only dynos 116.6 bhp at the rear wheel (about 130 at the crank). What the ZRX1200R is, however, is a high-torque motorcycle with lots of rotational force immediately available from idle. Amazingly, my Rex dynos almost 90 foot-pounds of torque in the mid-range, a gobful of available wheelie magic requiring only that you tuck-in and twist the throttle. As a result, the bike can deliver its power in a most violent manner when mocked by an inexperienced or otherwise unexpecting rider. This is probably why the Z-Rex has earned its reputation as an old-school brute that loves to spit overzealous pilots into the ditch.
From a handling standpoint, the 2004 model suffers from a vague-feeling front end off the showroom floor that requires careful adjustment and, if you're me, some high-performance suspension bits to overcome. I realize it's not a full-blown sportbike, but two of my other motorcycles (a 2000 ZX6R and a 2003 ZX7R) definitely are, and the difference in handling is something I can't live with. A plethora of suspension upgrades are available for the bike from the likes of Fox and Ohlins, so don't fret if the Rex leaves you feeling less than confident in the twisties.
All-in all, you can't go wrong with this motorcycle. I like it because it's a fantastic piece of retro-futurism that looks like an old ELR Kawasaki, but bolts to terminal speed like a fighter jet. Buy one today. This bike has long since arrived at cult status. Just Google ZRXOA and you'll see what I mean.
As usual, Kawasaki delivers another cooler-than-cool motorcycle. This bike gets 9 out of ten stars, and my devotion forever.