Kit like twin shocks, a steel tubed frame and carburettors make it sound like a right old eighties relic. But Kawasaki's ZRX1100 is nothing of the sort. All those 'dated' bits are deliberate design features to give the impression it's a bit of a classic. But the ZRX is in fact just a few years old - with enough modern day features and performance to back up its recent vintage.
Launched in 1997, the ZRX was aimed at giving 40-somethings a bike that was none too fast, easy to ride, comfy, and above all, familiar - reminding them of the bikes they rode as youngsters, before they were burdened with the wife and 2.2 kids lifestyle.
The streetbike wasn't the first of its type. Suzuki and Yamaha had already been wooing the oldies with their Bandit 1200 and XJR1200. But the Kawasaki featured slightly more up to date engineering like water-cooling (even if it does have cast fins on the cylinder head to give the impression it's not). And the bike drew upon a bit more heritage. It was styled like the Z1000R of the eighties, on which a certain Mr. Lawson won the American superbike title.
You can't buy new ZRX11s any longer, as the model has been replaced by a bigger 1200cc version. But if the Y-reg 3,500-mile example we rode is anything to go by, then that's not a problem at all. Pretty well-looked after, this tidy-looking ZRX sounds sweet and goes as well as it looks. The ZRX on test was listed for for £4495 - decent value in anyone's book.
Despite being a pretty big and tall bike, the 1100 is actually easy to manage, and once underway sheds much of its weight. It's quite well balanced, and the dominant riding position provided by its big wide bars allows you to chuck it about without much effort. Filtering through heavy traffic is easy enough, and practical touches like lots of underseat storage, bungee hooks and a fuel gauge make the ZRX more than OK for real-world riding and commuting.
Continue the used review of the Kawasaki ZRX1100