3 miles a minute on the 2012 ZZR1400

Chasing 200mph on Kawasaki's latest top-speed contender

Posted: 20 January 2012
by Visordown News

On the launch of Kawasaki's new ZZR1400, we took the bike for a flat-out run around the 7.8m Nardò Ring to see what it's capable of and if it lives up to Kawasaki's claims of superior high-speed stability.

Riding that fast on a banked circle was a really strange experience. I've maxed out superbikes before, but only in a straight line. At the Nardò Ring, even though it's banked, you still require a bit of pressure on the bars to keep the bike pointing in the direction you want to go, rather than veering off into the armco making what would surely be a 300m long pink mess.

Flat out and tucked in like a monkey clinging onto a wet rock, the ZZR reached its limited 299kmh top speed with around 500 revs to go. Roll off the throttle a touch and you don't lose any speed but this is the part where it gets weird. With so much time to sit at that speed - rather than worry about what the inside of a jail looks like - you can relax and take it all in. The bike wants to go up the banking but with pressure on the bars it sits there with just a gentle weave - probably due to me gripping the bars too tightly. I'm there thinking 'I'm doing 186mph, the bike's moving underneath me but I'm in control. I hope', there's an armco 10 feet away but everything feels calm, sedate even.

After a couple of miles I wonder what the current mpg reading is and it's only when I take my left hand off the bar to press the mode button that I realise just how quick we're going. I nearly pat myself on the back with the back of my left hand as it catches the windblast..

If you want to know what the ZZR1400 manages at a sustained 186mph, well it's a respectable 11.8 mpg. So flat-out on a full tank, you'd drain it in 57 miles. That is, if your head hadn't fallen off first.

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That's a nice video, I believe the neutral speed on the upper banking of the Nardo Ring is around 150mph, above that it needs some steering input.

I reached 205mph on my 2006 ZZR1400 on the runway at RAF Woodbridge in Sept 2006. It had a standard engine but with a 4:1 exhaust, a Power Commander and a Speedohealer to top-speed derestrict it. My bike made just over 190bhp at the rear wheel. The 2012 bike makes similar power in stock trim, I can't wait to get one.

A Speedohealer is unlikely to work on the 2012 bike but there's a man in the USA who's reflashing ECU's to remover the speed limiter and he can also do other things with the mapping such as secondary butterfly opening, mixture and engine rev-limiter. The new machine should be good for 210mph in the right conditions with very few modifications.

Posted: 24/01/2012 at 10:29

It looks slow as you say with such a large track but looking at the speeds shows it is not. I wonder how long before another of the manufacturers chase the fastest title.

Posted: 24/01/2012 at 13:29

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