New Bikes

Yes, there's a new ZZR1400 for 2012

And no, nobody has got proper pictures of it yet

OVERNIGHT it seems the internet has become ablaze with claims and counter-claims over the reality of a set of mocked-up pictures of the 2012 ZZR1400 (ZX-14 in America).

So to cut through the confusion, here's what's really going on. It's been known for a while that Kawasaki is launching a new ZZR in October – the firm has already been putting out teaser videos (see the latest one here).

However, Japanese magazine Young Machine last month published an in-depth story about what it expects to see on the bike. As is normal these days, it knocked together a photo-montage to give its idea of what the bike will look like, as well as to add a bit of colour and visual interest to pages that, without such an image, would have been pure text.

Among its suggestions were that the ZZR will have ZX-10R-style traction control and ABS brakes, which it illustrated with photos of just those components on the ZX-10R.

So far, so straightforward. Until the pages were scanned and posted online on a forum, sending the internet rumour mill into overdrive. Some sites were fooled into thinking the photos were real. Others that the photos were intentional 'fakes' masquerading as the real thing. In fact they're neither, just images used by a magazine to illustrate a story.

What do we really know about the bike? Well, it will be launched on October 10. It will probably have traction control and ABS, just as the ZX-10R has. And it will have more power; pure speed is the ZZR's raison d'etre.

Our own sources in Japan say the bike is actually not an all-new model but an updated version of the existing ZZR, with tweaked styling – those unusual side strakes are set to stay, for instance, as are the twin exhausts and the four-headlight theme of the current bike, albeit brought up-to-date. The significant alterations are in the form of the higher-tech electronics – bear in mind that the ZZR's close relation, the 1400GTR, already has some very sophisticated electronic gadgets that could be easily transferred – and the engine's state of tune.

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