dear diary

2003

April 26, 2003, 0 km



Picked the new ZRX1200 up today at my dealer.



The first few meters with it the bike immediately felt very good: the seating position is comfortable and the steering is very light. The power felt good too. Although I couldn't try the full power, because I've got to brake the bike in first.
I suspect that I'm gonna have a lot of fun with this bike. It isn't the insane muscle bike the ZX-12R is, but it will suit Dutch conditions (i.e. speedtraps at every kilometer) better.
Too bad it's raining today.

April 27, 2003, 450 km
Boy is this bike fun! Although I'm still braking it in, I got a good idea of the potential of this bike. Like I wrote yesterday it is comfortable and very flickable. Suspension feels good too. Brakes could be a bit better, but I expect they will do a better job after braking them in too. And the engine is sooooooo smoooooooooooth. Carburation is spot on, throttle response is lovely. I suspect I can round the circuit of Assen with this bike faster than I did with the ZX-12R.

Today I drove with a couple of guys (ZZR1100+sidecar, ZX12R, Z1000) a tour of the Kawasaki Club through a nice part of the Netherlands.


First stop for some coffee/hot chocolate

Twice 1200cc in very different packages

We had typically Dutch weather along the way: rain and some sunshine, but this didn't spoil the fun.


The C2 dirty after only a few kilometers

Studying the bike from the drivers seat I noticed 2 things: 1. the light switch is gone and 2. on the fuel tank is a decal (sticker?) with a translation of a few motorcycle related terms from English to French. If I wanted a dictionary I would have bought one, and not a motorcycle!. Duh.


Where's my light switch gone?

French course for those dull moments. As if.


April 30, 2003, 860 km
April 30 again: Queens Day in The Netherlands. An official day off.
Of course I had to ride my new bike. Although the weather wasn't much: chilly and some rain.
On a stretch of highway I reached 240kmh @ 8,000 rpm. Since 10,500 rpm are allowed (after completely braking it in) there's some more kmh in it. At 240kmh the bike started to weave a bit. Nothing to get worried about, but it is obvious the bike wasn't build for these speeds.
Fuel consumption seems to lie between 16 and 19 kilometers per liter. After 220km I had to go on reserve.



Brakes feel better now. Ground clearance seems to be ok too.


May 3, 2003, 1,050 km
1,000 Km service job. The replacement of oil and filter cost me € 44.50.
Now I can do some more rpm, although this is hardly necessary with this bike: there's enough of torque.


May 4, 2003, 1,450 km
Made a longish trip today to the east of The Netherlands, included a piece of Germany too.
The bike felt good, although the fork could be a bit stiffer when riding hard. I think I'm going to try the Sport Rider setup.
With the ZRX you can wheelie too. I made 2 of them today.
While doing another high speed run the bike started to weave again at 240kmh. I guess a stiffer suspension setup will help.
I tried to slow down the bike once with only the rear brake. I immediately left a rubber trace on the tarmac of a few meters. I think the rear brake is ok.



Ride along with me on a dyke (avi 3.8 MB)

May 6, 2003, 1,600 km
The bike is now officially broken in. I don't think this fact will change my driving style (much). There's no need to do high rpm's.
I'm experiencing some problems with shifting gears. It seems like the clutch doesn't disengage always. I think my timing is a bit off. I guess I have to be more careful shifting gears. I liked the cable clutch of the ZX12R better: you could feel better what the clutch was doing. Maybe I must change the position of the shift pedal, put it a bit higher in order to built in a kind of delay.


May 16, 2003, 2,500 km
Since I'm using the bike for commuting to Amsterdam I'm really doing some serious kilometers each week. Every day there's this traffic jam to Amsterdam in the morning, and to the place where I live each evening. In the Netherlands it is allowed to drive slowly through the traffic jam, between the 2 outer most lanes. I'm getting quite good at this, and found that my speed has gone up from 40kmh to about 60kmh between the cars. Until this truck driver opened his door right in front of me. I just could avoid it, adrenaline rushing through my body. That made me aware that I was probably driving too fast for a traffic jam. So now I try to keep the speed around 40-50kmh.

By now I can make a good comparison between the ZX-12R and the ZRX1200. Well, I can be short: they are two very different animals.
The ZX-12R has a lot of power and matching suspension and brakes. The ZRX has quite some power too, but misses this 'bite', this insane rush. Throttle response on the ZX-12R is lousy, too abrupt. On the ZRX on the other hand it is very smooth. Like the whole bike ooses smoothness: the engine runs like an electrical engine: without noise and vibrations. Some would say that's a lack of 'character', but I like it.
The ZX-12R handles better around corners, mainly because the suspension is stiffer. The ZRX lets you know very early that it doesn't like to be thrown around corners: the front gets a bit restless. I still have got to try a stiffer setup.
Disengaging the engine with the clutch on the ZRX still is cumbersome. I don't know what it is. Maybe I'll have to shift gears without the clutch, since most of the times it's hardly working.
And I miss a clock, an engine temperature gauge and an accurate fuel gauge on the ZRX. Well, I know the latter can't be done: I've never ever had a bike with an accurate fuel gauge. The indicator (needle, or lcd indicator) always goes slowly to 'half full' and than rushed to 'reserve'.
Despite those minor gripes I like the ZRX a lot. It is a good bike to commute and to have a lot of fun with in your spare time.


May 27, 2003, 3,200 km
Had to replace the lightbulb of the front light. Pretty soon I think. Maybe the little windscreen generates some vibrations?
I still had the VisionPlus bulbs of my ZX-12R lying around, so I used one of them.


May 31, 2003, 3,500 km
A typical Kawasaki day. First I picked up the Givi E36 topcase and Monorack and attached it to the ZRX. Very easy to do, even I had no problems with it. Imagine.
The rack and case didn't improve the looks of the bike, but they will be very convenient when commuting to Amsterdam.



The ZRX with Givi topcase

While I had the tools out, I changed the suspension setup according to the advice of Sport Rider, i.e.:
Front
Preload:3 lines showing
Rebound:1 click from max
Compression:5 clicks from max
Rear
Preload:position 2
Rebound:position 2
Compression:position 2
Problem I had was with the clicks, I couldn't feel any. So I guessed a half turn was a click, but then the front compression would be kinda low. So for the compression I turned a quarter for each click. The rear setup was like stock, so I hadn't had to fiddle around here.
First impression of this setup was that the front was a bit stiffer without loosing comfort. I'll have to try it more to give a better opinion.

In the afternoon I went to a bikeshop where they had a special Z1000, ZRX day. Here I saw some very nice Kawasaki's.


Lime green line up


Z1000 race bikes


Nice Z1R-blue ZRX

At the shop it was also possible to test ride the new ZX6R and Z1000. Something I just had to do.
Mounting the ZX6R was kinda strange: where did the handlebar go? And where are my footrests? With other words: the seating position is very sporty. Too sporty for an old man like me. Riding away I thought: 'Hmmmmmmm, is this all...'. At low revs there's nothing happening. Then I found the rpm range where there is something happening: above 10,000rpm the little bike is flying, wheely'ing. A lot of fun. Mirrors suck, you can't see a thing of what is happening behind you. Rpm counter isn't great either. Nice design, but not doing its job well, i.e. informing you quickly of the amount of rpm's you are doing. I liked the noise of the RAM Air intake very much.
All in all the bike was great fun. Must be a real hoot on a circuit.


The ZX6R

After the ZX6R I tried the Z1000. Seating position was better, more comfortable. The bike felt heavier than the ZX6R, which isn't strange. because it is. The suspension felt kinda stiff, but not uncomfortable, very nice I should think. Same rev counter here... I tried the same stretch of road I did with the ZX6R a few minutes earlier. I almost missed a corner I had no problems with with the ZX6R. I guess this is because you are driving faster sooner with the Z1000 because this bikes starts accelerating harder at lower revs. So I guess I approached the corner faster with the Z1000 than with the ZX6R. Ground clearance could be better on the Z1000: I soon had the foodpegs on the ground, while not really trying it. I didn't notice the vibrations at 6000rpm I've read about, but then I didn't stay long at these rpm. Wheelies were easy to do too on this bike.
This bike was great fun too (aren't all bikes?) but it is too much a toy for my liking. I don't think it is easy to go on holiday with this bike, or to commute each day 100km.



The Z1000

After these bikes I mounted my own ZRX. Ooops, this bike is big, heavy! Or are the ZX6R and Z1000 small and light bikes? Or both. It became clear to me that with the ZRX you couldn't play around as much as on the ZX6R and Z1000, but then this wasn't my priority when buying this bike.
On my way home the bike started to slow down, just as if I was out of fuel. But I knew I wasn't. It seemed like there was a problem with getting the fuel to the carbs. Vapour lock? It is a warm day. But isn't this only a problem on injected bikes? Three times I had to stop because the bike wouldn't go further. After a while it would start again and I could ride off without a problem. Until it started to hesitate again. At a gas station I filled the fuel tank, although it wasn't really necessary. After this I had no problems anymore. Weird.
On the site of the ZRX1100 Owner's Association I read about the same problem:
"Engine stops for no apparent reason? If turning the petcock to PRI fixes the problem, look for a kinked vacuum hose going to the petcock."
I tried this, but it wasn't a solution that worked for me. But I still have to check the vacuum hose.


June 6, 2003, 4,100 km
Done more than 4,000km now. The changes to the front suspension weren't that succesfull. There's still a lot of unrest in fast corners. I guess that's to remind me that the ZRX isn't a sportsbike.
The fuel starvation problem hasn't reoccurred. On the one hand I'm glad it didn't, on the other hand it stays a kind of time bomb: you'll never know if and when it will happen again.
The clutch still sucks.


June 15, 2003, 4,800 km
I'm writing in this diary for exactly 7 years now. In this time I've been riding 2 ZZR 100's (one of them only 2 weeks), 1 ZX-12R and now the ZRX 1200. Of those bikes I liked the ZX-12R the most. Less comfortable than the ZZR or ZRX, but that power! Still I had a lot of fun on the ZZR's and still have fun on the ZRX. I think the next bike will be a more sporty one, though. Most likely a Kawasaki. One of the Ninja family? Time will tell.


June 17, 2003, 5,100 km
Well, actually nothing new to report. Bike works fine. I think the chain should be adjusted, but I will wait until the first service job. It has been a long time a go since I've adjusted a chain myself for the last time.


June 22, 2003, 5,555 km
Went for a short trip of about 150km with my brother and the brother-in-law of his wife. During this trip I tried the Yamaha FZ600 Fazer of my brother and the Suzuki SV650 of 'the other guy'. Trying the Suzuki confirmed my opinion about 2-cilinders: nice, but not for me. It's something you've got to get used to I think. E.g. a 2-cilinder brakes very hard on the engine. Besides that, the front suspension on this Suzuki was very, very, soft. Which isn't good for handling, braking, etc.
The Yamaha was nice, comfortable. Of course I missed a bit of power, but I can see why it is a bestseller in the Netherlands.


First and only stop


June 27, 2003, 6,000 km
Time for its first service job. Too bad I don't have time this weekend to have it done, so it has to wait another week.
I saw today an English girl on a green ZRX1200R in Amsterdam. Pretty sight :-).


July 1, 2003, 6,200 km
Got pulled over by a traffic cop today. I was standing behind a car before a traffic light when it went green. The car didn't move, so I waited. And waited. At last I honked and he moved. Slowly. Deliberatly slow, to show us followers he was in control? I couldn't stand it any longer and I overtook him where it wasn't allowed. Right in front of this cop. So he pulled me over and told me I did something which wasn't allowed. Oh? Luckily I didn't get a ticket. Just a lecture from this copper who was almost as old as I am riding motorcycle. Duh.


July 4, 2003, 6,475 km
First service job. Just an oil change, check up and some greasing done. Oil cost me € 35.00, labour € 25.00.
The bike is ready for the next 6,000 km. I think I'm about halfway the tires. That's a better average than with the ZX-12R :-).


July 8, 2003, 6,666 km
And that's two. Another front light bulb went to smithereens. For € 7.50 I had another one. If this is going to be a habit I'll have to replace it about every 3,200km...


July 28, 2003, 7,666 km
Nothing to report actually. All's fine. Except for that d*mn clutch. Tires still seem ok. It's been a long time I've done so many kilometers with tires.


August 10, 2003, 8,500 km
Europe is suffering from a heatwave. In the Netherlands too temperatures hardly ever experienced before are reached. At temperatures above 30 celcius motorcycleing isn't fun at all. So I don't ;-).



August 14, 2003, 9,000 km
At last temps went down to a more tolerable level. Of course I immediately took the bike for a spin. After a while I started to feel my bottom. Due to the soft seat, or because I'm not used to make longer trips anymore?



August 31, 2003, 10,000 km
Yep, crossed the 10,000 km mark today. Bike's still fine, except for the clutch and/or gearbox: they still suck.
Today I attended a daytrip of the Kawasaki club. I rode with a group consisting of 3 ZX-12R's, 1 ZZ-R1100 and 1 ZR7S. We had some showers along the way, but that didn't spoil the fun.
Somewhere en route I lost the silencer of one of my earplugs. Riding without the plugs I wondered how I could have been riding for about 15 years without any earprotection: the windnoise was very loud. The engine sounded a bit rough too, but it is a Kawasaki after all.

Start of the tour

While surfing the web I saw a 400cc Japanese version of my bike. Ain't it cute?

Little ZRX

Last week Kawasaki at last made an official announcement of the ZX-10R. The bike looks great, although I'm afraid it might be too sporty for me. Still, I sure would like to give it a go.

ZX-10R


September 26, 2003, 12,000 km
Time for a big service job. I've made an appointment at my dealer for October 16th.
The 2004 models of the ZX-12R are looking very good. Especially the black one. This might be my next bike. Money permitting.



On the net I came across a pic of the most handy car I've ever seen. This one together with a black ZX-12R. Mmmmmmmmmmm. A guy can dream, can't he?


Stuff dreams are made of...


October 4, 2003, 12,400 km
Stiffened the suspension a bit more: spring preload front: only 1 ring showing. Spring preload back: 1 click more, compression and rebound damping 1 click more too. Weather permitting I'm going to try these settings tomorrow during the last tour of this year of the Kawasaki club.


October 5, 2003, 12,700 km
The weather seemed fine, so I joined the Kawasaki club tour. It could be I've overdone the stiffening up of the suspension. It felt quite rigit now. Although it was nice to have more feeling about what the rear end was doing. Feedback was a little vague lately.
I will try it a bit longer, I might get used to this setup.


October 12, 2003, 13,300 km
I want a sidecar too! It's a babe magnet!
This sunny sunday Tom (ZX-12R), Teunis (ZZR1100 + sidecar) and I went for a ride. We arranged to meet at a McDonalds. I was there first, later Tom and Teunis came, shortly followed by a car with two girls. One of them asked whose sidecar that was and said that it was a big wish of here to ride in one. Teunis said it was his and in no time the two of them went for a short ride.

 

The girl was very enthousiastic when they came back and, I believe, found it a pity that the ride had been so short. But hey, we were there with a mission: I was going to try Tom's very special ZX-12R (for details see: http://www.kawabeest.tk, I hope your Dutch is any good). The bike has all kinds of goodies installed and has 195rwhp, so should be big fun.

 

And it was. I thought that mounting the bike would be very familiar, but strangely enough it wasn't really. The ZX-12R looked big to me with the fairing in front of me. Seating position, of course, was more sporty than the ZRX, but wasn't too uncomfortable. After a few km's the ZX-12R feeling came back and I could start to enjoy the power.
Because the balancer has been removed the bike was a bit rough in some rpm ranges, but never disturbingly so. Second gear power wheelies were no problem at all (I've been told). Racing on the highway the bike just kept on going. Because of the way Tom has tuned this bike the power curve was very smooth and the horses could be very well controlled. Because of this I asked myself 'how many hp is enough?'. I mean, when 195 horses can easily be controlled, 210 can be too, and 225, 250, 300? As long as powerdelivery is smooth you can dial in your speed yourself: 100, 150, 250, 320kmh? There all there at a flick of the wrist. That being said I decided to not drive the bike back home, because I started to enjoy myself too much and was afraid I would get overenthousiastic.
Mounting the ZRX again it felt surprisingly more flickable than the ZX-12R. Steering was lighter, probably because of the wider handlebars. Although I've stiffened the suspension it was more soft than the ZX-12R's, but felt good to me. With the ZRX you can't play with the power as much as with the ZX-12R, but still it felt ok, the ZRX is no slow-coach.


October 16, 2003, 13,700 km
"Interesting" day today. This morning I brought the ZRX to my dealer for a service job. As I loaner I got a H*nd* CB500. It must have been a 25kW version too, because the thing hardly would go forward. In the Netherlands we have this rule that you are not allowed to ride bikes with more than 25kW until you are 21 years old and have a drivers license for more than 25kW. I pity the guys and girls that have to do with 25kW or less. It just isn't humane to ride 130kmh with full(!) throttle in topgear. I remember those days I had a bike that would go that fast in 1st gear.


The CB500 finally made it to Amsterdam

In the afternoon I got a phonecall from my dealer: the bike was ready, but there has been a little mishap: the mechanic who made a testride fell over with the bike and damaged it slightly. Well, I thought, if it's only slightly and when all is repaired then there's no real harm done.
Curious I drove home after work, riding the CB as hard as that d*mn thing could.
I was rather surprised when I saw my bike: the whole left hand side was damaged: big dent in tank, headlight broken, instrument cluster broken, indicator lights gone, windscreen gone, luggage rack damaged, and so on. This was more than "slightly" damaged.

 

Fortunately everything will be replaced that's even been (really) slightly damaged, question is only when this can be done.
Because I didn't want to ride that #$%%$^^&&@#@!! CB again I got a CB600 Hornet to ride until my bike is ready. Quite a decent bike, even if it is a H*nd*.



Oh, I almost forget: the mechanic was slightly damaged too. He hurt his elbow. That'll teach him.


October 21, 2003, 13,700 km
Phoned my dealer today to ask about my bike. They said the parts were delivered, except 3 pieces. Those 3 are on back order now and they couldn't tell me when the will arrive. I guess I'll have to entertain myself a bit longer on the Hornet. It is not a bad bike. I don't particularly like loud pipes (I think the saying "Loud pipes saves lives" is being made by people that don't know how to ride and are unable to anticipate what the other traffic is going to do) but this Hornet could use one: it is awfully quiet. One other thing is the filler cap: it isn't attached to the tank with a hinge so you'll have to put it "somewhere" when refeulling.


October 24, 2003, 13,700 km
Still haven't got the ZRX back. It's not a big problem. Especially since we've got the first snow this winter. Winter? It's still autumn!
I don't mind letting the Hornet taste the salt that have been scattered on the roads. Rather the Hornet than the ZRX.
Btw other negative point of the Hornet is the itsy bitsy teeny weeny fuel petcock. I thought H*nd*'s were ergonomically perfect, but this small petcock is a big <g> mistake. The ZRX has a man's size petcock, like it should be.


October 25, 2003, 13,700 km
Visited my dealer today, to tell them to hurry up. I had a look at my almost finised bike and it all looked like new. Except for the parts they are still waiting for. I got a new instrumentcluster too, so my odometer reads 0km again.
The mechanic, who had fallen with my bike, collided with a car, that didn't give him right of way, with his own scooter that same week too. He'd better stayed in bed that week.


November 2, 2003, 13,700 km
Still no ZRX. They're still waiting for some parts.
Today I went to a dealer who had the ZX-10R on display. The bike looked great. Of course the seating position was very sporty. Can't wait to give it a try.

 


November 6, 2003, 13,700 km
Phoned my dealer again. They told me the parts are expected next week. At the end of next week the bike should be ready. They hoped.
The Hornet is starting to bore me. There's only some power at the upper rpm levels and the bike is as quite as... ehhh... a H*nd* with a stock exhaust? Kawasaki always engineers a nice sound in it's bikes, even with stock exhaust.
Next sunday there's a meeting of the Kawasaki Club, and I have to attend it with the H*nd*?! I hope they let me park between the 'real' bikes and hopefully the won't expel me as a member for going astray.


November 7, 2003, 13,700 km
Ran out of gas somewhere on the highway and managed to put the Hornet on reserve despite the micro-switch. After only 15 or 20 km's the bike started to hesitate again, out of reserve gas too? Already? Luckily for me the next gas station wasn't far and I barely could get to the fuel pump. When I stopped the bike stalled: out of gas! #$%$^%#&^!! H*nd*. I want my reliable, powerfull, great looking, good handling, comfortable Kawasaki ZRX1200 back!


November 9, 2003, 13,700 km
Attended today the last Kawasaki Club meeting of this year. Happily nobody objected to me parking the Hornet between the Kawi's. I guess it was quite obvious that I had been forced to use this bike instead of my own.
On the meeting was a man from the technical investigations part of the police, who told something about reaction times and braking distances and stuff. Quite interesting.




November 14, 2003, 14 km
At last! I've got my bike back. Not without troubles though.
I picked it up early this morning and went to my work. After a few meters I saw that the right mirror wasn't aligned right. I saw the left part of the road in it, instead of the right part. Well, no big thing I thought, I can fix that easily.
After 3 kilometers the speedometer stopped working. D*mn. The cable probably wasn't attached firmly enough.
When I wanted to turn right and used my indicator light the left one started blinking. Well @#$%!@#!! that @#$$%#@@!@ of a mechanic! He'd fixed the lights the wrong way around. When I find a phone I'll give them a piece of my mind!
Positive things: the power and torque were back! Lovely.
After work I went back to the dealer and they offered their apologies and fixed things. Since they usually did a good job I didn't made a big thing out of it.
At home there was a speeding ticket in the mail. Not for my bike though (I never drive too fast on my bike, <bg>) but for my car: I did 111 kmh were 100kmh was allowed. I got this ticket when I went to see the ZX-10R with my nephew on November 2nd. When we got back I saw a speed trap on the other side of the road and pointed it out to my nephew. I know, he said, I'd seen it already when we went to the ZX-10R. WHHAATT! You little @#$##$@#!!@#, why didn't you tell me? I saw it too late to warn you, he told me. Oh, allright, that's ok then. And that's another 40 Euro for the State.

Btw, costs for the service job were:
PartsNumberTotal Euro
Forte 2 Motor Power18.71
Spark plug433.24
Air filter123.68
Oil filter15.29
Front brake pads263.60
Rear tire BT020R1180
Oil3.235.33
Brake/clutch fluid47.72
Coolant2.517.75
Small stuff13.40
Labour4210.00
Environment tax14.54
Grand Total:593.24
I got a discount on the tire, and 50 euro extra because of the 'little' mishap.
BTW As you can see the km-count start at zero again because the instrumentcluster has been renewed too.


November 18, 2003, 115 km
I've found something in which the ZRX is worse than the Hornet: its horn. The Hornet had a bigger, noisier, horn, which can be very usefull.
Another thing that stroke me was that the ZRX is so much bigger and heavier than that other bike. I have to get used to it again.


November 30, 2003, 800 km
Visited today the Motorrai: the biggest Dutch motorcycle show where importers show their new models. It was not as busy as previous years, but there were still a lot of people. My main interest was of course the Kawasaki display with the ZX-10R and updated ZX-12R. The black version of the 12 had a nice metallic accent in the paint.
Here the ZX-10R, ZX-12R and a special version of the Z-1000:

 



December 12, 2003, 1800 km
It getting quite cold overhere. Temps are around zero celcius. They've been scattering salt over the roads again against freezing. I know the bike can't stand this very well, so I've got to clean it asap. Riding every day 45km to and fro my work is quite uncomfortable at these temperatures. Each time my fingers start freezing. It is rather difficult to remove your earplugs with numb fingers, I can tell you.
The ZRX is fine. Starts everytime at one press of the button and runs very well. In fact you can hardly tell it is a bike with carburetors. Even when the bike is still cold it runs without hesitation. Very well done Kawi! I think the only reason one would choose for injection is the environment. Although the ZX-12R used so much fuel, it cannot be good for the environment...
Only spoil sports are the clutch and gearbox, but I've written that before I think ;).


December 17, 2003, 2200 km
When starting the ZRX at my work the headlight lit up brightly and immediately went out again. That's another broken bulb. I fixed it at the nearest gas station because it's quite dangerous to ride with only city lights through the traffic jam.


2004


January 3, 2004, 2200 km
Haven't touched the ZRX for two weeks now. I've had a vacation and the weather was to bad/cold to ride.
Today I had a look at it and except for some corroded disks the bike looked fine and started at the first try.
They predicted the temperature will get higher the next few days so I might use the bike again to go to my work on Monday.


January 13, 2004, 2800 km
The gearbox has learned a new trick: sometimes when I put it in neutral, and the green light comes on, and I release the clutch, it will jump into first gear again. Very funny. Not! Up until now I always had the front brake engaged, I'd rather not think about what will happen when I'm not braking...


January 28, 2004, 3800 km
Because of the snow we are having today I went to my work with public transport. I really do not like public transport: they leave from a place you aren't at a time you don't want to leave, you aren't certain of a place to sit and they arrive at a place you don't want to be at a time you don't want to be there, you've got to wait between connections and you've got to walk a lot. And it's expensive.
Enough reasons to stay away from it, but sometimes there's no choice. The forecast is that it will get warmer at saturday, so I can clean the bike and prepare it for the next week.


January 30, 2004, 4000 km
Well, I couldn't wait any longer. Temps are above zero and the snow has gone. Almost. There was still some snow and ice before my garage and I had to drive the bike about 50 meters over it, carefull to keep it upright and with just enough speed. I made it to the main road and was off again.


February 3, 2004, 4500 km
We had today the earliest warmest day ever: over 15 degrees Celcius. Motorcycling is much more fun when temps are above 15. I made my first 'wheelie' this year.


February 21, 2004, 5250 km
Winter is back again: had to ride yesterday through subzero temperatures to my work. No fun at all.
I've detected the first rust on the ZRX: it's time this this winter is over.


February 25, 2004, 5550 km
Weather looked fine when I left this morning: cold, but dry. When I was halfway it started snowing. Ok, I thought, no big problem as long as it melts immediately. Later it stopped snowing and the highway was kinda glimmering in the sun. Must be water I thought. Until I got a better look: ice... What! ICE!?!? #$%@#$%@! Very cautious I dropped my speed, careful to not touch the brakes, that would be fatal. When I noticed the ice, I was driving in the middle lane, and now cars were passing me left and right. Not pleasant either. Fortunately after a couple of hundreds of meters the ice seemed gone, but I still didn't trust it. Very cautious I steered the ZRX to the right lane and with a 'speed' of about 80kmh I rode to Amsterdam. I was very happy when I arrived safely at my work.
I think I will go with public transport tomorrow. Beter to be safe than sorry.


February 26, 2004, 5550 km
Hmmm, that didn't work either. With the bus I got to Utrecht to hear that there weren't any trains going to Amsterdam because of the snow. So I returned home again and phoned my boss that I had to take a day off.


This doesn't look like a lot of snow, it's enough to
create chaos in the Netherlands



February 28, 2004, 5550 km
At the end of February, the starting shot for the new motorcycling season is each year given by the second hand motor show in Utrecht. I guess, looking at the snow we are having, the real start will be postponed a few days, but the show was still worth a visit.


Strange looking ZRX


ZX-10R


Last Dutch made motorcycle: Van Veen OCR 1000 with rotary engine


March 4, 2004, 6000 km
The bike is suffering terribly from this winter. Partly my fault of course. Salt, snow, rain etc. all do their best to harm the ZRX. It's a great shame, but I just don't have the time to wash it often.


March 8, 2004, 6300 km
I've done in total 20,000km with this bike now. Together with the 2,000km on the Hornet makes 22,000km within one year. I've never ridden so much in one year. Of those kilometers the most were made travelling between home and work through traffic jams, not the most pleasant kilometers. But the bike does its job well. No malfunctions and tire wear is unbelievably low. I mean, more than 20,000km with a front tire? I've never done that before either.


March 31, 2004, 7777 km
Not much to report actually. The bike's fine. A small service job is due though. And I need a new front tyre.
Temps are getting higher. Motorcycling is so much more fun at higher temps. It's getting busier with motorcycles on the roads too. It's a pity they start to hinder me as I travel through the traffic jams. I made a deal with myself that I won't go faster than 60kmh between the still standing (or slowly moving) cars. This because a few times I hardly could avoid an accident with speeds that were a bit higher. Still there are bikers out there who think that they are invulnerable and can drive faster than 60. As soon as I spot one of those dare devils I get out of the way. It's their skin.


April 4, 2004, 8040 km
A remarkable thing happened today. Remember my first ZZR-1100? The orange-purple one? I rode it again today!
Thanks to this site I came in contact with Ton, a guy whose just as crazy about motorcycles as I am. Maybe more so. We've been writing to each other for several months now and this year we first met. Today we both went on our bikes to a Kawasaki demo day. There I saw his bike for the first time and noticed his licence plate. Well, that's a familiar number. It turned out that he has bought the bike that has been mine 10 years ago!


My first ZZR-1100 in 1994




The same bike 10 years later

The bike looked a bit, let's say, used: dirty with scratches and stuff. But technically it all seemed ok. I tried it for a few kilometers and it felt all so familiar. Except for the front brakes. I can't remember that I had to use four fingers to stop the bike. For the rest the bike rode very fine. Seating position was perfect. Just the way I like it. Maybe I'd better bought a ZZR-1100 in stead of the ZRX...

The reason we were at the demo day was the possibility to test ride a ZX-10R. As Ton and I are both lovers of fast and powerfull bikes we just had to try the 10.



I first tried it and while carefully driving away I stalled it. Of course in front of all the people that came to the demo day. Duh!
The next few meters I noticed that the bike could be driven quite low in revs, there was enough torque. It was a shame we had to stay behind a forerunner, so I didn't really get a change to give the bike a go. Still it was fun. 165kmh in first gear... Lots of power. Fine brakes. But small and, of course, a very sporty seating position. Even after the few minutes I could try the bike my wrists started to hurt. So, all in all, the ZX-10R won't be the follow up of the ZRX.


April 10, 2004, 8425 km
Small service job: oil change, new front tire, chain adjusted.

PartsNumberTotal Euro
Bridgestone BT020F tire1149.00
Labour tire replacement114.00
Oil138.64
Oil filter16.78
Labour126.25
 Total:234.67

The front tire lasted more than 22,000 km! That's one positive point of allmost allways travelling through traffic jams: you have minimal tire wear. And that's about the only positive point.


April 20, 2004, 8970 km
Today I noticed that the radiator was attached to the frame with only 1 bolt. The other three were missing! Asap I fixed this.
While I was at it, I lowered the gear lever a bit, in the hope that shifting gears will go better. I'll test it tomorrow.
I lessened the spring preload too. Now 2 rings are showing. I've heard that the only thing the preload does is putting the bike a bit higher on its front wheel. It does not stiffen the front suspension, like I thought. The new setup will I try tomorrow too.


April 21, 2004, 9050 km
Surprise, surprise. Shifting has indeed improved a bit. Lowering the spring preload didn't have a noticable effect though. I think I'm going to try reducing the compression damping, so the fork will react a bit quicker on bumps, making the ride a bit more comfortable.


April 25, 2004, 9600 km
Today I took part in a tour organised by the Kawasaki club. I rode in a group with, amongst others, a ZZ-R 1100, a ZX-10R and a ZX-12R. I could keep up very well and had a lot of fun. The way we drove was a bit like the Joe Bar comic, without the accidents that is.

Somewhere along the road

During this trip I heard the rumour that Kawasaki will stop producing the ZX-12R this, or next year. On the one hand I find this strange because the ZX-12R has only been produced for four years now. On the other hand, the ZX-10R has comparable specs for a comparable price. The only thing that differs between the 10 and 12 is that the 10 is a pure race bike and the 12 is more suitable for touring. Maybe the next 12 (13, 14, 15?) will be even more suitable for touring. But then it will compete with the ZZ-R 1200. I think that at the moment the ZX-12R fills perfectly the gap between ZX-10R and ZZ-R 1200, so why stop producing 'the flagship'?


April 26, 2004, 9700 km
Exactly one year and 23,400km later after me buying the ZRX the bike still is going strong. Except for the gearbox the bike hasn't disappointed me. It has lots of torque and the topspeed isn't bad either. Tire wear is unbelievably low, probably due to me almost only driving through traffic jams. I hope to let the tires wear a bit faster this summer. There are several trips abroad planned, e.g. one to England.
Nevertheless the plan is to trade the bike in at the end of this riding season and to buy something more sportier, together with a smaller cheaper second hand bike to use in the winter. Money permitting...


Go to PART 2



By the way, I'm not the only one that likes the ZRX:

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