This is a -not daily- diary of my experiences with my newly bought ZZ-R's. It's a red one build in 1995 (D3), but bought in 1996 with 0 km's on the tacho, and a red 96'er (D4). They're the nineth and tenth bike I own. The predecessors were:
1996June 15, 1996, 0 km
Bought it at Beku motoren in Uithoorn for fl 25.000. I got fl 15.000 for the 'old' one. An all risk ensurance will set me back fl 1700. I'm not sure if I will take this.
June 15, 1996, 100 km
Breaking it in...
There's a terrible flat spot around 3500 rpm. My previous ZZ-R didn't have it this bad.
June 16, 1996, 600 km
Went for a ride to the Ardennes in Belgium. It's a great place to ride motorcycle. The ZZ-R rides like a dream. It's not easy to restrict myself to 4000 rpm.
June 20, 1996, 700 km
I've read something about the D3. It seems it has other carburetor jets than the previous D-models. It this the cause for the 3500 rpm gap?
The rear sprocket has changed too: it has one tooth less. Does this mean the bike will reach a higher top-speed? It's too early to try...
I've missed two or three times 5th gear while riding the bike. This hasn't happened to me on my D1. Is it because it's not broken in yet?
Questions, questions. I suspect everything will become clear when I've done some more kilometres on the bike.
June 26, 1996, 1070 km
Brought the bike back to the shop for its first service job. Besides an oil change they aimed the headlight beam a bit lower, because it was initially too high. I told them about the gap in power output and they would have a look at it. Just as I feared, when I got the bike back it still had this gap.
At last I can do more than 4000 rpm. I'll try to restrain myself, for the time being, to max 6000 rpm. This is still good for the highly illegal speed of 170kmh in sixth gear.
Average fuel consumption is 1 litre on 18.5 kilometres.
June 29, 1996, 1200 km
Well, it al ended a bit sooner than expected. The bike got STOLEN today... The thieves had to force two doors and three locks. I knew the bike was popular, but this is rediculous. I am insured for this kind of fun, so I've got to wait until the insurance company pays me back before I can buy another one.
In the mean time; if anybody has seen the following bike, contact me:
A red Kawasaki ZZ-R 1100 D3
License plate: MV-42-YH
Frame number: ZXT10D034732
August 7, 1996, 0 km
YES!! On the road again. The wait is finally over. I bought a brandnew red 96'er (D4) from the insurance money. Without taxes the bike costs 18,425 Dutch guilders (~ 11,515 US$). VAT is 17.5 %. Then we have something called BPM, which is an extra tax. All these taxes add another 7,139 guilders (~ 4,460 US$) to the price. So in total the bike did cost 25,564 guilders (~ 16,000 US$).
I've got it equipped with all kinds of thief-deterrants. For obvious reasons I won't go in detail about this.
August 8, 1996, 250 km
Breaking it in, again... The suspension feels a bit stiffer in respect to the D3. Maybe it's my imagination, or the fact that I haven't ridden a bike for more than 5 weeks. The powerdip around 3800rpm is here again. So is the problem with engaging 5th gear: I missed it twice...
August 14, 1996, 961 km
First service job. Just the routine stuff.
According to the service-manual chains on Kawasaki's built after 1995 need only be greased each 600 km, this was 300 km. Likewise, oil must be replaced every 6,000 km, this was 10,000 km. Somehow these numbers seem a little random to me. Ah well: I guess Kawasaki knows best.
Just some few 100 km's more and I don't need to worry about rpm anymore.
August 16, 1996, 1154 km
Screwed a Givi Wingrack on the bike. This is my fourth bike I've attached it to, and I like it very well.
August 26, 1996, 2900 km
Made various trips in the last 10 days. I went e.g. to the Eifel in Germany and the Ardennes in Belgium. Both regions are great for motorbike-riding.
The bike must be broken in by now. The problems with the 5th gear haven't occurred again.
August 31, 1996, 3100 km
Tried the topspeed today. I reached 280 kmh at 11,000 rpm before I ran out of road. Since 11,500 rpm are allowed, and 12,000 rpm are possible before the rev-limiter kicks in, the bike must be able to do some more kmh's.
September 14, 1996, 3400 km
Stiffened the front fork a bit. In the beginning it felt stiff enough, but after a few thousand kilometres the stock set up was a bit too soft for me. Especially when braking hard the bike was all over the place. And I can assure you, being all over the place with a more than 230 kg heavy bike sure does raise the adrenaline level.
I tried a spring preload with three marks visible, and added one click to the rebound damping force adjuster. I've lost a little bit of comfort with this set up, but the bike sure feels better when riding fast.
I had the bike Dynojetted today at Ruud Fredriks Dynojet in Goes. Making a run on a Dynamometer can tell you a lot about your bike. Some specs distilled from the print outs of my previous D1 and my current D4 ( pic of a run through the gears, and a pic of the horsepower and torque curves):
I guess the reason the D4 is about 10 kmh faster in each gear, is that it has a one tooth smaller rear sprocket than the D1. Don't forget that, especially for the D4, the topspeed in 6th is rather theoretical. It's probably impossible to hit the rev-limiter in 6th with the stock set up.
In contrast to the D1 model, my current D4 already had a near perfect setup.
So there wasn't much to gain by installing a Dynojet kit. But since I already
had a kit, they installed other needles in order to make the mixture a bit
richer at more than half throttle. This won't hurt since the stock setup is
a very lean mixure in this area. The results of this treatment weren't obvious
in the print outs, but I have the feeling that the bike is a bit more lively
and responsive with these needles.
January 15, 1997, 7600 km
Had my first ride in the new year. Although the bike has been standing still for about 3 weeks outside in the freezing cold, it started immediate after pressing the starter-button. It took a while before the engine got warm, but it was great fun riding again!
January 26, 1997, 7700 km
The same bolt and collar of my fairing went missing again. This time I'm the one to blame for not tightening it well enough. I've used Locktite on the bolt so it won't happen to me again (I hope).
February 15, 1997, 8100 km
I went today to the shop for new tires. I wanted to try the new Bridgestone BT57 but the guy at the motorcycle shop advised me against it because there was another ZZ-R 1100 driver who had tried them, and he ended up with a speed-wobbling bike. So I sticked with the stock tires: Bridgestone Battlax 120/70 ZR17 BT50F front and a Battlax 180/55 ZR17 BT50R rear. I payed in total 673 guilders (~373 USD) for them.
February 21, 1997, 8300 km
Well I'll be d@$@%$md!! That @$%#@!! bolt went missing again! Happily the collar was still stuck to the fairing. I'm afraid I must check it every day if it's still tightened enough.
I had the Red Alert alarm checked because quite often it went off without a cause. I hope they've fixed it, because I hate it when an alarm (mine or one of someone else) goes off without a good reason.
March 9, 1997, 9600 km
I went for a daytrip today. Somewhere along the (high)way I passed an -I thought- Suzuki RF900R. Looking in my mirrors I saw he was pursuing me. "Ah!" I thought: "This optimist wants to have a lesson in high speed riding." And I opened the throttle a bit more. Doing around 230kmh the Suzuki was still there... Having a better look in my mirrors I saw the distinct headlight of a Honda Blackbird! And he wasn't planning to let me go. When we drove 260kmh we had to end our test because of the traffic. My first impression of the Blackbird is that it's fast, at least as fast as the ZZ-R. But that wasn't really a surprise.
March 21, 1997, 10000 km
Reached the 10,000 km mark today. Looking back at the past 7 months with my ZZ-R 1100 I must say that I'm extremely pleased with this bike. I suits my driving-style very well, and there aren't any negative points about it worth mentioning. That is, besides the weight and the (in)famous 3800 rpm power gap. I can live with the weight (there's enough power to drag it along), but I really don't like this flat spot. Although you get used to it...
"You're driving too fast!"
April 17, 1997, 12075 km
Well, it had to happen sooner or later: the first real damage to the bike. A collegue of mine drove backwards in his cage and touched my front right turn signal light. Now there's a hole in it, through which the wind whistles a happy tune. Since the damage to his car was a bit more severe (broken rear-light, scratches on his paint) there must be some kind of justice...
April 24, 1997, 12225 km
Today the bike went for its 12.000 km service job back to the shop. Besides the normal replacement of oil, oilfilter and spark plugs, the front brake pads and 13 valve shims had to be replaced. I've got a new turn signal light now too.
There was one other thing about my bike that wasn't in order: the inlet camshaft had pitting. This camshaft will be replaced within a few weeks under warranty.
April 27, 1997, 12400 km
This sunday has been reserved for a while for the "nl.motorfiets lentetoertocht 97". It was a touring trip organised by one of the frequent posters in the Internet newsgroup "nl.motorfiets". A lot of newsgroup users (about 45) participated in the event. Even the miserable weather couldn't spoil our fun. Because it hasn't been raining for a while, the roads were quite slippery now when it at last started. I had a moment when the new brake pads bit into the front disc. Due to a bit of luck and a lot of experience (or was it a lot of luck and a bit of experience?) I could keep the big sucker straight up.
ZZ-R owners manual page 44
April 30, 1997, 13000 km
April 30th, the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their queen.
May 20, 1997, 13600 km
Today the bike got a brand new inlet camshaft because the 'old' one had pitting. It didn't cost me a penny because I have still warranty on the bike.
June 12, 1997, 15000 km
I had a new rear tire fitted today. The stock one: Bridgestone 180/55. The previous one lasted only 6900 km. I guess this circuit training day was pretty harsh on the tires.
ZZ-R owners manual page 44
July 12, 1997, 16250 km
Today the front tire was replaced. I drove about 8200 km with the previous one. Usually the tire lasts a bit longer. It must have been this circuit day that made the difference.
Bunch of ZZR's
July 13, 1997, 16500 km
Today was the first Dutch ZZ-R Owners Day. We met in a small town near Arnhem. We could make a trip and/or spent our time talking about the ZZ-R. I decided to do the latter. There were about 15 1100's, a few 600's and one 250. There were two 1100's with sidecars too.
C- and D-model with sidecar
July 21, 1997, 17000 km
A day to remember: the ZZ-R 1100 now has been officially approved as "Highly Suitable for Pillions". This approval has been given by Hanneke, the "Most Perfect Pillion" from Amsterdam.
After a ride of a few hours, during which we reached speeds of 240kmh, she just had to give this qualification to the bike.
July 23, 1997, 17500 km
Some days ago Alex asked in nl.motorfiets how he could see if his, from Germany imported, C-model had full power. He was afraid that he'd bought a to 100hp limited bike. I wrote him back that we could have a ride together, during which we could test the topspeed.
We made an appointment for last friday, but the weather was terrible. So we tried again today. This day the weather was near perfect for doing some high speed tests.
Alex's and my bike
In Germany we tried the topspeed. We both reached speeds above the 280kmh, so we had to conclude that his C is a full powered version.
August 7, 1997, 17850 km
Hurray!! The bike is now exactly one year in my possesion. I still like it very much. As I told before, for me it's the perfect combination of sports and touring.
Today I saw the 1998 model of the ZZ-R 1100. Still no ZX-12! It now has a two toned color scheme: red/gray or black/anthracite. That's at least one positive development: we've got a black one again.
The Ardennes revisited
August 16, 1997, 18100 km
October 22, 1997, 21500 km
For the first time after the summer I had to ride through temperatures below zero (-2 Celsius). I drove on the highway and the needle of the temperature gauge hardly left the left corner. Maybe it would have been better to partly cover the radiator?
Somewhere I've lost the cap of my right mirror.
October 23, 1997, 21750 km
Today I went to the motorcycle show in Amsterdam. All the new bikes were present.
The D6 had some minor changes in respect to the previous model. E.g. the text on the handle bar switches (like 'OFF', 'RUN' or 'HI') have been replaced by images, in order to make it more international, I guess. If there were other changes on e.g. the engine I couldn't see.
February 8, 1998, 23650 km
It's been a while since the last diary entry, but the bike runs without problems, and during the winter I don't ride that much.
Because the tires had to be renewed, I let the 24.000 km service job be done at te same time at 23.650 km. No surprises this time. The bill looked like this (prices in guilders, 1 US $ = 2.05 guilder):
The tires didn't last very long this time (front: 7400 km, rear: 8650 km). I can't remember that I've been driving like an animal, but the tires tell a different tale... Ah well, who cares? I bought the bike to have fun with it, and I sure have!
February 10, 1998, 23850 km
Kawasaki Netherlands advertises with test rides ("Make the test ride of your life") on the new ZX9R and today I thought I might give it a try...
When I sat down on the green Kawa, I could feel immediately the stiffer suspension (compared to my ZZR). I had to reach a bit further to the handlebar, but the seating position wasn't too extreme. The mirrors aren't as good as those of the ZZR, but you can expect this on a sports machine as the ZX9R. The bike had run only 1700 km, so it wasn't really broken in yet. This didn't prevent me from putting the bike through its paces. Sorry Kawasaki, but you can't expect from me that I brake a bike in on a test ride.
After warming up the engine, I played around a bit with the bike. First impressions are: it's fast (260 kmh @ 11.000 rpm, 12.000 rpm is the maximum), but not as fast as the ZZR, it's light, the brakes are great (I would like to have those on the ZZR) and it accelerates like crazy (wheelies are no problem).
Although I like the ZX9R a lot, I don't think it's the bike for me. When I would buy it I would have to buy a car too, because of the lack of luggage capacity. A rack doesn't spoil the looks of a ZZR too much, but on a ZX9R it will look rediculous.
So that leaves me (and a few hundred others) still waiting for the next generation ZZ-R 1100!