dear diary
Part Two (Part One)

March 15, 1998, 25000 km
Reached the 25000 km milestone today. The bike still rides as perfectly as day one.
The winter has done some damage, I'm afraid. Especially the front wheel has suffered from water and salt. But I guess that's partly my fault: I should have washed it more often.

March 29, 1998, 25800 km
When I activate the Red Alarm it immediately starts howling. This is of course not as it should to be. I must let someone check it.

April 3, 1998, 26000 km
Hmmmm, that's odd. The alarm works fine again...

May 11, 1998, 27000 km
I finally did it! I've bought the ultimate motorcycle protection device. No more bad weather of salty roads for my baby. In those circumstances I can use the recently bought... car!
It had to happen sooner or later. Now I'm one of those good-weather-drivers I guess. FYI the car is a Peugeot 309 from 1989. Does this mean I'll make a site for this car too? Get serious!

May 16, 1998, 27500 km
Added half a liter of oil. Just to be on the safe side, considering the hot weather we're currently having.

May 29 - June 1, 1998, 27800 km - 29400 km
Kawasaki together with the NVVM (Dutch organisation for enhanced motorcycle riding skills) organised this Whitsun the so called Kawasaki Advanced Control Course. Purpose of this course was -amongst others- to enhance the mountain driving skills of the participants. Because the Netherlands are as flat as flat can be, the course was given in the German Eifel.
Eifel
The group of participants consisted of about 25 riders, all with sporty bikes: ZX9R, ZX6R, ZXR750, ZZR600, ZX10 and two ZZR1100's. The instructors, all -except two- motorcycle cops, drove bikes of another -here not to be mentioned- make.
The tour to the Eifel was a quicky: lots of Autobahn. That afternoon we drove a short tour in the neighbourhood of our hotel. It became clear to me that I could learn something about taking hairpins with my big bike.
Saturday was the first real course day. I drove in a little group of 4 learners and one instructor. The subjects treated were position on the road, using your mirrors, keeping distance and, of course, taking corners in a fast and safe way. The ZZR was a handful, but after some hours of taking hairpins I got more and more confident with it, although it never got a easy as my fellow riders did with their ZX6R's and ZX9R's.
The third day they promised less hairpins and more long and sweeping corners. Ah, I thought, this is my chance to show my stuff! And indeed in the -far too few- long corners I could keep up with the 'little' ZX's. Happily the instructor of that day drove a CBR1000, so he had the same troubles I had.
Eifel
The fourth day we drove back to the Netherlands. My bike disguised as a Grand Tourismo, because I had attached all the three Givi suitcases to it. The long weekend had been great fun and instructive too!

June 27, 1998, 29500 km
Because a bolt of the Givi rack has been broken I removed the rack from my bike. Steering feels a bit lighter without the rack, or is it my imagination?

July 19, 1998, 30000 km
Today the weather is very nice and I went for a longish day trip: around the IJsselmeer. Cruising with rather low speeds I reached the Afsluitdijk in a few hours. The Afsluitdijk is a 30 km long and straight dike with 4 lanes. Time to test the top again! Before I could really reach some interesting speeds (> 200kmh) I hit a low flying swallow. The poor animal came in hard contact with my headlight and spilled his blood over my bike and helmet.
After this incident I opened the throttle again: 290kmh @ 11.500 rpm. Not bad, but no record this time.

Skip and I and bike
Skip (right) and Ann (made photo) visiting me (left)

August 5, 1998, 30500 km
I removed some of the bodywork because of a rattle somewhere beneath the engine. It would be very annoying if I would lose something while doing 200+ (or less)... I couldn't find the culprit though, everything seemed to be in order.
Two days to go to the second birthday of the bike.

August 7, 1998, 30700 km
For he's a jolly good fellow, etc...
The second birthday of my bike. Two years in a nutshell: fun, fun and more fun!
Disappointments: none to speak of. Only the fast deterioration of the looks of the wheel rims, maybe.
What I like the most is The Engine, you know: the speed, the power, the acceleration. Doing 260kmh and then shifting to six is a big turn on. And this under the inspiring sound of the RAM Air sucking in oxygen.
The rumours are getting stronger that it will take another 2 years before the next generation ZZR (1300?) will hit the streets. This means that I've got to keep this one a bit longer. Not a big problem <g>.

August 15, 1998, 30900 km
This saturday the bike got it's small service job: new oil and filter plus two new tires. The tires seem to last less and less: 7,250 km (~ 4,530 ml) this time... The ZZR Owners Group recommends a Bridgestone BT56 on the front, and a BT57 at the rear, so I thought I might give it a try. If this combination works it could be 10,000 km of fun, if it doesn't it's 10,000 km of big annoyance. I'll let you know what it'll be.
This service job has cost me 750 NLG, that's about 375 USD. The mechanic told me the rattle could be a loose piece of metal in the exhaust. I sure hope it isn't, especially because I don't have a warranty anymore.
During the service job the mechanic saw that the front left brake pads were worn too much, the right ones were still in acceptable shape. This uneven wear pattern might be caused by a dragging left brake. I've got to have it fixed asap.

August 21, 1998, 30925 km
While I got the keys of my new appartment the bike got new front brake pads. At the garage they tried to locate the source of the rattle too. They think it's the exhaust. That's not good. Especially since I've got no warranty anymore. They're going to contact Kawasaki and ask if it's still possible to fix it under warranty. Time for Kawasaki to return a favour I guess <g>.
I had to pay 271 Dutch guilders for the replacement of the brake pads (~ 135 USD): 120 NLG for the labour, and 151 NLG for the pads.
I haven't really tried the new tires but, as far as I can tell now, stearing seems a lot more light. Maybe too much...

September 6, 1998, 32000 km
Nope, steering isn't too light. It's lighter than it has been, but never too much. The new tires are doing a great job. They give a lot more confidence in corners. At top speed (well, almost: 260kmh) they keep the bike just as stable as the BT50's did. When they last as long as the BT50's I can surely recommend this tire combination.

September 10, 1998, 32100 km
Kawasaki is willing to sell me a left-hand exhaust for NLG 490 (~USD 245). Of course a lot less than the listed new price (NLG 1392, ~USD 700), but still a lot more than what would have been the case when I still had warranty. I don't know yet if I accept this offer.

October 1, 1998, 32500 km
Well, I didn't accept it. I wrote Kawasaki that the problem occurred within the warranty period and that I thought it would be just to replace the exhaust without cost. Happily they agreeed and today the new left-hand exhaust (the expensive one <g>) has been fitted.

October 23, 1998, 32600 km
Today my brother and I went to the MotoRai: the biggest Dutch motorcycle show. For me the big questions were: was there by any change a new ZZ-R, and: is the Hayabusa in reality as ugly as on the pictures. The answers were: no and yes. No: there wasn't a new ZZ-R, there were a black and a red D7. The biggest change in respect to the D6 was that Kawasaki has painted the frame black! Now even that really nice looking frame can hardly be seen anymore. This reminds me of something a magazine wrote about the D-model line: the colour schemes were getting less and less striking, up to a point that the ZZ-R might disappear all together. It looks that Kawasaki is indeed making the bike less conspicuous so that at the end of 1999 nobody will notice that is has disappeared...

November 14, 1998, 32750 km
I've brought the bike to my dealer where it will stay dry and clean for the winter. Snif. No more 0 to 100 in 3 seconds for me for a while. No more doing 260kmh and then shifting to sixth gear. Of course I can always hire a bike when I'm getting withdrawal symptoms, but it won't be the same, will it?
At least three months to go, and counting...

1999

March 6, 1999, 32750 km
Back on the road again! Boy, were those long four months! When I first mounted the bike it felt all very familiar, and I no time I was speeding again <g>.

Jeroen's D4
Somewhere along the river Waal

July 28, 1999, 33900 km
Yesterday I came back from a 2 weeks vacation in the USA. There I've rented a BMW R1100RT and drove it for about 3000 miles. Today I tried my trusted ZZR again.
What I first noticed was the much more sporty seating position. On the Beemer you sit up straight, on the ZZR you've got to reach out farther to get to the handlebar.
The Beemer is a bit more comfortable, but the ZZR has a lot more power, is better handling, has a better gearbox, better switches for the indicator lights, etc. No way I'm going to trade my ZZR for a Beemer!

99 Hayabusa
Again somewhere along the river Waal

August 5, 1999, 36250 km
Last weekend I rented a Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa. Just to experience myself what al the fuzz was about. After 750 miles on this bike I think I have a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of this bike. Strengths: power, acceleration, topspeed, handling. Weaknesses: lack of comfort, poor build quality, engine cut out when hot above 7000 rpm.
Today I drove my ZZR for the first time after the Hayabusa. It became soon clear that my suspension needs an upgrade. Compared to the Hayabusa it's much softer and especially the front fork doesn't follow the road well at high speed cornering.
I still like the engine of my ZZR though. Although it doesn't have as much torque as the Hayabusa's it runs a lot smoother.

September 3, 1999, 36666 km
Oops, I've forgotten the third birthday of the bike. Well, it drives as good as day one, except for the front suspension. It degraded so slowly that I noticed it only after driving the Hayabusa. I've turned the spring preload adjusters almost completely in the fork and handling is much better now!
While testing the suspension I was speeding a bit <g> and a motorcycle cop who drove on the other side of the road saw this and stopped me. Because he was unable to measure my speed I only got a reprimand. He advised me to by a smaller motorcycle, like a 250cc, so it would be more difficult to drive too fast. I didn't tell him I was planning to buy the fasted production motorcycle on earth: the ZX12-R...

October 9, 1999, 37250 km
After 3 years, 2 months and 2 days I've traded my Kawasaki ZZ-R 1100 in for a Kawasaki ZX-12R.
I've been riding a ZZ-R for 5 years now, and it's time to move on, to find new challenges. The ZZ-R has been a great driving companion, but the excitement is a bit gone. I've been thinking about upgrading the bike with a turbo, but why go through all this trouble when the ZX-12R has as much power as a lightly turboed ZZ-R would make?
My dealer (Arie Molenaar Motors, IJsselstein) gave my 16.000 NLG (~7.500 USD) for the bike. I think it was a good deal. Now I've got to wait for the ZX-12R...



THE END