dear diary

2004



December 30, 2004, 4,500 km
Two years ago I traded my silver 2000 ZX-12R in for a black 2002 ZX-12R. Well, that was the intention. Alas, my employer went bancrupt and I had to sell the silver ZX-12R in order to get some financial security. After a little while I found another job at a place (Amsterdam) that more or less obliges you to use a motorcycle to get there. Although I'd prefer a ZX-12R above any other bike, rationally a more commuter friendly, less expensive bike, would be better. So I bought a ZRX1200. Fine bike, lovely power and torque and perfect to commute or to go on holiday with. But it's no ZX-12R...
At the end of 2003 I saw that the 2004 ZX-12R would be a black one with radial brakes and improved throttle response. That was a bike to my liking, and it should be my next bike.
Now, at the end of 2004, I saw a second hand 2004 with very low mileage (around 4,500km) on the Internet.


Pic of the (almost) new ZX-12R as found on the Internet

That's the one!! I thought. So I went out and bought it. Well, it wasn't that simple, since we're still talking about a lot of money, but it seems that I can afford this bike. So why not?
Next year I'm going to pick it up and I'm sure I'm going to enjoy the bike very very much!


2005


January 1, 2005, 4,500 km
I've got all kinds of (wild) plans with the new ZX-12R. I'm planning to keep it a while longer than my previous bikes, since this whole motorcycling thing is costing me more money than I like to at the moment. So it will be worth it if I spend a little more money on the bike than I usually would do.

Plans for the near future are:
  • Akrapovic titanium exhaust
  • Cut the rear mudgard
  • Smaller smoke colored blinkers
  • Iridium windscreen Decided to take smoke colored version
  • Hugger
  • Gauge faces
  • Rack to be used on holidays
  • Green citylight
  • Other headlight bulbs
  • White rearlight glass Won't do this, stock is nice enough
  • Make footrests and handles black
Plans for the more distant future:
  • Helibars
  • Braided brakelines
  • Gearindicator
  • Wave brake discs
  • Powercommander
  • K&N (BMC?) airfilters Got the BMC's
  • WP (Hyperpro?) suspension front and back
  • Corbin seat
Stuff to keep on dreaming:

March 16, 2005, 4,500 km
Finally rounded up the financial stuff and asked my dealer to prep the 12 so I can come and get it.
Immediately ordered an Akrapovic titanium system.


March 18, 2005, 4,700 km
At last the day I've been waiting for for three months.
At the dealer they told me I'd to wait some longer because the battery was drained and they had to recharge it. In the mean time I could make a test drive on the new ZX-6R. I found that not a big problem and had a few hours of fun on the 6. It's a small bike, but you get used to the seating position very quick. Although after an hour my wrists started to hurt. Because the bike was brandnew and had only about 5 km on the odo they asked me to do no more than 7.000rpm (15.000 are possible). That was a pity, but still the bike was quick. For only 636cc the bike has quite some torque. Handling is very good, every corner is big fun. Front brakes are good too, the rear on the other hand did nothing noticeable.


Back at the dealer the 12 was ready, they had to replace the battery, because the old one couldn't be revived anymore.
The seating position was more comfortable than on the 6. I found the clutch lever to be quite far from the handle bar and it is a pity that it is not adjustable. Throttle response is so much better than on the 'old' ZX-12R. This gives much more confidence in corners. The torque is great and the acceleration is awsome. I have to get used to speeds above 200kmh again, it's been a while. This is going to be a great bikeing season, I'm sure.





March 20, 2005, 4,900 km

Today I made a short trip, visited some friends and relatives.
With each meter I'm getting more comfortable with the bike. It's a heavy beast with a lot of power. Once I was travelling with low revs and decided to open the throttle a bit more. Below 4,000rmp the bike pulled nicely, above that the thing almost went without me: suddenly it rushed forward and almost pulled the handlebars from my hands. Big fun!
Powerdelivery is so smooth and the engine is making a nice whistling sound when accelerating.
At the moment the ride is quite harsh and I'm going to play a bit with the suspension set up to see if that can be improved. I'm going to order the Pazzo Racing clutch and brake levers, because I find the reach to, especially, the clutch lever too far. I'll have to change the shift lever a bit up too, because now I've got to wriggle my toes beneath it and that should go a bit easier.
In the headlights I saw some condensation, just like I've seen on my previous A1 model. On the latter it went away by itself, let's hope that's the case now too.




March 21, 2005, 5,000 km
Just as I expected two years ago, the 12 is hardly suitable for commuting. Today I went with the bike to my work (yes, to show off) and had to lanesplit through a traffic jam of a few kilometers. After a while my back, shoulders, arms and wrists started to hurt. The seating position isn't well suited either for the so called situational awareness, i.e. keeping track of all the other vehicles in your proximity. That's because it is not easy to look around on the 12. Normally you're only interested in what's ahead of you, but in the middle of a few hundred cagers you want to know what the ones near you are doing.
So, tomorrow I'll take the GT550 again. With lousy suspension, brakes and ballhead, but with an upright seating position and with a low fuel consumption.


March 25, 2005, 5,000 km
Did some work on the bike: changed the suspension settings and changed the headlight bulbs.
I changed the setup settings according to the Performance Bikes article of January 2004 (?):
Rear shock
Preload10mm of thread showing above top locking ring
Rebound1,5 turns out from full in
Compression2 turns out from full in
Forks
Preload5 lines showing
Rebound0,5 a turn out from full in
Compression2 turns out from full in
To my unpleasant surprise this setting was very, very hard. I could hardly move the fork in. So I loosend up the front a bit with a few clicks of rebound and compression. I'm afraid I've done more harm than good. Next time I'm going to ride the bike I take a screwdriver with me to make some more adjustments if necessary.

The changes to the headlights were more a success:

Below is a pic with on the left the stock bulb, and on the right the bluevision. You can clearly see the difference:


Next is a pic with the bluevision bulbs in both headlights, and with the green led as city light:


I've adjusted the gear lever a bit higher, this will be probably more comfortable.

I've bought a new helmet today too: a black Shoei XR1000 with dark visor. Kinda makes me a Ghostrider look-a-like.

Pity they put the white Pinlock attachment thingies in the visor.

Now I've got to wait for some nice (dry) weather to take the bike out for a spin.


March 28, 2005, 5,062 km
Although the weather wasn't particularly good (very cloudy, but dry), I couldn't hold it any longer and took the bike for a short ride.
Front suspension was hard, but not too bad I think. The rear felt too hard and I must try a softer setup.
In 190km I've used 16.3 liters of fuel, that's 1 liter for 11.6 kilometers. That's an aweful lot, especially with the current fuel prizes. I can't remember the A1 used so much fuel too? I thought I was riding quite decently, but I did a lot of acceleration 'tests', which must have been the cause of this extraordinary fuel consumption.
The Shoei helmet is very comfortable and has less windnoise than my previous Shoei, the XR800.


March 30, 2005, 5,062 km
Registered for the 3rd time my faulty disc lock at the Kryptonite site. Curious if I will get a response now.


April 1, 2005, 5,115 km
Today I received the Pazzo Racing levers, I'm going to install them tomorrow.


April 2, 2005, 5,257 km
Installed the new levers, which was a piece of cake. The fitted perfectly and they look great. The reach to the clutch lever is much better now.

To test the levers, and because we had beautiful weather, I took the bike for a spin.
I don't think the green led improves my visibility because I got almost run over twice by female drivers who didn't see me (or decided to ignore me). I think the all black bike, leathers and helmet don't help either. I survived those attacks and had a nice ride, still impressed by the power of the 12.


Yep, still living in the Netherlands

After 195km I had to fill the tank with 15 liters of fuel. This means a fuel consumption of 1 liter on every 13 kilometer (1:13). Still nothing to write home about, but better than the previous 1:11.


April 3, 2005, 5,387 km
On this very beautiful day the Kawasaki Club held its annual meeting for the start of the club year.
Happily the committee kept it very short so we could enjoy the weather. At the meeting I talked to some ZX-12R owners. One of them recently had an Akrapovic exhaust installed and he was very happy with it. I hope mine will arrive soon.



April 8, 2005, 5,387 km
My motorbuddy Ton crashed today with my old ZZ-R 1100. While cornering he hit some bumps and the bike got into a tankslapper. Ton lost control and crashed at a, fortunately, fairly low speed. He got away with it with some bruises, but the bike has some severe damage on fairing, levers and stuff.
A crash is never nice, but at this moment was even worse, because Ton wanted to trade it in for a ZZ-R 1200 this weekend. He's still going ahead with the purchase of a ZZ-R 1200, but now he's got to pay some more money.

Ton's tankslapper got me thinking about the company that sold plastic sheets to protect your tank. They've called their product 'tankslapper': http://www.thetankslapper.com/.
A while ago I already sought for their site, but it was not online at that time. Now I found it again and ordered a tankslapper for the 12. I think this protection is necessary because the paint on the tank scratches very easily.


April 12, 2005, 5,387 km
Today I received the UPS label from Kryptonite to send my old lock back, and I received the tankslapper which I will slap on asap. Regretfully it's a bit folded by the transport. I hope it will stick on the tank just as good.


April 13, 2005, 5,387 km
Some pics of Ton's (and mine) old bike after the crash. He has sold the 'wreck' for 1400 euro to a breaker, which is quite a decent price I think.





This saturday Ton is going to pick up an almost new ZZ-R 1200. It will be fun riding together with the 1200's: Ton with his ZZ-R and I with mine ZX-R. It will be a nice opportunity to compare the two head to head.


April 14, 2005, 5,387 km
UPS picked up the old Kryptonite lock. Let's see how long it takes before I get the new one.
The breaker didn't break the wreck of Ton, but offered it for sale on a Dutch Ebay-like site (www.marktplaats.nl). The asking price is 2400 euro.


Ton's wreck on marktplaats.nl


From May 5 till the 8th I will attend the ZX-12R meeting in France. Currently already more than 40 ZX-12R's are expected to be there. We are going with about 5 Dutch ZX-12R's.
For all the info: http://www.zx12r-clubdefrance.org




April 16, 2005, 5,387 km
Ordered today at my dealer a dark windscreen and a hugger. Stuff must be in next week.


April 17, 2005, 5,525 km
Installed the tankslapper, which was a breeze. You can see it's there, but it isn't too obvious.


Removed the dealer sticker on the front fender, greased the chain and added a little bit of oil since the 12 doesn't like a low oil level.
I softened the front and rear suspension a little bit too, since the setup is still quite harsh. I'm planning to make an appointment with the guys of Hyperpro asap to change the front and rear springs and to have a professional do the setup.
The weather was quite nice, so I made a spin with the bike. Drawback of nice weather is that insects like this weather too and start to fly where they shouldn't. When I got back I hardly could see through my visor because of the squashed bugs.
On a quiet stretch of highway I made a short high speed run which stranded at 270kmh. I think I had still one or two gears left.
Major difference between the A1 and the B3 is that with the A1 it was far more easy to wheely: I just had to open the throttle. This isn't enough for the B3, or I must get the hang of it again.


April 21, 2005, 5,525 km
One of my motorcycle buddies, Hans, is VIP chauffeur and he met today Katja Schuurman, the most famous Dutch babe. One way or another he managed to take some pictures of here with his ZX-12R:



Some guys have all the fun . For more pics see Hans' website: www.ninjazx12r.info, under 'babes'.


April 22, 2005, 5,615 km
While riding my bike to work I saw that the cap of the right mirror is missing. In the parts list I can't see they are being sold seperate from the mirrors. I'm curious how my dealer is going to solve this. Especially since I've still got a warranty on the bike.


Mirror with missing cap


April 23, 2005, 5,625 km
To my not great surprise my dealer has received the wrong screen. It was higher than stock, and I wanted just a darker stock screen. He had the hugger too, and this was the right one. It's one from Puig (cost 119 Euro) and the fit and finish is very good.


I still have got to remove the Puig sticker from it. The dealer is going to contact Kawasaki because of the missing mirror cap.


April 29, 2005, 5,634 km
Had the rear tire replaced. It wasn't completely worn, but I want to have some more tread when going to France next week.
I had the choice of exactly 1 tire: they only had a Michelin Pilot Sport HPX 200/50 ZR 17, so I took that one. I can remember I liked this tire on my previous ZX-12R. The tire cost 260 euro, a lot of money for some rubber that probably won't last very long.
The screen still wasn't in, and I forgot to ask about the mirror cap.


May 1, 2005, 5,811 km
Stood up early this morning to have the dyke for my own. Because of the nice weather a lot of traffic can be expected later. The dykes were relatively traffic-less and I could open the throttle as far as I dared. I think I mentioned before, but the ZX-12R is only fun at speeds above 100kmh. At slower speeds it's just too uncomfortable (for me). This means that The Netherlands are hardly suitable for the 12. Everywhere you have speedbumps, cameras and stretches of road with speedlimitations (30kmh...).



Just to be certain I had a look at the front tire, and it was worn more than I hoped for. Stupid of me of course to not have checked it better earlier. I'm sure I'm going to make France with it, but maybe I'll have to have it replaced over there.
The Michelin on the back did its work unnoticeable, which is good.


May 3, 2005, 5,811 km
Received my new Kryptonite lock today. Great service of Kryptonite!


May 4, 2005, 5,910 km
Today Hans mounted the Akrapovic exhaust to my bike. Although people say you can do this without removing the radiator, Hans still did this because in this way you've got much easier access to the header. Within a couple of hours the Akra was fitted and I could make the first test drive. The sound was great and the bike felt a lot more lively. Even wheelies are no problem anymore.
Now I'm ready to go to France!


May 8, 2005, 8,058 km

ZX-12R Meeting in France

Finally the day I've been waiting for for a long time: the trip to the ZX-12R meeting in Clermont-Ferrand in France.

Day 1: Nieuwegein - Orleans
There were five of us: Hans (black 2002), Johan (black 2002), Gosse (red 2000), Rob (green 2003) and I (black 2004). We decided to split the trip to Clermont in two parts: first we would ride to Orleans (about 600km), then to our final destination (about 300km).
The weather was terrible on this day: lots of rain. Twice I felt the Michelin on the rear sliding away, which didn't give much confidence. I think next time I'll try Pirelli Diablo's.


Somewhere along the way

The ride through Paris was dreadful too: lot's of (French...) traffic and you had to be very careful not to be run over.
Still we made it to Orleans and checked in into our hotel. After dinner we went to bed early because we had another long day ahead of us.

Day 2: Orleans - Clermont-Ferrand
The weather had cleared up this morning. It still wasn't warm, but dry.
We travelled with speeds up to 240kmh and at a stop Hans told us that he had felt and heard something strange from the rear. We listened too and it turned out to be a bearing of his rear wheel that was broken. With somewhat slower speeds we drove further to Clermont-Ferrand to have it fixed there by the Kawasaki dealer.


Hearing a strange noise...

We were about the first to arrive at the hotel in the center of the city and we could see all the ZX-12R's arrive. At the evening the whole square in front of the hotel was full of ZX-12R's of all kinds.


Day 3: First ride
After a nice breakfast we prepared for the first ride of this meeting. Hans went to the local Kawasaki dealer to have his bearing fixed. He would join us at lunch.
We were put in the second group. The first group was the one of the racers and it would be very unwise of us to join that group. Considering we were foreigners and not accustomed to French traffic and roads.
Soon we left Clermont-Ferrand behind us and went for the hills. Happily the guy in front was no slouch, and in no time we drove with speeds up to 170kmh over winding roads and good tarmac. I believe the scenery was very nice, but due to the speeds I haven't seen much more than curves and tarmac. Up in the hills it got quite chilly and there was even snow at some places along the road.
Tired we arrived at the lunchstop and Hans joined us again, his bike fixed. After a good lunch we repeated what we'd done that morning: riding at high speeds over good and winding roads: lot's of fun!
When we arrived at the hotel again we had done more than 300km fast tiring kilometers and after a -late- dinner we soon went to bed.

Bernard's very special ZX-12R

Day 4: Change of plans
For this day another ride had been planned, but for several reasons us Dutchies (bar one) decided to go home again: some of us had slept badly because of snoring roomies and another wasn't feeling well (probably caught a cold because of the cold weather). Another thing was the predicted bad weather on Sunday and the fact that vacations in France would end which meant a so called 'black Sunday': a Sunday with lots of traffic and resulting traffic jams and accidents.
Because of this and because we weren't feeling fit it seemed unwise to us to do another day like yesterday, it would be too dangerous. It was a great shame to miss the next ride and to miss the party afterwards.
After saying goodbye to our new French friends we first went to the Kawasaki dealer because I'd lost 2 bolts of my fairing. Those bolts probably weren't screwed on tightly enough after changing the exhaust. Then we drove to our hotel in a place north of Paris: Senlis. When we arrived there I was completely broken and probably wouldn't have made it very much farther than that. This was an indication that we had made the right decision to go home so soon.

Day 5: Senlis - Nieuwegein
After a good night sleep we had breakfast. When we arrived at the restaurant in our Kawasaki clothes we heard someone calling 'Kawasaki number one!'. In the restaurant were some Japanese men and as it turned out to be they were CEO's from Kawasaki Europe from the international sales division. Talking about coincidences.
Soon we left and head north to Belgium and The Netherlands. It seemed to be an easy uneventful last trip until Johan lost his luggage rack and luggage right in front of me in the middle of a Belgium highway. I could avoid the stuff, but a Belgian cardriver couldn't and hit the luggage which got stuck under his car. He hadn't much damage and he and Johan exchanged addresses so the insurance could take care of it. We taped the remnants of Johans luggage to the back of his bike and safely drove the last kilometers home.


Conclusion
These were great days. We've met nice people and seen and experienced a lot. The 12's behaved very well, except for some minor problems.
For my 12: it's clear that the ZX-12R has been built for trips like this, a real Autobahn-burner. I didn't like the Michelin tire in the wet and the front brakes felt a little sloppy too. I hope to change these problems with Pirelli tires and with braided brake lines.
For next year the French are thinking about another meeting, but now further south: in the neighbourhood of St. Tropez.
See you there!





May 9, 2005, 8,058 km
F*ck! Dropped the bike while greasing the chain: right footrest broken, scratches on wing and mirror. Stupid me!


May 10, 2005, 8,058 km
I ordered for the footrest thingy at my dealer. They told me that the darker screen has arrived too. I will pick things up this Saturday.


May 13, 2005, 8,058 km
Picked up the footrest holder (99 Euro) and MRA windscreen (73 Euro). They thought they had the right mirror cap too, but it turned out the wrong one (duh).
While I was at my dealers I ordered a black Goodridge braided brake line set.


May 14, 2005, 8,058 km
Washed the French dirt of the bike today. The fairing and other parts had a lot of small spots where small stones had crashed into.
I replaced the old windscreen with the new one. Fit was ok, but not perfect. Still, it's good enough. Replaced the broken footrest holder too.
When checking the tire pressure I noticed that the pressure of the front tire was 1 bar less than it should be. I find it odd that I haven't noticed this. Must be because I'm accostumed to the lousy handling of the old GT550.
While I was at it I added half a liter of cooling liquid, because we've spilled some while changing the exhaust.


May 20, 2005, 8,058 km
Got a phone call of my dealer. They've got the Goodridge brake lines, but they were (of course) a bit more expensive than their first estimate. Pity, but not a big problem. I made an appointment for the 31st of May to have them fitted. I don't want to mess with it myself.
I called a tire center which is known for its less-expensive tires. I ordered a Pirelli Diablo front tire (seems there's a special version for the ZX-12R) and am going to have it fit tomorrow. Hopefully the Pirelli up front and Michelin at the back don't clash, but I want to switch to Pirelli's front and rear because I hear good stories about them and I am not too happy about the Michelin in the wet.


May 21, 2005, 8,263 km
Had the front tire replaced by a Pirelli Diablo (the special P-version for the ZX-12R) at De Molen Banden. I decided to go there in stead of to my usual dealer because the tires are cheaper there. The Pirelli did cost 157 Euro.
When driving back home the tire felt good and I think the mix with Michelin is no problem.




May 25, 2005, 8,350 km
Took the bike to work again. While travelling through the dense traffic I could clearly feel a hesitation around 4,500 rpm. Just as if the bike has a lump in its throat and clears it at that rpm. I suspect this will show clearly on a Dyno print out. Maybe a Powercommander is able to get rid of this phenomenon .
I was able to grease the chain without dropping the bike. I'm a quick learner .
Ton and I are getting ready to go to the Belgium Ardennes next Friday. There we will enjoy the surroundings and compare the ZZ-R 1200 and ZX-12R head to head. Read all about it here!


May 27, 2005, 9,226 km
On this blistering hot day Ton (ZZ-R 1200) and I made a trip to the Ardennes in Belgium. We visited Germany and Luxemburg too. The surroundings were very, very beautiful and most of the roads were empty and had a good surface. Our big Kawi's did very well on these roads.
On the way to Belgium I tried Ton's ZZ-R 1200 and I immediately noticed the comfort of this bike. The seating position and wind deflection are very good. The bike has lots of power and unnoticed you drive very soon too fast. This would be the bike for me to travel through Europe. The big fuel tank and moderate fuel consumption are a big plus too.
Me back on my 12 again and Ton on his 1200 we rode through Belgium, Germany and Luxemburg and had lots of fun. After a few hours enjoying the roads we headed home again. We took the highway which was very boring. For entertainment we made some high speed runs. To my surprise my ZX-12R started to weave at speeds above 270kmh. Maybe the Pirelli and Michelin aren't a good match after all. We will know when I have Pirelli's front and back. For the rest this has been a trouble free day. The 12 behaved and performed very well and the power is still awe-some.
After 14 hours and 875km I was home again, tired and sweatty but very pleased with this great day.
Some pics:

Closed circuit of Spa-Francorchamps

Windmills

At a dam

The dam

Somewhere in Belgium

Somewhere in Luxemburg

Without words...


May 31, 2005, 9,296 km
Today I had the Goodridge braided brake lines fitted. They look nice and you can clearly feel that the brakes work better. It still was a lot of money (222 Euro, with 40 Euro labor). More than I thought it would cost, but hey, this is an expensive hobby.


June 8, 2005, 9,354 km
While riding to work on the 12 I could really try the new brake lines, and I like them a lot. Well, the front ones that is. I hardly ever use the rear, and when I do I can barely feel it's doing something. But the front brakes are great now.
Once the bike surprised me (again) with a hard rush forward when passing the 4000rpm. I'm curious what's the cause of this behaviour. Can it be the oval throttle cable attachment thingy? Because of this, after a certain point the throttle suddenly opens faster than before...


June 19, 2005, 9,858 km
Father's Day. Something I regretfully don't have to 'worry' about, since I don't have a father anymore. But with the fathers on their beds eating their breakfasts it would mean that the roads could be relatively empty. And to make that even more certain I left pretty early (7.00 hr.) to have a spin.
And I was right: the roads were empty! I drove for over 2 hours over abandoned roads and dykes and had a lot of fun. The 12 was great, powerfull (of course), nice handling and the brakes with the new lines were great and powerfull too. I rushed from corner to corner and there just was no stopping me.
Around 9.00 the roads were getting busier and it was time to return home, to enjoy the rest of this beautiful sunny day.


July 8, 2005, 10,400 km
Today I got the sad news that one of the French ZX-12R riders I've met at the ZX-12R meeting in Clairmont-Ferrand, Bernard, has died in a motorcycle accident. Bernard was a nice, fun guy who will be dearly missed.

Bernard and me


July 12, 2005, 10,500 km
After taking the XJ to work for a week, today I used the 12 again. Boy this bike is fun. The power, handling, brakes, all is so fine. Sometimes I doubt about the sense of a ZX-12R in The Netherlands, but winding on the power made me forget any doubts. Acceleration just never stops and is so addictive. Great, fun bike!


July 16, 2005, 11,015 km
Bad day for my self-confidence and self-esteem. And for my wallet.
Ton and I wanted to make a test ride on an Aprilia Tuono. Just for fun. Neither of us is thinking about buying such a toy. We went to this shop that had a demo Tuono and we agreed that I would make the first run. Ton would follow on a demo Yamaha FJR1300, a bike he's seriously considering as replacement for his ZZ-R 1200. We drove for a while and the Tuono was fun to ride: lot's of torque, swift in steering and light.
We stopped for a traffic light and had to make a right turn. Light went green, I drove off and just before the bend I used a little front brake to drop some speed. Wham! Front wheel locked and there I lay on the tarmac (again...). A combination of rather aggressive brakes and a little dirt on the road must have been the cause of this. The bike was still rideable, but the damage will be quite expensive: scratches on screen, right mirror and right indicator light, broken brake pedal, dent in exhaust. I have myself a small graze wound on my right arm and some bruising on my upper right leg. My ribs just have healed from the previous accident. I'm getting too old for this...
Before this ride I had to sign an agreement stating that in case of damage I had to pay a maximum of 2,000 euro. I estimate the damage to be at least 1,000 euro and possibly a lot more, depending on damage on exhaust and maybe frame.
Not a good start of my vacation of the next 3 weeks.
Oh, I had a go on the Yamaha too. Not feeling too confident though. After the wild ride on the Tuono the FJR felt heavy, lacking power, slow, not much fun. But this impression doesn't really count considering what happened right before.


July 22, 2005, 11,015 km
Today I received the detailed bill for the damage I presumably have caused on the Tuono. Those guys have put things on it I've never heard of, and have put things on that's in my opinion not been damaged by my fall. Something's fishy.




E.g. I've got to pay for painting the rear fork (that couldn't have touched the ground) and the 'achter rem hendel' (rear brake lever) is mentioned twice. I think I've got to pay those guys a visit and give them a piece of my mind.


August 3, 2005, 11,015 km
Talked to the guys of the Tuono. It seems the bill had been quickly prepared and wasn't te final version. Strange story, but all in all the final version came up 1,000 euro less expensive. Still a lot of money, but there might be a possibility I can claim this on the insurance of the 12.


August 4, 2005, 11,204 km
Made a short trip with my nephew through the nice Dutch countryside. This trip once more confirmed my opinion that the 12 isn't really suitable for relatively slow riding. Still we had a nice day.


August 26, 2005, 11,810 km
Today Ton and I went to Ten Kate Motoren. They held the so called 'Pit Stop Days' and you could make a dynojet run for free and have your suspension set up. Since we're Dutch we couldn't let this free thing just pass by.
Ten Kate owns the Winston Ten Kate Racing Team and knows how to build fast bikes. They use Arrow exhausts and the service truck of the Italian company was at the Pit Stop day. In this truck they had a Dynojet and my bike was one of the first to make a run that day.


On the Arrows dyno

The result of this run was quite surprising: 186 rwhp!




The Italian racing engineer found it a bit too much for a road bike, but I didn't mind. He told me that 186 rwhp was about the amount their Honda 1000cc racing bikes are making.
Ton's ZZR-1200 was tested on another (Dynostar) dynojet. His bike made 130 rwhp. On this dyno they measured the oxygen/fuel ratio too and Ton's bike was too rich at lower rpm's.


Ton's bike on the dyno

A mechanic of Ten Kate had a look at my suspension and lessened the compression damping with 2 clicks. I think the suspension is ok now.
To make this already nice day even better, I got a phone call when I was at home from the bike shop I borrowed the Tuono from. The guy told me that the expert of the insurance company agreed with the damage report they had made and that it was almost certain that I would have to pay nothing. Nice!


August 31, 2005, 12,100 km
A service job is due. When the financial situation allows it I will have it done asap.
Noticed on this hot day that the cooling system is leaking a little bit. On the radiator are some white spots from the dried liquid. Mustn't forget to tell the mechanic when doing the service job.


September 13, 2005, 12,100 km
Good news: my insurance has paid for all the damage on the Tuono! Saves me more than 2,000 euro!


September 16, 2005, 12,100 km
Today Kawasaki released all the info about the new ZX-14 aka ZZ-R 1400.



I think this bike has arrived 5 years too late. If it's meant to be a Busa-buster than they should have made this bike in stead of the ZX-12R. Now, with the voluntary speedlimit, the topspeed war is over and there's little use in building a 200+ bhp bike that would have been capable of doing 200 mph. I don't think the consumer has been waiting for a bike like this. Although it's interesting to read that the ZZ-R 1200 community is quite happy with the bike (see e.g. www.zzr1200.net) and the ZX-12R guys really don't like the ZX-14.
I fear that the ZX-14 is going to replace the ZZ-R 1200 and the ZX-12R. Replacing the 1200 is understandable, because it isn't a great success, but I can't see this bike as a follow up, an upgrade, for the ZX-12R. The 12 is probably more sporty than the ZX-14. Without reading test (and riding the bike myself) I cannot tell if the 12 is indeed more sporty than the 14, but anyhow the 12 has a more sporty look.
Maybe the ZX-14 will eventually grow into a sports-tourer like the Yamaha FJR1300 (better wind protection, shaft drive), a bike many people are waiting for since Kawasaki doesn't have a bike like that in its line up.


September 17, 2005, 12,100 km
Just as I feared: Kawasaki USA has confirmed that the ZX-12R and ZZ-R 1200 will not be produced anymore. A sad day...
I suspect that this year the bikes will be on the pricelist as left overs from last years, just like they've done overhere with the ZZ-R 1200 before.
No more big Ninja...
On the up side: that means I've got the latest and most beautiful model!


September 18, 2005, 12,658 km
Today I made a tour with 8 other ZX-12R owners from the Dutch Motor-Forum.
It was a very beautiful day with nice company.

Oldman's tattoo on his left shoulder

TPS cover gone...

BTW Noticed today that one of the dual valve control thingy covers is gone...


September 22, 2005, 13,030 km
This evening I drove for the first time in the dark with the 12. For the first time in almost 9,000km! At last I could test the new headlight bulbs, and they did a great job. Because I didn't expect to return home in the dark I had the (very) dark visor on my helmet. Not something to recommend if you want to see something...


September 29, 2005, 13,250 km
Measured the tire pressure this morning. Front ok, rear only 14 psi! That's odd, because I haven't noticed this yesterday. Has it sprung a leak? Inflated the tire and went to work, hoping for the best. When I went home again I first measured the tire pressure again: 35psi. But this time I used not my digital gauge, but the one Kawasaki supplies, so the differrence could be caused by this. And I inflated it to about 40psi. So maybe everything is ok? I will measure it again tomorrow morning, hoping for the best. If the tire is leaking my planned trip to the motorshow in Paris on Saturday will definately be cancelled.

I heard today that the ZX-12R probably will still be available next year in Europe. That's good news. Here's a picture of the new 2006 model:



September 30, 2005, 13,400 km
Had the tire replaced this evening. I wanted a Pirelli at the rear, but because the shop only had 3 tires to choose from (Dunlop, Bridgestone and Metzler) I chose the Metzler ME Z3. It seems the Metzler's and Pirelli's are made at the same factory, so the Metzler rear would probably go better with the Pirelli at the front. This tire did cost € 243 (incl. labor).


October 1, 2005, 13,400 km
Today my nephew Thijs, Rob and I went to the motorshow in Paris. The first chance to see the new models in real live. We wanted to go with the bike, but due to the lousy weather we went with Rob's car.
After a few hours we were in Paris and could see the new stuff. First we went to the Kawasaki stand. The new ZX-10R didn't look that bad as we had feared from viewing pictures. But I found the ZZ-R 1400 (ZX-14) just as bad looking as on photo's. The front is way too big, plump. The new ER6 looked nice though. The ZX-12R wasn't on display, but it was mentioned in the French brochure as a 2005 model that still will be sold in 2006.
Other manufacturers had some nice stuff too, like the Yamaha R6, or Triumph 675.
After a few hours we had about seen everything and left. Because we were in the neighbourhood we went to visit the Eiffel tower, something that was still on my 'todo' list. When we had done this we went asap home again.


Thijs and I


October 16, 2005, 14,420 km
On this very beautiful autumn day I went together with 4 other ZX-12R's and one ZZ-R 1200 to Germany, to the Nurburgring. We went just to have a look and not to ride on the former circuit. After a few hundred highway kilometers we came to the 258: a very nice curvy road in Germany that leads to the Ring. We took it easy because some of us had illegal exhausts and the German police will forbid you to drive your motor with such an exhaust if they catch you. In that case you'll have to find other means to get you bike home again.


Start of trip

Oldman's bike has done 71,645km without problems

Special paint

Piece of the Ring

At the Nurburgring we found a nice spot to have a look at the crazy (mostly) German car and motorcycle riders who're racing on the Nordschleife. The traffic on the Ring was an insane mix of high powered Porsches and motorcycles and slow vans and family cars. Not something I would like to be in between.
After a while we went home again via the nearest Autobahn. It was a pity there was a lot of traffic, so we could not do any high speed runs. Maybe some other time.

BTW Fixed the cooling liquid leak a while ago: one of the hoses to the radiator had gone loose. I tightened the clamp, now it's ok again.


October 25, 2005, 14,525 km
12,000 Km service job:
DescriptionAmountPriceDiscountTotal
Forte 1 Moto Power110.6810.68
Oil filter ZX600-K1H112.4612.46
Advance oil 10W40331.1838.94
BMC air filter1129.8120%103.85
Small stuff13.403.40
Environmental tax14.544.54
Labour3.552.50183.75
Total€ 357.62

The shop phoned me twice today: once because they wanted to change the air filters, but they didn't have the stock ones in stock. If I wanted the BMC filters? I found that no problem: I already wanted to try them. The other time they phoned to ask if I wanted to have the valve clearances checked. They adviced against it because in their experience it has been never necessary to adjust the valves at a 12,000km service job for a ZX-12R. So I told them that they didn't need to do that.
Of course I forget to tell them about the TPS cover that's gone missing and of course they didn't notice either. Another time then...


October 28, 2005, 15,000 km
On this warm October day I drove with two other ZX-12R riders around the IJsselmeer: a big inland lake, previously sea. With speeds up to 280kmh (just kiddin' officer...) we used the 12 for what it has been built. On one of the refuelling stops we compared our fuel consumption: the 2002 12 used 3 liters less than I did at the same distance, the other model 2004 used 2 liters less. Am I doing something wrong, or is it the Akra together with the BMC air filters?

Hoorn

The IJsselmeer

Harlingen



October 29, 2005, 15,000 km
I went with my brother and his family to an aircraft museum where Kawasaki showed their new models for the first time in the Netherlands. There I could sit on the ZZ-R 1400. The windscreen is very low and I still don't like the design. What I did like about the bike was the switch for emergency lights, like Yamaha already has for a long time.

Ta-tu, ta-tu

Spitfire

Big bike

Dreaming of the 1400?



October 30, 2005, 15,300 km
Got a phone call this morning from one of my collegues: if I wanted to make a tour with him and some other collegues. Oke, could be nice. So I went to the meeting point. We were with 6 bikes, a mix of choppers/cruisers and sportbikes. Because I've lived in the neighbourhood I knew some nice roads and I led the pack. It's not easy to ride with cruiser speeds on a ZX-12R... After a few hours we ended the trip and went home again.


November 5, 2005, 15,537 km
Went on a small trip with CrazyEd (black/gold 2002 ZX-12R). When we left it was raining a bit, but soon it became dry and we had a lot of fun on the almost deserted dyke roads.


November 6, 2005, 15,618 km
Last member meeting of the Kawasaki Club. On the way to the meeting I was speeding a bit (duh) when I saw a mobile speedtrap on the verge of the road. I braked hard from a speed of 160kmh and I can only hope it was enough. I seems they do 2 measurements that have to be more or less equal in order for the measurement to be legal. When you brake hard (or accelerate hard) there's a chance the 2 measurements differ too much and in that case you're off the hook. Let's hope this will be the case. Time will tell..

On the Kawasaki Club meeting a guy of Technoflex informed us about setting up your suspension. Very interesting stuff. Seems that sag e.g. must be about 20mm. I believe mine is zero mm, something to change asap.
I took the long way home to enjoy the nice weather.


November 17, 2005, 15,618 km
Update on the motorbuddy front:
CrazyEd (2002 ZX-12R) as traded his bike for a 2006 ZX-10R. Nice bike, but no 12...
Ton (ZZ-R 1200) wants to sell his bike and buy an XJ900F, like I have, due to his financial situation.


November 19, 2005, 15,618 km
They've scattered the first salt on the roads last evening. Time to put the 12 into a wintersleep.


November 25, 2005, 15,618 km
Update on the motorbuddy front 2:
CrazyEd couldn't make a deal with his dealer so he's sticking with his ZX-12R. Just as well...


December 2, 2005, 15,618 km
Put Forte Moto Power II in the tank so the bike will start without a problem next year. I hope. To make sure the stuff got into the injection system as well I started the engine and run it for a little while. That sound... That gas response... That promise of a lot of fun... Just have to wait for about 4 months.
Tomorrow I'll remove the battery. Rumours has it that it is no easy task.


December 3, 2005, 15,618 km
What were the Japanese thinking when they designed the battery holder? It's not an easy task to remove the battery, to say the least. You've got to remove amongst others the dummy tank and seat. When I finally got the thing out I saw behind it some fuses. Nice if one of them blows one day on a dark and deserted road...
So now it's official: the 12 is in wintersleep until temps are getting above 10 degrees celcius and until the roads have no salt on them anymore. I suspect this will happen around March 2006.


December 17, 2005, 15,618 km
Maybe I've got a buyer for the Akrapovic end can. When my muffler fits on this guys pipes he's willing to buy it. But I'm selling it only if I'm sure the new hexagonal muffler will fit my pipes. I've asked Akrapovic, but they don't repy to my e-mail. Just have to wait until the hexagonal muffler will be sold and prices and other details are known.


January 1 2006, 15,618km

Happy New Year!



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