January 1 2006, 15,618km
Happy New Year!
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January 17 2006, 15,618km
I guess I'm famous now? A while ago a guy from the English mag MotorcycleNews asked on www.zx-12r.org if some owners of ZX-12R's wanted to tell something about their experiences with their bikes. I replied and some weeks later a part of my story was in print. Have a look:
Dunno where he got that bit about the recall of the radiator fan sensor from? The thermostat of my A1 broke down, but there wasn't a recall...
March 8 2006, 15,618km
Still winter. The first reviews of the ZZ-R 1400 / ZX-14 can be read. It seems to be a very good bike: good handling, a lot of power, comfortable. Maybe enough good points to ignore the ugly appearance?
Today I contacted the Dutch importer of the Akrapovic exhaust to ask when the hexagonal silencer will be available. It seems that first only complete systems will be delivered, and later just the silencers. So I've got to wait a bit longer. I think I will fit a db-killer in the Akra race-can I have at the moment.
March 12 2006, 15,618km
A week ago I recieved a speeding ticket for riding too fast with my car a few weeks ago. So I guess the ticket I expected for driving too fast with the 12 won't come anymore. Just as well.
March 14 2006, 15,618km
Rumours of a 6 cylinder Hayabusa. Hmmmm... Interesting...
March 21 2006, 15,618km
Today I recieved some terrible news. Ann, the wife of Skip Staub, an American motorbuddy of mine, wrote that he had died of cancer November last year. I e-mailed a lot with Skip and in 1998 I met him and Ann when they were visiting The Netherlands.
Skip and I
Go with God's speed, Skip, and rest in peace.
March 25 2006, 15,618km
Live goes on...
Today I awakened the beast. Put the battery in it (did I mention the clumsy construction? Grrrr...) and with a press on the starter button, it didn't start... Ok, put the kill swith in the correct postition, and with a press on the starter button it immediately started, and gave a nice growl out of the Akra exhaust. Start of motorcycling season 2006!
March 26 2006, 15,768km
My Volvo S40 and ZX-12R
First trip of the year with the 12. Weather is nice and warm. Near my home I know a nice corner and with high speed I take it. After the corner an Audi station overtakes me and it turns out to be an unmarked police car which I have to follow. He had measured my speed at max 120kmh where 80kmh is allowed. This is very close to the speed difference I'm gonna loose my drivers license (i.e. 50kmh), so I'm glad it's just below it. As a favor(?) the copper didn't write a ticket for the max speed, but for the average speed of 104kmh. Which means that I've got to pay 120 euro. Could have been worse... Oh, and I had to remove the green led I use as citylight. No problemo.
April 9 2006, 15,768km
Replaced the green led for a clear bulb. It's the law, you know... Well, don't wanna attract unnecessary attention.
April 17 2006, 16,269km
On this beautiful 2nd Easter Day I made a longish trip (almost 500km) with Halfabusaman (Pim, Suzuki 650 Bandit) around the IJsselmeer. It was a nice relaxed ride with very pleasant scenery.
April 23 2006, 17,306km
Today the four of us (CrazyEd: ZX-12R, Halfabusaman: Suzuki 650 Bandit, Peter: Honda CBX750F and I) went for a long trip to the Mosel in Germany. First we drove as fast as possible to Koblenz to find the real start of the trip. It took us about 4 hours to get there. As a pastime we did some highspeed runs and stuff. My personal best was 290kmh. The bike stayed stable so the tire combination of Pirelli front and Metzler rear works just fine.
For about another 4 hours we followed the river Mosel in its valley. Surroundings like these you don't find in The Netherlands and we enjoyed it very much. After the 4 hours I started to feel my butt, back, arms etc. and I thought it would be wise to head home.
On the way back in the border region of Germany, Belgium and Luxembourgh I started to run out of fuel. After 236km I was empty and we hadn't seen a gasstation for about 70km. We asked the locals for the nearest gasstation and it was another 10km further. Together with Halfabusaman and Peter I went to get some plastic bottles with fuel. CrazyEd, who hadn't much fuel left either, stayed with my bike. We found the gasstation, filled the bottles, returned to CrazyEd, refueled my bike and CrazyEd's and went again to the gasstation to top it off. In the neighbourhood of our gasstation we noticed 4(!) others. Seems somebody fucked up planning-wise.
With the aid of Peters Garmin navigation system we quickly went through the Belgium Ardennes to the Dutch border. The last stretch of the trip was some more boring highway and after more than 12 hours and 850km I was home again.
I often doubt the sense of the ZX-12R in The Netherlands with its speedtraps and speedbumps, but on a trip like this you hardly can find a better companion: fast, stable, reasonably confortable, good looking. If only it had a bigger fuel tank...
May 3 2006, 17,850km
Used the 12 the last week for commuting because the XJ is broken. And the 12 hasn't been built for that, that's for sure. Too uncomfortable, too much fuel useage.
I noticed today that the rear tire is approaching the end of its live. That's only 4.500km thus far. But I guess I'm gonna get another 1.000km out of it.
Today I bought a Powercommander III Usb and I'm going to install it this Saturday. I'm curious if the thing will make much difference.
May 5 2006, 17,950km
Finally received the speeding ticket that was 'promised' to me on March 26: 114 euro for doing 24kmh too fast...
May 6 2006, 18,030km
Made an effort to install the PCIII. It all fit very well, but when I wanted to put the fuel tank back I noticed a gap of about 2 cm that, I thought, shouldn't be there, between the tank and the frame. I looked for the culprit, but couldn't find any. So I removed the PCIII again and noticed that the gap was still there. Seems that it should be that way. Bummer. I didn't feel like putting the PCIII back again, so I'll have it installed at the same time I'm going to have it adjusted.
May 7 2006, 18,700km
With beautiful weather Hayabusaman Pim and I went on a trip to the Belgium Ardennes. The surroundings over there are great, the tarmac not so. Although we've found some nice stretches of road with very good tarmac (La Roche!). It was a pity the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps was again in use. This time by a few hundred Porsche riders. On the way back Pim and I switched bikes. The Bandit 650S of Pim is a very nice bike: very little vibrations, willing to rev high, stable, comfortable, fuel economic. Pim was impressed by the power of the 12. As he should be :).
Thirteen hours and 666km after the start I was home again, with a dirty bike and good memories.
May 17 2006, 19,375km
At 8.45 (am) I arrived at a motorcycle dealer to have my rear tire changed and to have a small service job done. Like agreed upon. To my big surprise they didn't expect me and the ordered tire hadn't arrived yet. I made a new new appointment and will expect a rebate from them to compensate for my troubles...
Another appointment that day was to be at 13.00 hour in Goes, at the shop of the Dutch master of Powercommander adjustment: Ruud Fredriks of Tovami. To kill some time I took the nearest dyke road and followed that for a while. On the road I encountered three motorcycle cops and they waved friendly. So I waved back. They probably knew very well why I was there and I suspect they were there for the same reason: to enjoy the winding road at non-legal speeds.
In the afternoon Pim and I arrived at Tovami. The 12 was strapt upon the dyno and Ruud could do his magic. He quickly installed the PC and started to adjust it. At lower revs he made the bike run leaner, at higher revs a bit richer. As a result the bike should be more fuel economic at lower revs and run smoother at higher revs. The latter I can confirm: it feels just a little bit better than before. I don't know yet if the bike uses less fuel at lower revs, I haven't been there long enough to be able to check it.
The resulting graphs of the dyno runs show nice smooth lines. And a peak bhp of 185 isn't bad either.
Small movie of run through gears
May 19 2006, 19,395km
Tried the dealer again for a tire change and small service job. This time I succeeded. The Metzler got replaced by a Pirelli Diablo and lasted about 6,000km. A pretty normal value. For the Pirelli I paid a bit more than for the Metzler: € 270. That was including a rebate of 20%.
May 20 2006, 19,395km
Finally got the top TPS cover I was missing for a long time: € 7.
June 11 2006, 19,950km
What I already knew got confirmed today: temps of above 30 degrees Celcius (86F) are too much to ride comfortable. Actually I find temps of below 15 Celcius (59F) and above 25 Celcius (77F) not very pleasant to ride in.
I still went out today because the Dutch soccer team played their first game in the World Championship and the roads should be relatively empty. They were, but not as deserted as I had hoped for. Still I had a nice -hot- ride. Because of the heat several spots of tarmac were molten and I guess molten tarmac doesn't offer much grip. I didn't tried it.
I think the bike didn't like the heat either: throttle response was a bit harsh, not as smooth as it has been after installing the PC.
June 13 2006, 19,950km
At last I got the legal hexagonal Akrapovic muffler I ordered several weeks ago (price: 450 euro). Three weeks ago the pipe arrived in the Netherlands, but the guy from the couriers couldn't find my house (as if I'm living in dark Africa) and send it back to the importer. Who was on holiday...
Just like the old one the new one fitted perfectly. The sound didn't seem much less to me.
June 15 2006, 19,950km
Sold the old Akra pipe for 225 euro. Good price I think.
June 16 2006, 20,065km
Took the long way home today, because the Dutch soccer team played its second game in the World Cup and the roads should be (and were) empty.
Contrary to my first impression the new pipe is a lot quieter. I like it. My seat-of-the-pants-dyno didn't notice any lost hp's that could have been caused by the quieter (and hence more restricted?) pipe.
The bike doesn't seem to use less fuel with the Powercommander. Probably because it has been put more lean at lower revs and richer at higher revs. And I'm usually travelling at higher revs.
June 17 2006, 20,266km
Made today a test ride on the ZZ-R 1400 (aka ZX-14). My opinion on this bike: it's a fine bike, there's nothing wrong with it, but I can't see it as the follow up for the ZX-12R. It is for the ZZ-R 1200 though.
Power delivery of the 1400 is very smooth, with very few vibrations. It didn't veel much more powerfull than my, mildy tuned, ZX-12R. I didn't feel much of the power gap below 5,000 rpm, but you can notice that it pulls harder above 5,000.
Brakes are very, very good. A lot of stopping power, with little effort. I'd like to have those brakes on my 12.
Windprotection is better than the 12's too. Even above 180kmh you feel very little of the wind.
Steering was very easy too, probably due to the 190 tire on the rear.
So, what keeps me from buying one? Well, there is the looks, don't care for it much. And, like I wrote, I guess it's the perfect follow up for the ZZ-R 1200, but it is less sporty (looking?) than the ZX-12R. The overall feel of the bike is similar to the 12, so the 1400 wouldn't be an upgrade from my 12. I guess I'll be waiting for another bike to come along that's worthy to replace my ZX-12R.
June 23 2006, 20,566km
Totally forgot the 10(!) year aniversary of the weblog. Ten years ago I started the 'diary' because people kept asking me how it was to ride a ZZ-R 1100. At those days the most powerfull and fastest bike. So I wrote a little bit about my happenings with that bike. And I kept on writing because people seemed to like it and because I found, and find, it nice to read it myself now and then.
In those ten years I've had two ZZ-R 1100's (one stolen), two ZX-12R's and a ZRX 1200. And for commuting a GT550 (crashed) and an XJ900. Of those bikes I like my current ZX-12R best (of course). In the near future I think I'm going to have a less powerfull and more comfortable bike (GTR1400?). I'm getting older too, you know ;).
June 24-25 2006, 20,566km
This weekend I rented a Honda ST1300 Pan European. These months Honda had a special action in which you could rent a Pan for only 99 euro for a whole weekend. Because I liked to try that bike I rented one.
To test the pan-european capacities of the Pan Ton (Yamaha FJR1300) and I went for a long trip to the French Vosges. Soon after hitting the highway I noticed the biggest drawback of the Pan: it is slightly instable at speeds above 120kmh. The level of instability depends on speed, wind direction and the height at which the screen has been put. It never gets dangerous (I even managed to reach a topspeed of 230kmh without big problems), but it is annoying. Nevertheless the Pan is very comfortable, steers neutral and very easy and has very few vibrations. With a tank capacity of 29 liters and a fuel consumption of (on average) 1 liter on every 17 kilometers you can get very far very quick.
Ton and I did arrived very soon in Luxembourg where we left the highway and started to look for some nice roads. We quickly found them and we drove over good roads with great views to France in the direction of Strasbourg.
The trip was very nice and seemed to pass uneventful until Ton misjudged a corner, locked his brakes and disappeared into the bushes. Happily the grass was high and the shrubbery thick, so Ton and his bike fell reasonably soft. With the aid of a passing Frenchman we put the bike on its weels again and had a look at the damage. Luckily it was limited to some scratches and we could pursue our journey. A little slower this time ;).
At around 21.00h we found a cheap Formule 1 hotel and had a good nights sleep (at least I did...).
The next morning we decided to go back to The Netherlands asap because of the predicted bad weather. Within 7 hours I was home again, Ton had to go a bit further.
The end of yet another fine trip. Have a look at the pics here.
June 30 2006, 20,650km
After the perfect brakes of the ZZ-R 1400 and Pan European the brakes of my 12 felt a bit weak. And now and then they vibrated a bit. I thought that it might be caused by worn brakepads because they already did their work for more than 20,000km. I had them checked by my dealer, but they saw that the pads were still in good shape: hardly half worn. But they did notice that one of the discs was warped. Then I went to the shop were I've bought the 12 and they concluded the same: right front disc warped. They immediately accused my of having tried to ride off with a disc lock on. Which I haven't done (with this bike ;) ). They are going to have a talk with Kawasaki and I'm going to hear how they are going to solve this problem.
Will be continued...
July 2 2006, 21,515km
Because Halfabusaman (Pim, Suzuki 650 Bandit) wanted to see the infamous Nürburgring in Germany I planned a route over secundary roads to it. We left at 9.00 from the border of The Netherlands and Germany and soon went in-land. It didn't took me very long to more or less get lost. I had the route written down in such a manner that each village along te route was noted. This because I didn't wanted to stick a map on my tank. But because the Germans didn't mention each village on the roadsigns it was impossible to follow the route. Next time I will use the Garmin Streetpilot 2610 I've recently bought.
Because we soon got fed up with getting lost all the time we decided to take the Autobahn asap. On parts of the Autobahn you still may drive as fast as you can. So I opened the throttle and left Halfabusaman way behind. Of course a few km's further I waited for him.
Within two rather boring highway hours we neared the Ring. Via a nice route over secundary roads we finally got to our destination.
Porsche Carrera GT at the Ring
After an hour we had seen enough and followed the great D258 road in the direction of Belgium. In Luxembourg we filled our fuel tanks at the same station were we filled a bottle with fuel for my 12 several weeks ago. Then we went to a nice place called La Roche in the Ardennes. The road to La Roche is motorcycle paradise. Except for the one that lost it in a tight corner. Police etc. had already arrived and we followed the road a little more carefull.
After a nice -late- dinner we left La Roche at about 20.30 and headed home. After lots of boring highway km's I arrived at home at about 23.30, Pim still had to drive for almost an hour more.
On this day I've ridden about 865km, Pim more than a 1,000!
July 4 2006, 21,515km
The dealer phoned with Kawasaki Netherlands and they are prepared to pay half of a new front disc. I've got to pay for the rest and new brake pads. I'm not pleased with this result and I will write a letter to Kawasaki stating that a warped disc isn't normal wear and that it must have been a construction failure that has got to be paid by Kawasaki.
July 8 2006, 21,515km
Made a 12V connection for the GPS. It has the same connection as the battery charger, so it has a dual purpose.
Phoned the Dutch motorcycle gps specialist Waypoint and made an appointment to have the 2610 fixed to the 12 on July 22nd.
July 11 2006, 21,600km
Got a letter back from Kawasaki. They wrote that a disc is a wear product on which they don't give warranty. Seems that they find that a warped disc belongs to normal wear. Of course I disagree, but I can do nothing else than pay half of the new disc.
July 14 2006, 21,800km
Went to the dealer to have the disc changed. Overthere they saw that they have gotten (ordered?) the wrong disc, so I could go home again. Just my luck, I guess.
July 15 2006, 21,800km
While cleaning the 12 I noticed a brown spot on the Akra. It seems it's leaking gasses there. There goes Akra's reputation of builder of perfect exhaust systems... I'll contact the importer asap to have it fixed.
And I saw that another bolt of the battery cover is gone. I already missed one, now two.
July 16 2006, 21,890km
The importer of the Akrapovic mailt me back. The pipe will be replaced under warranty if there's no sign of any damage. Which there isn't.
July 21 2006, 22,000km
The right brake disc got replaced today. Cost me again an arm and a leg:
I asked them to fix the battery cover too, but (of course) I forgot to check it.
Got to brake the brakes in before I can do some serious decelerating.
July 22 2006, 22,340km
Of course (?) they forgot to fix the battery cover. They're just some expensive professionals, so what can you expect. <Sigh>.
On this hot and humid day Thijs, my nephew, and I went to Waypoint, the motorcycle gps experts in Notter, to have the cradle of the 2610 attached to the bike. A job of mostly half an hour I guessed. After more than an hour the mechanic came back to tell the bike was ready. I immediately saw that he had made a new 12V connection, which wasn't necessary. I told him about my own 12V line and he would remove his in 10 minutes, he said. That's quick, I thought, he must be a professional ;).
After half an hour (...) the bike was ready. The cradle not exactly on the place I'd like to have it (I'd rather have it more central), but I can get used to it. They charged me the very decent price of 35 euro's for labour and parts.
I immediate used the gps to bring us to Thijs's parents, who were staying in the neighbourhood, on vacation. The Garmin brought us quick to the right spot. Great stuff.
July 30 2006, 23,147km
With Erwin (FJR1300) and Ton (FJR1300) I made another tour round the IJsselmeer. For me it was the first real test of the Streetpilot.
After some difficulties finding the starting point (my fault not the gps's) we were en route. Even without voice-support it was quite easy to follow the route. Things didn't went flawless though. There was one error in the route I'd prepared and once the gps steered us over a bicycle road. On both occassions it was very easy to get back on the right track again. All in all I'd say the test was very successfull and I'm going to use the gps very often on trips like this.
Total km: 446.8, riding average speed: 75.5kmh, total average speed: 59.2kmh, topspeed: 250kmh (just kiddin' officer ;) ), riding time: 5:59:37, time stopped: 1:32:59, total time: 7:32:35.
Dark clouds, announcing the end of an heatwave of 3 weeks
If you like to try this route yourself you can download it here.
August 10 2006, 23,157km
Got a confession to make: I put the bike up for sale. Very much sooner than I thought when I bought this bike. It's not because I don't like it, on the contrary, but because circumstances in The Netherlands all act againt a bike of this kind. Everywhere there are speedtraps and speedbumps. Speeding tickets are very high. The power and gearing of the ZX-12R is enough to let you loose your license in first gear, even on the highway. I'm sick an tired of keeping one eye on the verge of the road, looking for speedtraps, and the other one on possible undercover cops in cars or on unmarked motorcycles.
Besides this I want to make long trips, discover Europe, and the 12 isn't comfortable and fuel economic enough for such a thing. So I'm trying to get a decent price for it and buy something less fast and more comfortable.
August 20 2006, 23,185km
Interest in the 12 is minimal, not to say non-existent. Well, I think a lot of people like the bike, but find it too expensive. It's true that the ask price is quite a lot (9.999 euro), but it's worth every penny and compared to other 12's on the market not more expensive than the others. I'm not going to lower the price and if I don't sell the bike before next spring I will than trade it in for something else.
Today I had a mini-meet with 3 other 12's. We know each other from a Dutch motor forum. Weather was terrible and we talked a while at a MacDonald's not far from my place.
Plans are to go next week with some more 12's to the Nurburgring in Germany.
August 31 2006, 23,428km
Due to bad weather, and me being in France, I didn't go to the Ring.
Today I went with Hayabusaman (Pim, traded his Bandit in for a real Hayabusa) to a dealer who had a nice Pan for sale. We had a fun trip over dyke roads and it made me wonder why I wanted to get rid of the 12. Especially after the stealer bid only 7.700 euro for my bike I was more convinced to hang on to the 12 a bit longer. That is, until someone makes a more serious bid.
September 9 2006, 23,656km
Today I visited the Kawasaki Day at a dealer not far from my place. The weather was great and I spoke to a few 12 owners. When I wanted to leave again I noticed that I had forgotten to take the remote control of my alarm with me. And without it you can't start the bike. Happily a fellow member of the Kawasaki Club offered me his ZX-10R to ride home and get the remote. The 10 felt great. About as much power as the 12 in a slimmer, more lightweight, package. Cornering was fantastic, very stable. Brakes were good. Seating position resembling that of the 12, a little bit more sportier, but not much. Windprotection was remarkably good too, without noticing I was riding 160kmh in no time. All in all a very good bike.
September 10 2006, 24,316km
This Sunday Ton (FJR1300), Pim (Hayabusa) and I went for a trip to Belgium. In my GPS I programmed some -hopefully- nice routes over curvy roads. First we went to Waterloo. I think a must-visit when you're in the neighbourhood, since it's a place of historic importance.
Next we went asap to the Ardennes, where it is always great fun to ride motorcycle. The programmed route took us over very different roads. From roads made for big bikes to roads just good enough for off-roads. At one time we arrived at an unpaved road and we decided to try it. Until the stones got bigger and bigger and it became too dangerous to continue. With some trouble and a lot of sweat we turned the bikes and slowly rode to the safe tarmac again.
Road, not made for a Ninja
Around 6 p.m. we decided to go home again. On the way back I switched bikes with Pim. His Busa is a very nice bike with a seating position and power comparable to the 12. When opening the throttle you can clearly hear a nice growl of the air being sucked in. The way people react to the Busa is quite striking. The give it the thumbs up and wave and so on. The reason for this must be the publicity the bike got back in 2000 when politicians thought the bike to be a threat to road safety (and of course because of it's 'unique' appearance). I think that due to this publicity Kawasaki got a bit scared and made no fuzz about the launch of the ZX-12R. It's a kind of stillborn child with ashamed parents. Pity because people still think the Busa is the most extreme bike, while readers of my blog know better ;). Owners of 12's still suffer from this marketing f*ck up because it is not easy to sell one.
Trip stats; max speed 255kmh? Must be a faulty satellite, officer...
During the trip I started to doubt my decision to sell the 12 for a Pan European. I had a lot of fun this day with the 12 and it is not certain that I would have had as much fun aboard a Pan or other dedicated touring machine. So I think I'm not going to to be very active to try to sell the 12. There is this owner of a beautiful Pan who's maybe willing to swap bikes. If that's the case I might part with the 12, otherwise I'm going to keep it and do my touring with the venerable XJ900.
September 16 2006, 25,184km
This Saturday Ton, Pim and I went back to the Ardennes because we had some unfinished business, i.e. we wanted to finish the route we started last week. I had as starting point La Roche in mind and we drove to it over small roads. Soon after we left The Netherlands we arrived at Eben-Emael, a Belgian fortress, overrun by the Germans at the start of the Second World War. We had a look around and pursued our way.
To get to La Roche took a bit longer than expected because of the small roads and a lunch that took a bit longer than expected as well, which resulted in us being rather late at the starting point: around 3:30 p.m.
Not very long after really starting the tour we found some very nice curvy roads near the Rursee. To our dismay (well, actually only mine: Ton and Pim hadn't noticed the -big- signs...) the Germans had closed a lot of roads for bikers because of the very many accidents that had happenend. See this (German) article about the situation. We hadn't driven hundreds of kilometers to be scared away by some signs, so I decided to ignore them and took the risc of getting a ticket. We didn't see any police and the roads were great!
Around 6 p.m. Ton and I had enough and we headed home again, tagging along a moping Pim.
On the German Autobahn we did some high speed runs, which resulted in a topspeed of 250kmh for Ton (FJR1300) and 290kmh for both Pim and I. I had the feeling my ZX-12R was faster than Pim's Busa: each time Pim opened the throttle I could rather easily reel him in.
Trip stats; max speed 277kmh? Must be a computer glitch, officer...
September 21 2006, 25,184km
Due to having too much fun with the 12, and due to the minimal interest from buyers, I decided to keep it for at least another year. After this decision I phoned my dealer to make an appointment for a service job which has been due for a while.
Today I saw the first real pictures of the Kawasaki GTR1400. Looks like a very interesting power-tourer. My next bike??
September 23 2006, 25,184km
More specs are available for the GTR1400 aka Concours 14. Kawasaki calls it a "Transcontinental Supersport". I like it! Something I've been waiting for.
September 24 2006, 25,275km
Today I attended the meeting of the Dutch internet forum for motorcyclists. Just a gathering of a few hundred bikers who know each other mainly from the internet. There were about 12 ZX-12R's present and it was nice to meet each other in real live.
September 28 2006, 25,360km
Hayabusaman Pim has made a dynorun with his bike and had his result printed on top of mine. Here's the print out:
Obviously the Busa has more torque at low revs, but after 7,000rpm the ZX-12R is gone. Of course this is not a fair comparison: my bike has some tweaks, while Pim's is as good as stock. On the other hand, the Busa has 100cc more...
October 4 2006, 25,573km
World Animal Day. Some people spoil their animals, for me it was time to do the same to the 12. A large service job was due since 1,500km and today I brought the bike to the dealer to take care of this. Nothing special had to be done and the financial damage was:
As a loaner I got an oldish ex-riding school Honda CB500. Each time I ride such a small bike it strikes me how much fun you can have with it. Back on my heavy powerfull 12 it struck me how much fun motorcycling is. Period. :)
Steering improved a lot with the new front tire. Lately I had to push the bike more into the corners than I was used to. Now steering is much easier.
As you might have noticed the old front tire lasted more than 17,000km! That's unbelieveably long. Is the Pirelli so wear resistant, or has my riding style changed and am I riding the way people would expect from an old man? Or is it because I've made mainly long trips that are less demanding of a front tire? I don't know. Let's see how long the new one lasts.
October 7 2006, 25,685km
Cleaned the bike today to be ready for the trip tomorrow. Checked the tire pressure and the pressure of the front tire was too low (36 in stead of 42 psi). That's the second time they renew a tire and don't put enough air in it.
October 8 2006, 26,315km
Pim and I wanted to do some riding in the 2 Northern provinces of our country: Friesland and Groningen. So I made a route for the Garmin and we followed it until we came near the German border. When you ride a Hayabusa and a ZX-12R and you're near a speed-limit free Autobahn there's just one thing you can do: get on it asap. Since my 12 was a bit low on fuel (of course) we first had to find the nearest gas-station. With the GPS I easily found one (love that gadget). After refuelling we went to the A31 and tried our topspeeds. Pim saw 310kmh on his speedo. My speedo didn't go farther than 299kmh (thank you European politicians, well done, very usefull, not!) but the GPS indicated 294kmh real kilometers per hour. Most likely because of my loose textile clothing it wasn't possible to go any faster.
The way back home was quite uneventfull: Groningen has a lot of straight roads guarded by speedcamera's so we had to behave.
At an highway intersection (Holsloot, 52°43'41.22"N, 6°47'19.68"E) we sharpened our right turn riding skills: for about 4 times we rode over each of the 4 loops, burning away the chicken strips on the right side of our tires.
After 630km I was home again.
Ghostrider? Nope, just me.
Trip stats (forgot to reset them last time).
Max speed: 294kmh? Must be something wrong with your eyes, officer...
October 11 2006, 27,056km
Today was the first day of the German motorcycle show Intermot, held in Cologne, and Pim and I went there to see the 2007 models for the first time. After a chilly ride of about two and an half hours we arrived at the show. The exhibition was quite large and I'm quite sure we missed some bikes, but we visited in any way the main marks. For 2007 nothing spectacular has been planned, most bikes are further developments of existing models. Except for the Kawasaki GTR1400, my main reason to go to Cologne. On the Kawasaki stand there were two GTR's: a silver and a black one. I liked the silver one best.
After the show we went for a ride in the region east of Cologne. I had made a route in my GPS with a lot of curves (I hoped). The route turned out to be quite curvy, but over rather small roads, not best suited for Hayabusa and ZX-12R. Still we had a nice time. Until I got lasered by the German Polizei when I did 70kmh where 50kmh was allowed. They pulled me over and I had to pay 35 euro. I payed with credit card and while they were busy I made a picture of them, nice for the blog, I thought. Well, making pictures of policemen in Germany seems to be forbidden and I had to erase the picture. Which I did, only to recover it with special software at home.
One other thing was troublesome too: the 12 got too hot in the city and in traffic jams. My guess is that the mechanic forgot to connect one of the fans when doing the service job. I'll go back to the shop asap to have things sorted out.
October 14 2006, 27,066km
Well, it weren't the fans. The dealer guessed that the cooling liquid level was too low, so they added some liquid. Hopefully all is well now.
October 17 2006, 27,155km
Had to add some more cooling liquid. Very strange this, I can't see any place where it could be leaking anymore. It had been leaking a little bit where one of the hoses was attached to the radiator, but I've fixed that, I think.
October 24 2006, 27,155km
When I got home this evening a surprise was waiting for me: yet another speeding ticket. This one was for October 11th too, the day Pim and I went to the Intermot in Germany and I alread had a speeding ticket from the German police. They sure had me in their sights...
16kmh too fast: 38 euro
October 27 2006, 27,255km
A while a go a Kawasaki Club member approached me with the question if my 12 was of 2005. They were looking for that model because the Dutch suspension manufacturer Technoflex needed one to measure the fork. As it turned out my 2004 model is the same as the 2005 so they could use mine.
Today I brought the 12 to Technoflex. They had a customer in Greece that needed some springs for a 2005 ZX-12R, so now they're using mine to custom build some springs. As a thank you they will give me some new springs too. I'm curious how much they differ from stock. I spoke to one of the guys overthere and he told me that the Japanese build their suspension for people with a weight of about 75kg. Since most of the European (and US) guys are heavier (me included) that means that for most of the bikes the suspension cannot work correctly. He told me too that the suspension should be overhauled after 20,000km. Something that hardly ever happens. I doubt that the dealer will even change the fork oil at all. Something to keep in mind.
When setting up the suspension correctly you can get back quite a different motorcycle. Somewhere in my ZZ-R 1100 weblog there's a piece about me adapting the suspension of the 1100 after riding a 'Busa. Afterwards the bike was so much more fun to ride, because of better handling and steering.
November 4 2006, 27,400km
Ton drove me today to Technoflex to pick up the 12 again. They'd put progressive springs in the fork and adjusted it to my weight. At first the front felt as stiff as I had put the stock, but after some kilometers I started to notice some differences. Steering felt lighter, but this could be my imagination because I've only driven the XJ the last few days and got accustomed to the rather lousy steering of it. Still, e.g. changing lanes was a breeze. In a high speed corner (200+ kmh) the front gave a lot of confidence, I think more than the stock ever has given. Later on, on a bumpy road the ride was more comfortable than previously. So, the first impressions are good, but I've got to do some more kilometers to be able to tell if this change would have been worth the money. I don't think this will happen this year. Winter is coming and I will put away the 12 very soon and use only the XJ until next spring.
On the way to Technoflex, lanesplitting a traffic jam
At Technoflex, spring time!
November 5 2006, 27,539km
Well, as it turned out, weather was reasonably well today and I decided to try the new front fork springs.
I started here: 52° 0'43.11"N, 5° 6'34.10"E
And drove to here: 51°57'11.78"N, 5°34'34.92"E along the dyke and crossed the bridge at Rhenen.
(Copy/paste the coordinates in the 'fly to' option of Google Earth to go to them).
I went back on the dyke on the other side of the river.
To be short: handling etc hasn't dramatically improved, but it is a bit better than with the stock springs. Of course the suspension wasn't bad to begin with, so only a small change could be expected. Like my first impression yesterday the front gave more confidence the way it was following the road. And on more bumpy patches there was a bit more comfort than stock. So, all in all, I'm happy with the new springs.
November 18 2006, 27,639km
I hope the new owner is just as happy with the new springs... The new what?!?! Yep, new owner: I sold the bike today...
'But why?', I hear you asking, 'the bike was perfect?'. Yes, it was, for a sportsbike with some touring ambitions. But this year it became clear to me that I've reached the age that I want more tour than sport. This insight was based on two events: the weekend I spent with the Pan European and Kawasaki announcing the GTR1400 (Concours 14). The Pan drove perfect for the trip Ton and I made. A while after the trip I started to hesitate if that's what I wanted. Blazing through curves was a lot of fun too, and you couldn't do that with a Pan. Then Kawasaki showed the GTR1400: a sportstourer based on the ZZ-R1400 (ZX-14). I think/hope/expect that this is the perfect compromise between sport and tour. So when I got a phone call of a guy who wanted to buy the 12 I thought 'why not, in this way I can save money faster for the GTR'. So today the new owner drove off on my perfect sportsbike, leaving me with 9.000 euro and mixed feelings.
So, the story of my 2004 ZX-12R ends here. When I bought it I thought I would keep it for some years, but people change their minds. The bike was perfect for me with a lot of power, a very smooth engine (especially after installing the Powercommander), very fine handling and very good brakes. Only drawbacks were the short range, caused by the small tank capacity and big fuel consumption, and the uncomfortable seating position on long trips. And these points were at the end the main reasons for selling the bike.