The ZZR 4-cylinder reminds me of my old 2-stroke dirt bikes from the 1970s- it is weak at the lower revs, but really screams on the top end, with a lot of shifting to stay in the narrow powerband. I have not had it over 9,000 rpm yet, quite a ways to go before getting to the 14,500 rpm redline on the tach.
Since it was new in 2008 and still has the original tires, my guess is that the tires are starting to get hard, so I pretend dry pavement is wet pavement until I get new tires for it. It was kept in a garage out of the sunlight, helping to preserve the tires. I have not felt the tires slide yet. I will be extra careful if I ever get caught in the rain with it.
I took it on my usual 22 mile loop with curvy roads at 60 mph- I like my V-twin cruiser better for this type of short trip at slower speeds. The ZZR is a lot more comfortable for longer trips and faster than 60 mph, because it vibrates less and is not starting to run out of power at 75 mph- not Goldwing comfortable, but more comfort than I am used to, along with more cornering ability than I am used to.
From the 2005 Motorcyclist magazine best of the year list:
Best Bang For The Buck:
Who knew Kawasaki jacked up the ZZR600 logo this year and slid a 2002 ZX-6R underneath? Along with nondescript Metallic Ocean Blue paint in place of the Ninja’s Team Green livery, the ZZR wears a $7299 sticker price–$1400 less than a new ZX-6R. The ZZR can’t quite match its racier brother’s performance or tech-appeal. The 599cc four inhales through a quartet of 36mm Mikuni carburetors and weighs about 15 pounds more. This decommissioned Ninja won’t win another 600 shootout. Do you care? Armed with a stout aluminum chassis, a ram-air-fortified engine that does serious business beyond 8000 rpm and six-piston front calipers, it’s still miles ahead of any other bargain bike. Kawasaki’s new Z750 is more comfortable and almost as good an all-arounder for $200 less. But vastly superior suspension, brakes and overall sporting competence put the little ZZR out front and keep it there. Here’s another piece of welcome news for residents of the real world: Losing that Ninja badge should shave a few bucks off the ZZR’s insurance premium. So unless you’re out to impress somebody besides yourself, nothing in anyone’s ’05 lineup delivers more for our money.
The SV650 has earned thousands of fans, evolving into a blue-chip sporting staple over the years. Commuter or track-day trainer? It weighs about the same as the ZZR and makes a lot less power. So what? For $5949, the fuel-injected 645cc V-twin lets you choose.