I bought another bike
May 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm #4389Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
I picked up my 2008 Kawasaki ZZR-600 yesterday, with 378 miles on it for $5,500.
I have been riding a 600cc Honda V-twin cruiser for the last 9 years. It is a big difference, 30 to 95 horsepower, 8,000 to 14,500 rpm redline, 500 to 400 pounds of weight, high to low handlebars, cruiser footpegs low and forward- to sportbike footpegs high and rearward, 4-speed to 6-speed transmission.
The most difficult parts for me are moving my feet from the pavement to the footpegs, and remembering to rev it more when taking off. Below 7,000 rpm the ZZR has very mild power, and it rides much smoother at 80 mph than my cruiser. I rode it a continuous 130 miles yesterday then was ready for a break to stretch my legs, not bad for the first time on it. The brakes do not seem too grabby, and feel similar compared to the better stainless braided hose I had added to my cruiser front brake. The stopping distance is probably a lot shorter from 80 mph.
Many reviewers note the lack of a fuel gauge, but I have never rode a motorcycle with a fuel gauge since 1967- I set the trip meter to zero when I get gas, and if I get gas again within 150 miles (close to the speed limits) I should not have to switch to reserve. I like having a tachometer and a coolant temperature gauge. I like the muffler the way it sounds stock. I was not sore at all after the first day, a very good sign for my 52-year-old somewhat abused body.
For oiling the ZZR chain, I was able to put a car trolley jack, with a small piece of wood taped to the jack lift point, under the center of the swingarm just behind the back shock with the kickstand down, to raise the back tire off the pavement and spin the back tire by hand. I bought a piece of stair tread grip strip from Lowes, that looks like black sandpaper, and cut it into two oval-shaped pieces for each side of the gas tank, so my knees do not slide around while gripping the gas tank in corners. These would probably tear up regular jeans.May 23, 2011 at 3:41 am #29592RabParticipant
The ZZR-600’s a nice looking bike and definitely a different kettle of fish from your old Honda, but it sounds like you’re getting to grips with it all right.
I used to have to do the trip meter thing with my previous two bikes but watch out if/when you take it to a dealer for any service that requires them to take the tank off, as they may not put back in all the gas they took out. This happened to me once on a bike with no fuel gauge. Fortunately, I had practiced reaching down and flipping the pet-cock to reserve, so I could make it to a gas station.
Re. lubing the chain, you might find it easier and safer to buy some spools and a rear stand if you’re not going to fit a center stand (many don’t because it adds weight and reduces ground clearance). T-Rex Racing make a sturdy rear stand that’s quite a bit cheaper than the well known brand.
Have fun and take it easy until you get used to your new found powerMay 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm #29595Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
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.
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