First Ride: Year 2000 Kawasaki ZX-9R —

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First Ride: Year Kawasaki ZX-9R

Los Angeles, 21, 2000 — In the last few we’ve had the opportunity to sample of the contestants in the Year 2000 Class Sportbike War.

revised YZF-R1 offers a of improvements they hope keep it at the top of the open-class heap.

CBR900RR has shed its old skin and into a 929, looking all the poised to dethrone Yamaha. left only the boys in Kawasaki.

Kawasaki’s entry the Year 2000 Open War comes in the form of a completely ZX-9R.

At first glance we aloud: why only 899cc? bikes are all about brute so why not go big? It turns out that the for the comparatively small displacement away at least 30cc to its competitor) is that it allows to make the motor lighter.

In Kawasaki’s engineers are confident they can extract more per cubic centimeter than any manufacturer which is why this is the generation motor with comparatively small displacement. Kawasaki feels that the stiffened frame, coupled various suspension tweaks, be enough to place them in the Circle. We wonder if they’re

The Hard Parts

One of the most changes to the Year 2000 is the addition of huge intake This system has been to increase power at racetrack — high wind and revs. The new bike also more aerodynamic bodywork.

The motor received serious to ensure the ZX-9R’s position at the top of the charts. The 9R’s bank of is 1kg lighter than last model and the bores have electroplated to improve heat and piston-to-cylinder clearance. The compression has also been increased 11.8:1 to 12.2:1, necessitating the use of at 90-octane gasoline.

The camshafts are and the intake lobe’s profile and have been changed to mid-range torque.

A new 16-bit CPU the 8-bit processor to better to the new ignition rotor that now has 24 (six times as many as year) for improved throttle New Keihin 40mm semi-flat carburetors (flat on the airbox round on the motor side) been fitted and, on models, a titanium muffler things off.

The ZX-9R has a new drum, reshimmed gears, and and fourth gears now have engagement dogs.

The transmission a few updates as well. The ZX-9R has a new drum, reshimmed gears, and and fourth gears now have engagement dogs. A longer shaft is also used so the sprocket is farther from the allowing the chain to clear the tire mounted to a new six-inch rim.

Since a kick-… does not make a bike all by itself, the hexagonal frame a host of changes to complement the newfound oomph. To improve the main frame spars are taller and the steering head is 12mm longer. Fork has been reduced from 35 to and trail has been increased 93 to 97mm.

Rake remains the same, the steering head was moved to retain the same wheelbase. new is a removable subframe made of that eases maintenance should an accident occur, is easier (cheaper) to replace an entire frame.

The suspension on the Kayaba rear shock and forks have been to compliment the stiffer chassis. The shock now has a screw-type ride adjuster to go along with its new characteristics throughout its 135mm of The linkage is also revised and is now during the first few millimeters of softening up towards full

The front end received complimentary changes as well as a ball fitted to the steering head for smoother response throughout the 120mm of travel. Both and rear suspensions are fully for preload, compression and rebound

A new swingarm adorns the chassis and is internally to reduce weight still providing ample The swingarm’s pivot shaft and the axle are now 25mm (up from to decrease weight while the same strength as the previous

The brakes received changes as with the new front rotors to 310mm (from last 296mm units), while the brake caliper carrier is now to reduce unsprung weight.

The Fun Part

What does all technical mumbo-jumbo add up to on the road? plain and simple. We didn’t a chance yet to take the ZX-9R to the (we’re saving that for the Bike Shootout), but we were to put quite a few miles on the new 9R on local backroads and we came away impressed.

We recently sampled the 929 and R1 while none of the bikes ridden back-to-back, our mental back-to-back comparo has the ZX-9R pretty good. Why? The makes a phenomenally entertaining bike.

The 9R has wind protection at least equals that of the 929 has better wind protection an R1) and, as our graphics-guru Calvin Kim the motor is full of power and energy. Indeed it is: It makes amounts of power from low up through redline and does so a growl and a laugh, simultaneously.

The muffler has a deep, throaty and the powerband has a nice linear to it that makes twisting the a great deal of fun without to fun you into an impromptu high-side. motor has personality to the tune of hp and 69.9 foot-pounds of torque at the wheel, and you feel every bit of it.

The pulls cleanly from low and doesn’t require clutch in slow-going traffic.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-9R

Around town the motor is smooth, not nearly as buzzy as of Kawasaki’s past efforts. The pulls cleanly from low and doesn’t require clutch in slow-going traffic. In these the steering is a little heavy, in general, the bike’s low-speed are perfectly acceptable considering this bike was not designed as a but rather as a high-speed flyer.

The suspension tweaks resulted in a surprise: Where past have been stiffly at times making anything but smooth tarmac feel riding through a lumber this new ZX-9R feels in comparison. Kawasaki did a wonderful job the new suspension settings.

The bike well-balanced and extremely plush a sportbike) over freeway joints and road irregularities. A of staffers commented on how amazing it is a bike that is so fast in the can be so comfortable on the freeway.

Despite high comfort level, the still allows the bike to be in the twisties at an extremely aggressive

Even when the chassis unsettled, it was not caused by the suspension but by a in the carburetion. As we leaned the bike a corner after trailing off the and gently rolling the throttle on we greeted by a hesitation and then a surge in acceleration, no matter how we tried to be.

This is something plagued earlier versions of bike as well. However, trait is noticed only excessively speeding on twisty at near-racetrack speeds and is not noticed responsible, everyday riding.

Still, for a carbureted bike, — however they — should not be an issue. On the where the 929 and R1 have flawless response, this could be the downfall.

The revised brakes are of the best we’ve sampled. one of our main gripes about the new 929 is they lack initial the front binders on the ZX-9R may too much initial bite for people. While most couldn’t stop raving the fantastic brakes, one staffer that he could not quite get a feel for them.

He felt the brakes offered too much initially and preferred something progressive, yet more linear the soft brakes on the 929 — more like the units on the which everyone loves. the ZX-9R’s brakes work when the bike is being fast enough that amounts of initial bite are After all, it is the high of a racetrack where this is designed to operate, and the ZX-9R well-equipped to do so with minimal made for street use.

So how can a that is so competent at or near velocity be such a joy at far lower We’re not sure. Somebody had go ask Kawasaki’s engineers.

This new drew comments from our such as if this bike sexier, (he thinks it has a somewhat UJM look) there’d be no need to any other sportbike. Those are words, but the new ZX-9R impressed us more than we expected.

The ZX-9R has excellent wind a thrilling (fun, but not scary) and it is able to competently play on local backroads one day and pull as a sport-tourer the next. Very few bikes offer that of flexibility. In fact, the only one comes to mind is Honda’s Interceptor, but that motorcycle nowhere near the racetrack nor the visceral thrill of the Kawasaki

On the street the new ZX-9R will be tough to beat. The racetrack may be a story, however. As an all-around the 9R is definitely in the hunt for overall It’s currently our favorite

As to whether or not it will maintain shine, only a Liter-Bike will tell. Stay Things should get interesting

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-9R

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