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Kawasaki ZX 130 KAZE


Source: October 1995

O ne mile a single point of light the horizon on a desolate stretch of two-lane. Twenty seconds the light has come and gone, only swirling turbulence and a reading on the radar gun’s in its wake.

That, friends and is fast. Fast enough to roughly the length of a football each and every second. Tick. Tick.

How about a welcome, then, for Kawasaki’s still the fastest land-based of single-track ordnance in the known With a target that painted on its svelte black you’d think someone would have come for the Viceroy of Velocity with faster. Meaner.


B ut five years after the ZX-11 took its toll on the Adrenals, the Editorial Driving and the Editorial Sphincter, nothing in anybody’s showroom comes to that velocity mark. betters its 130.92 rear-wheel or its 10.25-second, 135.7-mph quarter-mile either.

Surprised? Don’t be. has defined and redefined motorcycle for nearly three decades.

the 1967 A1 Samurai 250 twin to the Mach III and ’72 Mach IV through the omniscient 1973 the ’81 Gpz 1100 and the 1984 900, Team Green has led the war on every front. Stretching the 900 bore and … numbers to produced the nasty black Ninja in 1986, which flirt with 160 mph on a good day to large stacks of horsepower and very tall gearing.

And after all bloody heck loose with Suzuki’s and Yamaha’s FZR1000, Kawasaki with an ’88 ZX-10 would perforate the 160-mph at will. Even then, it take the Amazing Kreskin to out what was next.

W hat came was exactly what Kawasaki from the beginning: the fastest, powerful motorcycle in creation. securely to the dyno, the 1990 cranked out a herd of nearly 127 ponies with no help its new ram-air system-the first arrangement ever fitted to a two-wheeler.

With ram-air it would spit out nearly 10 more; enough for low 10-second passes and 175 mph on top. For most that would have enough, but this is Kawasaki talking about. And so in 1993, a funnel cloud of rumors electronic air management and 180-mph-plus the ZX-11D was born.

Essentially to the ’95 model you see here, the immediately obvious ’93-spec centered around a new, stiffer aluminum frame stretched the wheelbase sixtenths of an and massaged rake and trail in favor of a tad more high-speed as well as a fatter rear and 10 mm larger front brake Hmmmmm. we thought, all the better to up an even more obscenely (and thus even obscenely fast) ZX-11 Yes. and no.

T he most eagerly awaited and embellished alteration was an extra intake under the menacing headlight. Twin ram-air force a reported 33 percent air into an even bigger airbox en route to 30 percent mufflers. This, in addition to main jets inside the slide CVKD 40 carburetors, more air into and, gets more horsepower out of a twin-cam, 16-valve four was otherwise largely status

The larger airbox and mufflers low and midrange power, as well as the ZX’s maximum output to hp. At top speed, where ram effect the biggest dividends, that probably rises to a little 140. But aimed down the stretch of road at the same gun, we came up with the 175 mph top speed.

What gives?

The latest sacrifices some pure ability to better protect the tucked behind it-enough of a to cancel out the D model’s power and turn any top speed contest a push. The amount of horsepower to gain even a few mph rises with the speed, meaning the decrease in slipperiness takes a more ponies to overcome.

B ack in the of double-nickel speed limits and the humorless, radar-equipped arm of the law, the of ram air are less glamorous: steady of cool, dense air to the 40mm

Sitting around in the driveway, the feels big-heavy, too. the riding position is comfortably steering is lighter and more than the 601-pound curb would project. The most glitch is some off-idle around town and generally carburetion under 3800

Otherwise, the ZX pulls away lights with the kind of Officer. ‘ urge you from something that 92 mph in second gear. Aside some lash in the lower and slightly stiff shifting, performance is pretty good.

the tach needle through rpm through a gear or two up the next provides a sort of PG preview of the evil that lives at rpm. Turning 4250 rpm a smooth 70 mph through hapless traffic, the ZX-11 is like Tyson in the … shower: everybody instinctively gets out of the And a nudge on the throttle dispatches few dullards don’t.

A side from suspension nearly harsh enough to kidney stones over freeways, you can actually tour on the ZX. The nicely contoured saddle is enough, and vibration remains a buzz until 8000 rpm in top at which point you’re roughly 136 mph anyway and will have other things to about. Tired of the prevailing

Use the throttle like the FF function on the VCR and cue up something more stimulating-just try putting gas stations more 200 miles apart. Playing and loose with the time plays heck with the old Any undue attention to fuel is a sure sign you’re in the auditorium here. Try the EX500. door on your left. The isn’t about mpg.

The about mph. lots of It’s about That and finding places to commune the patron saints of acceleration and in a fast, deserted back perhaps?

So long as the surface never much rougher than average Brunswick billiard light steering and Swiss-bank let the ZX pick and roll better any 601-pound anything has a right to. Our bike’s suspension was more than previous editions, but the de Sade is still skulking Kawasaki’s High-Speed Compression Department with a lab coat and a A rash of little mid-corner still get the otherwise adequate Battlax radials struggling for and skittering toward Big Trouble.

ZX-11 chicanery favors a calculated discretion over raging abandon. As those of us significant seat time in, a 440-cubic-inch 1970 Chrysler New know, big horsepower and massive are a combination that commands

The Kawi’s brakes are linear and powerful enough, though fade in the heat of expert butchery.

Handling manners are Post excellent, up to a point. is, muted front-end feedback it tough to tell how far you are from Big at any given point. Luckily, the starts nibbling at foot both stands and assorted scary-sounding hard parts to say time to throttle back.

O bikes will get down a stretch of back road So what? To the ZX-11 pilot, doesn’t matter. What matter is That Engine.

That Engine can stir up 175 mph in more time that it to read this sentence, but it have to. Just knowing it can is thanks. Because That cleans out the old adrenals with one trip through the gears and you even need any corners.

is great if you happen to live like South Texas there aren’t any. The that Kawasaki also to make the thing start and with all the drama of Aunt Altima is only icing on one fast cake. Someday, will build something

And why do we get this funny feeling going to be Kawasaki?

Kawasaki ZX 130 KAZE
Kawasaki ZX 130 KAZE


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