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Endurance test final balance Kawaski ZZR 1400

Kawaski ZZR 1400

After 50,000 kilometers, the ZZR 1400 long-term test machine is dismantled. The bottom line: The power tourer with an eventful past has a great future ahead of it.

May 2007, somewhere in Albania. The Eurobiker (www.eurobiker.de) are out and about on their annual, non-profit Whitsun tour.

Also included: the world’s strongest production motorcycle. It pulls like a stone train Kawasaki ZZR 1400 follows a plume of dust, wrapped in haze. Gravel patters against the cladding developed in the wind tunnel.

The European road before the border to Greece is more than 20 kilometers without tar. Clearly not the right element for a fully enclosed speed bike. But it does brilliantly on the loose surface. The driving behavior of the 190 hp car remains brilliant even under adverse conditions, such as on the Balkan Tour: simply great, how finely these spring elements respond, how easy this rocket on wheels can be handled.

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Endurance test final balance Kawaski ZZR 1400
Kawaski ZZR 1400

Kawasaki so-called "Hot rub". Allegedly, you could get the rubbing discs smooth again with coarse sandpaper on the lathe.

Holds the clutch?


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Kawa-cracker meets high culture: break before the Semperoper in Dresden.

The front brake pads were changed a total of three times. Kawasaki counters, whose service life depends largely on the way you drive: "In our fleet, ZZR 1400, which have achieved significantly higher mileage, are running with the first brake pads."

Only once did the 1400s strain the guardian angel badly. In the middle of an overtaking maneuver, the drive chain said goodbye at 27,930 kilometers. Without warning, but thank God without causing any consequential damage to people or machines. While the driver was still sorting and inspecting the ZZR, a flatbed truck from the road maintenance depot stopped 50 meters away and loaded the abandoned metal. Baden-Württemberg should stay clean. Basta.

After a few phone calls ?? everything is in order? MOTORRAD fleet manager Rainer Froberg was able to bring the chain into his care. Lo and behold, a broken chain pin turned out to be the culprit. Otherwise the chain was in good condition: sufficient grease, also inside, pinion and sprocket perfect. Which clearly speaks for the top quality of the chain. After all, it was still the first, with a nominal output of 190 hp. A material defect? A pebble that got stuck somewhere in between? Anyway, the tour to Albania started with a fresh drive chain.


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Chain reaction: The break in the drive chain was the only breakdown.

While no one expected the chain to break, the 50,000 kilometers with the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 increasingly posed a completely different question: does the transmission hold or does it not hold? Striking noises made not only sensitive people flinch. Above all, it was frightening: the cracking shift when shifting into first gear. It got worse and worse over time. The ZZR also acknowledged downshifting in the lower gears with unduly loud noises.

Grinding noises joined the soundscape when the clutch was pulled while idling. However, a check of the clutch that was carried out to be on the safe side remained without results. After cold starts, which were sometimes followed by a miserable throttle response, creaking noises irritated. They sounded worrying, but were uncritical and disappeared after a few seconds. The cause is the timing chain tensioner, which works hydraulically, but is also pre-tensioned with a spring. So much in advance: the gearbox, clutch and timing chain tensioner held out lively.

194 hp mobile


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Hot: valve seats are only slightly widened, isolated traces of fire.

This means that the virtues of the sports tourer, such as the comfortable seating position, have remained unrestricted. Nevertheless, Monika Schulz, deputy editor-in-chief at MOTORRAD, didn’t like the ZZR. Put them in line "Motorcycles that the world doesn’t need". Why? "You sit down in the ZZR, drive from A to B and don’t feel anything! You may also be wondering: Why is it so cold in the car, other cars also have heating."

At the "Feeling" shows the 1400s two faces. If the analog tachometer hits the 5000 mark, the world turns faster, the time condenses, the blood pulses faster. In sixth gear, however, this is only the case above 160 km / h and in fifth gear from 140.

Under 5000 tours the start is poor. If you are hit by the 600s in the Alps just because you take turns in second gear instead of first, then that is unworthy of a 1400. Especially since the ZZR is also drastically throttled for specific aisles. In sixth gear alone, she lets all the horses gallop. Editor Michael Orth finds this positive characteristic: "A stove that has as many kilowatts as my car (140) and can be moved so gently and tame through the city. What can you reproach him for??"

Nevertheless: Maybe Kawasaki overshot the target in taming the 190-hp high-flyer in favor of excellent driveability. This increases the tension on the 193 hp 2008 model, which will not only have G-Kat and Euro 3 approval, but should also offer fuller torque curve. Kawasaki is still knocking out the 2007 model with daily registration at the winter price of 12,495 euros (excluding additional costs), i.e. 1,850 euros below the previous list price.

Nonetheless, high performance has its price: Driving ZZR is expensive fun. Only the Ducati 999 of the 17 MOTORRAD endurance test machines of recent years is even more expensive per kilometer, see the table on page 39. High premiums for tax (101 euros per year for 1352 cm³) and insurance in the open class add up to immense costs for fuel, inspections and tires. Almost seven liters of average consumption speak a clear language: whoever in the editorial department needed a fast express tourer, primarily for stretches of the motorway, was happy to use the ZZR. "It is simply nice and relaxing to be on the road with the Kawasaki without having to turn the engine to the limit", noticed a colleague in the logbook.

Kawasaki takes a position


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Recently in the Middle East: Big crossing with the tow ferry on the Eurobike tour 2007.

Annoying and expensive: short 6000 maintenance intervals. Every second inspection (at 6000, 18000, 30000 et cetera) is only one "Security check", in which the function of the clutch and brakes are checked. But do you need a workshop appointment that costs 73.93 euros, because that’s how much the 6000 inspection cost? Positive: the oil and filter are only changed every 12,000, and the valves only need to be adjusted after 42,000 kilometers. But why do the expensive, structurally durable Iridium spark plugs have to be replaced every 12,000 kilometers? Costs 313 euros with 16 candles over 50,000 kilometers!

A new Bridgestone rear tire was due around every 4,000 kilometers. Tribute to the super-sporty, soft Japanese tires BT 014 (front in special code "SL", back "L."). They make the 1400s super stable even at top speed, but are only mediocre when it comes to handling. In contrast, the Conti Sport Attack "K" the ZZR is unrivaled in its handiness. Soled with it, it turns lightly and follows the targeted line very precisely, even in fast corners. And that with significantly improved feedback. However, the Contis did not last long either.


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Joint assessment: Kawasaki delegation and MOTORRAD team.

In this regard, the now released Pirelli Diablo Strada and Metzeler Roadtec Z6, both without special identification, are clearly superior. The rear Diablo ran a devilish 8384 kilometers to the exchange. The driver’s log shows: "The Pirellis are doing the ZZR really well. They make the 1400s more agile and manageable than the BT 014, and if the feedback is good, they offer high grip even on wet roads. That is fun!" The Metzeler Roadtec combines good handling and fine cold grip with high mileage: 3.6 millimeters remaining tread at the rear after 6718 kilometers. However, with the Z6, the ZZR shows a tendency to wobble up to a slight oscillation at top speed.

Technically, the ZZR shines, which was shown at the latest when dismantling after 50,000 kilometers, with inner values: solid, mature, reliable. No pitting on the gear flanks, a shift drum like new. Noise or not, there is nothing to complain about about the drive train. Valves and crankshafts, pistons, connecting rods and valves, all internal components can also be reinstalled without any problems. At most, grind in valves, that’s it.

In spring, the dismantled ZZR adorns the trade fair in Dortmund live and in color (February 28 to March 2, 2008). It’s just not over yet.

Reading experiences

The ZZR 1400 never let me down on 15,800 kilometers. I mostly pushed the bike to the limit. What bothered me in particular was the lousy torque at low speeds. I was so far that I wanted to sell the bike again. But according to the report in MOTORRAD 12/2007 I bought a Powercomander plus gear unlocking from the Braunschweig dealer Popko, plus a BOS exhaust system (four-in-two with cat). Now I didn’t recognize my motorcycle anymore, the ZZR 1400 left the hairpin bends like a fury. The success is especially noticeable when you accelerate out with a passenger from 2000 rpm.
Richard Felbermeier

My kawa was scrapped after an accident through no fault of my own with a broken frame after 12115 kilometers. The ZZR was extremely reliable throughout the entire period. Consumption was between 5.6 and 8.5 liters, depending on the driving style, with an average of 6.4 liters. The chassis and ABS brakes are the best I’ve seen in 25 years of active motorcycle life. With the detachable case carrier system from SW-Motec and Givi Keyless cases (45 liters), even longer tours are no problem. But the resulting vehicle width and insufficient payload cause annoyance. Regarding the inharmonious engine characteristics, I’m not at all satisfied, but unfortunately Kawasaki was unable to make improvements. The ZZR only comes into question again for me with better acceleration from below (model 2008?).
Hans-Jörg Kern

As a convinced Kawasaki rider, I bought the 1400s in March 2006 after one Z 1000 and three ZZR 1100s. Reasons for buying were optics, high cubic capacity and the smoothness of the four-cylinder, less the number of horsepower. So far, I’ve covered 12,000 trouble-free kilometers with no measurable oil consumption. Admittedly, one expects a 1400 to be more violent under 5000 rpm. But above that, the ZZR kindled a fireworks display. It is difficult to lubricate the chain.
Thorsten Gerlof

I’ve already unwound 30,000 kilometers with my ZZR. The chassis is very good, extremely stable and very manoeuvrable for a sports tourer, even in tight turns. I travel a lot in the mountains. That’s why I found the lack of power in the lower speed range very annoying. Thanks to a change in the engine management system, the ZZR now has a good grip on the gas even in the lower speed range. As a passenger, my wife is very satisfied with her seating position on over 10,000 kilometers. Bernd Leonhardt

The dark side of the moped is the engine. "The most powerful 600 ever." I drove with my ZZR 1200 much less shifting gear. The bright sides are handling, chassis, relaxed, slightly sporty sitting posture. The engine runs quietly, atypically Kawa, but rattles nicely from the airbox. The suspension strut lacks hydraulic preload, especially for pillion rider use. Usually only scratching the notches solo, grinding the main stand, exhaust clamp and paneling with two people. This can be remedied by raising the rear by 20 millimeters and pretensioning the spring 2.5 millimeters to the maximum. Rebound and compression stages open a quarter turn at the rear, half a turn more at the front than standard, then the Kawa solo is quite tight and great for two. Otherwise a great moped, with good equipment, acceptable consumption (6 to 7.5 liters / 100 km) and a decent price-performance ratio.
Oliver schimitzek

The ZZR impresses with its "creamy" handiness, is precise and unshakably stable at any speed. The sporty, relaxed seating position and the good wind protection of the (unfortunately very loud) touring windshield from MRA ensure excellent travel and long-distance suitability. The Bridgestone BT 014 harmonize well with the ZZR. The Metzeler Roadtec Z6 lasts much longer, but has a few disadvantages: poor handling, shimmy and slight instability at higher speeds. The front brake discs on my ZZR rub too. Otherwise no incidents. With the right tires, a dream motorcycle! Would ?? I will buy again immediately!
Jens-Christof Harder

The ZZR is easy to handle, always offers enough pressure, and has so far run without major technical problems. Positive: fine transmission, good frame. A fun device for people over 100 kilograms and 180 centimeters tall. Real driving fun, even when training on the Nordschleife you are always confident on the road. Accurate braking, very well coordinated ABS as well as fine turning and full acceleration. Negative: Passenger comfort limited on go along journeys, six of the eight manifold bolts lost in 6100 of the previous 8500 kilometers. Annoying: insufficient ground clearance. Disguise comes on when you swiftly sweep down serpentine roads.
F. Kunze

After 6500 kilometers, the first tires are still on. The first inspection with oil and oil filter cost 140 euros. After that, I noticed that oil was leaking out of the valve cover gasket. Kawa now supplies improved parts. The engine has little power in the lower range. When it rains, that’s a nice thing, because you won’t be surprised by the 190 hp. The four-cylinder is a stunner on country roads and motorways. In fifth gear between 2000 and 3000 rpm I can hear a ticking that I pushed onto the valves. During the inspection, they suspected that the cause was the injection nozzles or the throttle valves. Kawasaki Germany advised me to fill up with Super Plus. After that, the noises were actually gone. The transmission howls as if there is a little too much play between the gears. Michael Kapahnke

Balance after 50,000 kilometers – condition

Cylinder head: All valves are tight, the valve seats are only slightly widened, there are occasional minimal traces of fire (exhaust valve plates and seats). The entire valve train is flawless except for slight traces of wear on a cam and the associated camshaft bearings.

Cylinder: The pistons show hardly any signs of wear, a good contact pattern and only a few deposits, the cylinders are also in very good condition with the exception of minimal running marks, the same applies to the piston rings.

Crank drive: all bearing clearances are within the installation tolerance.

Power transmission: Some claw recesses show slight signs of wear, the clutch plate spring has worked its way into the steel disc. Otherwise good condition of clutch and gear wheels.

Chassis: The paintwork of the frame, the engine and the swing arm make a valuable impression, as do the other attachments.

Kawasaki takes a position …

… to the increasingly louder transmission and a hard shift when shifting into first gear.
Due to the oil-soaked friction and lining disks, an oil bath clutch never separates completely, especially when it is started for the first time after a long period of inactivity, the linings stick to one another, which leads to a relatively hard first " switching shock ". Sometimes changing to a different type of oil can help; it is often sufficient to leave the clutch pulled for a certain period of time before engaging the first gear and to operate the gearshift lever after a few seconds. The condition of the clutch and the gearbox after the endurance test also shows that no damage is to be feared.

… to the creaking noises ("rattles") after a cold start.
The correct tension of the timing chain is only achieved when full oil pressure is applied to the hydraulic chain tensioner. This can take a few seconds with a cold start. After this time, the valve train should run smoothly and silently.

… for retrofitting the tilt angle sensor.
Shortly after the market launch, there was a recall campaign regarding possible loose fastening screws for the tilt angle sensor. The function of the sensor itself was not affected. All affected vehicles have already been checked.

… Too short 6000 maintenance intervals.
We have been adjusting the inspection intervals to the market for some time. However, the final decision to change must be made in Japan.

… to the performance characteristics, i.e. tough pulling power below 5000 / min, torque drop at 3000 / min.
We are aware of this complaint. Intensive work was carried out on a modification for the 2008 model year.

… front brake discs to be rubbed.
The replaced brake discs were neither warped nor excessively worn. If the brake disc is mechanically in order, i.e. has no imbalance, runs smoothly without impact and is not deformed, it can only be so-called hot rub. This can be recognized by mostly blue spots on the surface of the brake disc. It is assumed that local overheating and burned-in brake lining wear are responsible for this. If, for example, the brakes are applied while standing still after heavy braking (downhill or similar), partial overheating can occur under the brake pads with the consequences mentioned. The surface of these spots then has a different coefficient of friction than the rest of the disc.

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