2012 Kawasaki ZZR1400
KING OF ALL SPORT BIKES - LATEST
AND GREATEST IN A LONG LINE OF FLAGSHIP MODELS
Directly descended from the legendary
GPz900R, Kawasaki’s newest flagship is the ultimate
blend of Extreme Excitement and Everyday Versatility.
Not only is it the world’s fastest accelerating
production motorcycle, but superb handling and balanced
performance (care of advanced technology and numerous
comfort features) ensure riders are equally at home
carving up twisty roads in the hills, heading across
the border to meet friends for lunch or deftly weaving
through city traffic, as they are hurtling down the
dragstrip. The ZZR1400 proudly stands at the head
of Kawasaki’s road sports line-up, but its almighty
performance makes it the King of All Sport Bikes.
STRONGEST ACCELERATING PRODUCTION
MOTORCYCLE ON THE PLANET
Designed to settle the issue of supremacy
in the flagship class once and for all, the ZZR1400's
new engine boasts an increased displacement and thorough
engine tuning to deliver heady levels of power and
unrivalled acceleration. The step up in performance
over its predecessor is readily apparent, with more
available torque across the rev range and substantially
higher upper-end power. And with the notably stronger
twisting the throttle past 4,000 rpm may result in
a sensation not entirely unlike that experienced by
astronauts breaking free from the Earth’s gravitational
4 mm longer stroke increases displacement
of the powerful In-Line Four engine to 1,441 cm³.
Bore and Stroke are now 84 x 65 mm.
Compared to its predecessor, the new engine offers
more torque at all rpm, and substantially more power
in the mid-high range. Acceleration from 4,000 rpm
and up is notably stronger.
Torque is strong enough to pull away from lights in
almost any gear: at 2,000 rpm there is 9.5 kgf.m of
torque available! And this figure jumps significantly
from 3,000 rpm.
Cylinder head features precision-crafted combustion
chambers. Previously cast along with the head, the
milled combustion chambers increase compression ratio
to 12.3:1 (previously 12.0:1). The higher combustion
ratio contributes to the overall increase in performance.
Both intake and exhaust ports have revised shapes
for increased performance. Additionally, the intake
ports are now polished, contributing to smoother intake
airflow. Exhaust ports have a greater diameter, facilitating
the expulsion of spent fuel-air mixture.
ø33.4 mm intake valves feature longer (+0.4
mm) stems. An induction hardening treatment on the
valve faces and a new valve seat material contribute
to increased performance as well as high reliability.
ø28.3 mm exhaust valves are heat treated for
high strength and high-rpm reliability.
Revised cam profiles and increased lift for both intake
and exhaust contribute to the increased performance.
Stronger cam chain matches the increased performance
as well as the taller cylinder height. New cam sprockets
and chain guides match the engine changes.
New hydraulic cam chain tensioner features a mechanical
ratchet system that ensures pressure on the cam chain
is maintained when the engine is cold (and hydraulic
pressure is low), reducing mechanical noise.
Forged pistons have thinner crowns that match the
new combustion chambers and a revised skirt design
that alleviates stress. Matched to the higher piston
velocities, the new pistons are stronger and lighter
(by approximately 6 g each), reducing reciprocating
weight and contributing to increased performance.
Bypass holes between cylinders 1-2 and 3-4 idealised
to minimise pumping loss. The reduction in
power-robbing pumping loss was a big contributor to
the new engine’s increased performance.
A new external-feed piston jet system ensures that
a constant jet of cooling oil is sprayed on the underside
of the pistons. External feed sources oil from the
oil pump and delivers it to jets positioned on the
exhaust side of each cylinder.
The revised jet nozzle shape and position
enhances the cooling effect, contributing to increased
Connecting rods are 3 mm longer (112.5 mm >>
115.5 mm) to match the new stroke. To match the increased
performance, the small ends are beefier (outer diameter
is 1 mm larger). To account for the increased play
that comes with the longer stroke, the big end bolts
are made from stronger material (approximately 30%
greater tensile strength) and fastened with greater
torque – a tuner’s trick that
contributes to increased performance.
Crankshaft is also stronger to suit the greater performance.
Main journal diameter is now ø40 mm (previously
Air cleaner element is larger, thicker and (along
with filter material with a revised folding pattern
offers a greater effective filter surface. The effective
surface is approximately 10% greater and offers a
decrease in flow resistance of about 60%. The result
is increased filtering performance and reduced filling
resistance – which both contribute to increased
ø44 mm throttle bodies are complemented by
a new throttle body assembly that features a remote
ISC valve. In addition to the benefit of not having
to make idle speed adjustments, ISC helps reduce emissions
during deceleration (when the throttle is rolled off).
Lower emissions make is possible to use smaller catalysers,
thereby contributing to increased performance.
Larger header pipes and a reshaped collector also
add to the increased performance.
Commensurate with the increased performance, larger
silencers ensure that noise and emissions regulations
Silky Smooth Engine
One of the inherent benefits of an
In-Line Four engine configuration is its perfect primary
Complementing the perfect primary balance, dual secondary
balancers further reduce unwanted engine vibration,
ensuring a supremely smooth engine.
Stronger, Shorter-geared Transmission
While the increased engine performance
already delivers significantly increased torque, shorter
gearing care of a larger rear sprocket (41T > 42T)
further accentuates the stronger acceleration.
Heat and surface treatment for all the gears ensures
the durability to cope with the incredible loads from
the powerful engine as well as greater wear resistance
for the parts of the gear that come in contact with
the shift forks.
Stronger 530-size chain features larger pins and inner
plates to match the engine’s greater power and
Series-first Back-torque Limiter Easily adjustable
back-torque limiting clutch facilitates smooth downshifts
and helps prevent rear wheel hop, which becomes more
likely with the increased back-torque.
In addition to assisting with control, the back-torque
limiter also helps protect the drivetrain.
Increased Fuel Efficiency
Despite the increased displacement,
more advanced ECU programming gives the ZZR1400 better
efficiency than its predecessor. Careful adjustment
of fuel volume and ignition timing when speed is constant
improves fuel consumption by approximately 8% –
an achievement realised without compromise to
SPORTIER HANDLING. SUPERB HIGH-SPEED STABILITY
With the new flagship, Kawasaki engineers
wanted to keep the same general handling character
(light & neutral) and relaxed, sport riding position
of the predecessor, but to give it a sportier edge.
A new frame with completely revised chassis rigidity,
sportier suspension with improved absorption performance
and firmer bottoming resistance, and lighter wheels
with new tyres enabled them to achieve their goal.
The ZZR1400 sheds its weight as soon as it gets underway,
it is easier to become one with the bike, neutral
handling is complemented by increased feedback from
the chassis (which facilitates sport riding), and
the suspension’s increased road holding helps
realise sportier handling while ensuring rock steady
Aluminium Monocoque Frame
While basic geometry is inherited from
its predecessor, rigidity of the aluminium monocoque
completely revised to suit the new engine’s
greater output. Deceptively, the frame looks unchanged,
than half of its components are new.
Steering head rigidity was increased. This area in
particular contributes to the improved handling.
The back-plate for the battery (mounted inside the
monocoque frame) is formed from aluminium (previously
plastic), contributing to increased rigidity.
Revised construction method for the swingarm pivot
sections also adds to the increased rigidity.
The engine is rigid-mounted, further contributing
to the monocoque frame’s inherent torsional
rigidity. Using the engine as a stressed member allows
the frame to be made lighter.
Using multiple construction methods – the steering
head is a massive gravity casting (contributing to
the high rigidity), the main monocoque section is
a pressing, and the swingarm pivot sections are high-vacuum
die cast pieces – allows the frame to be made
very stiff where stiffness is needed and more flexible
where flexibility is needed. Being able to control
the wall thickness of the various components makes
it possible to attain a light frame with an idealised
Stronger, Longer Swingarm
Gusseting on the swingarm increases
rigidity to match the greater output. Swingarm is
10 mm longer to suit the new final gear ratio. (This
also contributes to the slightly longer wheelbase.)
Stiffer springs for both the front
fork and rear suspension deliver a firmer, sportier
feel. Along with the new springs, damping settings
were also revised to suit the significantly greater
With the new settings, the majority of the suspension
action takes place higher in the stroke (compared
to on the predecessor, where action took place closer
to the bottom of the stroke with the suspension almost
fully compressed). The result is that absorption and
road holding performance are both improved, helping
to achieve a sportier character as well as high-speed
Rubber dampers added to the front fork contribute
to firmer bottoming resistance.
All-new wheels offer significant weight
savings over those of the predecessor. The front wheel
360 g lighter and the rear wheel saves 1030 g, for
a total reduction of 1.39 kg.
The reduced rotational inertia and lower unsprung
weight increase the bike’s flickability, contributing
to the sportier handling.
High-speed radial tyres are rated to
300 km/h, ensuring superb stability in the ultra-high
Triple Petal Disc Brakes
ø310 mm petal brake discs, radial-mount
front calipers and a radial-pump brake master cylinder
offer impressive braking performance and superb feel.
Aluminium front disc inner rotors (ø200 mm)
reduce unsprung weight while ensuring ideal rigidity.
A ø250 mm petal disc with twin-piston caliper
slows the rear.
Improved ABS Performance
ABS models are available in certain
markets. Revised ECU programming based on test rider
and customer feedback results in improved ABS braking
performance on bumpy road conditions (e.g. uneven
surfaces encountered when riding in the hills, cobblestone
streets in some towns, etc).
Sculpted by the wind, the ZZR1400’s
bodywork offers high aerodynamic performance that
reduces drag, and contributes to stability and wind
protection at highway speeds.
The ZZR1400 offers a very relaxed sport
riding position. Compact without being cramped, the
positioned so that riders do not have to stretch to
The narrow engine, monocoque frame and waisted fuel
tank make it easy to keep knees close together
Low-set footpegs give ample legroom.
The new gunfighter-style seat contributes
to both design impact and ergonomics. Its sculpted
provides hip support during strong acceleration. Slimmer
at the front, it also facilitates the reach to the
ground when stopped at lights.
A depression in the fuel tank cover facilitates tucking
in behind the screen.
Sculpted indents in the side of the tank cover ensure
there is plenty of room for the rider’s hands
when manoeuvring at low speeds. Steering angle is
an ample 31 degrees in each direction.
Radiator is equipped with two cooling
fans (previously one: ø185 mm). The second
fan (ø130 mm) provides
increased cooling performance.
The more pronounced fin design of side
fairings is more than just ornamental. The fairing
outlets facilitate heat dissipation, allowing hot
engine air to escape more quickly. Heat to the arms
and legs of the rider is significantly reduced, increasing
A heat guard added to the exhaust joint pipe protects
the rider’s calf from heat when stopped.
Heel guards rearward of the passenger footpegs offer
heat protection for the passenger as well as scuff
protection for the silencers.
ADVANCED ELECTRONIC RIDING AIDS
While the ZZR1400’s mighty engine
performance was intended to be experienced unfiltered,
riders may elect to take advantage of the some of
the advanced electronic riding aids provided to suit
riding conditions or preference.
3-Mode KTRC (Kawasaki TRaction Control)
The KTRC system offered on the ZZR1400 combines the
best elements of Kawasaki’s two traction control
systems, S-KTRC and KTRC. Three modes cover a range
of riding conditions, offering either enhanced sport
riding performance or the peace of mind to
negotiate slippery surfaces with confidence.
Riders can choose from three modes.
Modes 1 and 2 prioritise maximum forward acceleration
(like the S-KTRC system on the Ninja ZX-10R). Mode
3 is similar to the KTRC system offered on the 1400GTR
ABS, providing rider reassurance by facilitating smooth
riding on slippery surfaces. Riders may also elect
to turn the system off.
Compared to the three modes offered on the Ninja ZX-10R’s
S-KTRC (which was designed to allow riders to enjoy
experimenting with various combinations of settings
as they tune their bike for particular corners on
the circuit), the effects of Modes 1, 2 and 3 are
much easier to distinguish and cover a much wider
In Modes 1 and 2, highly sophisticated
programming allows a degree of slip – a certain
amount of slip is required to maximise acceleration.
The ideal slip ratio varies according to conditions.
The system looks at a number of parameters to get
an accurate real-time picture of what is going on:
front and rear wheel speed
(slippage) and various engine, machine and rider input
parameters are monitored.
Using complex analysis, the system is able to predict
when traction conditions are about to become unfavourable.
By acting before slippage exceeds the range for optimal
traction, drops in power can be minimised, resulting
in ultra-smooth operation.
Conditions are confirmed every 5 milliseconds, and
control via ignition timing allows extremely quick
In Mode 3 (the most intrusive) the same logic and
control as in Modes 1 and 2 is employed during normal
operation. However, when excessive rear wheel spin
is detected, Mode 3 switches to three-way control
– governing ignition timing, fuel delivery and
airflow (via the sub-throttles) – and engine
output is reduced to a level that allows the rear
wheel to regain grip. It is the control of the sub-throttles
that enables smooth operation. This fine control results
in a very natural feeling: engagement is smooth, on/off
transition is smooth, and stability is maintained
during extended operation. (While KTRC offered on
the 1400GTR purposely delayed intervention to let
riders know the rear wheel was spinning, intervention
in Mode 3 is essentially delay-free.)
In Mode 3, KTRC effectively enables riders to negotiate
both short slippery patches (such as train tracks
or manhole covers) and extended stretches of bad road
(e.g. wet pavement, cobblestone, gravel, etc) without
worry. Wheel spin is also limited when starting on
a slippery surface.
The system is also able to distinguish between torque
wheelies, which are smooth, and sudden wheelies, which
can be dangerous. In Modes 1 and 2, torque wheelies
are allowed as long as acceptable acceleration is
maintained. Sudden wheelies trigger system intervention.
In Mode 3, all wheelies are prevented.
The system uses minimal hardware but complex software.
Apart from the engine ECU, the system relies on only
front and rear wheel speed sensors – which means
minimal additional weight (none, in the case of ABS
models, which already have wheel speed sensors).
By default, KTRC is always ON when the engine is started.
(The mode will be the same as when the engine was
turned off, or in Mode 1 if the system had been turned
off.) Riders must consciously turn the system off
(using the on/off button on the left grip).
Power Mode Selection
A choice of Full Power or Low Power
modes allows riders to set power delivery to suit
conditions. Low Power mode limits output to approximately
75% of Full Power and uses a milder throttle
response. (Reduction of both power and throttle response
varies according to engine speed (rpm),
throttle position and gear position.)
Combining the various KTRC and Power Mode options,
riders have eight combinations from which to choose.
For example, an experienced rider on dry pavement
might choose Full Power and KTRC Mode 1 for sport
riding. On a wet and/or slippery road surface, Low
Power and KTRC Mode 3 might be selected.
Each system can be set independently to best suit
rider skill/preference, riding location and road conditions.
PRESENCE & PRECISION: IMPOSING APPEARANCE FROM
AFAR. IMPECCABLE QUALITY UP CLOSE.
Like its predecessor, the ZZR1400 exudes
an aura of power and assurance found only in the world’s
most powerful machines. Its essential character is
maintained, making its lineage clear for all to see,
but where the
design of its predecessor favoured curved lines and
rounded surfaces, the new design combines curves with
sharp edges that create dynamic surfaces. Unlike the
recent trend in supersport and super-naked design
towards mass-forward designs with minimalist tails,
a voluminous tail design and more balanced approach
to front-rear impact ensure that Kawasaki’s
latest flagship cuts an imposing figure from any angle.
And befitting a flagship model, extra care with fit
& finish and attention to detail result in a machine
that is equally impressive when viewed from a more
More aggressive design for the characteristic
quadruple projector beam headlights contributes to
increased impact of the front cowling.
Central Ram Air duct, a key design element of all
Ninja supersport bikes, reinforces the bike’s
From the side, the front and rear of the bike are
visually balanced, giving the ZZR1400 a very solid-looking
Because the monocoque frame goes over the engine and
does not protrude through the fairing, an uninterrupted
fairing design is possible.
Thematic quadruple fins of the side fairings are maintained,
although their design is more 3-dimensional,
contributing to a more dynamic image of the side of
More aggressive, larger-volume tail maintains the
LED taillight and integrated rear turn signals of
The more substantial tail volume creates a more integrated
rear view: the tail cowl, rear tyre and twin
silencers have good visual and spatial balance.
Larger-volume silencers contribute to the dramatic
impact of the rear. Their pentagonal design enables
the requisite silencer volume while ensuring that
the bike’s deep bank angle could be maintained.
The optional single seat cover integrates perfectly
with the design of the tail and contributes to imposing
rear view. (The single seat cover can be used, but
removing the passenger tail grip and luggage hooks
Multi-function Instrumentation Nestled in the canopy
is an instrument cluster with dual analogue-style
speedometer and tachometer. Black faces with white
font make them easy to read at a glance.
Multi-function digital display now includes external
air temperature and a more precise remaining range
function. (In addition to a more precise fuel gauge,
the ECU also keeps track of injected fuel volume when
calculating remaining range readings.)
Other features on the multi-function display include
a fuel gauge, gear position indicator, odometer, clock
and dual trip meters. Numerous modes including current
and average fuel consumption, remaining range, battery
voltage and the newly added external air temperature
are all controlled using a multi-function button located
at the left handle.
KTRC (3 modes + OFF), Power Mode (2 modes) and initial
instrument settings (language, clock set, etc) are
also controlled using the multi-function button.
The Economical Riding Indicator appears on the LCD
screen to indicate favourable fuel consumption. Paying
attention to conditions that result in the mark appearing
can assist riders to maximise their fuel efficiency.
This handy feature is active all the time, although
to be effective, the rider must ride in a gentle manner:
6,000 rpm, less than 30% throttle, under 160 km/h.
Fit & Finish, Attention to Details As much as
possible, cowling fasteners are placed out of sight.
Bodywork is connected using hidden hooks, or with
fasteners located on the inside surface. With the
bodywork’s excellent fit, this results in a
clean, uninterrupted surface.
Pressed stainless-steel rings around the instrument
dials add a high-class touch, as does the Flying K
emblem at the centre of the console.
The meter casing and the cockpit inner panels (to
the left and right of the instruments) have the same
surface pattern, creating an integrated look.
The inner panels have a flat design, facilitating
customisation of the cockpit area by adding switches,
lights or after-market accessories.
Sculpted design of the upper triple clamp complements
the high-quality image of the cockpit area. On the
special graphics edition, the upper triple clamp features
contrasting sections: painted finish vs. hairline
finish with a clear coat.
Specially designed, drilled billet steering stem nut
adds another quality touch. The miniature work of
art, representative of this model’s high attention
to the smallest detail, serves as a visual reminder
of the ZZR1400’s regal status.
Machined finish on the fuel tank cap contributes to
the high-quality image.
High-quality sculpted rubber tank pad protector, provided
standard, protects the finish of the lustrous paint
on the fuel tank.
Increased Carrying Convenience
The ZZR1400 features retractable luggage
hooks that tuck in neatly at the rear of the front
seat. These are complemented by two hooks on the passenger
tail grip. Idealised hook placement (not too close
together) enables large-sized items to be securely
attached to the rear seat.