RARITY Still a good few about
UNUSUAL TECH First OE 200-section rear tyre, monocoque frame
NOSTALGIA In a decade, when we’re all in self-driving 50mph electric cars, yes
The designer of the big Ninja must cry himself to sleep every night, because this, his magnum opus, was fucked from the start. Kawasaki made the ZX-12R to be the sportiest, fastest, most balls-out hyper-sportsbike, with the aero and power to top 200mph. Even the flipping fork bottoms had wings on them ffs…
Then, the big bosses stuck their noses in, and declared a 186mph limit across the board in 2000. So the 12R was no faster at the top end than a Busa, despite being far skinnier and sleeker. As a result, folk stuck with the comfier, cooler, gruntier Hayabusa, and the 12R seemed largely pointless. Which is a terrible shame, because it was a better sportsbike than the big old Busa, with a taut chassis, less weight and better suspension.
Nowadays, it still looks fast, though a little dated. As a prospect for future collecting though, we reckon it’s still well worth a shout.
Faster than a tramp on chips...