KAWASAKI ZX-12R

Fast Bikes - - FEATURE -

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...

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