Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - QUICK SPIN - WORDS: CHRIS MOSS PHO­TOS: MIKE WE­STON

ack in 1996 when I rode the ZX-7R for the very first time, I felt a bit sym­pa­thetic to­wards it. It was a big year for su­per­bikes with the new GSX-R 750, Thun­der­ace, and re­vised Fire­blade all com­ing out. While I whizzed around the south of Spain on the 750’s launch, af­ter hav­ing al­ready rid­den the op­po­si­tion, I reck­oned it was go­ing to fall a bit short. And so it was back in the UK when we got them all to­gether to see what they were made of. A bit short of ca­pac­ity to give it the grunt of its 900 and 1000cc ri­vals, it was also out-han­dled by the other 750. But, and this is why I felt sorry for it, the ZX-7R was still a bloody good bike. It’s just that in the su­per­com­pet­i­tive world of su­per­bikes back in the 90s, also-ran sta­tus was a dam­ag­ing la­bel. Thank­fully, de­spite this and lack of real rac­ing suc­cess that can help a model to gen­er­ate fame, the 750 still went on to be­come a bit of a cult bike, gain­ing a healthy and loyal fol­low­ing. To­day, its sta­tus is ar­guably bet­ter than ever and any dis­cern­ing fan of su­per­bikes from the Kwacker’s era can ap­pre­ci­ate its cur­rent cred­i­bil­ity. I know I did when I had a quick blast on this 2000-spec min­ter. It took me right back to my ear­li­est times with the Kawasaki. Just like I did back in ’96, I rated it. Th­ese days though, my ap­proval is boosted by other fac­tors. For starters it’s got real rar­ity value. Okay, you don’t see too many Blades, Aces, or Gixxers from the mid-nineties run­ning round the streets th­ese days. But apart from clas­sic shows, I just can’t re­mem­ber the last time I saw a ZX-7R. Plus point num­ber two is the way the Kawasaki looks. Judged to be pretty when it first broke cover, it’s stood the test of time re­ally well. Those body­work shapes

Mossy rides a sec­ond-rate 1990s sports­bike and finds it makes a first-rate mod­ern clas­sic.

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