Mus­cle in on used ZRX1200

Does ZRX1200R’S ‘sen­si­ble’ sib­ling still make sense? RE­VIS­ITED

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Phil West MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

What we said then

“The changes to the ZRX make it a bet­ter bike. The ex­tra 100 cubes pro­vide a bit more stomp from the al­ready strong en­gine and the screen elim­i­nates the age-old prob­lem of wind­blast, as long as you tuck down. It has heaps of 1970s at­ti­tude and still looks like a badass even though it’s now partly hid­ing be­hind a fancy new cowl­ing. The ZRX may look hard but it’s a big softie when you get to know her.” MCN launch re­port | March 14, 2001

But what is it like now?

A posher, classier faired big Ban­dit, that’s what. I’d never rid­den the S, a more soberly-styled and half-faired ver­sion of the ZRX be­fore but be­ing fa­mil­iar with the Ed­die Law­son-styled R vari­ant of the Kwak meant I felt at home leav­ing Wheels in Peter­bor­ough, the dealer sell­ing this bike.

Reg­is­tered in 2007 and show­ing just 13,672 miles plus a host of use­ful ac­ces­sories, means this is not just one of the lat­est, low­est mileage ex­am­ples of the breed but also, prob­a­bly, one of the best – hence the slightly higher-than-usual price.

And I can also im­me­di­ately see the ap­peal. The ZRX is a big, old-school, road­ster-style bruiser of a bike; a hefty, four-cylin­der lump of ana­logue metal and, in this in­creas­ingly com­plex dig­i­tal world, all the more re­fresh­ing for it. As I said: think faired Ban­dit 1250 and you’re not that far wide of the mark.

But the ZRX-S, with its twin shocks, is a lit­tle more retro than the big Suzuki and, with ec­cen­tric chain ad­justers, ad­justable sus­pen­sion and beefy six­pot front calipers, bet­ter equipped, too.

It’s also big­ger and heavier. Though silky smooth and ef­fort­lessly grunty, there’s no get­ting away from the fact the ZRX is large enough to be a hand­ful and slightly awk­ward at low speed – smaller rid­ers need not ap­ply. For big­ger ones, though, it’s plush, roomy, prac­ti­cal and fast.

Any ob­vi­ous faults?

With the 1164cc, four-cylin­der mill de­rived from that of the ZZ-R1100 me­chan­i­cal prob­lems should be rare. Metal fin­ishes and fas­ten­ers can suf­fer, though, hence the fit­ment to this bike of the Ex­tenda front mud­guard, which thank­fully means this one isn’t too bad. What’s more, al­though the pipe’s been changed the fu­elling seems OK. Nor are there any signs of the scuffs, cracks or dam­age to the body­work or cos­met­ics, which can be com­mon on such heavy bikes.

Or worth­while ex­tras?

Pre­vi­ous own­ers have ap­plied mostly sen­si­ble, use­ful ex­tras to this ZRX. There’s a taller, black screen and, as is com­mon with th­ese kind of ma­chines, the ex­haust has been swapped for a lighter, louder ver­sion – in this case a de­cent IXIL ti­ta­nium item. Plus it also has Ren­ntec lug­gage rack and just as use­ful and sen­si­ble Ren­ntec en­gine pro­tec­tion bars. The low­ered foot­pegs are a bit odd, though, es­pe­cially for a bike not lack­ing legroom, and get in the way a lit­tle when chang­ing gear.

Af­fec­tion rekin­dled

The ZRX-S is one of the least fa­mil­iar of all the big road­sters avail­able around the turn of the mil­len­nium. Its more purely retro R brother grabbed more of the head­lines (and sales), the Ban­dit was cheaper, the Fazer spright­lier. But, slightly dull styling aside, that’s a shame as the S is classy, ef­fec­tive and fun. The big­ger fair­ing makes the S far more prac­ti­cal and com­fort­able than the R over dis­tance, the ZZ-R mill never dis­ap­points and it’s well-equipped – enough to be more than worth a look.

Q THANKS TO: Wheels Mo­tor­cy­cles where this bike is on sale for £4395. www.wheelsmo­tor­cy­cles.co.uk

Plenty of shove, great looks and tidy con­di­tion

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