Muscle in on used ZRX1200
Does ZRX1200R’S ‘sensible’ sibling still make sense? REVISITED
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.
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