Fast Bikes - - FEATURE -

To be bru­tally hon­est, the ZX-7R was out­gunned from the very first mo­ment it emerged in 1996. Tak­ing over from the ZXR750, the ZX-7R swapped the ZXR’s fin­ger fol­low­ers for a ‘bucket and shim’ valve train (the ZX-10R has re­verted to fin­ger fol­low­ers for 2019), al­tered the cylin­ders to give it a 2mm shorter stroke and 2.6mm wider bore and re­vised the mo­tor’s in­ter­nals to suit. The twin-spar frame was beefed up, six-pis­ton To­kico calipers added, the wheels widened to al­low for modern rub­ber and chunky fully-ad­justable 43mm forks stuck in the front end while the shock was also up­dated. The prob­lem for the ZX-7R was that in do­ing all these mod­i­fi­ca­tions, Kawasaki added bulk to the ZX-7R and it tipped the scales at a mas­sive 21kg more than the GSX-R750 SRAD and even out-larded the YZF750R by 9kg! If it had made more power that wouldn’t have mat­tered so much, but the ZX-7R was weaker than the Suzuki and only marginally more pow­er­ful than the YZF. And that’s be­fore you start to take the big­ger-ca­pac­ity Blade into the equa­tion. By the time the R1 ar­rived in 1998 and the GSX-R1000 in 2001, the ZX-7R was left col­lect­ing dust in show­rooms and along­side the ZX-9R, even­tu­ally gave way to the ZX-10R at the end of 2003.

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