AROUND THE TRACK
SPECIAL BONUS POINTS GO TO THE KAWASAKI’S BRAKES. Green, lean and mean.
Let’s get straight to it; the Kwacker’s an awesome track bike. I was taken away by its circuit-loving inclination, effortlessly devouring corners with a surefooted and encouraging disposition. The front end in particular was utterly brilliant, being more trustworthy than a nun, and proving effortless to guide in to corners. The general feel of the bike was plush, and I was impressed with how well the relatively basic suspension mopped up the track’s smattering of lumps and bumps. Bruntingthrope’s a great track, but its ever changing surface conditions are more certain than a tax inspector to wheedle out any discrepancies. Cornering-wise there were no fingers to be pointed, but in the power stakes it just didn’t make the grade. That was the biggest downfall of the bike, which seemed as exciting as slow-drying paint when compared to the brutish ways of its punchier rivals. That said, the engine had a nice and predictable flow of power and it was a treat to rinse through, and out, of corners. There were never any slides or scary moments to write home about, despite the Zed being as primitive as a rock in the technological department. There was no traction control to act as a comfort blanket; it didn’t even sport a shifter, which meant my brain had to synchronise gear changes with a culled throttle – who do I write to complain to? On a chirpier note, the gearbox proved faultless, the clutch absorbed all the abuse I could throw at it and the brakes were probably the best in the mix. Sure enough, they weren’t devoid of troublesome ABS, but they seemed to have a sensible level of engagement dialled into them. To get the system kicking in took a bit of effort, bucking the trend of its rivals.
There were loads of good points to the Kawasaki, which not only handled great and sounded great, but had really good ground clearance and a saddle that was easy to hop around. But to go quick around any track with a straight as demanding as Bruntingthorpe’s there’s no substitute for grunt. It was a great package, loads of fun to ride, and nicely finished, but more low down grunt could’ve seen this topping the charts. Such a shame.