Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R

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Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
2000 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
Manufacturer Kawasaki Motorcycle & Engine Company
Parent company Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Production 2000–2006
Successor Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14
Class Sport bike
Engine 1,199 cc (73.2 cu in) inline four
Bore / stroke 83.0 mm × 55.4 mm (3.27 in × 2.18 in)
Compression ratio 12.2:1
Top speed 187–190 mph (301–306 km/h)[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
Power 178.5 hp (133.1 kW) @ 9,500 rpm[9]
161.2 hp (120.2 kW) (rear wheel)[1]
Torque 101 lb·ft (137 N·m) @ 7,500 rpm[9]
91.2 lb·ft (123.7 N·m) (rear wheel)[1]
Transmission Wet clutch, 6-speed, chain
Frame type Aluminium monocoque
Suspension Front 43 mm KYB , Inverted telescopic fork, with adjustable preload, 12-way rebound and 12-way compression damping
(4.72 in.) wheel travel
Rear Bottom-Link with gas-charged shock: piggy-back reservoir, adjustable spring preload, 18-way rebound and 20-way compression (5.51 in.) wheel travel
Brakes Front Dual semi-floating 320 mm (13 in) discs with dual 6-piston tokico calipers
Rear Single 230 mm (9.1 in) disc with opposed 2-piston caliper
Tires Dunlop Sportmax II D207 120/70ZR17, 200/50ZR17
Rake, trail 23.5°, 3.66 in (93 mm)
Wheelbase 56.69 in (1,440 mm)
Dimensions L: 2,080 mm (81.89 in)
W: 720 mm (28.5 in)
H: 1,185 mm (46.65 in)
Seat height 810 mm (31.9 in)
Weight 463 lb (210 kg)[9][10][11] (dry)
545 lb (247 kg)[1][4] (wet)
Fuel capacity 20 l; 4.4 imp gal (5.3 US gal)
Oil capacity 2,800 ml (2.96 US qt) oil & filter change
3,600 ml (3.8 US qt) completely dry
Fuel consumption 7.3 L/100 km; 38.6 mpg‑imp (32.1 mpg‑US)[1]
Turning radius 3.0 m (9.8 ft)
Related Kawasaki ZZ-R1200

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R is a motorcycle in the Ninja sport bike series from the Japanese manufacturer Kawasaki produced from 2000 until 2006. In those years the ZX-12R at 178 hp (133 kW) at low speed to 190 hp (140 kW) at high speed with ram-air intake,[12][13][14]was the most powerful[11][15] production motorcycle up to 2006 and the release of the ZX-14. It was known as a contender to be the fastest production motorcycle, and for its role in bringing to a truce the escalating competition to build a ever faster motorcycle. Its top speed of 187 mph[2] made it the fastest production motorcycle for sale from 2000 to 2006.

The ZX-12R has the distinction of only being called a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R and not called a ZZ-R1200. Unlike the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11 also called a ZZ-R1100 and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 also called a ZZ-R1400. A separate bike the ZZ-R1200 also called a ZX-12C, built from 2002 to 2005 was solely to have this model designation. It followed the ZX-11C and later model ZX-11D when it was discontinued after 2001, and this bike the ZZ-R1200 is more akin to the ZX-11/ZZ-R1100 and was its successor.

Top speed limited by agreement[edit]

From the first production ZX-12R, in the 2000 model year, its top speed was restricted by a motorcycle manufacturer gentlemen's agreement that was started in late 1999.[2][1][3][6] This was due to a voluntary gentlemen's agreement that included BMW Motorrad and the Japanese manufacturers, amid fears of government regulation of motorcycle speeds mainly in Europe.[2] Prior to the agreement, with rumors of going 200-mph[16]Kawasaki had planned a world press event to launch their answer to Suzuki's Hayabusa, but the event was abruptly cancelled, and instead the ZX-12R with a revised engine control unit that limited speed to about 300 km/h was released with no fanfare or comment by Kawasaki.[17]


At its introduction the ZX-12R was Kawasaki's flagship sport bike and a competitor to the Suzuki Hayabusa. Handling and braking matched the power of the engine resulting in a motorcycle that was docile at low speeds and very easy to handle in heavy traffic, but had strong acceleration. The 1,199 cc (73.2 cu in) displacement engine generated 161.2 hp (120.2 kW) at the rear wheel.[1] Cycle World tested the ZX-12R's 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) acceleration at 2.59 seconds.[18] They found an electronically-limited top speed of 187 mph (301 km/h), a 60 to 0 mph (97 to 0 km/h) braking distance of 118 ft (36 m), and fuel economy of 32.1 mpg‑US (7.3 L/100 km; 38.6 mpg‑imp).[4]

  • Motorcyclist got a tested 1/4 mile time of 9.87 seconds at 146.29 mph (235.43 km/h).[19]
  • Sport Rider got a tested 1/4 mile time of 9.95 seconds at 144.40 mph (232.39 km/h).[20]
  • Cycle World got a tested 1/4 mile time of 10.04 seconds at 143.78 mph (231.39 km/h).[4]


While most sport bikes use an aluminum perimeter frame, the ZX-12R uses a unique monocoque aluminum frame. The very first use of this type of frame on a mass produced production motorcycle.[21]This design surpasses the level of chassis strength and stiffness associated with conventional aluminum perimeter frames. Its intention was to make the bike narrower, and there by more aerodynamic. The design saves space by housing the battery and incorporating an efficient airbox and a cartridge-type air filter that easily slides into the frame. It was fuel injected with four Mikuni 46 mm throttle bodies and was Kawasaki's first fuel-injected sport bike since the 1981–1985 GPZ1100.[22]

Model history[edit]

The 2002 model was updated with 140 changes.[19] While some of those changes made the bike easier to launch, with a heavier crank and a reshaped flywheel and fuel mapping tweaks. It also lost 1.3 horsepower because of this vs. the 2000 and 2001 model.[19] Revised suspension composed of stiffer springs in the forks and a softer spring on the shock. Cosmetic changes include sportier front fender and panels added to the inner fairing below the instruments and bars to make a more refined look. A massive ram-air intake scoop centrally located, protrudes from the fairing to take advantage of the higher air pressure, revised to be even more efficient. Because of this improvement it got back the 1.3 horsepower loss to keep its 190 hp (140 kW) at high speed with ram-air intake. Kawasaki have always been the master of ram-air as stated by MCNews.com.au.[23] This intake is integrated into a wider and shorter front cowling which causes less drag on its aerodynamics from a jet aircraft,[15] lowering the drag coefficient by one point from 33 to 32.[24] The 2004 model got the addition of radial brakes and more fuel injection tweaks. The ZX-12R was discontinued in 2006 and followed by the ZX-14 (ZZR1400) the same year, also with a similar monocoque frame.

custom ZX-12R
2001 custom ZX-12R
Kawasaki ZX-12R Drag Racer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Performance Index '10" (PDF), Motorcycle Consumer News, Bowtie Magazines, 2010, retrieved 2011-02-14 
  2. ^ a b c d Burns, John (April 2, 2012), "Fifty Years of "Do You Have Any Idea How Fast You Were Going?" A brief history of Ludicrous Speed", Cycle World, Archived from the original on April 7, 2012, retrieved November 5, 2012 
  3. ^ a b Brown, Roland (2006), The Ultimate History of Fast Motorcycles, Bath, UK: Parragon, pp. 284–284, ISBN 1-4054-7303-7 
  4. ^ a b c d Hoyer, Mark (June 2000), "ZX-12R; Kawasaki's Ultimate Weapon makes a politically correct debut", Cycle World, pp. 36–42 
  5. ^ Kimber, David (2004). "Motorcycle-Mania!". Gareth Stevens. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Nikko ZX-12R G-Pack over 3". Cycle World. January 2003. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  7. ^ Sievert, Terri (2002). "The World's Fastest Superbikes". Capstone Press. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  8. ^ Dowds, Alan (2007). "High-speed Superbikes". Gareth Stevens. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R Service Manual. Section 1, page 5
  10. ^ "ZX-12R Nada Guides". Nada guides. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "First Ride: 2002 Kawasaki ZX-12R". Motorcycle .com. March 17, 2002. Retrieved February 28, 2016. 
  12. ^ Doran, Jon (August 1995). "Ram Air: Whats It Worth". Sport Rider. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Ram Air: Test". Sport Rider. October 1999. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Ram Air Test: Part Deux". Sport Rider. December 1999. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "Road Tests: Used". Visor Down. August 17, 2008. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  16. ^ Hutchison, Ken (November 8, 2002). "2002 Kawasaki ZX-12R". Motorcycle USA.com. Retrieved February 28, 2017. 
  17. ^ Edwards, Dave (June 2000), "Speed Bleed; The convoluted case of the ZX-12's missing mph", Cycle World, p. 41 
  18. ^ Hoyer, Mark (June 2002). "THRUST! Life, liberty and the high-speed pursuit of happiness". Cycle World. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  19. ^ a b c "Godzilla gets civilized". Motorcyclist. February 24, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Motorcycle Performance Numbers". Sport Rider. Archived from the original on February 12, 2008. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Kawasaki Technology". Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  22. ^ Trevitt, Andrew (October 2001). "Big Dogs: The Contender". Sport Rider. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa". MCNews.com.au. November 15, 1999. Retrieved February 29, 2016. 
  24. ^ Edge, Dirck (March 5, 2002). "2002 Kawasaki ZX-12R: MD Ride Review – Part Two". Motorcycle Daily.com. Retrieved February 29, 2016. 
Preceded by
Suzuki Hayabusa
Fastest production motorcycle
Succeeded by
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14
Notes and references
1. Fastest in production during its lifetime, but not record holder