Kawasaki ZZR1100

Kawasaki ZZR1100 1990s Japanese superbike


The Kawasaki ZZR1100 was a serious superbike. 176mph flat-out testified to that. Its 1,052cc, 16-valve, in-line four engine produced 145bhp. It needed to – the ZZR weighed in at a portly 603lb, wet. From 1990 to ’95, the ZZR was the world’s fastest production motorcycle – succeeding Kawasaki’s ZX-10, in that regard. It took the Super Blackbird to restore Honda to the top of the speed heap.

The high-grade performance stats were due, in no small part, to ‘ram-air’ technology. The faster the ZZR travelled, the more air was forced through its ducted fairing, to the motor. More air meant more combustion – which, in turn, meant more power. If it was not an exponential increase – it sure as heck felt like it!

For all of its brain-warp acceleration, the ZZR was a forgiving beast, at heart. Sold as a sports-tourer, its chassis came supremely well-equipped. Both frame and suspension were solid, yet flexible. With the right settings dialled in, the ZZR was as safe as your riding skills. That a bike as explosive as the ZZR1100 could be considered an all-rounder said it all about Kawasaki engineering!

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