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Kawasaki ZX-12R Ninja Decal 2003 Model
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Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
Manufacturer Kawasaki Motorcycles
Parent company Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Production 2001-2006
Successor Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14
Class Hyper sport
Similar Suzuki Hayabusa
Honda CBR1100XX

The ZX-12R is a sport motorcycle manufactured by Kawasaki Motorcycles.

Before the introduction of the ZX-14 (ZZR1400), the ZX-12R was Kawasaki's flagship sport bike and a competitor to Suzuki's Hayabusa. The ZX-12R is a fuel injected (4 x 46 mm throttle bodies) 1200 cc hypersport motorcycle, generating around 178 hp at standstill and 190 hp at 300 km/h by virtue of its ram-air system. Handling and braking match the power of the engine resulting in a motorcycle that is docile at low speeds and very easy to handle in heavy traffic, but has strong acceleration and a top speed limited to 186 mph (300 km/h).

Pre-production models of the ZX-12R revealed a motorcycle that was indeed faster and more powerful than Suzuki's Hayabusa. Several notable motorcycle publications tested the pre-production ZX-12R and found it to be superior to the Hayabusa in terms of straight-line performance. One sport bike magazine recorded a top speed in excess of 200 mph. However, the 2000 release of the ZX-12R proved to be somewhat of a disappointment, as the production version of the ZX-12R was delayed without notice. Many in the industry report that European governments had threatened to ban the ZX-12R altogether due to its top speed and outlandish acceleration statistics. These threats were apparently taken seriously, and Kawasaki released the bike with a detuned engine which failed to knock that Hayabusa from its throne (in terms of top speed and acceleration tests). The adjustment was not enough to satisfy those parties concerned with the ZX-12R's performance capabilities. Starting with 2001 models, speed limiters were included to reduce the ZX-12R's top speed to 300 km/h. This was due to the fact that governments (mainly in Europe) were concerned with the ongoing pursuit among Japanese manufacturers of ever higher maximum speeds, which were seen as a powerful marketing tool in most markets around the world (despite the unfettered presence in the market place of many cars boasting top speeds close to, or exceeding 200 mph). The manufacturers were told that they could voluntarily limit the speed of their bikes, or there would be a law limiting speeds. Japanese manufacturers agreed on a gentlemen's agreement to limit top speed to 299 km/h (186 mp/h). The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R was discontinued in 2006.

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