Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
||Kawasaki Heavy Industries
||Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14
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.