Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Italian racer-chic: Colnago Ferrari bikes


From left: Colnago CF4 Racing and Ferrari 60th Light. Stylish, light, fast, sporty and Italian. Just pedal away as hard as you can!

Ernesto Colnago started his bike building business back in 1954, in the small town of Cambiago, in Italy. Since then, Colnago bikes have been raced by more than a hundred professional racing teams and have won thousands of races.

The two Colnago bicycles you see here have been built in Italy, to celebrate the friendship between Ernesto Colnago and the late, great Enzo Ferrari. The limited edition Colnago CF4 Racing has a monocoque chassis and is constructed entirely of carbonfibre. Each bike costs US$11,500.

The limited edition Colnago Ferrari 60th Anniversary Light is also almost entirely built of carbonfibre and gets a Ferrari-red paintjob and the prancing horse badge. Colnago say this is an extremely light and stiff racing bike that can easily be entered in events like the Tour de France. Only 60 units of this bike will be built, and each bike costs US$14,000.

We guess on the days when you can’t be bothered to take your MV Agusta F4 CC or Ducati 1098R out of the garage, one of these Colnago bikes should be just the thing to pedal down to the pub for a beer or two. (Do F4 CC owners actually drink beer in their local pubs?) Anyway, for more details and pics, see the Colnago website here.

More two-wheeler exotica:
Ducati 1098-powered 2008 Bimota DB7...
2008 KTM 1190 RC8: Ready to rumble!
MotoGP face-off: 1974 MV Agusta 500 vs 2007 Ducati GP7...
The US$270,000 Ecosse Heretic. Expensive!
Honda RVF750R RC45: The most desirable Honda ever built...
The best repli-racer Honda NSR500 ever!
Acabion GTBO 70: The FASTEST bike in the world...

External link:
The Rickshaw Run: Riding a three-wheeler to the Himalayas!


The glory days of Cagiva. A video from the days when Cagiva were present in off-road events like the Paris-Dakar Rally, as well as 500cc GP racing!

Mad chick pops wheelies on quad!


All right, this chick knows how to lift the front...!

Also see:
Three's fun: A bunch of mad trikes...
HUGE collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper
Face off: 1989 Yamaha FZR750RR vs 2008 YZF-R1!
The coolest motorcycle brand in the world...
Stunning new Honda concepts: Evo6 and CB1100R!
Rizla Suzuki: The HOTTEST pit babes in MotoGP!!
Dannii Minogue gets on and rides...

External link:
Hi-res wallpaper: Hot bikes and babes on Flickr!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Faster and Faster: The Best of 2007

As the year comes to an end, it’s time for the
Faster and Faster Best of 2007 Awards
Here we go...
Best open-class Sportsbike


Master Blaster: The ZZR1400 is still the best heavy hitter around

It was the Kawasaki ZZR1400 last year. And this year, despite the all-new Suzuki Hayabusa, the ZZR1400 manages to cling on to its title. For us, the new Hayabusa isn’t as radical as we were hoping it would be, and Honda still haven’t built a V-four-powered replacement for the CBR1100XX. So the 200bhp, 320km/h ZZR1400 is still on top. And for 2008, Kawasaki have cured its low-rev power delivery foibles, so the big ZZR is only getting better with age…

Best litre-class Superbike


On road and on track, the GSX-R1000 reigns supreme

Yes, it’s the Suzuki GSX-R1000, which also won this category last year. The K7 model’s dual exhausts (ugly, bulky…) can easily be replaced with a lighter, better-looking, single-sided system from Yoshimura. And with regard to everything else – the engine, power delivery, chassis, suspension and styling – the Gixxer was still on top in 2007. Things may be tougher in 2008 though, what with the 2008 ZX-10R and Fireblade waiting to punch the GSX-R1000’s lights out.

Best middleweight Sportsbike


Agile and performance-packed, the CBR600RR is at the top of its class

Indeed, the Honda CBR600RR is the best middleweight sportsbike this year. Some people did not like the way the 2007 CBR600RR looks, but in terms of performance and handling, we think the Honda beats last year’s winner, the Triumph Daytona 675. The Honda does most things right and we'd go as far as to say the 2007 CBR600RR is probably the best CBR600 Honda have ever made! (Next year, the Ducati 848 seems to be the bike to look out for, while the GSX-R750 has a lost a bit of its shine and needs to do something radical to re-enter the fray…)

Best-styled Sportsbike


Anyone who wants to build a bike that looks better than this, will be staying up nights and working very, very hard...

Right now, the Ducati 1098 has got to be the best-styled sportsbike around on the planet. We still love the MV Agusta F4 – in all its various avatars – but the MV is getting a bit old. If they want to beat the 1098, MV and Massimo Tamburini will have to create an all-new motorcycle. And somehow, they’ll have to make it even better looking than the F4 and the 1098. Till they do, the Ducati 1098 is the best-looking bike on Earth.

Best Sportstourer


The K1200R Sport looks great, goes hard and remains comfortable over the long haul. What more would you ask of a sportstourer?

For our money, the BMW K1200R Sport is the best sportstourer around. The big Beemer packs 163 horsepower, looks totally cool and features bits like BMW’s latest-generation anti-lock brakes and alternative suspension that actually works. It’s a stylish, well thought out motorcycle that’s fast, safe and comfortable over the long haul. (Next year, we hope there will be an all-new Honda VFR1000 fighting the BMW for top honours in this class!)

Coolest Concept


Will you just look at this Honda CB1100R concept? Awesome!

With its tubular steel chassis and Freddie Spencer-era paintjob, the retro-styled Honda CB1100R isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve grown up watching motorcycle racing in the 1980s, you’ll agree that this Honda is way cooler than ice cubes in an Eskimo’s igloo. Honda, please do build this one in 2008...

The bike to watch out for in 2008!


With the KTM RC8, you can expect more of this...

It was hard choosing between the Bimota DB7, BMW HP2 Sport, MV Agusta F4 RR 312, Ducati 1098R and the KTM RC8. But in the end, we decided it had to be the RC8 for us. With its edgy, radical styling and KTM’s reputation for building unconventional bikes that absolutely kick ass, we think the RC8 will be a bit special when it comes out next year.

And that's that, for 2007. Hope you have an absolute blast and wish you a very happy new year. See you in 2008!

Also see:
Faster and Faster: The Best of 2006

Michael Scott interviews Valentino Rossi


So is no. 46 going to get back on top in 2008? You bet!
A few weeks ago, eminent moto-journalist Michael Scott spoke to The Doctor. Says Scott, ‘For the first time, it was necessary to ask some awkward questions. How does it feel to get beaten? How punishing has the year been to your commitment? How much longer have you got?’ Rossi, of course, replies in his own inimitable style. Here are some excerpts:

On 2007 being a difficult year
‘For sure, is a difficult year. Last year also I didn’t win, but more for being unlucky. I was faster, and I was the man that won more GPs. This year, I’m not faster, so the situation was different. But we have to understand what happened, and why, and try to fix the problem for next year.’

On whether it’s getting harder as he gets olderFor me, I don’t think so. I think I’m as fast as five or six years ago, and I think I have another two or three years at the top.’

On Casey Stoner‘I had in my career a lot of great rivals, I think. Stoner is one them – very, very fast, younger, and especially he is strong on the track. We have good battles, but no problems away from the track. It is good like this for the sport.’

On Jorge Lorenzo, his teammate at Yamaha for 2008‘I think that Yamaha make this movement to take Lorenzo, too early. So I have to demonstrate that I’m faster than him. I always beat my teammates. Lorenzo will arrive as two-times world champion, so for sure he arrives with the target to beat me. But he has to demonstrate a lot more than me.’

On whether it’s possible for riders to remain friends‘With Barros I fight for five or six years, but we are good friends. So if nothing strange happen, is possible. Not real friends – like in your life, you have five real friends – but a good relationship, yes.’

On the changes he’d want in MotoGP‘Back to 990. The change was for safety, but for sure for the taste and for the race, the 990 was better. And make the ECU all the same, and without traction control, which is a lot better for the control of the riders.’
Also see:
Rizla Suzuki: The BEST pit babes in MotoGP!
Hi-res wallpaper from last five seasons of MotoGP...
In conversation with John Hopkins...
Fast past: Gary Nixon rides the Kawasaki ZX-RR!
Colin Edwards talks about Valentino Rossi...
Kevin Schwantz interviews The Doctor!
Who's the fastest motorcycle racer in the world?

Side-Bike: 2008 Celtik now available in Europe


The 2008 Celtik. Three wheels, two seats, 133 horsepower. Go touring now...

Based in France, trike specialists Side-Bike are now ready with the 2008 Celtik, which will soon be available all over Europe. Powered by a 2000cc engine that makes 133bhp, the 650-kilo Celtik features single-arm front suspension and ABS. Prices start at US$36,000 for the two-seater Celtik, which has enough space for two suitcases. Looks ideal for getting away to the French Riviera for the weekend…


And here are some trikes from Side-Bike. From left: The Comete, Mega and Kyrnos

From left: The Renaissance, Zeus and a group shot of various Side-Bike trikes

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nitin Design: The Dacoit is set to roam the streets


Ready to deal with street thugs? The Dacoit is your bike then!
Pics: Motoblog
The UK-based Nitin Khosa, head of Nitin Design, has come up with this rather interesting concept – the Dacoit. The concept bike is actually five years old, but it’s only now that Nitin, who’s of Indian origin, has decided to develop it further. The Dacoit is supposed to be an aggressive bike – the ‘street thug’ of motorcycles.

Nitin says ‘I was tidying up my art studio and came across some sketches that I had done more than five years ago. The brief at that time had been to design a bike for a thirty-something ‘born again’ biker who wanted a stunning, aggressive, and evil looking bike.’

‘The original spark for this concept had come from seeing a hooded man. When viewing the front portion of the bike, you can see an evil figure whose eyes are peeping from underneath the hood. To compliment this evil and aggressive design I named the bike ‘Dacoit,’ an old Hindi word for a class of robbers in India who act in gangs and are usually armed and dangerous,’ he adds.

‘The single-seat Dacoit is designed for pure, selfish pleasure. It is not a full-blown sports bike,’ says Nitin. Hmmm… we don’t suppose this bike is going into production anytime soon. But it would be interesting to see a game developer pick up this concept bike and use it in a dark, edgy game with lurid, manga-style graphics, scantily-clad chicks, murderous thugs and lots of street racing…
Also see:
Pierre Terblanche leaves Ducati...
War of the Ninjas: ZZR1400 vs ZZR1100!
V-Roehr 1250 to go into production...
Martini Racing Ducati 1098. Cool!
Iceman: A chopper for F1 champs!
The amazing Bimota DB7...
External link:
The hottest KTM ever!

Exotica for sale: Goldammer Nortorious and Experimental


The Nortorious. Yours for a mere $160,000

Two of Roger Goldammer’s works – the Nortorious cafe racer, and the Experimental – are up for sale. The Nortorious, which takes styling cues from the Norton Manx racebike, uses half (!) of an air-cooled Harley v-twin – a 965cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected, 83 horsepower lump that’s been fitted with a Rotrex supercharger to make it more… er…, interesting.


Lots of clever engineering, exotic bits and sheer hard work went into making this bike

The one-off chassis, made of chrome-molybdenum alloy, is based on a 50-year-old Norton ‘Featherbed’ design, the gearbox is a six-speed unit, and the brakes – which look like drum brake units – actually contain concealed discs with four-piston calipers, at both ends! Bodywork is all aluminium, taillamps are LED units, and instrument gauges look similar to those used on the oldest of jet fighters.


The Experimental will actually do 205km/h...!

The Goldammer Experimental is powered by a Go-kart engine – a two-stroke, 250cc parallel twin made by BRC, which is fitted with twin KTM radiators. The chassis is a modified Honda CR250 unit, brakes are ceramic composite units, and wheels are made of carbonfibre. The bike has been timed at the Bonneville Salt Flats, where it hit a top speed of 205km/h.

The asking price for these bikes is US$160,000 for the Nortorious, and US$146,000 for the Experimental. Those who’re interested can call on 001-250-764-8002.

Also see:
Rapom V8: 1000bhp, supercharged monster-bike!
Supercharged Triumph Rocket III video...
Blown away: Supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200!
NSU 500 Kompressor: 200mph in 1956...
Dirtbike-based 450cc roadracers!
Book review: Riding Man
Q.Tec Engineering's Harley Specials...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wakan 1640: A racing cruiser?!


An OHV v-twin-powered 'racing' cruiser? Only in France...

We first wrote about the Wakan 1640 cruiser in August last year. Powered by a 1640cc, 115bhp S&S v-twin, this was a rather eccentric cruiser from France, we thought at that time. There was no more news of Wakan after that, but today, on Motoblog, we read about the racing version of the Wakan 1640 cruiser. Yeah, a racing cruiser, and a French-made one at that!

The spec is pretty ordinary – 1640cc OHV v-twin that makes 115bhp at 6250rpm, Keihin flatslide downdraft carburetion, and five-speed gearbox. Where it gets slightly more interesting is the chassis and suspension – chrome-molybdenum tubular frame, 46mm Ceriani USD forks and ZF Sachs rear shock. The bike is fitted with Marchesini forged aluminium wheels, dry weight is 177 kilos and top speed is a claimed 250km/h. We still can’t figure out who would want one. More details on the Wakan website here.

Also see:
Naked fun: 2008 KTM RC8 Venom...
Hip-hop Suzuki: The LRG Hayabusa goes bling!
Would you donate your Yamaha YZR500 GP bike?
The wildest motorcycle in the world, a Peugeot?!
A bike that costs US$270,000...!
2008 Hyosung GT650X and RX450SM, now ready...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cagiva Mito SP525 video


A video of the 2008 Cagiva Mito SP525 in action...
From: Motoblog

Despite the ‘525’ in its name, the Cagiva Mito SP525 is actually powered by a 125cc, two-stroke engine. Earlier versions were styled to look like a miniature version of the Ducati 916, but the 2008 model has been designed to look like the C594, Cagiva’s 500cc GP racing bike from the 1990s. Guess this could be the stuff of your dreams if you’re a 16-year-old…


For 16-year-olds who want a screaming 125, the Cagiva Mito is your machine!

Also see:
Face off: Ducati 848 vs 1098!
Sheer, naked fun: The KTM RC8 Venom...
The coolest Honda in the world: RVF750R RC45!
Casey Stoner: One RICH Aussie...
Subaru to make bikes?
2008 Yamaha R6 racing kit now available...

External links:
Here's something for fans of KTM's off-road bikes!
A pink Honda Fireblade?!
A boat that runs on human fat! (Bikes to follow suit?)


This is a 2008 Ridley. Read about the 2008 Ridley motorcycle lineup here. And for more pics, go here

Friday, December 21, 2007

MotoGP: Mat Oxley talks about the Yamaha YZR-M1


Can Yamaha build a bike which will let Rossi win races in 2008?

From Motociclismo comes this little report, where Mat Oxley – ex-racer and eminent moto-journalist – talks about the Yamaha YZR-M1. Says Oxley, ‘Yamaha has a mountain to climb in 2008. At the end of last season, the M1 was one of the slowest bikes on the grid, and also the most fragile. To return to its former glory, the M1 needs more horsepower, much more horsepower.’

‘Handling-wise, the M1 is agile, but it needs to make more power, and reliably so. In doing so, Yamaha may have to abandon their big-bang engine – which helps improve traction with its rider-friendly power delivery – but which also consumes more fuel and makes less horsepower,’ says Oxley.

During the 2007 MotoGP season, Yamaha worked hard to find more horsepower for their M1, but with little success. The pneumatic-valve engine, which was unveiled in September, also did not help. Rossi was quite frustrated with the engine, which broke down often, compounding his tyre problems. At one time, reportedly, Rossi even demanded that Yamaha should abandon their inline-four format and build an all-new V4 engine for more power and reliability.

With The Doctor having moved to Bridgestone rubber for 2008, the pressure will now be on him to perform. Rossi and Stoner are likely to be on a mission to beat each other next year, and it isn’t entirely clear whether Yamaha can actually build a bike which lets Rossi perform to his potential. Guess we’re in for one hell of a MotoGP season in 2008!

Also see:
HUGE collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper!
The evolution of MotoGP bikes...
Remembering Barry Sheene...
Honda RVF750R RC45: Most desirable Honda ever?
Face off: Kawasaki Ninja ZZR1100 vs ZZR1400!
In conversation with Loris Capirossi...

External links:
Would you ride a Hunk?!?! (Or the motorcycle with the world's stupidest name...)
Here's something for quad fans... and here's some more!
You'll love this Triumph Daytona 955i!

Pierre Terblanche leaves Ducati... to do boats!


The man responsible for the 999's styling is... leaving Ducati!

You either love the Ducati 999 or hate it – most people usually cannot not say anything about the bike’s styling. We are of the opinion that while the 999 wasn’t as conventionally good-looking as the 916 which it replaced, the Terblanche-designed machine was a bold, confident step forward for Ducati.

Anyway, Ducati have put the controversial 999 behind them – the new 1098 is everything the world wants Ducatis to be. And now, Pierre Terblanche is also all set to move on. Apart from the 999, it was Terblanche – design head at Ducati for 10 years – who did the Supermono, Multistrada, Hypermotard and the Sport Classic range. But he wants to set up his own design studio now, which is why he’ll be leaving Ducati at the end of this year.

Speaking to MCN, Terblanche said, ‘From next year, I’m free to pursue other interests. I’d like to do some new things – I’ll have a studio of my own, and while I’ll still do bikes I’d also like to work on some other things, maybe boats!’

More Ducati posts:
The Ducati Sport 1000 Biposto. Beautiful...
Ducati 1098 vs 999: Doug Polen decides!
Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again...
The endlessly amazing Ducati Desmosedici RR...
Face off: Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo...

External links:
James Toseland gets new bike for Christmas!
Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Finland are the least dangerous places for motorcyclists...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2008 CBR1000RR track test in Qatar


Yes indeed, that is how a Fireblade must be ridden!
Pics: Motoblog

The pictures you see here are of Special magazine’s Lorenzo Baroni, thrashing a 2008 CBR1000RR at the Qatar circuit. And as the elbow-scraping pics prove, he isn’t giving it any mercy. With its 177bhp inline-four, less weight (a 4kg reduction on the 2007 model…), reduced wheelbase, increased focus on mass centralisation and, umm…., interesting styling, the 2008 Fireblade could well turn out to be Honda’s new bestseller. The bike will be in showrooms by the end of January 2008, so watch out!

Also see:
2008 Yamaha R1 pics and specs...
2008 Honda CB1100R and Evo6. Stunning!
Extreme performance: 2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Heavy hitter: 2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400!
First pics: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600...
BMW get serious about performance: 2008 HP2 Sport...
2008 MV Agusta Brutale. Beautiful!

External links:
Veloce3: CBR1000RR-powered trike!
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: First ride...


Prefer Harleys to Hondas? Here's the excellent XR1200 in action!

2009 KTM RC8 Venom: Sheer, naked, fun!


The KTM RC8 Venom should be production-ready by 2009...
Pic: Dailymotos

First shown in 2004 as a concept bike, the KTM RC8 Venom is now said to be inching closer to going into production. With its 155bhp LC8 v-twin, top-spec chassis and suspension components, ergonomics that are less extreme than the fully-faired RC8 superbike, and 200kg wet weight, the Venom should be quite performance-packed. When it's finally launched (late-2009?), it should be interesting to see how it compares with the likes of the Aprilia Tuono and BMW HP2 Sport

More KTM posts:
NitroDuke: The world's fastest KTM!
Off the beaten track: KTM 950 Super Enduro R
KTM 990 SuperDuke R. Wildlife!
A KTM for women...
KTM 125 GP racer vs litre-class superbike!
2008 KTM 690-based sportsbike range...
Ready to rock: 2008 KTM 1190 RC8!

External link:
KTM get even more serious about racing...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Honda RVF750R RC45: The most desirable Honda ever built?


Forget the Fireblade, this is the Honda to have!

The Honda VFR750R RC30 was beautiful, boasted of perfect proportions, and actually won a lot of races everywhere it went. The NR750, with its oval pistons and space-age (for 1992…) styling, was properly exotic. But for us, the most desirable Honda ever built is the RVF750R RC45. Launched in 1994, the RC45 was a piece of HRC-magic for the street.

The bike had all the ‘right’ bits – fuel-injected, DOHC, 118bhp, 749cc V4, single-sided swingarm, six-speed gearbox, and aluminium twin-spar chassis. And as you’d expect, it cost a lot – about US$36,000 – which meant very few people could actually afford one. But then this wasn’t a pretend-racer. The RC45, only 200 units of which were ever made (!), was based on Honda’s super-exotic RVF750 endurance racebike. And while its 118bhp and 260km/h top speed in stock trim may not sound that impressive, in full race-fettled mode the RC45 made all of 190 horsepower…


With 190bhp in full race trim, the RC45 wasn't for the faint of heart...

American rider John Kocinski won the 1997 WSBK championship on the RC45 and the bike’s other major triumphs included Jim Moodie lapping the Isle of Man circuit in 18 minutes and 11.4 seconds, at an average speed of 199.12km/h, in the year 1999. Miguel Duhamel won the 1996 Daytona 200 on an RC45, and Ben Bostrom won the 1998 AMA Superbike Championship on the Honda.

Only 50 units of the RC45 ever came to the US, and 20 of those went to professional race teams, which’ll probably give you an idea of just how rare the machine would be today. The bike got some major revisions in 1998, including the single-sided swingarm being replaced with a dual-sided unit, and updated suspension and brakes.


Honda made the RC45 till 1999. Today, finding a used example in very good condition is usually extremely difficult. What a pity...

Honda made the RC45 only till 1999, after which the RVT1000 SP1 RC51, fitted with a 1000cc v-twin engine, took over. Today, depending on condition and the year of manufacture, RC45s go for anywhere between US$15,000-30,000! Can’t rustle up that kind of money? Download the demo version of Castrol Honda Superbike 2000 then, and make do with ‘riding’ the very memorable Honda RVF750R RC45, on your PC. And here's MCN's riding impression of the RC45...

Also see:
Honda V4 revival in 2009...?
Greatest 11s: Kawasaki ZZR1100 and Suzuki GSX-R1100...
Face off: Yamaha OW01 vs YZF-R1!
Hubless wheels on motorcycles...?
Memorable: Bimota SB6 and Suzuki GSX-R1100...
1975 Yamaha TZ750 dirttracker. Awesome!
The amazing Morbidelli 850 V8...

External links:
BMW HP2 Sport riding impression...

Monday, December 17, 2007

War of the Ninjas: Kawasaki ZZR1100 vs ZZR1400


The 1990s Kawasaki ZZR1100. Mysterious, black, very cool, very, very fast...

Now that Kawasaki have released the 2008 version of the ZZR1400, with which they’ve supposedly resolved the bike’s main problem – a lack of low-end stomp – is it now finally the greatest Ninja ever built? Twenty years from now, would people go all misty-eyed when they remember the 2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400 Ninja? Because they sure as hell do, when they talk about the original heavy-hitter from Kawasaki – the 1990s ZZR1100 Ninja.

Here on Faster and Faster, we’ve written about the endlessly fascinating ZZR1100 before. A peak power output of 123bhp [145bhp, claimed] and a top speed of around 275km/h don’t sound hugely impressive today, but back in 1990, the ZZR1100 must have been an absolute revelation. It was a worthy successor to the 1988 ZX-10 (110bhp, 250km/h top speed), which itself came after the 1984 GPZ900R (100bhp, 240km/h), the first truly ‘modern-era’ sportsbike from Kawasaki.

But coming back to the ZZR1100, how does the bike compare to the ZZR1400? Recently, we happened to come across a copy of the June 2006 issue of PB magazine, which has an excellent story on the two Ninjas. PB buys a much-used ZZR1100 for US$1,900 and their writer, Dale Lomas, rides it from the UK to Germany for the press launch of the ZZ41400. ‘It’s gritty, lumpy and thoroughly unsanitised. I love it and I hate it in one great, big, ambivalent, emotional gush,’ says Lomas.

The story moves to Germany, where Lomas meets Kawasaki’s Yuji Horiuchi, the ZZR1400’s Project Leader, and someone who had also worked on the ZZR1100. Talking about the ZZR1400, Horiuchi says ‘The new bike captures the spirit of the ZZR. We have built this as the benchmark. The flagship. This is Kawasaki!

Later, having ridden both bikes back to back, Lomas says ‘The old 1100 feels like a monster. It’s smooth, organic and torquey enough to spin the 170-section tyre if you’re not careful. You know you’re riding a powerful bike when you tootle the 1100 around.’


The Kawasaki ZZR1400. 200bhp, 300km/h top speed. It'll blow you into the weeds

Of the 1400, he says ‘By contrast, the 1400 feels like one of those big-capacity, small-output bikes that manufacturers pitch at the size-conscious Japanese market. All weight, no torque!’ Ouch! And wait, here’s more – ‘The most amazing thing about the new ZZR is the lack of ferocity below 5000rpm. Under this, it feels like a pussycat,’ says Lomas.

However, when he finally gets to fully open the taps on the 1400, there’s redemption in store for the ZZR1400. ‘The step in power at 6000rpm is like a sheer cliff, ascending a thousand feet into the clouds. This isn’t a bike – it’s a personal teleporter,’ gushes an obviously over-awed PB writer. ‘On cam, the ZZR1400 is an unstoppable force. The concentration required to use its power is draining. But it’s satisfying and life-affirming,’ is how Lomas sums it up.

Coming back to the ZZR1400’s lack of low-end torque, while the PB story is about 18 months old, Motorcycle-USA’s test of the 2008 ZZR1400 says, ‘After a few minutes in the saddle, it is easy to confirm the ZX [the ZZR1400 is labeled ZX-14 in the US] has tossed aside its velvet glove approach to making power for a more manic one, which culminates in a claimed increase to 203 horsepower.’

M-USA’s Ken Hutchison, who rode the 2008 ZZR1400, says, ‘Twist the throttle on this bike and it makes power with authority right out of the gate. No more easing into it, no more pussy-footing around. Hooligans will be happy to know it wheelies with less effort and speed-junkies will revel in the quicker acceleration once that light goes green. Kawasaki's department of mind-boggling motors has returned to its age-old philosophy of offering big, bad-ass bikes to those folks who like to let the good times roll.’

Great, so Kawasaki have cured the ZZR1400 and given it the low-end rush of power that you’d expect from their flagship sportsbike. Umm… but we still think the ZZR1100 is the cooler of the two. Certainly, the 1400 would be quicker, faster, and more powerful. It would also have better brakes and suspension. But for us, 123 horsepower and 275km/h in the year 1990 is a bit more impressive than a claimed 200bhp [usually 170 – 175 horsepower on the dyno, in most bike magazine tests…] and 300km/h in the year 2008.

If we could have a brand-new ZZR1100 today, we’d take that over the ZZR1400. And let’s just leave it at that…

More Kawasakis:
Kawasaki ZXR750: The real deal!
Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo: Blow hard...
Supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200: Blown away!
Fast past: Gary Nixon rides the Kawasaki ZX-RR...
Faster and faster: Kawasaki ZZR1400 Turbo!
2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R: Extreme performance...
Face off: 1988 Kawasaki ZX-10 vs 2004 ZX-10R!

External links:
Bikers, you're going to love this!!
And here's something for fans of the Triumph Daytona 955i...
Motorcycle-USA: Ducati 848 first ride...