ZX-12R is fastest


ZX-12R is fastest

KAWASAKI'S new ZX-12R has set a world speed record - as the fastest-accelerating production bike on the planet.

17 Nov 1999
MCN Reporter

The bike, designed to steal the title of the world's fastest production machine from Suzuki's Hayabusa, covered a standing quarter-mile in 9.52 seconds at 147mph in the U.S. last week. The Hayabusa's best run in the hands of MCN's road testers earlier this year was 9.91 seconds at 146mph.

The Kawasaki was rolled out in front of an amazed crowd at the Rockingham Dragway, in North Carolina, last week. It was a demonstration by the Team Green Kawasaki race outfit to show what the bike could do. Its rider Rickey Gadson took it to the record-breaking time, while his team-mates Chris Williams and Chip Ellis managed 9.79 seconds and 9.69 seconds respectively - even though the clutch was well past its best by the time Williams climbed on board.

It was a standard ZX-12R - just like the bike you'll be able to buy next year - except for suspension tweaks to improve traction and prevent wheelies. The forks were slid up through the yokes by 5cm and the rear suspension was dropped 10cm from the stock settings.

By the time the ZX-12R crossed the line at nearly 150mph it was only in third gear. With another three ratios to go, the bike's claimed 200mph top speed should be within reach.

Gadson reckons the bike would be able to accelerate even faster if the sprockets were changed to drop the gearing, and with a wheelie-bar and a longer swingarm to improve traction it could manage the quarter-mile in under nine seconds. The world record over the same distance for a Top Fuel drag bike with unlimited tuning mods is 5.99 seconds.
If you strap or lower the front of the busa it would be right there with it.


old news.................the ZX12r as we all know never topped the busa for top speed and even in the latest tests the busa beat it in the quarter................not by much but it was still quicker and faster.................
Oh not this top speed issue AGAIN.  
 I am not sure where that report is from, but it does read like it is NOT running a head to head.  It merely tells of "Team Greens" times versus MCN testers time.

The stock hayabusa (1999 model) has and will be the fastest production bike ever.  Due to self regulation by the manufacturers  the Japanese have voluntarily limited all their bikes (I wonder what would happen if the Italians tried a top speed machine though....  

Every test has shown the '99 busa to be faster than the 12 of the same year.  .....Well, except for a British Magazine, FASTBIKES.  They even had a video (a good one at that), "Mach 3".  Which shows the Busa pulling away on pick up, but the 12 somehow reels her in once the roll is on.

Below however is a review of the NEW 02 / 03 model ZX12R by MCN on their website.  For those of you that are not from the UK, MCN is one of the most respected motorcycle journal/institution in the UK, with it's support for motorcyclists and it's fortnightly motorcycle "newspaper"

Slower is the new faster

With its first ZX-12R came within a gnat's whisker of wrenching back the world?s fastest bike crown for Kawasaki from Suzuki?s 194mph Hayabusa.

But with the new millennia came a new responsibility. Politics and a new sensitivity over top speeds that nudged the double ton resulted in a gentleman?s agreement by the big four Japanese factories to restrict future bikes to 'just' 186mph.
But rather than rob the raison d'etre from these self-styled hyper-sports bikes, the blanket limit has resulted in a new crop of ever-more powerful and proficient machines that a deliver a second to non riding experience.

The new for 2002 ZX-12R is one. The handling has come on leaps and bounds since the first model and it?s now agile enough to give a make it a serious prospect on a track.
Better still is the new look. Restrained colourschemes and subtle colours have never been Kawasaki's strong suit, but the new range looks mega, and it?s a relief to see the back of that odd wavey design that blighted the flanks of the 2001 model.
The nose has been sharpened up and lends the ZX-12R a more aggressive stance. It still goes like the flipping clappers, thankfully. It's more refined, though none of the excitement of the previous model has been lost.

The updates have taken the ZX-12R well past the Hayabusa in almost every respect. Fractions behind the 148bhp Suzuki from 0-60 it nips to 130mph almost half a second ahead of its old sparring partner, nearly 20 bike lengths ahead thanks to a 7bhp advantage. Irrelevant on the road, but crucial down the pub.

It's a comfortable place to be, too. The big screen and neat cockpit keeps you in a bubble of calm while the world rushes past you, leaving you free to concentrate on the oncoming horizon.

It's not too heavy either at just 213kg dry (469lb), but even so you want the brakes to be spot-on when you?re hauling ass. Fortunately the six-pot Tokicos are up to the job, nipping on big 320mm discs they stay fade free, even with prolonged abuse.

It's an expensive bike to run though ? group 17 insurance and capable of demolishing back tyres in as little as 1200 miles, not to mention brake pads and petrol. And the odd speeding fine or three.

Now that the speed war is dead, it's no longer about who has the fastest, but who has the sharpest. And the new ZX-12R is right on the cutting edge.

MCN also did a ZX12R v Busa road test on the latest model, link below.
Road test review of BUSA v ZX12R by MCN (Across Europe too!)

I am not trying to continue the 'fastest' bike debate, nor am i supporting the Kawa in any way. TO each rider his/her own. I see in your 'Gallery' that you guys have ZX12 riders with you (or maybe behind you :p) and that is good to see. Everyone has their own style and preferences. At the end of the day, just enjoy your ride, and ride SAFE!!!!
Yep....Kawalski has always been faster through the 1/4 mile.
But it loses at top end. The frontal cross section of the Kawalski acts as a built in "speed limiter" that keeps it from reaching the top speeds of the more aerodynamic Busa.
Note the test was SLIGHTLY slanted and only talked about 1/4 mile speeds and times. Unless Kaw made some drastic redesign of their fairing and general configuration of the bike (height and cross section) the Busa will still be faster top end.
Note they are only guessing here:
"the bike's claimed 200mph top speed should be within reach."

"Should be" is a lot different than VERIFIED top speed. I'll believe it when I see an actual test of top speed and not some estimate from a group that might get heavy advertising dollars from Kaw. Besides, we don't know what gears they had in the Kaw as compared to the Busa. They had "Team Green" riding and working on the bikes, so who knows what "Team Green" DID to the bikes before the test.