2000 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-9R* Rating:
5 of 5 stars for Reliability, comfort, handling and control, quality and craftsmanshipPros:
W-I-D-E powerband, well balanced sportbike, with superior handling, vibration (no!), capable of 50 - 55 MPG
(see below sport-touring video).Cons:
3,000 RPM carburetor surging (stock), but easy to correct with a carb sync and/or raising the jet needle 0.8mm - 1.3mm.Conclusion:
The ZX-9r, a surprising sportbike: as fast as fast bikes, as comfortable as touring bikes, smooth as glass, and more economical than all of them. The best motorcycle ever built.Recommended:
hat an awesome motorcycle! I was looking for a liter bike and had my eye on the CBR-1000RR Repsol Honda or GSXR-1000. After doing a lot of research I was surprised to find much of what I was looking for was available in the 600cc class. However, easy highway touring won out and the bike that had it all was the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-9r.
My criteria was this: a sport bike that could handle 150+ MPH, with good handling - fun in the corners, ample power, nice looks, fully faired, not buzzy like a 1200+ bike or screamed at high speed like a 250, allowed for comfortable long stint rides, and could cover 175 miles between fill-ups. The 9r is all of that and more! It's capable of 170MPH, has a well balanced ride in stock form that makes me appear to be a better rider than I am, slides predictably when pushed, downshifts and brakes like a dream, (for me) frightening power delivery below 2000' with an exciting ram-air rush about 8K RPM, sweet looks Lime Green, Metallic Purple), great wind protection with a Zero Gravity touring shield (about 2" higher than stock), so smooth at normal speeds its hard to believe, riding position comfort that makes 200 mile runs a piece of cake, 400 mile runs tolerable, and 240+ miles between fill-ups -- it actually out runs a majority of the touring bikes!
Unfortunately the 9r production was stopped in 2003, so there's a finite number of them left. And because most motorcycle squids want bikes that are reviewed as 1MPH faster or can quarter mile 0.25 seconds quicker, they always overlook the 9. This makes 9r sellers think they need to lower their price to attract a buyer. I picked mine up for below low Kelly BB, probably because I was the only one attracted to this old small bike. Ha!
I added a tunable Supertrapp exhaust and made only minor (as prescribed by Kawasaki for high altitude operation) for better throttle response and power delivery. I can't imagine a better bike or anything I'd rather ride.
In summary, I've owned a CB-175, CB-500T, KZ-400, Maxim 550, KZ-550, GS-550, ZX-1000R and now the ZX-9r and you couldn't make a combination of any of my previous bikes that could add up to the 9. And in one year I rode my 9r more miles than all those other bikes combined.
* The 2000 ZX-9r model E1 and 2001 E2 are mechanically identical, so this review and its conclusions should apply to both. This is the California (CA) model, with California emissions equipment in working order.
Long range sport-touring aboard the ZX-9R Ninja as viewed from another sportbike.
Magazine review <here>