The ZXR Story


1988: Kawasaki built a racer called ZXR-7. This bike had an aluminium perimeter frame and a tuned GPX750 engine. From this bike the first of the ZXRs would be born.
The ZXR-7 continued its evolution through to 1994 when endurance regulations changed. Up until then the ZXR-7, though sharing the looks of the ZXR range, was very much a prototype machine.
Here's some pictures of the 1991 ZXR-7
Click on the thumbnails for a bigger picture
 

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Kawasaki in its wisdom decided to confuse us all by calling its range of 750 sportsbikes "ZX7 Ninja" in the US and "ZXR750" just about everywhere else. The Race homologation versions got an extra R (ZX7R and ZXR750R respectively). In '96 they then decided to use the same name worldwide so the standard version became the ZX7R and the Race homologation version became the ZX7RR!

ZXR750, ZX7 (US) ZXR750R, ZX7R (US)

1989 ZXR H1:

The ZXR line started with the "H" models (called ZX7 in the US). The H1 looked uncannily like the first model of the ZXR-7 racer. The rear suspension was very hard. This was chiefly due to the suspension linkage and, to a lower extent, to the hard rear shock.

Spec at a glance:
105bhp (crank)
205Kg dry weight





No "R" version in 1989

1990 ZXR H2:

The H2 inherited most of the Racekit engine mods found on the ZXR-7.
Although the H2 looks very similar to the H1, both engine and frame underwent a lot of changes. A host of carbs, radiator and engine mods mean that parts are often not interchangeable with the H1. The rear suspension was still pretty hard.
Spec at a glance:
107bhp (crank)
200Kg dry weight





No "R" version in 1990

1991-92 ZXR (J1, J2):

The ZXR was overhauled and the "J" models were born. The Js were deliberately restricted by Kawasaki to 100bhp (and are hard to derestrict), but had very good midrange. These were the first ZXRs with USD fork and were overall lighter than both the preceeding H models an later Ls and Ps. The engine was now used as a stressed member to increase chassis rigidity. The hard rear shock of the J1 was partially sorted with the J2.
Spec at a glance:
100bhp (crank - restricted)
195Kg dry weight


1991-92 ZXR-R (K1, K2):

A Race version (superbike omologation special - "K" model) was also built, but in limited numbers. This was called ZXR750R (or ZX7R in the US). The race version had the same frame as the J models, but it sported 39mm Keihin Flatslide carburettors, full power engine, close ratio gearbox, alloy tank, fully adjustable suspension front and rear, single seat and was 5kg lighter than the J models. Both K1 and K2 have the same spec.
Spec at a glance:
121bhp (crank)
190Kg dry weight



1993-95 ZXR (L1, L2, L3):

This was the first ZXR to have Ram-air (one intake on the left hand side of the headlights).
The engine of the previous years Race version ("K models") was now fitted to all L models (minus the flatslides and the Close Ratio Gearbox). The rear suspension was now sorted and much more compliant than previous models thanks to a new and more linear linkage and a new shock.
Spec at a glance:
119bhp (crank)
205Kg dry weight



1993-94 ZXR-R (M1, M2) there was no "R" in 95:

The race version ("M" model) specification was as for the previous K model with the addition of Ram-air and an adjustable swingarm pivot (adjustment is done through the use of Kawasaki Racekit parts).
The M model got the J/K model's super stiff rear suspension linkage instead of the softer (and better) one mounted on the L models. Both M1 and M2 have the same spec.
Spec at a glance:
121bhp (crank)
200Kg dry weight


1996 - Kawasaki renames the latest models
ZX7R ZX7RR

1996-today ZX7R (P1 - P7):

The name ZXR was dropped and both in Europe and the US the standard bike was now called ZX7R. The new bike had a shorter stroke/wider bore engine which gave it much more midrange than previous models, Twin Ram-air intakes, 6 pot Tokiko brakes and suspension was now fully adjustable front and rear.

Spec at a glance:
123bhp (crank)
203Kg dry weight



1996 ZX7RR (N1)- The ZX7RR was only produced in '96:

The race version ("N" model) had a similar spec to the previous M models (although the alloy tank was now replaced by a steel one), but it now also boasted an adjustable steering head angle (with additional Kawasaki Racekit parts). The flatslide carbs went from 39mm to 41mm. The suspension was of higher spec and more adjustable than the standard ZX7R and the braking was taken care of by a pair of 6 pot Nissins.
Spec at a glance:
121bhp (crank)
203Kg dry weight