Kawasaki ZX9R 2003 Rapid Rhapsody in Blue – Brief Impressions

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    Does loyalty count for nothing these days?

    After over twenty years of loyal service a couple years ago our beloved leader  forum founder decided to move on from his 86 GPz900R. The bike he replaced it with is perhaps the modern bike closest in spirit to original Top Gun Ninja. Namely the Kawasaki ZX9R.

    To good a chance to turn down….

    Earlier this year he threw me the keys to the bike and here are my impressions of his cool blue machine:
    This the second 9R I have been lucky enough to ride and, like the 2000 model I rode a couple of times back in 2007 the experience was dominated by an utterly brilliant engine. More than most bikes, the character of the 9R is all about this grunty, potent motor.

    [caption id="attachment_73056" align="aligncenter" width="506"] Man and Machine in perfect harmony…[/caption]

    Potent mid-range

    In a straight line the bike is a missile, especially in the mid range and through to a couple of thousand RPM shy of the red-line. I was finding myself just winding on the throttle just to feel the kick: It really is intoxicating, addictive even! What an awesome motor! I think the earlier example I rode a couple of years previously was perhaps slightly more manic. However I was riding a 600 at the time rather than a 150 bhp litre bike as I do now so perhaps the contrast was more marked then.

    Cool in Blue

    This slightly later bike is more sharply styled too and looks great in the rare cool blue colour scheme. This 9R also seemed handled better than the earlier model and I was enjoying myself through bends pretty much straight away. Confidence inspiring. I have never been one for fiddling with suspension settings too much and they didn’t seem to be the need to here.

    Great looking machine

    Powerful brakes.

    The brakes, so often a weak point on a Kawasaki as they age, were powerful and effective with a good feel at the lever. The 9R is pretty comfortable too: The riding position is not extreme like so many of the front line sports bikes such as the GSR1000 or particularly the R1 I also rode recently.

    Class Act

    Overall the 9R is a class act; powerful, comfortable and fun. A brilliant way to cover ground at speed and very much my sort of bike. overall I have to say I loved it. These are real bargain on the secondhand market too. My advice, seek one out if you want plenty of poke for your hard earned pennies.

    Cheers for the blast my friend!

    Review of the 2000 model:

    Kawasaki Zx9R – Laugh Out Loud Fast – Review


    You’re welcome, glad you liked it.

    Yep, I’ve been really pleased with this bike. It’s a standard F2P 2002 model apart from modified progressive suspension front and rear which seems to make the handling even better than stock. I borrowed an older ZX9R just before buying this and although the performance seemed the same, the suspension mods made handle a lot better, particularly on bumpier roads. It seems to turn in that bit quicker too although that may be down to a better setup on later models.

    All in all, I’d recommend this bike any day of the week as an affordable secondhand sports tourer.

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