We had to get one sometime…long admired and now finally owned and cherished. The fastest accelerating production motorcycle on the planet. And, as every biker nut knows, cherishing is all about the fiddling (or farkling if you’re reading this in the USA).
Its a great bike already, but we want to prepare it for touring so there are a few mods we’ll be doing…
We list them briefly below and some will have more detailed write ups in our technical and mods section. If you want any more info please let us know… We’ll be filling this in as we go… so please bear in mind that the page is still building.
Throughout ownership of the ZZR we have been much indebted to the ZX14R Forum for advice and inspiration. Its a great place to visit to know more.
To go there, click on the pic above. Also helpful is ZZR International: Click HERE
HEL Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines
While the front brakes on the Big Zed are good, the rear is notoriously poor. Besides, you can always do with more, right? Having secured a whopping 25% discount from Hel (which we can offer to all readers of bigbikemad) we splashed out on a full set of SS lines.
We were amazed at how easy these model specific kits were to fit – the rear took just 30 minutes and the front about an hour and a half. (there were 4 lines on the front).
CLICK on pics to go to detailed review. We opted for tasty gold lines with red banjo’s – but a whole range of combinations is available.
Firmer Lines …
Results were equally impressive and make us think that the 4 year old plastic lines on out ZZR must have been a bit saggy…. an immediate hardening of the pedal (steady, matron) was noticed and significantly more bite at the wheel. Rear brake was improved by about 50% over stock (which is not actually saying much, but is welcome) while the front scored a plus of about 10% (both estimated).
Alloy Levers: Smoother than stock
We found these on E Bay a while ago and had a set fitted to a Blackbird. We were scepitcal about quality – a pair shipped from Hong Kong for £49 inclusive? Hmm.
However we were pleasantly surprised when they arrived. Machined out of solid billet and with a nice smooth action. Quality was on a par with some we have seen at three times the price. Bargain!
Alloy Levers: Multi-adjustable
The levers adjust for span ( length of your fingers) as per OEM, although with a a natty coloured lever rather than a plain wheel. However they are also adjustable for length (width of your hand). Not only does this make for a perfect fit between hand and lever, aiding precise control, but it also just feels nice and snug. We were so impressed we’ve bought some for stock and for sale on this website. Range of colours of both lever and adjuster available.
Powerbronze Rear Hugger
We tend not to like fake carbon, but we did like the look of the gold mesh on this part (yeah, yeah, we know – pure bling) and the price was good. We ordered direct from Powerbronze who’s customer service was excellent, and we got the hugger within a couple of days.
A doddle to fit and does so precisely- unlike cheaper ones. Nice kit and should keep the back of the bike clean. Much better than the OEM chain guard which looks like it came of a Raleigh Shopper.
These should really come standard on any bike given people’s desire nowadays to fit accessories….
Its a neat box – about the size of a packet of fags – and fits snugly under most seats. The idea is simple – create a single wiring point for all accessories which is supplied not only with constant on power, but also switched power via a built in relay. Just connect the unit to + and – battery terminals plus one positive wire that is on with the ignition. Significantly reduces clutter not least by cutting the number of relays down to just this one.
The unit is also a boon on canbus bikes as it bypasses the canbus system p[preventing the electrical problems that can sometimes otherwise result. It takes mini blade fuses allowing you to see at a glance when anything is wrong. Its very easy to select switched or constantly-on power just by moving the position of the fuses on a particular circuit. Available from Nippy Norman.
LED Running Lights and R& G Crash Bungs / Sliders
We got a ‘as new second hand’ set of R&G’s which come with their own non-drill brackets. Locating all the bolts does require some fiddling with the fairing panels, but they look pretty robust when its all done and the price was good at £115 including delivery. Since fitting extra lights to an FJR some years ago we noticed a dramatic reduction in SMIDSY type pull-outs. From then on we fitted them to every bike. A page showing how we did it is on this site under ‘Technical, mods etc.’
Oxford Kawasaki Ninja Panniers
Pretty lucky to pick these up from E Bay a week after we got the tank bag. Expandable, with removable bum bag, storm covers and numerous straps for fitting. The ZZR has just the right set of mounting points for these and they fit perfectly. Now we’re ready to tour!
Oxford Kawasaki Ninja Tank Bag
No longer made, but still a few unused ones on E Bay. Got this one new and packaged for £40. Brilliant bit of kit; good quality and breaks down into about 6 different bags / compartments including a rucksack. Nice Kawasaki detailing including neat ‘K’ zip pulls.
We made bespoke side straps out of old Oxford luggage for an exact fit. Magnets grip rear of tank (front is plastic) very well.
Perfect fit in terms of height (two more bags attach / expand over and above that shown) and gives you something to lean on – taking weight off wrists on long trips.
Work by Reef Paint Shop –
Givi Hard Luggage
The silver Givi E55 Maxia case lid just didn’t go with the zingy green of the ZZR, so we decided to let Reef Paint shop near Trowbridge, Wiltshire, UK loose on it. We disassembled the case, handing over only the silver parts. Reef took only 48 hours to turn the job around and its grand.
Rear Crash Bungs
Scored these from E Bay at around £22. Excellent – some protection for the exhausts at last…
One of the weak spots of the ZZR is its rear shock – adequate when new for 1-up riding but pretty awful for 2-up touring; damping is poor with little adjustment possible and the spring is just too weak. You might as well fit a Pogo stick – it wouldn’t be worse.
In the UK there are a few alternatives; a shock re-build (not radical enough);
Ohlin’s (too expensive), Hagon (not quite good enough quality wise) or Nitron – a high spec at reasonable price. We also liked the Nitron as it offers combined compression / rebound adjusting on one control. We added the option of a separate hydraulic pre-load connected via a tube to the shock. Click on the Pic above for a vid of our experiences fitting this and HERE for a detailed written review of the effect it had on the bike.
ABM Top Yoke Kit
Standard bar-risers were just not enough….so we went the more radical route. Click on Pic to go to video of fitting top yoke conversion. Click HERE to go to review of Top Yoke in use.
Very easy to fit, with the reservoir going under the nearside side panel at the edge of the seat.
We’ve recorded our experiences on a dedicated page with pictures in the technical section of this site.
We’re long term fans of Scottoilers – if set up properly there is no mess and they double the life of a chain –
something worth having on a bikes as powerful as this one.
EBC make some of the best pads on the market. We went for their HH sintered pads and scored a full set (no less than 8 pads required for the front and two for the rear) for £86 delivered. Just fitted so will update this page re. performance later.
Custom Motorcycle Seats are based in Coventry – a small family run British firm that we have bought seats from in the past. Superb quality at a good price. Not only do the ‘geltastic’ inserts make for a comfy ride, the sculpting of the seat support the rider’s lower back while simultaneously preventing the pillion from flying forward under heavy braking. Brilliant.
Available in two main styles and with a range of coloured piping options or they can adapt a seat to your spec.
Melvin runs a seat deposit scheme which means that you don’t need to be without your seat while the work is done. Tasty and oooooh, sooooo comfy.. way better than anything else we have ever tried.
Oxford heated Grips
Tried and trusted on many bikes and still the best – if not the cheapest.
These are Oxford’s new touring version with more steps of adjustment than before and colour coded LEDS. Although they do have a feature that turns them off before they can flatten a battery, we ran them via the Fuseblock on an ignition-on circuit which cuts power to them every time the rider turns the ignition off. Really easy to fit.
GIVI E 55 Maxia and Admore Lighting Kit
We fitted one of these and liked it so much we became UK distributor for the Canadian company that makes these to order. You can buy them on this site or on E Bay. This site is cheaper.
The kit is tailored to each case (a range of GIVI and other models) and just pops in. Not only are the LEDS brighter and much more reliable than the GIVI kits, but you also get a modulating brake light on first application, a tail light and a set of yellow indicator lights. Taking all your lights to a high level makes them much more noticeable. A study of high level brake lights in cars found that they reduced accidents by as much as 50%.
We think that the kit is likely to particularly effective when filtering in slow traffic. As a bonus , AdMore do the best fitting instructions we’ve ever seen (although you have to download these).
LED Running Lights
To fit some to the ZZR we scored a set of solid aluminium spots from E Bay for £48 delivered and then toddled off to Wickes and found some steel plates (no idea what they were for) and fabricated some embarrassingly crude brackets which we painted black with Hammerite . (VICE-HAMMER- DRILL- CUT you get the idea). You cannot really see them when they are mounted on the bike.
We then fitted the brackets onto the crash bungs and the lights to the brackets, making sure that the bungs protruded more than the lights for obvious reasons.
The lights (low draw LEDS) were wired via the Fuseblock but with the addition of a separate waterproof switch to the left of the dash so that they could be isolated. We’re producing a short article covering this in more detail for the technical section on this site. We took care to adjust them so that they would not dazzle on-coming traffic (they are BRIGHT!).
MRA X Screen
The Kawasaki touring screen is OK, but has the habit of directing rain under rather than at your visor. We wanted more adjustability and went for this add-on from MRA – their new X-Screen. Costing £69 we have yet to test it in the wet. Hope it works – we drilled the screen to fit!
Carbon Goodies 1 – dash and tank accents
Carbon looks great on the ZZR and there’s a lot of stuff out there. We’ve gone for clock surround, yoke cover and tank protector to start with.
Carbon Goodies 2- Fairing Infill Panels
One of the OEM infill panels running from the clock down to the fuel tank cracked due to age and over-tightening of screws. Decided to replace whole panels with genuine carbon infills from Powerbronze. bargain at £85 delivered. Check out Bigbikemad.com You Tube Video channel for video of this product.
Don’t Fear the Bleeper…
Not exactly a glamorous accessory – but sadly necessary if you are as bright as Dimwit Dave!
Just three connections – one to each indicator left and right and one to an indicator earth. The unit cost £12.50 and has an adjustable built-in delay on the buzzer (so many flashes before it starts).
Its especially easy to fit on the ZZR as the indicator wires are accessible easily and mounting is possible on the side of the clocks.
Many people are happy with the ZZR’s mirrors, but we find them featuring elbows rather than a good view behind the bike all too often, so we fitted these – lovely little chaps; they work a treat.Click on pic for fitting video.
Standard plugs are Iridium’s. These deteriorate faster than normal plugs. replacement is at just 7,500 miles. To see video click picture. Its not an easy job!
Seemed a good idea to flush and the cooling system and replace with non-silicate coolant. We used Honda Pro-Cool. Click picture to see video.
An upgrade to an K&N seemed to make throttle response a tad quicker and fuel consumption actually improved too. Click picture to see video. Click HERE to go to K&N review.
Oil and Filter
We give the engine an oil and filter change every year. K&N used filter as it had a built in nut to make removal easier next time, and Rockoil 10W/40 semi-synthetic oil.
This chap has + 20% more cold cranking power. Also has 4 terminals which is handy if you have lots of accessories…
Make sure you get the right one – some sold on E Bay are only 10.5 amp / hours. You need at least 14. MBTX-12U is the correct Motobatt part number.