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Re: obviously Kawasaki knows a thing or two

I think people have that opinion of Kawasaki sport bikes because Kawasaki has chosen to leave their bikes unchanged for longer than the other manfacturers, and when they do make changes they are to bring their bikes up to the level of the competition, not to leap-frog it.

I also think that the ZX-12R debacle hurt their image tremendously. They implied in no uncertain terms that it was gonna blow the side panels off the 'busa. Then, supposedly because of legal and/or regulatory issues, the bike presented to the public was actually slower than the 'busa. I think a lot of people saw that and inferred that Kawasaki wasn't capable of making the bike it promised. I'm not a Kawasaki insider, so I don't know the real truth.

One thing that I saw in Kawaski's favor in terms of technical competence was the article in Sport Rider magazine last year about the effectiveness of various ram-air systems. It was pretty clear that Kawasaki was the best at that, and that's a non-trivial technical challenge.

As for real-world sportbikes, I'm a big fan of the concept of a comfortable, practical sportbike, but I also realize that I'm in a minority in having that opinion.

Kudos to Kawasaki and E. Bos for the 600 title.
 

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Re: obviously Kawasaki knows a thing or two

Sounds very similar to an idea that I proposed a while back on one of these forums...

Each manufacturer provides 5 bikes (in 600 Supersport trim per my example ... but it could be even closer to stock, per your example) and a fixed-size team to work on each bike. Then, on Thursday, there's a semi-random selection process that assigns a given rider to a given bike/team. The rider may bring a fixed number of people to the team also.

The selection rules would ensure that no rider gets the same bike/team twice in a year, and gets no single manufacturer's bike significantly more than another, etc.

There are actually two championships at stake: the riders' championship, and the manufacturers' championship.

The winning rider can really claim that it's his ability that won his championship, not simply a better machine. The winning manuf can really claim that their bike is better, not just that they happened to sign the best rider.

Seems like a great series to me.
 

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Re: the ZX-12 was treated very unfairly by the press

It's been a long time since I read that article, but I came away with the feeling that

a) They were VERY disappointed that it wasn't as fast as Kawasaki said it would be

b) But it was still a very good bike, especially in the high-speed touring dept

c) Although not quite as good as the Hayabusa, in more ways than just top-speed... I could be remembering incorrectly, but I recall the suspension being a major differentiator

So... I didn't get the impression that it was a complete loser of a bike, but maybe that was just me.

As for fit, I'm a big fan of Kawasaki, since they seem to be the only manuf who makes sportbikes that have a chance to fit those of us over 5'9".

I'm still confused why they do not make high-end sportbikes with options to customize the fit... for example... they could make 3 or 4 sets of footpeg brackets and 3 or 4 sets of clipons and several different seat heights, widths, and shapes. Different tank shapes might be overkill, especially if you had the other options in place, but nothing kills my interest in an otherwise desireable bike with more certainty than climbing aboard only to find that those ridges in the tank that are supposed to be above your knee are digging right into the side of it. Ideally, it would be like bicycles, where you could buy different frame sizes, too.

This kind of optional equipment might raise the price a bit, but given the choice between an $11K bike that's uncomfortable, and a $12K bike that fits... which one would you choose?
 
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