This motorcycle has more than earned its nickname of “Ninja;” it’s staked out the competition and carved its name into the asphalt for years to come. The ZXR-750R, also known as the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R is a masterpiece to behold.
History of the Ninja
Kawasaki was initially an aircraft manufacturer in the early 1900s and it didn’t even market its motorcycles under the Kawasaki label until the 1960s. Before then, their motorcycles were known as Meguro motos, because of Kawasaki’s purchase of Meguro Manufacturing, a motorcycle company.
However, once Kawasaki got a taste for motorcycles, they quickly went all in, producing model after model, generation after generation, and classic after classic, including the Kawasaki ZXR-750R.
An Agile Design
The ZXR-750R wasn’t called the Ninja just out of coincidence. It earned that title by being sleek, agile, and faster than its competition, capable of sweeping in from one direction and disappearing into the other in a matter of seconds.
This feat of engineering was accomplished by inserting a four-stroke, transverse, four-cylinder, DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder and a displacement of 749cc into a lightweight, aluminum perimeter frame resulting in a total dry weight of 418.8 pounds.
Only One Ninja
Kawasaki updated the ZXR-750R every year or so, but never modified it enough to warrant calling it an entirely new generation of the Ninja.
- Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R, a.k.a. ZXR-750R (1989-2003)
Kawasaki produced the Ninja for a grand total of fifteen years, making only minor adjustments where they were needed over the years. In 1993, a single-tube air system was put in place, which was replaced again in 1996 by a double-tube air system. That’s pretty much it in terms of changes.
The heavy duty engine designed for 121 horsepower at 10,500 rpm, torque of approximately 53.8 foot-pounds. A six-speed transmission to optimize gear-shifting of an engine with a 10.8:1 compression ratio enabled this amazing racing machine to hit speeds of over 150 miles per hour.
The Ninja in the News
On August 15th, 2019, the Ninja made headlines by pushing Kawasaki to lower prices on their new motorcycles, making now the cheapest-ever time to buy a brand new Kawasaki motorcycle.
Versions of Kawasaki Ninjas have been on the silver screen for quite some time, racking up dozens of film and TV credits. Two of the most well known shows in which the Ninja appeared are Hawaii Five-0 and Murder, She Wrote.
As with any natural-born racing masterpiece, there are plenty of people itching to talk about their builds and rides when it comes to the Kawasaki Ninja. The Kawasaki Ninja Owners group on Facebook, for example, has more than 2,000 members.
The Kawasaki Ninja – a Racing Extraordinaire
Everybody who gets the chance to drive a Kawasaki Ninja comes away feeling the need for more fuel, more fire, more speed. Unfortunately, this model is now more of a collector’s item than a commodity, but Kawasaki is working harder now than ever before to give you what you want.