Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Kawasaki 750 Ninja

Tue, February 23rd, 2010

The non-US GPX version is pictured. The US Ninja version was identical except for decals.

Featuring a different Kawasaki street bike each day.

1987–90 Kawasaki ZX750F Ninja
Like so many of the bikes I talk about here, it was class-leading in its day and it's not anymore. But 85 rear-wheel horsepower is still entertaining and this engine has a nice power spread, with a healthy upper-RPM rush. A real-world sportbike with enough power for the real world. But, like nearly all other pre-FI bikes, the carbs are a bit glitchy at low speeds until thoroughly warm.
Given the bike's sport-touring role, it's great. The 16-inch front hoop lightened steering, theoretically at the cost of stability at high speeds, but you'd have to be going stupidly fast to get this bike to misbehave.
Probably the best looking of the Kawasaki Ninja models if you're partial to black tubular frames (which I am). Bodywork is a nice mixture of the somewhat square edges of the 'C'-model 600 and the more sculpted look of the original 900.
Highly reliable when new, but after enough miles excessive top end wear becomes a problem.
The 'F' model 750 was the last really competitive sportbike to have comfortable enough ergonomics to tour on. Fast, comfortable, and easy to live with.
A fantastic bike you should jump on, if you can find one for sale in good shape. (You usually can't.) It failed in the marketplace because everybody wanted a race replica, and this 750 was designed to excel in the real world of street riding. Kawasaki overestimated buyers' intelligence.
A totally under-rated bike.