Kawasaki makes some of the fastest bikes around, including the current title holder of the fastest production motorcycle: the Ninja H2R.
Their models just keep getting more powerful and more advanced, so let’s check out the 10 fastest they’ve made.
Top Speed: 207 MPH
The Kawasaki Ninja H2R isn’t just the fastest Kawasaki motorcycle. It’s the fastest production motorcycle in the world. In 2015, James Hillier set an Isle of Man record, reaching 207 mph on the Sulby Straight.
The following year in Turkey, Kenan Sofuoglu reached 249 mph on the Osman Gazi Bridge. However, he had special Pirelli tires and used race-grade fuel, so you probably can’t expect this kind of performance normally.
Still, the Ninja H2R takes speed to the extreme, not to mention acceleration. With a 998cc engine producing 310 horsepower, it can go from 0 to 60 in just 2.6 seconds.
The Ninja H2R has been in production since 2015 and is the track-only variant of the street-legal Ninja H2. The H2 itself is pretty fast, capable of topping 200 mph.
Top Speed: 189 MPH
With a 998cc engine producing 197 hp, the ZX-10R is one of Kawasaki’s most popular bikes. It won the “Best Superbike” award from Cycle World magazine in 2004 and 2005.
The ZX-10R is also one of Kawasaki’s fastest bikes. The original 2004 model hit speeds of up to 180 mph, and the most modern models manufactured from 2016 onwards can hit 189 mph.
Top Speed: 186 MPH
When it was introduced at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, the ZX-14R was Kawasaki’s most powerful sports bike. That original model had a 1,352cc engine that produced 190 hp and could go from 0 to 60 in just 2.6 seconds. Since 2012, it’s had a 1,441cc engine that produces 208 hp.
Due to calls from European regulators and politicians at the turn of the century to ban the import of Japanese motorcycles with ever-increasing top speeds, Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers made an unofficial “gentlemen’s agreement” to limit their models’ top speeds to 300 km/h, which is about 186 mph.
Though this agreement seems to have gone by the wayside as of 2007, the ZX-14R is still electronically limited to that top speed despite being capable of much more.
With the limitation removed, people have reported reaching speeds of up to 205 mph.
Top Speed: 186 MPH
Only produced from 2000 through 2006, the Ninja ZX-12R and its 1,199cc engine are similar to the ZX-14R.
Subject to the same unofficial gentlemen’s agreement between Japanese and European manufacturers during its entire lifetime, the ZX-12R was limited to the same top speed of 186 mph.
Nevertheless, people have claimed it can reach 197 mph without the limitation.
Top Speed: 185 MPH
First introduced in 1977, the Z1000 was revamped in 2003 with a similar engine to the ZX-9R.
The most modern versions from 2010 onwards have a 1,043cc engine capable of accelerating the bike faster than any other Kawasaki model.
It can go from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. Additionally, it has an impressive top speed of 185 mph.
Top Speed: 176 MPH
That gentlemen’s agreement that limited motorcycles in the early 2000s? Yeah, the ZX-11 was partially responsible for that.
Kawasaki released it as part of their constant competition with other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers to reach ever-increasing top speeds.
It was the fastest production motorcycle in the world from 1990 to 1996, with a top speed of 176 mph. It had a 1,052cc engine producing 134 hp.
Top Speed: 186 MPH
The ZZ-R1200, sometimes referred to as the ZX-12C, was the successor to the ZX-11 and was produced from 2002 to 2005. It was similar to the ZX-12R, made around the same time, and had a similarly sized 1,164cc engine.
Producing 160 hp, it was more powerful than the Honda CBR1100XX, the bike that replaced the Ninja ZX-11 as the world’s fastest production motorcycle.
However, the CBR1100XX was the last superbike before the manufacturers’ gentlemen’s agreement, meaning that the ZZ-R1200 ended up being limited to below the CBR1100XX’s top speed of 197 mph. Like the other bikes of the time, it could reach a maximum of 186 mph.
Top Speed: 167 MPH
If you go back even further in time, you’ll find the Tomcat ZX-10, also known as the Ninja ZX-10, the predecessor to the ZX-11.
It was slightly smaller than the ZX-11 with a 997cc engine and had a short production life of just 1988-1990. Nevertheless, it was also the fastest production motorcycle when it came out with a top speed of 167 mph.
One of the instigators in the speed competition of the 1990s, the Tomcat ZX-10 featured many innovations over earlier sports bikes.
For example, it had the first aluminum frame chassis on a Kawasaki motorcycle, something that’s now standard for the brand.
Additionally, they improved the engine with semi-downdraft CV carburetors, lighter pistons, and bigger valves.
Top Speed: 158 MPH
The GPZ900R, also called the ZX900A or Ninja 900, predated the Tomcat ZX-10, with production beginning in 1984. However, it outlived the Tomcat ZX-10, with models coming off the line until 2003, reflecting its popularity.
With a 908cc engine producing 115 hp, it could reach speeds of up to 158 mph. This means it’s still one of Kawasaki’s fastest bikes.
Top Speed: 164 MPH
A bit smaller than its other ZX cousins, the ZX-6R has a 636cc engine that can push it up to 164 mph. Still, in production, this model was initially released in 1995, giving it one of the longest production lifespans of Kawasaki sports bikes, which speaks to its popularity.
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All images via Kawasaki unless otherwise stated.