I’ve just taken delivery of the world’s fastest motorcycle.
It’s the Kawasaki ZZR1400 and I’m in love with it already.
It’s a fantastic bike with so much power that you barely have to nudge the throttle to feel the back end squirming about.
Like several European car makers (Audi, BMW and Merc) that voluntarily restrict their cars to a top speed of 155mph, the Japanese bike manufacturers limit the top speed of their machines.
Supertourer: Richard Hammond loves the new ZZR1400 already (Photo: Kawasaki)
But since that limit is 186mph, it’s pretty meaningless.
Quite how fast the ZZR1400 would go if uncorked I don’t know – not least because I obviously haven’t ridden it flat out because there isn’t a race track or piece of runway long enough in the UK to do so – but the four-cylinder motor kicks out a massive 207bhp, so 200mph is probably possible.
Until recently, I owned a Suzuki Hayabusa, to which I fitted a top box and panniers. It looked a bit odd but made it a brilliant bike for a quick commute between Gloucestershire and London – so I’ll do the same with the Kwacker.
The handling is really good, the seat is comfortable and you can get almost 200 miles from a tankful of petrol. The big difference between the two bikes is that the ZZR1400 is fitted with a very sophisticated traction control system that has two sport settings and a safety setting.
Full throttle: You just need a nudge to feel the roar (Photo: Kawasaki)
Call me a wimp if you like but when you’re riding in the rain, your hands are cold, you’re looking out for people in cars doing something stupid and you have more power in your right hand than Ford’s Sierra Cosworth had, a bit of electronic help is a pretty welcome thing.
The ZZR1400 isn’t the best-looking bike in the world and it’ll be even less pretty when I’ve stuck the luggage on it, but that’s not the end of the world because I’ve got some bikes in my ever-increasing collection that do look amazing.
I bought the Kawasaki to do a job and it does it brilliantly.
I might buy a set of Akrapovic exhausts for the bike because it’s a bit quiet in town and I worry about pedestrians stepping into the road.
Overhead view: It costs a lot of cash (Photo: Kawasaki)
Mind you, the pipes cost £1,800, which is a bit painful when you’ve just spent £11,499 on the bike itself.
It’s lots of money, but then the Bugatti Veyron, which is the fastest car in the world, costs rather more than that.