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The 1984 Kawasaki NINJA® 900R was the world’s first production 16-valve, liquid-cooled, in-line four-cylinder motorcycle, and it was also the world’s first stock motorcycle to exceed 150 mph when evaluated under timed track conditions, putting Kawasaki at the forefront of the next generation of motorcycles. For 2002, Kawasaki continues to extend its performance heritage with the new Kawasaki Ninja® ZX-9R. Combining Open-class performance and real-world versatility, the newest ZX-9R delivers improved engine response, sharper handling, and updated styling in a trim, 404 lb. chassis.
The heart of the ZX-9R is its lightweight, all-aluminum cylinder block, with electroplated lining for wear resistance and superior heat dispersion. The cylinder head itself is shaped to provide a high compression ratio, while the cam timing and profile are designed for abundant torque across the rev range. For 2002, Kawasaki paid particular attention to lower-rpm performance. Engineers increased crank mass by 10 percent by adding material to the crank webs, and decreased the size of the flywheel. Additionally, the flywheel cover is now aluminum instead of magnesium so that it can be more easily modified for racing applications.
Four new Keihin 40mm downdraft semi-flat-slide carburetors deliver excellent throttle response and are equipped with the Kawasaki Throttle Responsive Ignition Control (K-TRIC) system. Linked to the ignition system, K-TRIC adjusts ignition timing for all throttle settings. A 16-bit microprocessor accurately adjusts timing from sensors at both the carburetors and the crankshaft.
Spent gases exit via a four-into-two-into-one exhaust system with a lightweight, all-titanium muffler equipped with the Kawasaki Clean Air System catalyzer (with the exception of California models, which have a stainless-steel unit and an additional catalyzer for reduced emissions).
On all models, the exhaust system benefits from an extended divider plate just aft of the collector for increased mid-range response. And the muffler was repositioned for additional cornering clearance and a more aggressive appearance.
The short-wheelbase aluminum frame now features a front engine mount that’s closer to the steering head to improve the engine’s ability to function as a stressed member of the frame and increase rigidity. The angle of the detachable aluminum sub-frame was also modified to accommodate the new streamlined seat and tail section. The ZX-9R’s passenger grab rails were dispensed with, in favor of a lighter-weight seat strap. A cowling that converts the cockpit into a solo seat is standard fare.
The extruded-aluminum swingarm features a hexagonal structure with ribbing for reduced weight and exceptional rigidity, and a brace was added to increase stiffness by 20 percent. Kawasaki’s Bottom Link UNI-TRAK® system features linkage ratios that provide a linear progression of damping and spring rates on the fully adjustable single shock as the suspension is compressed. For 2002, the lower link mount was moved forward and linkage rates were changed to provide an even more linear feel.
The shock comes equipped with a ride-height adjuster that allows for fine-tuning the chassis to suit specific conditions. Damping settings have been modified to accommodate the stiffer chassis, and the shock reservoir was repositioned to provide clearance for the new swingarm. Also new is the stepless damping adjuster, which uses a check valve for improved damping performance.
Up front, damping settings in the 46mm cartridge fork were also modified to match the stiffer chassis and rear suspension settings. Offset was reduced to positively affect handling and pitch was increased to provide extra cornering performance and stability. Like the rear shock, the fork now features the new stepless damping adjuster.
The ZX-9R’s dual front disc brakes are even larger for 2002, with 320mm semi-floating discs clamped by opposed four-piston calipers, while the rear brake holder is designed to save weight. The rear wheel has a six-inch wide rim that allows a wide rear tire for better traction, while both front and rear axles have a large diameter and are hollow for increased rigidity and light weight. Also contributing to the ZX-9R’s rolling resistance is a new 525 chain that replaces the 530 version.
With extensive refinements throughout, the newest NINJA ZX-9R combines the virtues of Open-class power, all-day riding comfort, and true Superbike handling better than any sportbike Kawasaki has ever offered.
New For 2002 (Updates)
Extruded Aluminum Swingarm
Bottom-Link Uni-Trak Rear Suspension
Nitrogen-Charged Rear Shock
Compact, High-Compression, 899cc 4-Cylinder, DOHC Engine
4-Piston Front Disc Brakes
46mm, Cartridge-type Front Fork with Adjustable Damping
Large 40mm CVKD Carburetors
Lightweight Aluminum Perimeter Frame
Features improved engine response, sharper handling, and updated styling
2002 KAWASAKI NINJA® SPORTBIKES
For more than a decade, the term “Ninja” has been synonymous with Kawasaki sportbikes. In fact, the association is so widespread that even non-motorcyclists are familiar with the Kawasaki NINJA® motorcycle line-up. Such familiarity should come as no surprise to anyone, considering Kawasaki’s formidable history with sportbikes.
New for 2002 is the ultimate open-class sportbike, the new ZX-12R which features more than 130 updates, enhancements and improvements to the engine, chassis, suspension and more. With a more planted feel, lighter steering and more low- to mid-range power, the new ZX-12R is the bike of choice for serious enthusiasts. Also, new for 2002 is the NINJA ZX-9R which bristles with a host of performance and styling changes sure to blast it to the pinnacle of the liter class.
For the sporting adventurer, the new-for-2002 Kawasaki NINJA® ZZ-R1200 sport-touring motorcycle is the ideal vehicle. Designed specifically for motorcyclists interested in a performance-oriented ride, but who also seek the comfort and style of a bona fide grand-touring bike, the ZZ-R1200 can’t help but please.
And for all those sportbike riders who seek a more adventurous and winding route, Kawasaki features the ALL-NEW ZZ-R1200. A sportbike with a touring heart. Check out the features and styling of this new model.
On the professional racing level, Kawasaki has won an impressive nine AMA Superbike Road Racing Championships–more than any other manufacturer. Currently, modified NINJA motorcycles are raced by the Kawasaki Road Race team in its quest for championships. This includes the much lauded ZX-7R, upon which Kawasaki Road Racing’s Eric Bostrom and Doug Chandler battled for AMA Superbike victory in the 2001 season. Likewise, the ZX-6R provided the base for Bostrom’s 600 SuperSport mount in ’01 where he won multiple races.
Furthermore, Kawasaki has dominated the AMA/Prostar Motorcycle Drag Racing Series over the last several years. Team rider Rickey Gadson won three consecutive AMA/Prostar 750 Superbike National Championships, and teammate Chip Ellis was named Rookie of the Year in 2000.
In addition to these particular racer replicas, Kawasaki also offers other sporting options. These include the sporty-yet-affordable ZX-6 and some of the best entry-level bikes available in the form of the popular NINJA 500R and 250R models. Whether the goal is track time, canyon carving or NINJA performance at an economical price, all of these Kawasaki motorcycles deliver experience you crave.
4-stroke, liquid-cooled oil cooler
Bore x Stroke
75 x 50.9 mm.
DOHC, 16 valves
Keihin CVKD 40 x 4
Perimeter, pressed aluminum
Rake / Trail
46 mm. fully adjustable cartridge fork with adjustable preload
Dual 310 semi-floating disc with dual six-piston calipers
Disc with single-piston caliper
Dry Weight 403.5 pounds
Candy Gold Spark/Black Pearl, Lime Green/Black Pearl
Specifications are subject to change without notice, in accordance with national regulation and legislations.