Saturday October 11, 2003 Kawasaki has shown a concept machine at the Milan motorcycle show which may yet turn out to be a landmark machine in that it can be changed into different modes. Kawasaki's ZZR-X concept machine is billed as the "ultimate high speed tourer", offering high speed comfort and brilliant handling performance.

Mode-changing mechanisms allow the rider to select the riding position and functionality to suit the conditions for example, it can be a low or high speed touring machine and there's even a full-on sports mode where the adjustable fairing and screen takes on its most aerodynamic profile. Borrowing from many exclusive automobiles which offer varying aerodynamics dependent upon speed, the Kawasaki ZZX-R has speed sensitive fairing components which change position depending on speed too.

Some other firsts on display within the concept machine include cone-shaped, rim-mounted disk brakes which are designed for maximum cooling efficiency, and a centrally-mounted fuel tank which is designed to centralise the mass on what is obviously a very large machine.Ample storage capacity has been designed into the machine, with a capacious storage area in front of the seat. Yet another first is the muffler which is built into the bodywork.

Details on the machine are purposefully vague - no weight, no engine details and no power figures have been released, which indicates Kawasaki was attempting to float the concept rather than indicate a specific machine. Perhaps even more significant than the machine which was shown, were the sketches which accompanied the showing. They clearly illustrate a line of thinking which involves an all-purpose bike with different panelling to be clipped on for different purposes - with the add-ons ranging from expandable panniers through to a roof.