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Kawasaki's ultimate high-speed tourer


October 10, 2003

Landmark machine?

Landmark machine?

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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.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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