Racing homologation bikes are always special, but not all of them are known for being particularly usable and fun on the road. The Kawasaki ZX-7RR, however, is known for being a sporty but reasonable road companion—that is, of course, assuming you can get your hands on one. Just 500 were ever made, and only 50 ever sold in the sportbike-happy United Kingdom.
To thin the herd down even more, just 20 of those 50 U.K.-sold bikes were ever road-registered—so if you see one (or ride one) out on the road, it’s a rare and special thing, indeed. Not many people will have the chance to ride one for themselves—but luckily for the rest of us, Bike World recently had a go for its Dream Rides YouTube series.
What makes the ZX-7RR so special, apart from its fantastically mid-’90s styling? It’s the little things, really. Improvements over the single R included: 41mm flat slide carburetors, six-piston Nissin brake calipers, a close-ratio gearbox, and a heavier crankshaft to help get the engine’s power down on the ground where it belonged. Increased suspension adjustability, an adjustable swingarm pivot, and a lightweight aluminum subframe are just some more of the tasty upgrades present on the ZX-7RR.
The resulting machine, according to Bike World’s Chris Northover, is an absolute joy to ride on the road. The power band is usable, and it handles well once you know what to expect. It doesn’t exactly want to tip into corners, but the handling is smooth and predictable. (Due to their rarity, you might not want to contemplate what regular maintenance and upkeep would be like if you owned one of these, but that’s not really the point of Dream Rides, is it?)
One other thing we should probably mention is that this bike does sound particularly amazing. If you’re into that sort of thing (and let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t), you should definitely take the time to dust off your favorite headphones and hook them up for a listen as you watch this video. The sound of the ZX-7RR ridden in anger is soul-stirring stuff. Give yourself a little treat; you deserve it.