While the Kawasaki didn't set roadracing competition on fire, it more than made up for it on the dragstrip. Rob Muzzy, longtime Kawasaki speed proprietor, remembers it well. "The 98-02 ZX-9R was a great bike for its day and lent itself to a wide range of performance modifications," remembers Muzzy. "In particular it was well suited for drag racing." The riding position, balanced weight and monster engine made a great platform.
The aftermarket was full of go-fast-goodies for the Ninja back in the day. The top modifications included full exhausts, jet kits, ignition advancers, air filters and 520 chain conversions kits topping the list. The most popular full exhaust systems of the day included Muzzys, Akrapovic, and Hindle. Weight loss from getting rid of the stock exhaust wasn't as big as the old days or even today with the heavy under-engine exhausts, but you can expect to lose 10 pounds or more depending on the system you choose.
Muzzys also offered an ignition advancer that was very popular and once installed it resulted in a nice bump in low-midrange power. Factory Pro Tuning Components and Ivan's Performance both had quality jet kits that are reported to be almost drop-in ready. K&N and BMC were the most popular air filters. With all of the above mods, you could expect about 140-145 horsepower, which is about 15 horsepower above stock. Not bad considering this was 1998 and you were working with only 899cc.
2000 Kawasaki ZX-9R
Another area where Kawasaki...
Another area where Kawasaki bucked current trends was in the instrument panel. While all the other manufacturers had adopted digital speedometers, the ZX-9R continued to use an analog unit. The fairing/windscreen's wind protection was always the best of the literbikes at that time.
The '00 model boasted a new...
The '00 model boasted a new swingarm utilizing internal ribbing for increased rigidity with less weight. The rear shock linkage ratio was also changed to a more linear rising rate that substantially improved rear suspension action.
If that was not enough power you could also order up a Muzzys Big Bore kit, which boosted displacement up to 998cc and well over 155 horsepower. Webcam also made high-lift cams, and larger diameter valves could be ordered from APE Race Parts if you really wanted to go all out. The ZX-9R was a great platform for many years due to its reliability and a strong engine. The result was a wide range of high performance bikes that ranged from track day sportbikes, to dragstrip-only versions. Even turbocharged ZX-9Rs can be found today.
Some serious riders did install a steering damper for track day use, but in general we don't see as many of these bikes with dampers fitted. The ZX-9R was stable enough with its longer wheelbase that it wasn't much of a problem. Those looking for lap times turned to Penske, Lindemann Engineering or other suspension gurus to upgrade the rear shock and fork internals. We also found quite a few with brake upgrades from Galfer and EBC.
If you were more of a sport-touring rider you could opt to install some HeliBars to further raise the already comfortable clip-ons to a more manageable height. Then it was a simple matter to slap on a tank bag or soft side bags and you were good for a long weekend on a surprisingly comfortable sportbike.