Kawasaki ZRX1200 (including S, R, N) Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals

This is the maintenance schedule with associated service intervals for the Kawasaki ZRX1200, Kawasaki’s retro (even at the time) muscle bike. It is the successor to the ZRX1100, though nothing like the ZRX1200 came for a little while (the Z900 and Z1000 series were quite different).

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is part of the Kawasaki Z series manufactured in Japan from 2001 until 2007. It was sold in the US until 2005 and Europe until 2007. It was updated in 2008 with a six-speed transmission, fuel injection and still sold in Japan as the ZRX1200 DAEG model until 2016.

Worldwide, the ZRX1200 was available in three guises: “ZRX1200S” which is partially faired, “ZRX1200R” which has a bikini fairing, and “N” which has no fairing. Mechanically, these motorcycles are the same. The bikes were all rated at around 89 kW (122 bhp) at 8500 rpm, with peak torque of 83 ft-lb (112 NM) at 7000 rpm — a midrange focused sport bike.

All Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycles are based on a liquid-cooled four-cylinder DOHC 4 valve per cylinder engine with 1165 cc capacity. It has a mild 10.1:1 compression ratio and is fed by 4 Keihin CV 36mm carburettors.

This maintenance schedule is for all of them — the ZRX1200R, ZRX1200S, and ZRX1200N.

Green Kawasaki ZRX1200R
A green Kawasaki ZRX1200R

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Honda ZRX1200 Service Intervals

Generally speaking, the service intervals for the Kawasaki ZRX1200 R, S, and N are

  • Minor services every 4000 miles / 6000 km, involving an oil change and check for leaks and wear
  • Major services every 8000 miles / 12000 km, involving a carb sync and valve clearance check etc.

As the Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycles have a liquid-cooled engine, you need to change the coolant every few years.

Make sure you regularly service the chain drive, cleaning and lubricating it, and checking it for wear and correct tension.

Things you might need to service the Kawasaki ZRX1200

Looking through the below table, you might need one or more of the following.

PartKawasaki ZRX1200 Spec
OilYou need SAE 10W-40 engine oil “with API SG, SH, SJ, SL or SM with JASO MA, MA1 or MA2 rating”, preferably Kawasaki 10W-40 Engine Oil.
Oil filterChange with Hiflofiltro part HF401.
Brake padsMany ZRX owners upgrade their pads to EBC double hardened (HH) pads. For all models you need two pairs of FA188HH up front, and one pair of FA161HH in the rear.
Spark plugsNGK CR9EK, gap 0.7-0.8mm, tightening torque 14 Nm/10 lb-ft.
Air filterYou can usually clean the air filter. But if you want to replace it, K&N part number is KA-1199.
Cable maintenanceRemember to lubricate your clutch cable (and brake cables if you have them) with a cable lubricant. Protect All Cable Life is a good general-purpose lubricant.
Chain maintenanceThe chain needs to be lubricated every 600 km/400 miles (or more, if it gets wet/dirty). Motul chain paste is cheap and well-loved, or a Motul chain care kit is a good buy.
Brake fluidSpec is to use DOT 4 brake fluid.
CoolantNitrate-free, phosphate-free, ethylene glycol-based blend with anti-corrosion inhibitors, e.g. Valvoline Zerex G05
GreaseUse a lithium soap-based grease for all the important greasing points.
Consumables for servicing the Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycle

Maintenance Schedule for Kawasaki ZRX1200R / ZRX1200S / ZRX1200

Below is the maintenance schedule for the Kawasaki ZRX1200 motorcycles. I have simplified it somewhat to make it more suitable for web consumption.

Generally the service intervals for the Kawasaki ZRX1200R (and S and N) are

  • Minor services every 4000 miles / 6000 km, involving an oil change and check for leaks and wear
  • Major services every 8000 miles / 12000 km, involving a carb sync and valve clearance check etc.

Notes on reading the maintenance schedule:

  • For higher odometer readings, repeat at the frequency interval established here
  • For items marked “check” — adjust, repair, or replace as necessary.
  • The break-in service is omitted
Km x 100061218243036
Miles x 10004812162024Every
Conduct inspection checklist (see below)
Engine oil – change6 months
Oil filter – change
Spark plugs – clean and gap (NGK CR9EK, 0.7-0.8 mm, 14 Nm torque)
Valve clearances – check
Carburetor synchronization – check
Idle speed – check
Throttle grip play – check
Air cleaner element – clean/replace (KA-1199)More often when riding in dust/rain/wet
Brake/clutch fluid – change (Castrol DOT 4)2 years
Front fork oil – change2 years
Swingarm pivot – lubricate
Coolant – change (only ethylene glycol-based, e.g. Zerex G05)2 years
Steering stem bearing – lubricate2 years
Brake/clutch master cylinder cup and dust seal – replace4 years
Caliper piston seal and dust seal – replace4 years
Drive chain – lubricate (Motul chain paste)600 km (400 mi), or more often if ridden in rain
Drive chain slack – check1000 km (600 mi)
Clutch slave cylinder piston seal – replace4 years
Kawasaki ZRX1200 maintenance schedule

Standard service checklist

Below is the standard service checklist for the Kawasaki ZRX1200. Do these checks according to the schedule above.

Kawasaki ZRX1200 standard service checklist
Air suction valve – check
Evaporative emission control system (if fitted) – check
Brake/clutch hoses, connections – check
Brake light switch – check
Brake pad wear – check
More often if ridden aggressively
Steering – check
Drive chain wear – check
Nuts, bolts, and fasteners tightness – check
Tire wear – check
Brake/clutch fluid level – check
Check regularly
Fuel hoses, connections – check
General Lubrication – perform
Front fork oil leak – check
Rear shock absorber oil leak – check
Radiator hoses, connections – check
Kawasaki ZRX1200 standard service checklist

Tyre size and tyre pressure for the Kawasaki ZRX1200

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 has the following tyres and tyre sizes standard (tubeless type), plus the following recommended tyre pressures.

TyreSizeBrand(s)Tyre pressure
250 kPa/36 psi
250 kPa/36 psi
Tyres and tyre pressures — Kawasaki ZRX1200

(Yes, the manual recommends the same pressure front and back)

About the Kawasaki ZRX1200

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a retro throwback motorcycle, designed and built to hearken back to the early days of the Z1. It did that. It’s now getting long in the tooth, and it’s a retro motorcycle itself that others have been designed around (e.g. the green Kawasaki Z900RS).

The ZRX1200 was one of the last big bikes to be made with a carburettor-fed engine. It was made in the same time as Honda’s indomitable 919 which was already fuel-injected. Still, the ZRX1200 had crisp throttle response and good fuelling, though it did drink a little (fuel injection helped later bikes consume less fuel).

The ZRX1200 has a liquid-cooled 1164cc inline 4-cylinder engine that’s carburettor fed via four 36mm Keihin CV carburetors. The exhaust system is a 4-into-1 stainless steel unit, though people often upgrade this to a Kerker exhaust. In standard trim it makes around 90 kW (120 hp) at the crank — not a crazy high amount given the steel-framed motorcycle’s weight, but enough to get it moving to the point where it’s uncomfortable, given the naked bike layout.

The large 43mm cartridge-type conventional (not upside-down) front fork has 12-way compression and rebound damping adjustment (as well as preload). So, fully adjustable suspension on a burly sport bike!

The exhaust system on models produced up to 2004 are painted black, other than the muffler. From 2004 onward, the ZRX bikes have polished exhaust systems.

The frame is a conventional steel tube with the engine supported in a removable cradle. The rear suspension configuration is good, with the laydown rear shocks, designed with a built-in remote reservoir, are adjustable for preload and damping.

The Kawasaki ZRX1200’s handlebars made of tubular aluminum. For comfort, the saddle has more than one centimeter of padding. Nonetheless, many examples on the used market have aftermarket Corbin seats — partly due to comfort, and partly because these aging motorcycles have been ridden a lot.

The ZRX1200 came in a variety of guises and colours. But the green ones fetch more on the used market.

Many ZRX1200s have some basic modifications to them, including removing the snorkel on the side of the airbox, a full exhaust system (there are many that work, but Kerker is a classic choice), and a jet kit. Many users report an uplift of some 15% of rear wheel horsepower as a result.

In terms of maintenance, the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a relatively easy one. It has an inline four-cylinder liquid-cooled engine, so even though valve clearance checks come fairly often at every 8000 miles (12000 km), they’re easy to access. It has carburettors, which means they may get gummed up, but at least it’s easy to clean a carburettor (remove them, clean them!)

The ZRX1200 was discontinued in most western markets, but it lives on in Japan in fuel-injected form for a number of years.

Manual for the Kawasaki ZRX1200

Maintenance Schedule Screenshot From Manual Kawasaki ZRX1200R
User manual screenshot for the 2004 Kawasaki ZRX1200

The above maintenance schedule comes directly from the user’s manual for the Kawasaki ZRX1200, which is available here.

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