Do you know what to me makes Kawasaki just a bit more bad ass than other bike manufacturers? It’s the Kawasaki green, but more than that, it’s where and why that lime green started to be sprayed on their bikes. In 1969 at Daytona Raceway, there was a superstition that was taken very seriously; you don’t race green bikes. So, in an effort to capture U.S. sales and get in the heads of their competition, Kawasaki’s truck rolled up to the track and unloaded a herd of bright green painted bikes. That green became the bike company’s signature color, and all because this big corporation had the nerve to show up and give the middle finger to tradition. It was pretty punk rock.
A couple of decades later, Kawasaki’s racer Eddie Lawson won the AMA super Bike Championship in 1981 while sporting a green race bike. In celebration of this, Kawasaki released a street version of the S-1 bike he won on, the KZ1000R for the 1982 model year. Jumping ahead a couple more decades, Kawi released a tribute to the tribute: the ZRX1200R in 2001. The ZRX1200 is one of my all-time favorite Kawasaki motorcycles. There’s something about a now 18-year-old retro bike, it’s like retro modern inception. The inline 4-cylinder engine made a claimed 122 hp and 81 ft-lbs of torque. The bike was produced from 2001 to 2005 (2007 in Europe). Cycle World agreed with my love the modern retro before modern retro was a thing in this piece by Jack Baruth from March of 2019.
This example (which is listed as a 2003 and a 2005) has been lightly modified, but not to the point of losing any of the appeal the bike naturally has. The bike has 14,000 miles, the seller states that it has zero issues other than the need for a new back tire. The list of aftermarket accessories on the bike is too long to list, but it includes Leo Vince exhaust, Yoshimura headers, steering stabilizer, Pazzo Adjustable levers, and a Zero Gravity windscreen. The only thing this bike is missing is the middle finger Kawasaki Lime Green paint, and looking at this bike, I could live with it.
Find this ZRX1200 for sale in Seattle, Washington for $4,500 here on Craigslist.