More typically decorated in the colors of an East London housing estate, it’s extremely rare that we see a motorcycle adopt a color of the moment, much less adopt one so sympathetic to its own design. Brown is currently on the cusp of becoming a major force in car design. The four-door Porsche Panamera was first shown in it, as was the Audi R8 Spyder. On the Kawasaki ZRX1200, it’s an even better accompaniment to the late ‘70s/early ‘80s superbike thing than Eddie Lawson’s original colors. Doesn’t it make you want to grow a mustache and take up smoking?
We’re told the color brown represents “stability, reliability and approachability.” Which sounds like an excellent allegory for the ZRX itself. Kawasaki’s muscle bike began life in 1997 as an 1100, before growing to 1164cc in 2001. In 2008 it was pulled from sale in Europe and the North America, but it continues apace in Japan, where these colors come from. It’s sort of an unsung hero, faithfully delivering easy-going, but strong performance even if 122bhp and 82lb/ft can no longer generate headlines. The handling, too, is capable, despite the fitment of unfashionable RWU forks, dual shocks and 223kg/491lbs (dry) weight. The whole bike just has a feeling of permanence absent from things with more plastic or fancier rear suspension.
The 2011 MY bike is also available in Japan in dark green, a color that’s meant to be soothing, just like the ZRX’s smooth engine.