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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
15 March 2006


Are you wondering if the new Kawasaki ZZR1400 has the edge on the Suzuki Hayabusa? So were Kawasaki USA, which is why they asked eight times world drag racing champion Rickey Gadson to run two identical stock models at the strip.

Gadson told insidebikes.com editor Alastair Walker about the dragstrip trials, whilst he was doing promo work for Kawasaki at Bike Week over in Daytona;

`We took two stock bikes, totally unmodified in any way. We picked a day, loaded the exact same amount of fuel into each bike, same tyres, put identical tyre pressures in them, suspension settings etc. just trying to even the bikes out as much as possible.

They even had around the same mileage on the clock, about 800 miles apiece I think it was. We also weighed the bikes before we did any runs. Interestingly the two bikes were just a few pounds apart in wet weight.

I then spent pretty much all day posting runs on the bikes, just changing tyres and we also lowered both them to get some extra traction. The results with the two machines in stock street mode were consistently faster times for the Kawasaki. I was running between one tenth and 0.5 of a tenth faster, with another 4mph on the terminal speed.

When we lowered the suspension and stretched the swingarms on both bikes then the ZX14's advantage was close to 2.5 tenths on nearly every run, with around 5mph extra on the terminal speed over the quarter mile.'


Rickey also told how the two stock models were dyno tested;

`The stock ZZR1400 makes between 170bhp and 175bhp at the back wheel on the dyno, depending on the air temperature and the humidity. With a few modifications to the `Busa – a pipe, Power Commander etc – you could produce maybe 165-170bhp to get almost level with a stock ZZR1400, but the same kinda mods to the Kawasaki are gonna give you a definite edge, probably another 10-12bhp over stock. Apart from the drag racing a few weeks ago, I haven’t ridden the Hayabusa, as I’ve been a factory Kawasaki rider since 1999. The Suzuki’s is a good bike and it’s taken time to beat, but we beat it…’


39 year old Rickey is from Philadelphia, and has been riding bikes for 34 years. He’s raced them on the strip for 23 years, 15 at professional level. In that time he’s posted 118 wins and amassed eight world titles, at all AMA levels except Top Fuel.

His mother Vicki is also a biker, riding a Kawasaki VN800 cruiser and Vicki visited the UK many years ago as part of a professional Jitterbug dance show.

Source: Inside Bike News
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