Big CC Racing  Kawasaki ZZR1400





200mph is still a magic number, despite bikes getting ever more powerful and aerodynamically sleek. The fi nal push over the top needs exponentially more power – and that’s where Big CC Racing’s turbo Kawasaki ZZR1400 comes in...

Here are 10 steps to follow if you ever want to get there...just imagine...200 mph. Few guys ever try for this top speed, even fewer succeed. If you follow these 10 steps, you may get it, high chances.


There are plenty of quick bikes out there, there are even a handful that are restricted to 186mph, but as those crazy yanks say, there’s no replacement for displacement – and that’s where the Kawasaki ZZR1400 comes into its own. Pumping out nearly 190bhp at the crank, the Kawasaki is one bike that has to be electronically
restricted to 186mph (300kph) to comply with the gentleman’s speed agreement set by the Japanese manufacturers. But even without the restriction there’s still not enough poke to top the two hundred. This is where motorcycling gets murky and tuners delve into their own little world of anabolic steroids – or rather turbos, superchargers and nitrous oxide.

Big CC Racing should be the fi rst port of call if you’ve got a big horsepower project planned. With 10 years of experience under the Big CC banner, Sean Mills and his crack team of engine builders are some of the world’s fi nest. Having built street bikes with over 700bhp barely contained inside them, there’s plenty of scope to build a bike to whatever budget you can afford.


"I’m a firm believer of using big turbos,” says Sean from Big CC Racing. “Of course
they give bigger power but it’s more controllable, you’re getting more grunt from
less boost. All boost is, is a measurement of backed-up air that is yet to go through
the engine and turbo system, so we’re dealing with the volumetric movement of air and this bigger turbo deals with everything really well. Smaller turbos give a smaller powerband and make them unmanageable in comparison. With the turbo we use on the ZZR, power is pretty linear and there are no big surprises.” This Big CC Hybrid stage one kit is fl exible too, forming a modular system that can be upgraded
depending on how much you want to do to the bike’s internals – and how much money you’ve got. Using a GT3071R Garrett turbine and a 38mm Tial wastegate the parts are capable for more power than is actually generated in the stage one system. Originally I designed the kit to run at 6psi where it would generate 275bhp. In this state, it’s running at 10psi and putting out 325bhp, but it will run up to one bar of pressure with a change of spring and engine map where we’ve seen 374bhp but the turbo itself is good for 500bhp.” Wow. But what about turbo lag? Sean reckons there’s no worries here, “Boot the throttle of a turbo car and you’re not going to get an instant reaction because you’ve got to move maybe two-tonnes of car that isn’t revving particularly hard. Bikes have an advantage in that they weigh a lot less and you’re already on the move, the engine is already doing lots of the work so lag isn’t really a problem.”


Because the ZZR1400 boasts such fi ne (and robust) engineering as standard, there’s not an awful lot you need to do to the internals for this 325bhp conversion. The
head comes off, add a spacer plate with a thicker head gasket to change the compression ratio – and that’s it. The pistons, rods and injection system handle
it with ease. The turbo kit comes in at £3,500, adjustable vernier camshaft
sprockets are £500 (to allow the timing to be altered) and installation is £500. That makes a ride-in, ride-out 200mph price an incredible £4,500. Everything on the stage one kit is built for big power, the only restriction on it is set by fuel and
the boost settings. With internal work, the stage two uses a two stage boost controller and uses a clever piggyback system using two Power Commanders that work out additional boost referencing, along with other parts (like 750cc injectors and fuel regulator) to make nearly 500bhp.

MaxNOS is the daddy of all race fuel, it’s like EPO for engines. It makes normal race
fuel look like Kia-Ora compared to this fire breathing absinth. For normal use, super
unleaded is fine, but because it wasn’t our bike and because we were going to work the bike hard we thought it prudent to get some uber-fl ash go-go juice. MaxNOS is a fuel for the drag racing world. At 119 RON, it’s for engines that are on the limit of their development – although the ZZR was nowhere near the envelope of its operation. Here’s a quick lesson on octane ratings. Tempting as it is to think this, higher octane fuel on its own does not mean more powerful petrol. The octane rating
refers to the mixture of iso-octane and n-heptane in the fuel. The higher the octane rating the less likely ‘knocking’ will occur (where the fuel/air mix detonates before its ideal time through compression rather than the spark plug), which is vital on high compression and turbo engines. Fuels can be formulated to provide more
energy in conjunction with the higher octane rating, but on its own, octane does
not boost performance. So one trip to a drag car shop, and £94 later (for a 25-litre drum of the stuff), and we’re ready.

It’s all very well having 325bhp available at the rear wheel, but if you don’t get
your gearing right, a stock GSX-R1000 could be faster. When you’re dealing with
relatively confi ned spaces gearing becomes crucial. Too short and you reach top speed well before your braking point, too long and you’re only just getting into your stride when you have to slam the anchors on. Standard gearing on the ZZR1400 is a 17-tooth sprocket at the front and a 41-tooth sprocket at the rear. So it’ll potter around town without too much fuss and then rocket you up to over 180mph. Flexibility is great – until such point as you want to be focussed on one remarkable goal. So we stuck an 18 tooth sprocket on the front in the hope that would boost speed to 200mph.

We picked the bike up from Big CC, after they had changed the front sprocket to the
18-toother, and headed up to Bruntingthorpe, unwittingly with the wrong race fuel. Greeted by perfect conditions, we had to delay our top-speed runs because we thought
some BSB-spec Elf race fuel would be OK. A phone call to check revealed that MaxNOS would be better. Suitably chastened, Dave and I went home with our tails between our legs, desperately trying to find someone who would sell us some race fuel or Avgas.
The second attempt proved more fruitful, fuel procured, we headed out on another windless day to hit... 195.1mph and not a mile per hour more. We had hit the limit of the bike with half of the two mile runway to spare. Dave said that he’s never been so fast but so pissed off at the same time. Even though we’d fitted one tooth on the front sprocket it was not enough to drag us to 200mph. So we were straight on
the phone trying to source some different sprockets, although this is a task that’s more easily said than done because most people shorten a ZZR1400’s gearing rather than try and make it go faster...

Instead of fannying about on the roads, we took the ZZR1400 to the longest piece of straight Tarmac we could fi nd. After all, with a massive air fi lter poking out of the Kawasaki’s innards there’s not much scope to go scratching round the lanes, although once you calibrate the revised lean angles the bike is still good fun to scurry around on. The road to Bruntingthorpe is a well-trodden path for us at SuperBike. Why? It’s easy, the café there does the best cooked breakfasts in Christendom. It’s also a handy spot for doing speed testing because there’s not an awful lot to stop you. Strong crosswinds can hamper a run, but on a calm day you can max a bike out, easy. And there’s not much to crash into either. Well...

We’ll probably see the big 200 on the ZZR’s dials, but the chances are you’re no-where near because inaccuracies with the speedo magnify the quicker you go, especially if you start messing around with the gearing. So we brought along a Racelogic Performance Box to back-up our boasting. As it’s based on GPS satellites
measuring your every move you can guarantee that the fi nal fi gure it spews out is accurate. It’ll be our proof that we actually did break the double ton.


After two false dawns, Dave and I were suffering from summit fever – we had to climb this mountain no matter what, so it was time to bring the big balls out. Or so we thought. 200mph has been a mythical figure for so long, but after just 20.7 seconds our goal had been reached. So much for building up to these things. What I’d like to be telling you now is how difficult it was to attain this fi gure, how manly and
brave we were to pin the throttle for so long, but never has going this fast been so easy. The most difficult part of getting to 200mph was launching the ZZR with venom.
With 325bhp ready to explode through the standard rear Bridgestone BT-015 tyre, the first few metres of this quest were the hairiest of all. Retaining its standard swingarm, the ZZR1400 just wanted to head skywards down the runway in its fi rst three gears. 100mph went along time ago, after just six seconds. 14 seconds later and we’d crack it - and strangely things were getting easier. A fuelling hiccup as you change gear that had yet to be dynoed out (Sean insists that this was easily
cured) hampered the runs under fullpower, but unless the throttle is pinned you don’t notice this, nor just how astonishing easily the turbo makes its power. By fourth gear the bike – and rider – had just about settled into the swing of things, with the front tyre now returning to employment and the bike settling into the run. It only wanted to maim me now where-as before it was intent on murder. This is like no ZZR1400, indeed no bike, I’d ever ridden before because the acceleration it generates is like nothing else on two wheels. I’d try and compare it to something to give you some perspective, but I’ve never been strapped to a Tomahawk missile before.
By now the speedo arm is well on its way through its second lap, but behind the bike’s big bubble it’s remarkably serene. As stable at this speed as it is 150mph slower, the ZZR charges through barrier – although I’ve got my eyes on the end of the runway rather than the GPS logger telling me I’ve broken 200mph. And that’s it. 202.9mph. As easy as that. So easy that Dave and I sucked our way through most of that £94 barrel of fuel hitting 200mph again and again and again. With even better gearing it’s good for at least 210mph, maybe even 215mph. We even contemplated what
the bike would do two-up, but thought better of it. This was like fi nding out that
someone had fitted a Stannah stair lift on Mount Everest. But what the hell, we
did it. Before we handed the bike back to its owner (who tours round Europe with
his wife on it – with panniers too!) It was time for one more magical run. So another thing crossed off my to-do list of life – and who cares that it was a doddle.

Source Superbike   /  Big CC Racing website