Removing / Installing the Kawasaki ZZR1200 Front Wheel

Removing the front tire is an easy thing on the Zed, and although the service manual is a great guide, there are a few gotchas

These are my steps and the tools that I like to use

Before you start, you should have a way to prop the front fork up and allow access to the main axle and the nut and pinch bolts.

You can use a Fork stand, a jack under the engine or a pin under the tripple tree hole if you remove the guard and brake tree that are located there.

Depending on what I am doing, I've used all three techniques.

Get yourself TWO of these. They are called a "Hex Axle Tool".

You can get around NOT having two of these, but you'll need some pretty big Hexes in your tool kit, and larger sizes are not usually available in your local Hardware or Auto store.


I also recommend getting TWO of these. They are called "Breaker Bars" and Sears has them.

You are going to use a TON of force to get the front Axle off.

The longer the better, and get 1/2" drive so you get the heftiest one out there!

Make sure you get a 1/2" to 3/8" adapter if you are going use a breaker bar on the Hex Axle Tool directly - but I don't recommend that.

I don't use a breaker bar directly on the Hex Axle Tool, but use a deep socket over either the 24mm or the 22mm end of the Axle Tool.

In doing so, I don't run the risk of snapping off the drive since you will use a TON of force to get the axle/nut off.

Aside from the above tools I mentioned, you will need a torque wrench and other various "hex" wrenches.

The Steps.

  1. Take the speedometer cable lower end off [Fig 1- A]. You might need a plier to take it off since it's not a specific size.
  2. Take off any reflectors
  3. Remove the Brake Caliper Bolts [Fig 1 - B]
  4. Remove the Brake Calipers [Fig 1 - C]. Make sure no one pumps the brakes when you're doing this!
  5. Remove the front Fender, and don't forget the plastic hose guides. Pinch them from inside the fender to get them to release easily.

  6. Fig 1.

  7. Release the tension on the 4 Axle clamp/pinch bolts [Fig 2 - A].

  8. Fig 2.

  9. Insert your axle tools into the axle [Fig 2 - B] with a socket over each end. You'll need a 22mm and 24mm deep socket if you are using a motion-pro tool. The ZZR1200 uses a 22mm hex and a 17mm on it's axle.
  10. Break the axle nut with the bike's weight on the tire without being jacked up. Since the Torque for the Axle nut is 94ft-lbs, having the bike's weight will make it easier when you have the two breaker bars working in opposite directions!
  11. When the axle nut "cracks", jack up the front of the motorcycle. In the Kawasaki manual it says to "Raise the front wheel off the ground until the rear wheel touches the ground". I don't know what the assumption is here; are you using the center stand or the cool Kawasaki Jack? If you use the center stand and lift the front of the bike enough to try and touch the wheel to the ground, you will cause the part of the center stand that you place your foot on, to touch way before the rear wheel does! If you continue to "Jack it up" you might bend the lever that your foot goes on! Looking at the picture in the manual, it looks like the jack is touching the center-line of the bike under the header collectors, if you jack the bike up and touch the rear wheel, the bike will be unstable!!! How is the bike balanced in the pictures? My technique is to use the Pit Bull New Front Stand, with the ZX10R pin.

  12. You will have to remove the plastic cover under the tripple tree and the mounting bolts for the brake tree (NOT THE HOSES) to use the stand, but it works perfectly!

  13. You've got to get the front tire up enough to do the job of getting the front wheel off. I'll leave it at that!
  14. Once the front wheel is up, remove the axle from the right and observe how everything came off.
  15. Make sure you pay attention to the speedometer housing.
  16. One of the things I do, is take off the speedometer collar that sits on the wheel itself. There is a snap ring that holds it against the wheel. I take this off so that the people that are mounting my tire won't have it around to bend/ smash.

Installing the wheel

Installing the wheel is the opposite of taking it off, but care must be taken that the speedometer cable and housing are in their correct location.

There are some little gotcha-tabs in the housing [Fig.3 - A] that fit in recesses in the collar on the wheel [Fig.3 - B].

If you don't line these up, you'll have problems.

Fig. 3

Also, when you put the speedometer housing on, make sure the tab on the housing [Fig.4 - A] is in the slot on the fork [Fig.4 - B].

Fig. 4

Finally, here is a little table that has the torque specs.

Fastener N-m kgf-m ft-lb

Page in Service Manual

Part # 99924-1279-01

Front Axle Nut 127 13.0 94 10-3
Front Axle Clamp/Pinch Bolts 20 2.0 15*


*There is a typo in the service manual that states 1.5, which is wrong.

Front Caliper Mounting Bolts 25 2.5 18 12-3

The Kawasaki Page from the Manual

Lauren 1/13/2009