Punch out a Z
Latest Kawasaki Z1000 is crying out for a retro look
than comparable KTMS. That said, the 6000km service interval is a bit short.
The engine capacity was increased to 1043cc for 2010 to bring more power and torque to the mid-range. The air intake is an effective device, providing more power and an insane howl at high revs. It’s much more docile at low revs. The instrument panel can also be moved to a rider’s optimum position.
Given the heritage of the Z series, this model is crying out for a retro variant. Not that there’s anything wrong with its looks. It has lost the dubious ‘‘ helmet’’ on the headlight and now looks sleek from every angle with four stubby exhausts and angular features.
Some naked bikes look messy around the engine but this is neat, with only a couple of bits of plumbing visible.
In the new burnt-orangeand-black colour scheme, the bike is stunning. There are also ebony and metallic black.
The exhausts are mounted low with the pre-chamber under the engine for a lower centre of gravity. That also means more stability and a lighter, more ‘‘ flickable’’ feel.
Ergonomics are neutral. The seat is flat, hard and, at 815mm, high. However, it is narrow so most riders will get their feet on the ground while stationary.
Kawasaki has led Japanese bike makers with its availability of ABS. The Z1000’s brakes are powerful with big discs, radialmounted front calipers and a radial pump master cylinder. The rears are bigger than most.
The blistering acceleration and high-rev scream will put a tingle in the trousers of any rider. It hits 100km/h in first gear virtually before you’ve drawn a breath, rockets relentlessly through the gears yet it is happy to slot into sixth gear at 2500rpm while doing 60km/h with plenty of roll-on acceleration available.
If there’s a criticism it’s that the ratios in the close-ratio gearbox are a bit too close.
It might weigh 221kg fully fuelled, but it doesn’t feel it. When you’re rolling, that translates to nimble handling and quick steering.
Pillion accommodation is a joke. The grab holes under the cowl are better used for tying down a small luggage sack.
A competent commuter and a worthy weekend warrior, the Z1000 would be a track day terror— but touring is out of the question.
Neat and tidy: The Z1000 hides the plumbing but emphasises the stubby exhausts