Punch out a Z

Lat­est Kawasaki Z1000 is cry­ing out for a retro look

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Two Wheels -

than com­pa­ra­ble KTMS. That said, the 6000km ser­vice in­ter­val is a bit short.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

DE­SIGN

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.

SAFETY

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.

RID­ING

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.

VER­DICT

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

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