140bhp | 235kg | Seat height 815mm
Improved rider protection KTRC traction control KCMF cornering ABS & IMU
The Z1000SX has been a solid foundation in the Kawasaki line-up since launch, and shows little sign of waning in popularity. So for 2017 the SX gets Euro4 updates, wider fairings to improve weather shielding for the rider, and the adjustable screen is now taller and double-bubble shaped.
More exciting is the addition of an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which controls the new Kawasaki Cornering Management Function that drives the SX’S traction control and cornering ABS – both of which are invaluable on a two-up sports-tourer. At slow speed, the fuelling is faultless and, combined with a light clutch and gearbox, the SX is a delight in town, despite its 235kg bulk. Out of town you can make full use of the 1043cc Zed Thou-derived motor. This is a quick bike, now made better as the new TC helps to keep the wheels in line, even when cranked over. The new Kawasaki traction control system has three levels and can be changed on the move. Level three is the most intrusive, with levels one and two allowing a degree of slip. It also controls wheelies and sliding.
The ECU has new settings to match the revised 1043cc Euro4 engine, and is claimed to deliver smoother power characteristics, while revisions to the shock settings and linkage mean a lowered seat height of 815mm and better ride quality.
Both rider and pillion seats are bigger with thicker padding too. The old headlamps have been replaced with all-led new ones. The dash also gets an upgrade with new instrumentation featuring a large analogue tacho and an LCD screen for everything else.
The pannier system has been revised to be easier to mount and remove – which was a little fiddly on the outgoing model – and options for luggage include 28-liter GIVImade panniers, and a matching 47-litre top box, if desired. There are plenty of other creature comforts available, from Ergo-fit low seat to heated grips, DC outlets, crash protection and more. This latest incarnation is impressive – sharper-looking, refined by new rider aids, and boasting a host of small improvements that add up to a big difference.
Low 690mm seat height Adjustable seat and clocks TC, ABS and riding modes
Styled to mimic those pared-to-the-bone 1940s-style custom bobbers, the new Bonneville Bobber certainly looks the part with its single seat, cut-down front mudguard, flat bars and hardtail-mimicking rear end. There’s a riot of classy detail touches everywher, from the adjustable floating seat pan and clocks, to the battery box, rear mudguard loop and hand-painted tank coach line on the green and silver version.
But more importantly, the Bobber actually goes, corners and steers like a sweethandling roadster. It’s hard not to be in a constant state of disbelief that something that looks so bobbersome can perform so well. The slip-assist clutch is light and accurate, the throttle response flawless and the gears slip effortlessly through the sixspeed box. Shorter riders will love the low 690mm seat, but taller ones will still enjoy all-day comfort. Everyone will appreciate the plush ride quality and the uncluttered view in the snazzy bar-end mirrors.
The Bobber has a new tubular steel cradle frame, bespoke KYB suspension and, although the motor is the same 1200cc parallel twin-cylinder High Torque motor lifted from the Bonneville T120 (with it’s
intervals), it makes 10% more power and torque at 4500pm. The tweaked motor is more flexible and urgent on the throttle than the T120, but still unthreatening and smooth. It purrs around town, is almost silent off the throttle and cruises at just 3500rpm at 70mph. But the Bobber drives out of corners with such unfettered urgency you’re glad it has traction control when conditions are tricky. With more revs comes a harder, deeper engine note and a rumble from the slash cut exhausts.
It may look unbalanced but it steers lightly and carves through corners and over bumps with the precision and easy poise of a Thruxton R. It’s great fun.
You can get your off-the-peg bobber kicks for less from Harley, Moto Guzzi, Yamaha and Indian, but the Triumph have created a machine that combines post-war styling with modern-day performance. It’s not the cheapest bobber, but it is the classiest, packed with lots of cool design touches
The new Z1000SX gets some well thought-out updates for 2017
The new Triumph Bobber is a classy customer