Kawasaki Z1000SX

140bhp | 235kg | Seat height 815mm

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes Special -

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

10,000-mile ser­vice

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

and char­ac­ter.

The new Z1000SX gets some well thought-out up­dates for 2017

The new Tri­umph Bob­ber is a classy cus­tomer

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