BANK ON EX­TRA BLING

Kawasaki’s up­graded Z1000 prom­ises im­proved per­for­mance... at a cost

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - MATT WILDEE SE­NIOR ED­I­TOR matt.wildee@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Boom­ing, ag­gres­sive and more than a lit­tle lairy, the Z1000 R Edi­tion is an en­gag­ing beast to fire down your favourite B-road. Based on a sev­enyear-old plat­form, it’s proof that you don’t need to be at the cut­ting edge of mo­tor­cy­cle de­vel­op­ment to have an enjoyable time.

New for this year, the R Edi­tion adds de­signer trin­kets to the proven Z1000, which Kawasaki have also tweaked to get though Euro4 regs. The main change is the in­tro­duc­tion of a new Öh­lins shock and Brembo M50 monoblock calipers, as fit­ted to the ZX-10R and H2. It raises the price to £11,549 – £1300 more than the stan­dard ma­chine.

Save for cos­met­ics, the rest of the bike re­mains the same, so that’s a mus­cu­lar 1043cc four-cylin­der lump packed with meaty midrange good­ness and bolted into a short, be­spoke frame – one of the strengths of the Z1000 is that it isn’t a con­verted sports­bike so the reach to the bars is short and the seat isn’t perched in the air.

On the sur­face the changes are worth­while – the shock is far su­pe­rior to the Showa unit fit­ted to the stan­dard Z1000R and this man­i­fests it­self with bet­ter ride-qual­ity. The R is far more adept at soak­ing up square-edge bumps and the bike is bet­ter sup­ported in com­pres­sions and while it’s loaded up dur­ing cor­ner­ing, too.

It’s an im­prove­ment on stan­dard, but not a night-and-day change – the S46DR1S shock is a lower-spec Öh­lins, vari­ants of which are nor­mally ear­marked for non-per­for­mance ap­pli­ca­tions. While it has hy­drauli­cally-ad­justable preload, there is no com­pres­sion ad­just­ment, which means if you’re plan­ning on hard track rid­ing you may need an af­ter­mar­ket unit.

The brakes are stronger, too. Those M50s are mighty-ef­fec­tive and com­bined with 310mm Brembo discs and braided hoses and pro­vide fe­ro­cious stop­ping power at the stroke of the lever. The ques­tion is whether the bike needs them or not? I’d say not – the stan­dard To­ki­cos have plenty of power, and a lit­tle bit more pro­gres­sion too.

If all this sounds damn­ing, it isn’t, The Z1000 R Edi­tion is a nice bike, one that’s huge fun to blat about on and that drives out of cor­ners beau­ti­fully. That en­gine is ef­fec­tive, though it does con­trib­ute to the bike’s heavy­weight na­ture, the Zed has a claimed wet weight of 221kg. It feels heavy too – lack­ing the nim­ble­ness of its ri­vals.

You stay in the seat, lev­er­ing the bike from side-to-side with those wide, ta­pered bars. It’s pleas­ingly old-school, as are the elec­tron­ics. The tiny dash is a tri­umph of min­i­mal­ism and, while the bike boasts ABS, there is to trac­tion con­trol or mode switches: you just get the power you ask for. Sadly, the slightly abrupt small throt­tle open­ing fu­elling of the pre-euro4 bikes is still there.

So while the Z1000 R Edi­tion is a re­ally nice bike, I wouldn’t buy one – es­pe­cially as it costs £750 more than the su­pe­rior Yamaha MT-10. You’d be far bet­ter to buy a stan­dard Zed for a good price and then spend £250 get­ting the shock up­graded. You’d then have bike as good as the R Edi­tion and be able to take your fam­ily on hol­i­day with the money in your pocket.

Blinged-up Zed is fun but not so dif­fer­ent from stan­dard

Öh­lins but not the high­est spec

Gear in­di­ca­tor ap­pears on min­i­mal dash

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