#4 Kawasaki Z1000SX

The bare facts about the Zed’s Zx-appeal


THE Z1000SX WAS Kawasaki’s best seller for a decade, which is impressive considerin­g its slightly dubious origins. The first was a Z-thou supernaked with added practicali­ty and a sub-£10k price and was such a hit, it’s been consistent­ly refined and improved. Renamed Ninja Z1000SX in 2020, here’s what ownership of the first three Zed variants brings…

1 Loads to choose from

With four similar-looking variants, it’s easy to get SXS mixed up and important to know what you’re getting: 2011-13 had no electronic­s bar optional ABS; 2014-16 got sharpened styling, two modes, three-way traction, tweaked suspension and improved throttle response; 2017-19 got an IMU, LED lights and improved suspension while 2020-on ‘Ninja’ got sharper steering, cruise, quickshift­er and a colour TFT dash.

How common? Due to vast numbers, very — so you can afford to be picky.

2 Seat’s a pain in the bum

The SX has very few faults but its seat, and especially those on the earliest two incarnatio­ns, is widely (but not universall­y) condemned — which really isn’t that great for a supposed sports tourer. Official Kawasaki comfort alternativ­es are popular (but neither perfect nor cheap) as are more extreme and opinion-splitting Sargent/corbin replacemen­ts.

How common? Most owners complain — but not all. Try before you buy…

3 It’s a little lacking

Not in terms of performanc­e (the 1048cc four is brilliant and bulletproo­f) or ability (the sporty but practical SX is one of the most effective bikes anywhere). However, early models in particular are a little basic with few electronic­s and ABS only available as an option and none come with a mainstand. How common? The 2014 version is much better — as is the 2017.

4 Quality is pretty good

Quite the opposite. Although initially available under £10K (which was a big part of its initial appeal, although prices have risen since), quality is good (and improved again in 2014) and durability is excellent, with only rare reports of minor corrosion on fasteners, lower fork mountings and paint chipping off the forks.

How common? Again, rare but there’s plenty to choose from.

5 It’s not THAT practical

For a bike that’s meant to be a brilliant all-rounder, the SX has some surprising­ly annoying limitation­s. It returns a fairly thirsty 38mpg; the optional panniers/topbox are quite small (25 litres a side for the panniers) and can’t be fitted together and early mirrors are too narrow. For many, though, it ticks more boxes at a better price than anything else.

How common? Overall, the popularity is justified. Just don’t expect exclusivit­y.

 ?? ?? 2011-2019 KAWASAKI Z1000SX
2011-2019 KAWASAKI Z1000SX
 ?? ?? Sports-tourer has good performanc­e and can take on a trackday or tour
Sports-tourer has good performanc­e and can take on a trackday or tour

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom