#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.