A whole lot of nonsense has been written about the Z1000, particularly by those proposing to compare it with the much lauded Speed triple. Well, I have now owned both (first the S3, which I sold as I needed a tourer at the time, and presently the Z1000), for about the same time now (around 6 months). What I can say in earnest is this - the idea (seemingly popular at present) the the S3 is the better bike is utter nonesense. There significant differences and these may appeal or not, depending on your preference. Firstly style/design: Hands down for me the 'transformer' looks of the Z knock the socks off the S3. The S3 just looks like a cobbled together home garage project, great if you like this and many do, but for me it was a minus even before I rolled it out of the showroom. By comparison the Z looks intergrated, designed, focused, a little outrageous, but generally very well finished. You might hate the looks of course, but if you love it you will love it to death. Secondly, the motor. Now we all know how great the S3 motor is, and indeed it is. It has a linear torque band like no other motor and when you let it go it will fly for sure - smooth, predictable, usable, power, etc - all such acolades are justified. The Z motor is a different beast altogether. Apart from being around a 100cc down on the S3 (which many seem to overlook?) this is a motor with clear racing DNA. Yes, it has been 're-tuned' as they say, and it does deliver usable torque through low to mid range revs. But this is still very much a ZX9r motor - it really wants to rev (even though it pretends not to). Now, when you cook this motor up a whole lot of differnce (compared to the S3) becomes apparent. Docile (ish), even well behaved (sort of) in the low to middle revs, the motor becomes positively ferocious if you unleash it. Get it in the upper rpm and it pulls like raging, snorting, lunatic bull. Its not 'better' than an S3, it is 'different'. If you like this kind of 'hit' (and I do) then you will favour the Z, otherwise the predictable power delivery of the S3 will suit you. Suspension/handling: the S3 is better - just. Another big pile of poo is bandied about on this one. Out of the box the S3 is better set up, it feels more planted, is confident, and can be usefully tweaked to be even better. The Z, on the other hand, is a bit of a mixed bag. It needs some adjusting for most, it seems, to get it right. for me, however, the factory settings are not far off. Lack of compression adjustment is a minus but the Z generally turns in a little faster than the S3, although there seemed little between them in my opinion. In truth I find the front end on the Z a little skitish (both bikes are, but more so the Z) although I think a steering damper might sort this out and I am considering this as a later mod/addition. Overall, however, and once set up the differences, for me, between these two bikes in this regard were minimal - both would benefit from suspension upgrades, but in truth this would be mostly for track as opposed to roadwork.
I could go on...but I won't. Bottom line? Pay your money, take your choice...enjoy! Both are fabulous bikes,in the same way and in different ways, if they are your cup of tea of course! Both are my cup of tea but I personally think the Z has the edge.