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Kawasaki Z1000SX Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki Z1000SX
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4.5

Loosely based on Kawasaki’s excellent Z1000, the SX fits snugly in to the gap between said naked bike and the track orientated ZX-10R, making it a grown-up bike for the real world. The near 140bhp inline four motor gives sporting potential, but creature comforts like a new seat, vibration reduction and additional fairing make it a viable long-distance touring bike. For many riders this is the all round bike they’ve been waiting for - practical and fun at the same time, and far more eye catching than the competition too.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 5

It’s the same 1043 inline four cylinder engine from the Z1000. Thankfully Kawasaki haven’t de-tuned the engine or water downed any of the fun factor, so you still get a claimed 138bhp. But its not all about peak power - there is real usable grunt from as little as 4000rpm and a lovely spread of mid range grunt. Towards the top of the revs there's a nice little kick at 7,000, which adda a bit of zest. Fuelling is excellent - one of the best motors around at the moment combining real world usability and top end rush. 

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4.5
Owners' rating rating is 4

Like the Z1000, the SX features a horizontal rear shock and the 41mm inverted fully adjustable forks. But because the SX is 10kg heavier than the standard Zed, the suspension has been altered to compensate for the extra bulk, rake is also a fraction less. Considering the bikesn weight, it can be hustled along with ease, even offering loads of confidence at peg scraping angles of lean. It's always secure and planted and the larger, more touring oriented seat offers more comfort for both rider and pillion.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Kawasaki have tried to make the SX as sporty as possible to attract sports bike enthusiasts. They’ve done this by giving the bike a sporty dash, but it lacks touring credentials and it's not adjustable from the handlebar, like say a BMW for example. The screen can only be adjusted manually too. However, the SX does boast radial brakes, petal racing discs, multi-adjustable suspension and sexy quad exhaust cans. The SX also features a larger fuel tank than the Zed - up in capacity from 15 litres to 19 litres. Compare and buy parts for the Z1000SX in the MCN Shop.

Kawasaki Z1000SX (2010-2013)

Detail Value
New price £9,199
Dealer used prices
£7,040 (2011) - £8,630 (2013)
Private used prices
£6,190 (2011) - £7,770 (2013)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1043 cc
Power 138 bhp
Top speed 165 mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4.5 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 5 rating is 5
Ride & Handling rating is 4.5 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The level of finish is really high, up there with the best. There is a quality feel about the bike, it fees robust and it's certainly eye catching. There are some nice touches like flush indicators, larger petrol tank and sporty mirrors - it seems Kawasaki have listened to customer demands. The SX shares the same engine as the Zed therefore reliability shouldn’t be an issue.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

At just under £8,979, or slightly more for the SX touring model (which comes with panniers and ABS as standard), its starting to look pricy - especially when you compare it to the cheaper competition from Suzuki and Honda i.e the GSX1250 FAST and CBF1000. Yes, the Kawasaki is a better bike - but is it worth the extra cash? Find a Kawasaki for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 15 of 17

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Model History

Launched 2010.

Other Versions

2011: Z1000SX ABS Tourer (includes Pannier set) [£9,796]

Specifications

Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 138 bhp
Max torque 81 ft-lb
Weight 228 kg
Seat height 822 mm
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 1043 cc
Engine specification 16v inline four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium
Front suspension adjustment Fully adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment Pre load and rebound
Front brakes 120/70x17
Rear brake 250mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 190/50x17

See all Kawasaki Z1000SX motorcycles for sale

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Z1000SX

204 miles

£8,495

Kawasaki
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2477 miles

£8,950

Kawasaki
Z1000SX

2219 miles

£7,495

Kawasaki
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1535 miles

£6,750

Kawasaki
Z1000SX

1 miles

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(9 reviews)

  • seat kills you... crippling

    honestphil

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I have owned one of these for 2 years old and its "touring" capability is a fantasy. The seat kills you! Its not for lack of padding - its the trendy design. You just have to look at it. All the padding is right at the back of the seat and you have to push yourself back. So there's even less room for a pillion!Where you naturally want to sit... its nowhere near wide enough! Kawasaki sell a gel seat for £300 - why should we buy it on a £10k bike and it won't make a scrap of difference! On the 2014 bike the seat has "more padding" - so what? its the same design and the tester of the 2014 machine says after 2 hours.... I've had enough! Sorry Kawasaki this is not good enough. YOU CANNOT TOUR ON THIS BIKE! panniers or no panniers BUYERS BEWARE!

    15 November 2013

  • Practically perfect...?

    ronrookledge

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    I left a Honda VFR 800 behind for this rather awesome machine. Handling is spot on, as is everything else about the bike... Except 2 things: 1 - With the mirrors i can either see my hands or the hedge rows,, but not much else. 2 : After a couple of hours in the saddle I start to get a numb right hand because of some minor vibration through the throttle. The bike handles equally well in town traffic, twisties and open road. The adjustable screen makes a surprising difference on a run. The gearing makes it easy to ride in all traffic conditions, although at lower speeds this gearing ratio does reduce engine braking (but that's what brakes are for I guess) Having test ridden a range of bikes, this is a definite all rounder and in my eyes worth the extra few quid. And it looks n sounds the dogs dodahs!

    09 July 2013

  • Brill. But Watch for Wobble

    seankneafsey

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Best bike I ever had. Nothing is perfect though. The build quality is pretty good. About what you would expect for a bike in this price range. Handling and everything else is brilliant. Just back from 3,500 Km tour to Germany where it performed really really well. A major problem on the trip though was at 110MPH on the autobahn's it started to wobble. Once luggagae and panniers were removed the wobble went away. So if your are buying. Forget panniers if you want to travel at speed and aim for tanka nd tail bags. If I were in the market for a new bike I would buy the same again without the panniers.

    14 May 2012

  • Going sporty

    geezerh

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I ditched the RT for this machine after the reviews & a test ride. I have owned 'sporty' bikes in the past but getting older (60) I plumed for the comfort factor but was not getting the buzz, enter the SX great riding position, fairly comfy, performance? well more than enough for me, went for the ABS version no where near as obtrusive as the RT & that is a good point, no panniers just went for a decent rucksack. As the missus pointed out "you never use them" Highly recommended but put on a pair of Acros if you don't want the panniers, it also cures the bobbins issue, they catch the stock exhausts especially with a pillion on

    05 May 2012

  • one bike

    chmer20

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I've had mine for 2 months now and it is better than i expected. If you can only have one bike in your garage, this is it. It can be a tourer, it can be a sports bike or it can be your commuter. Excellent fairing design that keeps a good amount of wind blast away and directs nearly no engine heat to the rider. Engine pulls throughout the entire rev range with some serious steam starting around 6500rpm. Handling is very secure and 30kg seem to disappear when underway. Suspension can be dialed from nice and comfy to sporty hard (which isn't that uncomfortable). I average about 38 to 41 mpg. The gearing is fairly short and think I will drop a tooth or two in the rear to see some lower revs. Wish the windshield blocked a little more air in the full up position but isn't bad. Engine has some vibration that is noticeable above 4000rpm and only gets worse. Digital display will washout in direct sun but, it has to be at the perfect angle to do so. Brakes are nice and strong. Watch out doing your own oil change and having to "burp" the oil filter. All in all, a few niggles but easily forgiven or remedied. Can't wait to get it on track next year.

    16 October 2011

  • all i need

    richnic

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    truly the most versatile and enjoyable bike i,ve owned, love everything about it.useable power,looks sharp.test ride it and see. people say it,s short of gadgits, why pay more for things you dont need. wont be changing for a while

    28 May 2011

  • Worthy zzr1400 alternative

    oldboybob

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Tested it last week as a higher bars/lower weight replacement for my zzr1400 which is fitted with a full Givi pannier and top box set. While lacking the absolute power of the 1400 it is otherwise better in every respect. So much so I have placed on order. The only downside is you,according to Kawasaki, cannot fit a top box along with the panniers but I am hoping to find a solution to this once the top box bracket is released for sale. In the meantime the pannioers will do nicely. I rcommend the bike to anyone wantind looks, performance and a comfortable ride.

    23 February 2011

  • Best bike ive ever ridden

    paul dunn

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    Test ride today 11am temp -2 at least it was dry well i traveled 40 miles on roads i normally ride it was so enjoyable that i forgot how cold it was i was having so much fun it handels,flicks left to right with such ease,brakes are so smooth & the most cofortable seat ever ive sat on yes i want one just try it & see for yourself,Lifes too short for sitting indoors on cold dry days has to be candy lime green...I was going for another trimuph but this bikes amazing.

    29 January 2011

  • awesome bike

    HardRider51

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Everything I ever wanted.

    26 December 2010

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denislj

User's Badge

denisljsays

Crickp, don't know what conclusion u came to but I've ridden both, and although I loved the triple, the kawa is a lot comfier, for me anyway, more natural in all areas. Engine's great too, and all it's need really is an exhaust to enhance its sound, especially at tickover and til 2000rpm. The SX will be mine for sure.

04 June 2013 20:46

crickp

crickpsays

Z100SX vs Sprint ST

Has anyone ridden the Sprint ST and the Z1000SX back to back or owned both?  Been a Triumph nut for a while, but am sorely tempted by this as it looks so great and sounds like it ticks all the sports and touring boxes.  My wife now has her licence so pillion less of a concern, but still would like a bit of hard luggage for the longer trips.

06 August 2012 14:32

crawsue

User's Badge

crawsuesays

Z 1000 SX

Must admit it does seem to tick a lot of boxes,is it just possible that the manufacturers have realised that 'Blades,ZX 10's GXR 1000's are just to bloody fast and focussed for the average Joe? First we had Suzuki bringing out the GSX 600f now this.....it makes a lot of sense. As for the comments below about comparable 'bikes,the nearest and most popular (in the UK) is the Trumpet Sprint ST 1050, it might not have the "bling" of radial stoppers etc,but it is a well sorted package for the real world......a lot of peeps who go touring take the missus,the Kwak doesn't even have a pillion grab handle.

28 December 2010 16:59

HardRider51

User's Badge

HardRider51says

Dream bike?

I have done time with the ZX-10R, ZX14(ZZR1400) and 1400GTR so I know the sports riding bit. Without taking anything away from them, those bikes are what they are and do what they were designed to do. However, I have been wishing for the bike that would offer me the best of all of them. It seems that the Z1000SX is that bike.

26 December 2010 09:16

scandinavian

scandinaviansays

Real beauty

I have been waiting for this bike a long time. I have been driving a lot of sportsbike in the past and at present time steped down to a SV1000. When you are grown up a bit, you want a bike a little more comfy and with some pillion quality. I waited for the Honda VFR12 ,tried it with no rush, and It looked NOT good. But this Kawasaki has it all I think (and hope). I am confident that this will be my next bike!!

17 December 2010 11:47

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