For the first time the Z1000 gets a superbike-style aluminium twin spar frame, using the engine as a stressed member. The five-piece die-cast aluminium construction frame is 3-4kg lighter than the old tubular steel/cast ali mix frame, with torsional rigidity increased by 30%. It runs over the top of the engine, ZX-10R-style to keep the Z1000 nice and slim. The old steel subframe makes way for a lightweight aluminium item.
The aluminium swingarm features distinctive eccentric wheel adjusters first seen back in the day on the likes of the GPZ900R and 1980s aftermarket swingarms, like Metamachex.
The rear shock is mounted horizontally, which Kawasaki say helps mass centralisation and places it away from the heat of the exhausts. It is adjustable for preload and rebound damping, but not compression. For the first time the Z1000 has fully adjustable 41mm upside down forks.
The riding position is spacious, comfortable and friendly. Handling is predictable and the Z1000 can be hustled around with the best of them. The only let-downs are the slightly weak brakes and the awful OE Dunlop D210 tyres.
It’s out with the old 953cc ZX-9R-based motor and in with a brand new 136bhp liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 1043cc inline-four-cylinder engine. It has a 5.1mm longer stroke than last year’s Z1000, to boost mid-range power. Downdraft 38mm throttle bodies are up 2mm and have longer inlet trumpets to further boost mid-range power. A secondary balancer shaft is used to reduce engine vibes. The Z1000 is all about mid-range grunt and between 4500rpm and 10,000rpm the power is very impressive. There’s wheelie inducing grunt if you chase the revs, but the low-down power isn’t as instant as we’d like. Fuelling is perfect and there’s few vibes to speak of, although you find yourself looking for a ‘seventh’ gear around 5000rpm in top, where the motor is a quite ‘buzzy’.
It’s a full five stars for the Z1000’s build quality. With its mix of angular lines, swoopy curves and fastidious attention to detail, it’s a machine that’s been lovingly designed. Going by previous Z1000s, reliability won’t be an issue
It might not be the most savage of all the super nakeds, but it’s superb value. We estimate the cost at £7200, which is cheaper than the £7999 Speed Triple and a heap less than the £11,495 Ducati Streetfighter. Find a Kawasaki Z1000 for sale.
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There’s radial brakes, fully adjustable forks, a shock adjustable for preload and rebound damping, sexy ‘quad’ exhaust cans and a three-way tilt-adjustable dash. UK machines don’t come with the ABS option that some markets will get. Compare and buy parts for the Kawasaki Z1000 in the MCN Shop.