KAWASAKI Z1000 (2014-on) Review

Published: 05 December 2013

Updated version of Kawasaki's super naked has ballsy looks and slick, rewarding, electronics-free performance

KAWASAKI Z1000  (2014-on)

Updated version of Kawasaki's super naked has ballsy looks and slick, rewarding, electronics-free performance

  • At a glance
  • 1043cc  -  140 bhp
  • 36 mpg  -  145 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)
  • £9,499

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The new 2014 Z1000 is a ballsy move by Kawasaki – and not just because it looks like something out of a Terminator movie. No, it’s ballsy because it’s rejected the current (and often expensive) fashion for electronic rider aids, because it focuses on real world riding thrills rather than fantastic and often irrelevant (for a street super naked at least) performance figures and because it recognizes that honed throttle response, glitch-free engine delivery and refined, top rate suspension and brakes is far more rewarding with 140bhp than anything more ever can be if that level of control isn’t there. In short, if power is nothing without control, the Z1000 is the super naked that proves this best.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Instead the biggest changes come with the chassis in the form of updated, top spec suspension and brakes. Forks are ZX-6R-alike (but retuned) separate function, 41mm ‘Big Piston Forks’, brakes: enlarged (by 10mm) 310mm petal discs and, like last month’s Z1000SX, new monobloc radial calipers.
If anything, the Zed’s ride, steering, braking and whole blend of practicality and entertainment are better yet.
The compact, ‘in’ riding position, a ride that, thanks to the new, quality suspension which is on the ‘buff’ or taut side of comfortable, plus divinely precise and confidence-inspiring steering which makes a mockery of the Kawa’s apparent size, all help endow the Zed with truly great street handling. I use the word ‘street’ deliberately. Around a track it’d probably be too hefty and laborious. On the road, at normal, brisk or even serious licence-losing three-figure speed, it’s sharp yet utterly planted, responsive without being twitchy or frisky, engaging and thoroughly entertaining – right down to the fierce but finessed, one-finger brakes.

Engine 4 out of 5

Kawasaki has refined this latest Z1000 rather than radicalised it. Throttle resposne is enhanced via a tweaked EFi/ECU and revised intake funnels, while extra mid-range (but with no top end loss) comes through new cams and oval header link pipes. The old Zthou was always a grunty smoothie but it’s now better than ever, easily pulling away from as little as 2500rpm and thereon delivering textbook progressive, glitch-free turbine drive, all accompanied by a lovely, newly acoustically-enhanced induction howl, all the way up to whatever. I simply can’t think of a better, more enteraining and useful, current street bike four-pot mill. No electronics are provided. None are needed.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Being a proven lumop with quality parts should mean reliability’s not much of an issue, while the overall standard of finish and bits and bobs both makes earlier Zeds seem tawdry and is more in keeping with a £12K-plus machine rather than one starting at £9500. There’s the eminently tactile raised metal tank badge, the seat fabric’s ‘Z’ motif (in fact subtle ‘Z’ design motifs are everywhere), the classy paint and the variety of finishes and materials are mouthwatering.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

Sure, some naked are fancier and techierbut the the Zed’s still well under £10K in a class where some, madly so, are now edging £14K. Yep, say that again. ‘Nine and a half grand for a fabulously refined, useful, characterful and fast roadster with bang up to date suspension and brakes?’ I reckon this new Zed could finally have the beating of the Speed Triple, makes the ‘R’ version look extortionate and render ‘uber’ nakeds like the Tuono and Super Duke unnecessarily extravagant.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Although the basics of alloy twin spar frame and hefty, 1043cc transverse four are unchanged, and there’s no electronic rider aids like some of its rivals, the new suspension and brakes are top drawer and there’s enough posh bits to satisfy the biggest accessory snob: the clear master cylinder fluid reservoir, the radial pump lever, the two-tone mirrors, the new LCD display (even if, thanks to lacking a gear indicator and having a baffling twin digital tacho) and more.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their KAWASAKI Z1000 (2014-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Don't knock it till u try it

28 July 2014 by dunlop207

Comments from having ridden 3500 miles on this beast of a super naked. Instant throttle response in all gears from 25mph pulling hard all the way through. Grip you can feel through your bottom and through your hands. Turns quickly agile as a... Read more 600cc. Tuned intake howl is simply awesome giving you the sound of race exhaust to the rider but not the public. Range, mpg, av mpg, temp, etc. led headlight project pure white light giving night riding a whole new meaning to vision. Simply put a keeper. A crowd puller. Ageless

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2014
Year discontinued -
New price £9,499
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 140 bhp
Max torque 111 ft-lb
Top speed 147 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.38 secs
Average fuel consumption 36 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Specification
Engine size 1043cc
Engine type 16v liquid-cooled transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin tube
Fuel capacity 1 litre
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 221kg
Front suspension Preload and rebound damping
Rear suspension Preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 31mm petal discs, four-piston radial monobloc calipers, optional ABS
Rear brake 2 x 31mm petal discs, four-piston radial monobloc calipers, optional ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2003: Original steel-framed version based around retuned ZX-9R engine. Odd quad pipes were homage to 1973 Z1…

2007: Restyled bodywork and engine cases, new steel frame and uprated brakes, but heavier and plainer…

2010: Back to mad form with snakeskin seat option and weird orange clocks. New ally frame and 1043cc motor keep things interesting.

Other versions

Z1000SX: Excellent sports-tourer based on same rolling chassis and powertrain but with plainer styling, luggage options plus traction control and switchable power modes.

Photo Gallery

  • KAWASAKI Z1000  (2014-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z1000  (2014-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z1000  (2014-on)
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