KAWASAKI Z1000SX (2010-2013) Review

Published: 18 November 2010

"Loosely based on Kawasaki's excellent Z1000, for many this is the all round bike they've been waiting for: practical, fun and more eye catching than the competition too"

Kawasaki Z1000SX

"Loosely based on Kawasaki's excellent Z1000, for many this is the all round bike they've been waiting for: practical, fun and more eye catching than the competition too"

  • At a glance
  • 1043cc  -  138 bhp
  • 37 mpg  -  156 miles range
  • Medium seat height (822mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 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. 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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 & Running Costs 4 out of 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 group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z1000SX (2010-2013) 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 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
4 out of 5

seat kills you... crippling

15 November 2013 by honestphil

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... Read more 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!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Practically perfect...?

09 July 2013 by ronrookledge

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... Read more 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!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Brill. But Watch for Wobble

14 May 2012 by seankneafsey

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... Read more 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.

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

Going sporty

05 May 2012 by geezerh

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,... Read more 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

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

one bike

16 October 2011 by chmer20

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

all i need

28 May 2011 by richnic

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 Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Worthy zzr1400 alternative

23 February 2011 by oldboybob

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best bike ive ever ridden

29 January 2011 by grapple

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

awesome bike

26 December 2010 by HardRider51

Everything I ever wanted. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2010
Year discontinued 2013
Original price £9,199
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 138 bhp
Max torque 81 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 37 mpg
Tank range 156 miles
Specification
Engine size 1043cc
Engine type 16v inline four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 822mm
Bike weight 228kg
Front suspension Fully adjustable
Rear suspension Pre load and rebound
Front brake 120/70x17
Rear brake 250mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 190/50x17

History & Versions

Model history

Launched 2010.

Other versions

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

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX