Based on the old Z750R’s steel tubular backbone frame, Kawasaki has added a cast aluminum subframe section running down each the side of the engine and connected by a tube around the front. It reduces engine vibration and increases rigidity. The double-sided steel box-section swingarm is 12mm longer to maintain the same wheelbase with the bigger rear sprocket.
41mm KYB forks and rear shock are adjustable for preload and rebound damping. The shock is moved 20mm to the left of centre to make way for the new exhaust.
Twin front brake discs are bigger (up from 300mm to 310mm) and gripped by Nissin four-piston calipers. ABS is an optional extra.
The Zed’s liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder motor is bored-out to 806cc. Bore and stroke is now 71 x 50.9mm (the old bore was 8.4mm). Power is up from the Z750’s 105bhp to 111bhp and the overall gearing is shorter thanks to a two teeth bigger rear sprocket (up from 43 to 45). These two main changes are responsible for the Kawasaki’s extra grunt out of corners and power all the way through the revs.
Revised intake and exhaust ports, longer intake ducts (up from 36.5mm to 41.5mm) and a new intake funnel arrangement, where the inner two trumpets are longer then the outers, all help boost mid-range power.
There’s a new fully-aluminium die-cast cylinder head with plated bores, which is 1kg lighter than before, 10% lighter pistons, bigger oil jets, wider radius crankshaft journals, a redesigned oil pan, a new camchain with smaller side plates and new intake valve seat material. Throttle bodies are up 2mm to 34mm.
Detail changes inside the gearbox and clutch mechanism offer more durability and an easier action.
To boost midrange, the exhaust header pipes are made as long as possible. They curve beautifully outwards before coming back underneath the engine and into a new, stubby end can.
Built quality is excellent and up there with the best. The previous Z750 was bomb-proof and we expect this to be no different.
The price of the Z800 on par with its main Japanese rival: the Suzuki GSR750. It’s a fair way cheaper than Yamaha FZ-8, but more expensive than the class-leading Triumph Street Triple.
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Although there’s an ABS option, you get no electronic rider aids with the Z800 and it’s devoid of fancy designer labels, but new headlights and nose fairing are the most obvious difference to the old Z750. There’s also a new bellypan, hugger, radiator shrouds, a slimmer fuel tank, plastic fuel tank ‘wings’ and a slimmer rear tail unit. The new LED rear lights form two ‘Z’ patterns and the seat is also full of Zeds. Handlebars are now flatter and further forward and there are new luggage hooks.
A new three-part LCD dash has its tacho display in the middle segment and it flows up and down like a graphic equalizer. As well as a speedo, odemeter, clock, dual trips and engine temperature, the Kawasaki dash now has a fuel gauge, and an eco-meter.
Optional extras include a fly screen, crash protection, a single seat unit and undertray.