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Kawasaki Z1000 Naked Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

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.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

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.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

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.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

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.

Kawasaki Z1000 (2014 - current)

Detail Value
New price £9,499
Dealer used prices
£8,750 (2014) - £9,750 (2014)
Private used prices
£7,870 (2014) - £8,780 (2014)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1043 cc
Power 140 bhp
Top speed mph
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 3
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 5
Value rating is 5 rating is 5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 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.


MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 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.


Insurance group: n/a

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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.


Top speed mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 140 bhp
Max torque ft-lb
Weight kg
Seat height mm
Fuel capacity 1 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group of 17
Engine size 1043 cc
Engine specification 16v liquid-cooled transverse four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin tube
Front suspension adjustment Preload and rebound damping
Rear suspension adjustment Preload and rebound damping
Front brakes 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

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824 miles



5500 miles



18000 miles



5312 miles



5800 miles


Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(1 review)

  • Don't knock it till u try it


    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    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 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

    28 July 2014


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User's Badge


Love it to bits

 Hi I part exchanged my 2011 zx10r for this bike just before Christmas last year, I have put 3500 miles on the Z, the suspension was a bit harsh as the review said below but that's what the adjustments are for, I backed of the front preload 1 full turn and the bikes perfect.  I've ridden 160miles on a Sunday with my mate and it's been very comfortable.

we purchased the Gtr1400 last year and covered 2300 miles on a tour round Europe and my wife prefers to be on the back of the Z she says it feels safer so when we go out together we use the Z over the Gtr I think that says something.  The only gripe I have with it is in hot weather when the fan kicks in, it blows the hot air from the radiator all over your legs and it's real hot.  Apart from that I honestly have no other complaints.  I have bought a new bike pretty much every year to two years and have never found a bike that I loved more than my Yamaha R6 back in 2001 till now.  This ones a keeper and since it's so radical I reckon it won't age for a good few years.

28 July 2014 21:46




 My test ride today was not that impressive. Strong engine, but vibey. The worst feature is very harsh suspension, too firm for bumpy roads. Brakes outstanding and very nimble. OK if you aren't going far.

16 April 2014 17:27


User's Badge



Expensive, even without the rider aids.
Kawasaki, seem to be on the same road Yamaha were on, pricing themselves out of the market.

02 April 2014 22:12


User's Badge



 Interesting write up peppered with words like "should" and "probably". I'm also sure that this bike "should probably" be a good'un but like MCN I haven't ridden one yet.

10 January 2014 15:31

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