Senior Road Tester, Michael Neeves, has just ridden the new £7499 Kawasaki Z800 at its launch in the south of France. Here are his initial thoughts – check out MCN on Wednesday for the full review.
"This is the replacement for the Z750, a bike that’s actually been around for 10 years next year – doesn’t time fly?
"Kawasaki has done a lot of work to the engine. As well as boring it out to 806cc, boosting the power from 105bhp to 111bhp, they’ve refined the internals to give it more midrange power. They’ve also shortened the gearing, by going up two-teeth on the rear sprocket.
"It has new styling and a beefed-up frame to reduce vibration and add rigidity.
They’ve done a superb job. The Z800 is one of the smoothest bikes I’ve ridden with a lovely throttle, a plush ride and bags of grunt at any revs, in any gear. Best of all it’s fun – something I never found the old Z750 or Z750R to be.
"It’s still a heavy bike. Weighing 229kg, it’s 47kg heavier than the new Triumph Street Triple, so it’s going to struggle in outright performance terms, but the Z800 offers a much smoother, more refined ride.
"There’s also a cheaper £6899 95bhp Z800e version, aimed at A2 licence holders. It can be restricted to the required 47bhp, as the new laws, which come into effect on January 19 say you can restrict any bike, as long as it doesn’t make more than 95bhp to begin with.
"It will give new riders a proper ‘big bike’ riding experience and when it’s time to derestrict after two years, you’ve got double the power.
"Overall, the Z800 is the best Zed I’ve ridden – a fitting tribute to the Zed’s 40th birthday.
Check out used Z750s here at MCNbikesforsale.com!