It's the final week of 2014, so we got some of our MCN Award winning bikes of 2014 together for one last blast. Here's our all-rounder, the second generation Kawasaki Z1000SX.
This is one of my favourite stretches of tarmac. Beginning at the Colsterworth turn off of the A1 and heading west, it starts slow, nadgery and bumpy, but gets steadily smoother and more open as you pass through each checkpoint…I mean, village.
Once you’re done with the final village of Saxby you can let rip on the perfectly surfaced ribbon of tarmac that takes you to Melton Mowbray. For the next five miles it’s a dizzying barrage of crests, swoops and blind, breath-taking corners.
The road is the perfect playground for big-capacity, fast bikes like the Kawasaki Z1000SX. Although this piece of the B676 is great for riding, it’s actually not great for road test pictures. Along this whole stretch there’s nowhere for a photographer to park and set-up, but back at the Colsterworth end, near Buckminster there’s a nice little corner that has a lots of positive camber for grip and a big lay-by for the snapper.
This is the second evolution of the Z1000SX with its improved suspension, beefier brakes, added traction control and electronic riding modes. Costing less than ten grand you get a lot of sports tourer for your money, making it stonking value.
Gliding along the B676 the Z1000SX sports tourer does the ‘sports’ bit remarkably well – it’s fast, solid at full lean and the upgraded suspension is more controlled than before. Having traction control and ABS makes riding far less tense in these slimy November conditions.
It also does the ‘tourer’ thing perfectly, too. It’s comfy, relaxed at speed and has great wind protection. There’s a ‘Touring’ model (for an extra £550) with panniers, too. There are more luxurious tourers and sporty sportsbikes, but only Kawasaki offers such a beautiful balance of both.