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KAWASAKI Z1000 (2004-2006) Review

Published: 08 August 2018

It feels as fast as it looks

Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding

It feels as fast as it looks

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The 2004 Kawasaki Z1000 was unveiled 30 years after the Kawasaki Z1 900 and was made to compete with the incredibly popular Honda CB750.

Honda released their 750 (widely accepted as the world’s first superbike) in 1969, while Kawasaki were developing a four-stroke 750 of their own, so they shelved the project and ploughed on with their two-stroke machines.

Kawasaki knew they needed a four-stroke superbike in their range, so in the early seventies they began work on the Z1, settling on a 903cc engine to outdo the wildly successful Honda.

At the time of its release, the Kawasaki Z1 was the fastest road bike in the world and made just shy of 81bhp (the Honda CB750 made 62bhp). In stark contrast to Kawasaki’s two-stroke triples which had a bit of a reputation for being widow-makers, the Z1 was much more stable, forgiving and easy to ride.

Kawasaki used the blueprint of the Z1 to create several successful models throughout the 70s and into the 80s with bikes like the Z900, Z1-R and the Z1100R.

Fast forward to 2004, and large capacity naked bikes like the Ducati Monster 1000, Speed Triple 955I and Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit are selling well. Kawasaki needed their own model to compete in this market and the Z1000 they produced clearly carried the DNA of the old Z1.

The Z1000 feels as fast as it looks, the 125bhp is smooth and manageable around town but between 6-8,000rpm you get an addictive surge of power.

The model has endured competition in the sector from the likes of the KTM Superduke, Honda CB1000R and BMW S1000R, but has held its own albeit with several engine and equipment upgrades over the years.

Check out MCN's first ride on the latest version of the Kawasaki Z1000:

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki Z1000's suspension is somewhat lacking in refinement. The forks and shock claim preload and rebound adjustment, but the actual difference these make to the slightly choppy handling is negligible.

This might sound like it rides badly, but actually it’s quite fun – you just learn to ride around it.

Engine 4 out of 5

Despite humping out superbike power the Kawasaki Z1000's 953cc DOHC motor is just as easy to use around town as it is out on the open road. The delivery is smooth and predictable making it no harder to use than a Hornet 600.

The best comes between 6-8000rpm with a satisfying rush you’ll want to chase time after time. The Z1000 can be a bit vibey at higher revs, but later versions used rubber engine mounts to address the issue.

Kawasaki stuck with this engine, borrowed from the Kawasaki ZX-9R until the larger displacement model came out in 2010, but the 2007 version received a boost to low end power making it even easier to ride.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Kawasaki Z1000 build quality is fair but the pipes tarnish over time. You’ll need to keep an eye on the brightwork and those polished rims if you ride it over the winter.

Mechanically, though, it’s as sound as a pound, the ZX-9R engine has proved its reliability and is not being pushed to its limits in the Z1000 anyway.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

As a new buy the Kawasaki Z1000 was a great bet, its £7,345 price tag represented excellent value for money, but on the used market you can still find reasonably mileage-free examples for a little over £3,000.

It makes more power than any of its rivals (Aprilia Tuono, KTM Superduke or Triumph Speed Triple) and costs hundreds less, without giving anything away in terms of comfort, credibility or, more importantly, fun.

The revamped 2007 model is only a little bit more money and is better looking, has improved power delivery low down, and a more user-friendly gearbox so that’s probably the one to go for unless you’re hellbent on the original.

Find a used Kawasaki Z1000 at MCN Bikes for Sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki Z1000 came with an ignition-based immobiliser and a factory catalogue packed full of optional bolt-ons to choose from.

If you’re looking on the used market, keep your eye out for extras such as crash bungs, smaller mirrors, an alarm and a taller screen.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2006
Original price £7,345
Used price £3,000 to £4,300
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 125 bhp
Max torque 70 ft-lb
Top speed 152 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 953cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Steel diamond
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 82mm
Bike weight 198kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

The Kawasaki Z1000 was launched in 2003 but took its name and inspiration from the Kawasaki Z1 900, a four-stroke, four-cylinder superbike launched in the ‘70s to take on the mighty Honda CB750.

Kawasaki updated the bike in 2007 with better styling, a slicker gearbox and rubber mounts for the engine to fix a reported vibration issue.

In 2010, Kawasaki gave the Z1000 a complete overhaul, including a switch to a bigger 1043cc engine. This version was updated in 2013 to improve the suspension and brakes and then again in 2017.

Other versions

None.

Owners' Reviews

10 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z1000 (2004-2006) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI Z1000 (2004-2006)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.1 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great first litre bike

15 March 2014 by Anonymous

Rear shock could do with less rebound, Forks seem adequate (but maybe a good rear shock will show any faults). The engine is adequate, plenty of power to get to 100km/h in one breath and 200km/h seconds later. Faults: Suspension (wallowy in some corners, strong rebound causes concern in bumpy corners), The engine gets very vibey in the higher revs. Pro's: Engine has more than enough power to lose your license, do track days and power wheelies in first and if you try in second. Looks stunning, sounds good with an after market 4 into one. Brakes are a little lack lustre. I love this bike, but now I want to upgrade to a bike with better suspension, brakes and power. This bike would suit open road commuting, weekend blasts, track days and touring. Pretty versatile.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 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

Best Overlooked Allrounder Ever

29 April 2013 by IsraelsRSV

I bought this bike after owning the 750 a few years previous. The 750 was lacking in quality in regards to brakes and suspension. It lacked a little grunt and need a tad of wind protection. All of these are addressed in 1000. I had an RSV-R 04 before my z1000 and so if Your expecting manic performance bike I was, you'll be disappointed. What this bike is, is pretty good at everything. But not extreme in anyway. You can commute to work all year round, ride long distance in comfort(under 80), pull wheelies and get you knee down on the back roads, and keep up with your mates on sports bikes at the weekend. It is so reliable its awesome, and fast enough to get you band (for years). Just a good everything bike. Bad points: Exhausts get rusty in the winter and the polished wheels are a pain. (just get them painted). The handling is very boat like and needs proper suspension set up (as its quite crude) and stickier tyres to give you any kind of confidance. Brakes could do with braided cables and high performance pads. All in all nothing that a few quid and some time can sort out, and this bike is spot on all round.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

3 yrs owned

14 March 2009 by gold8368

wel ive owned my 2005 z 1000 for just under 3 yrs now and i have to update my review that i posted at the time i got her, simply put this bike is what made me fall in love with biking all over again. 100% reliable, 100% smiles per miles and with a few little tweeks a real head turner, people will always want to look at ya on this machine, a true beaut in every sense of the word, for more info, chat and general help with the big zed visit www.zedoc.co.uk

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 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

Mr. 'Z'

13 November 2007 by tamlin23

What a good bike! Ok the brakes arent the best, and the suspension is not as good as on the ZX10. But it still does axactly what it needs to. Although I like the standard cans, they really should be replaced with something that lets you hear the engine, it sounds so good! I have had 2 of these, both fealt very different to ride from each other, but both good none the less. The power is smooth and builds to a strong pull at the top, the only problem is, because of the riding position, if you want to release the ponies all at once, it is necessary to lean forward and hold on first, preparing for what is about to happen... Good for long rides, wrists and bum... no problems. Tank range is about what you would expect and pretty much the same as other jap bikes. Wind blast is an issue, but it is on all naked bikes. At least it stops you holding silly speed and losing your license! If you want something that can do it all, but don't want a full on supersport, look no further.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 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

What Next

05 November 2007 by Sean T

Test rides on everything from Blades to Fazer 1000 in 4 weeks. The Zed was sitting next to the Fazer I was there for in Perth M/cycles. Couldn't get back to the showroom quick enough. 5 miles later and I'm haggling with my ZX-6 and a wad of cash. Only 4 days later in -3degree temps and I'm back to pick it up. Covered 400miles that day stopping at every service station to get heat back into my hands. That was 2yrs and 26000mls ago. The bikes been 2 tours covering 2000mls each (one two up)in a week and covers 80mls by motorway to work every day. All done without a flicker. It does have cheap suspension but the slight vagueness just makes it even more addictive. If I'd wanted perfect stability I'd have bought a Blackbird. Only real problem with it is, what to replace it with. Mines a 2003 model and the new model is Horrendous. Super Duke R maybe?? (Best tyres so far though are Continental Road Attack. 7000 hard miles and they don't need changed yet. Stick to the road like glue and there cheap)

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 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

Wow wanted one soon as I saw it then got it not a let down it excels

02 October 2006 by lokileez1000

Saw it in a magazine had to have one, having had it two years now have added underseat pipes, make it different, bellypan, new screen for trips to Assen, new rear no plate hanger with built in indicators and colour coded rad covers plus others, this bike is awesome brakes are good if kept on top off and if you have braided lines, the off mark speed is top drawer beating the new R1 and Gixxer 1000 as proven on route to Assen (hehehe) from stand still, on the twisties cant fault the beast she looks after you, gets you out of trouble and gives you a grin like a chesire cat, Even it town you will be grinning as everyone always gives the zed a good old glance so overall sweet, just stay away from motorways or Autobahns as it gets tiring and boring even fitted with a good screen above 110mph gets a bit chooppy and top end well your front wheel is vibrating like a knackered washing machine but hey its fun.
Strengths: Strengths everything power handling looks grin factor.  Weaknesses: Top end wobble but hey its a street fighter not a motorway mauler.

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
-
5 out of 5

What a beaut............

22 August 2006 by gold8368

Just bought mine and only rode it once (200 miles), what a comfy bike....no back or bum ache at all. front folks are a little soft but live able, brakes are a little weak but hope that a change of pads will sort that out. Strengths:  Comfort, looks, grin factor. Weaknesses: Front folks, brakes.

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
-
5 out of 5

Fantastic street bike, great looks. Micro indicators, tail tidy, seat cowl, digi gear indicator

26 March 2006 by MT070

Plenty of useable power in a comfortable package. You can ride for hours without wrist or back ache. I've read other reviews which have conplained about the hard seat - I cannot find a problem with mine, unless it's been fixed on the newer versions. I find the brakes are good but the front forks are too soft in standard trim for spirited riding, these need firming up. If you want a bike for posing on and then blasting them all away this is it! Strengths: Plenty of useable power, comfortable, handles well, looks fantastic and goes like a rocket. Weaknesses: Soft front forks, stepped pillion seat is too far away for comfortable 2-up riding and tank range too small.

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
-
5 out of 5

Words can not express how much fun this bike is

07 March 2006 by anitawood1

I started out with the zxr400 then a 600 ninja and now the Z, I can not fault the Z from a female point of view, its so easy to get on with, I have added so many extra's because its just one of those bike you can, so far its had DB screen, CRG levers well worth the money for people with small hands, Belly pan, Art cans they sound so much better, Kawasaki after market mirrors, tail tidy, seat cowling,Rad cover,even had someone to make me a couple of Z injector covers. What more can be done? Wish I could afford a ohlins shock for it. Strengths: It small enough for people that are only 5ft 3". Weaknesses: Would love to have had 6 pot calipers the 600 was so much better at stopping with the 6 pots.

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

Great, fun and easy to use with totally individual styling.

16 February 2006 by cooperman66

After years of sportsbikes and a supermoto I decided to kick back and relax a little. Got the Z1000 and lo! no more wrist ache when riding! If only the seat were more comfy.. Great bike, reasonable go (needs that ZX10R engine) but heavy, so heavy. Nice to handle but get moving and the cheap suspension shows you the line not to cross! I like it, even the mrs has ridden it :-). Strengths: Looks, easy of use, manouverability.  Weaknesses: Heavy! poor suspension, I actually dont like the 4 pipes either..

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

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle review - Riding
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