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KAWASAKI Z1000 (2010-2013) Review

Published: 20 November 2009

Excellent performance, handling and was super-stylish to boot

2010 Kawasaki Z1000

Excellent performance, handling and was super-stylish to boot

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The 2010 Z1000 was, at the time, the most impressive sports naked ever to roll out of Japan, but that was before the Yamaha MT-10 and the latest Honda CB1000R came out. It was the third version of the Z1000, a bike which can trace its DNA back to the Kawasaki Z1 900 from the early 1970s, a powerful four stroke created to take on the mighty Honda CB750.

Although the Z1000 can’t claim to be fastest production bike in the world like the Z1 could at the time, it’s certainly no slouch. This version was the first to ditch the ZX-9R derived engine in favour of a 136bhp liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 1043cc inline-four-cylinder engine.

It had excellent performance, handling and was super-stylish to boot. It was less intimidating and easier to ride than a fire-breathing European super naked of the time too. Compared to something like a KTM Super Duke or Ducati Streetfighter, the Z1000 was on the heavy side, the brakes lacked bite, the engine power wasn’t ‘bang’ in-your-face and the tyres were disappointing.

But if you wanted big super naked kicks you had to spend big money. The Z1000, on the other hand, delivered a lot of bang for your buck.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

For the first time the 2010 Z1000 got a superbike-style aluminium twin spar frame, using the engine as a stressed member. The five-piece die-cast aluminium construction frame was 3-4kg lighter than the old tubular steel/cast aluminium mix frame, with torsional rigidity increased by 30%. It runs over the top of the engine, ZX-10R-style to keep the Z1000 nice and slim.

The old steel subframe makes way for a lightweight aluminium item. The aluminium swingarm featured distinctive eccentric wheel adjusters first seen back in the day on the likes of the GPZ900R and 1980s aftermarket swingarms, like Metamachex.

The rear shock was mounted horizontally, which Kawasaki said helped mass centralisation and placed it away from the heat of the exhausts. It was adjustable for preload and rebound damping, but not compression.

For the first time the 2010 Z1000 had fully adjustable 41mm upside down forks. 
The riding position was spacious, comfortable and friendly. Handling was predictable and the Z1000 could be hustled around with the best of them. The only let-downs were the slightly weak brakes and the awful OE Dunlop D210 tyres. 

Engine 4 out of 5

It was out with the old 953cc ZX-9R-based motor and in with a fresh 136bhp liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 1043cc inline-four-cylinder engine. It had a 5.1mm longer stroke than the previous Z1000 to boost mid-range power.

The downdraft 38mm throttle bodies were lengthened by 2mm and given longer inlet trumpets to further boost mid-range power and a secondary balancer shaft was used to further reduce engine vibes (the 2007 version used rubber engine mounts to achieve this).

The Z1000 was all about mid-range grunt and between 4,500rpm and 10,000rpm the power was very impressive. There was wheelie inducing grunt if you chased the revs, but the low-down power wasn’t as instant as we would have liked. Fuelling was perfect and there were few vibes to speak of, although you found yourself looking for a ‘seventh’ gear around 5,000rpm in top, where the motor was quite ‘buzzy’.  

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

It’s a full five stars for the Z1000’s build quality. With its mix of angular lines, swoopy curves and fastidious attention to detail, it was a machine that was lovingly designed. The engine was new for this bike but has proven itself over time.

As with all bikes, the shine will suffer if you run it through the winter without being an attentive owner, but the slightly lacklustre finish of previous models has disappeared.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

It might not have been the most savage of all the super nakeds, but it was superb value at its release. It was cheaper than the Triumph Speed Triple and a heap less than the Ducati Streetfighter but it’s about the same money on the used market.

A similar mileage Aprilia Tuono R is actually cheaper now, and if you push your budget a little bit from the Z1000 you can a Ducati Monster 1000.

Find your next Kawasaki Z1000 at MCN Bikes for Sale.

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

Equipment 4 out of 5

There were radial brakes, fully adjustable forks, a shock adjustable for preload and rebound damping, sexy ‘quad’ exhaust cans and a three-way tilt-adjustable dash.

UK machines didn’t come with the ABS option that some markets got. 

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2010
Year discontinued 2013
Original price £9,099
Used price £5,000 to £6,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost £160
Performance
Max power 136 bhp
Max torque 81 ft-lb
Top speed 160 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 33 mpg
Tank range 132 miles
Specification
Engine size 1043cc
Engine type 16-valve, inline-four
Frame type Aluminium beam
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 218kg
Front suspension Fully-adjustable
Rear suspension Preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 300mm discs
Rear brake 250mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 17 in
Rear tyre size 190/50 17 in

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

12 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z1000 (2010-2013) 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 (2010-2013)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

Awesome bike!!!!

08 April 2016 by George Argirakis

The thing I love in this bike it's the feel you have when you ride it. The power it delivers can move a mountain!!!!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The bike it's spotless, couldn't find any problem about it
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Make sure this is the bike you really want...

21 September 2015 by Ean

The Z1000 has great syling and draws a few admiring comments whenever it's parked. The seating position is upright and relaxed and the bike is lively and fun to ride under 60 mph. On the down side, the bike is heavy, it's gearing has you permanently looking for a seventh gear, the engine is low powered for a 1000cc and the seat is crippling after about 100 miles.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
Ride quality is completely ruined by the worst seat of any bike I've owned in 30 years, most of which have have been race reps. A trip to the Isle of Man from Devon was nearly enough to have me heave it from the ferry into the Irish Sea. A shame, as suspension and the seating position are very good. Wind blast is not much fun above 60 mph, but it's perhaps unfair to criticise a naked for this.
Engine
3 out of 5
Relatively low powered for the capacity but fun at low speeds where the engine is geared and tuned for. You'll be looking for another top gear though, and throttle response is not exactly instant...
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The bike has been reliable after 1 years daily use. However the lights failed and the bike started making an annoying 'buzzing' sound at 3500rpm that 2 dealer visits could not reliably fix. Paint finish is thin and easily worn through after a single ride if in contact with luggage or clothing.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Not a particularly expensive 1000cc bike to own or run, although rear tyre wear is high due to the bikes weight.
Equipment
2 out of 5
The bikes styling is it's best feature; equipment wise it comes with nothing that is above average. Fully adjustable front forks are useful and would have been helpful on the rear.
Buying experience

I bought the Z1000 privately for around £6000 at less than a year old. The bike was in mint condition save for some poorly installed heated grips.

4 out of 5

better than triumph

27 January 2014 by plumbgod

This bike is so much fun to ride and, in my opinion, better in every way then an speed triple. The build quality is on a par with the big H, while the S3 struggles to make it through winter without a lot of corrosion setting in. The bike handles really well and has far more potential than me unfortunately The motor is excellent, but I wish it had a little more rev range to play with, and the tank range is a little annoying sometimes as you need to be on the hunt for a fill up after 90 or so miles(riding in the way Mr Kawasaki intended) or if you ride like a old lady you could probably see a bit more Otherwise I cant fault it,I just wish I fit it better, at 6 ft 2 and 16 stone Im a bit big for it really so I'm off to buy a zzr soon Do yourself a favour and fit Pirelli angel st's and dump the o.e tyres, a huge improvement over standard and good value

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 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

Great ride

21 March 2013 by ericatcse

Excellent bike, ride and handling are great when set up properly and you replace the poor OEM tyres (rear only lasted 2100 miles). Bit buzzy around 6k revs and a bigger tank would have been better also rear mudguard is useless. Brilliant to ride in the real world, brakes are good, power is usable and its quick enough. It looks amazing puts a smile on my face every time I ride it.

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

Nice Bike

28 February 2012 by souroush

loved the looks although some people hate it just because it is Kawasaki and is not Triumph written on it. not the best in terms of handling but acceptable. suspensions and forks needs attention. the speedometer is rubbish in looks, data and colour. surprisingly small tank for a naked Bike, gives you about 100 miles between visits.comfortable for the rider but annoying for the pillion as there is no grab-rail apart from two tiny holes under the seat and the only option available from Renntec is useless and rubbish. overall is acceptable as naked Bike with some minor issues.

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

Most bike per $

31 July 2011 by Garbilizon

Read my full review on http://ridingthecarolinas.blogspot.com/

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 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

Best Super Naked

06 November 2010 by Z1000MAN

awesome

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
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

About time they cought up

03 October 2010 by bikerred

Like its looks power & torque should make it a very usefull bit of kit. However Honda have had this power & torque in a naked with an alloy frame for ten years, better fuel range too, some lead others follow.

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

Z1000 2010

02 June 2010 by Chrisec87

Engine is smooth and torquey. Have just finished running in by the book (under 7k rpm) and managed ~50mpg on every tank= 150mile tank range - fuel gauge emptys very quickly though but don't pay attention to this I did 30 miles on reserve. 7k rpm is 100mph and I was impressed just with the pull under 7k - didn't think I needed more. 7k to 12k this beast is rapid and really pulls well out of the corners chewing up the OEM Dunlop Qualifiers. Engine is silky smooth and the seat is hard at first but beds in. Handling is taut and firm with fully adjustable front and rear suspension - very stable and it soaks up bumbps 100% more than the '09 Z. Excellent damping which I have yet to play with. There was a very annoying buzz on my clocks at 30mph but dealer sorted this and pillion seat is far too hard. Fuelling seems perfect to me, no lag coming off or onto throttle. I am very impressed with ride and handling mostly, engine compliments this well and build quality and attention to detail is top notch. Wind protection is surprisingly good, cruising above 60mph is a pleasure. Brakes have a soft bite but when squeezed really work well. Can't really fault her - and can't wait to ride her next.

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

new and improved

11 May 2010 by lucas66

the bike being new from the ground up, now having a aluminum frame,make this bike handle like a true sports bike.Clutch shift and feel are also improved dramatically over previous models.The engine is very smooth and mostly vibration free, but could use some more power,as it runs out of rpm's on the highway where you have only one gear left.the brakes are very capable except for the rears which don't seem to be connected to anything..ergonomics are excellent.This is a bike you can and want to ride for day's on end.A truly excellent evolved bike from the original.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 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
-
5 out of 5

Great Value Bike

29 April 2010 by Brizred

Great fun, certainly gives you the smile factor, excellant performance and handling, always draws a crowd wherever it's parked. Bit vibey but all part of the fun. Only drawbacks are the fuel range and seat not too comfortable after 100 miles but if that concerns you, buy a tourer. Well worth the money and all in all, a fantastic bike, well done Kawasaki.

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

zedone

10 March 2010 by extriumphman

overpriced at 8500 but better than a speed triple inspite of what MCN say, ive had em both in 5 yrs.The build quality alone knocks spots off the trumpet!

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

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