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KAWASAKI Z1000 (2014-on) Review

Published: 06 December 2018

Updated version of Kawasaki's super naked has ballsy looks and slick, rewarding, electronics-free performance

Kawasaki Z1000 in action

Updated version of Kawasaki's super naked has ballsy looks and slick, rewarding, electronics-free performance

  • At a glance
  • 1043cc  -  140 bhp
  • 36 mpg  -  145 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)
  • New: £9,499
    Used: £6,000 to £11,600 See all KAWASAKI Z1000s for sale

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The 2014 Z1000 was 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.

Instead, it focuses on real world riding thrills, rather than fantastic and often irrelevant (for a street supernaked 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 supernaked that proves this best and becomes the real-world choice for anyone looking for some unfaired thrills. Despite seeming under powered alongside its competition, 140bhp really is nothing to sniff at and there's plenty of performance there to inspire spirited riding within the parameters of the law.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The biggest changes for this bike came with the chassis, in the form of updated, top-spec suspension and brakes. The 41mm big piston forks' are ZX-6R-alike, but retuned with separate function.

The brakes have also been enlarged by 10mm to feature 310mm petal discs. It also featured the same monobloc radial calipers from the Z1000SX. If anything, the Zed’s ride, steering, braking and whole blend of practicality and entertainment are better yet.

A compact riding position

The compact riding position, new quality suspension (which is on the ‘buff’ or taut side of comfortable), plus divinely precise and confidence-inspiring steering, makes a mockery of the Kawasaki’s apparent size and 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, but on the road, at normal, brisk or even serious licence-losing three-figure speed, it’s sharp and utterly planted.

It's also responsive without being twitchy or frisky, engaging and thoroughly entertaining - right down to the fierce but finessed, one-finger brakes.

Engine 4 out of 5

Kawasaki refined the 2014 Z1000 rather than radicalising it. Throttle response was enhanced via a tweaked EFi/ECU and revised intake funnels, while extra mid-range grunt was gained with no top end loss through new cams and oval header link pipes.

The previous bike was always a grunty smoothie anyway, but that was then made better than ever in 2014, with it easily pulling away from as little as 2500rpm and there on delivering progressive, glitch-free turbine drive. This is all accompanied by a lovely, acoustically-enhanced induction howl - indicative of performance Kawasakis.

At the time, we couldn't think of a better, more enteraining and useful, four-cylinder street bike, despite having no electronics provided - because none were needed!

The Kawasaki Z1000 has no electronic aids as it doesn't need them

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Being a proven lump, with quality parts, should mean reliability’s not much of an issue here, while the overall standard of finish and accessories makes earlier Zeds seem tawdry. The styling of this machine is far more in keeping with a £12,000-plus bike rather than one starting at £9500.

At its launch the latest Z1000 was great value for money

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 readers' owner reviews show next to no complaints of mechanical issues, however there have been some reports of corrosion when ridden through winter, so give yours regular cleans if used year-round. 

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

Sure, some naked bikes are fancier and techier, such as the early KTM 1290 Super Duke R, but the the Zed’s still well under £10,000 in a class where some, madly so, are now edging £14,000 (the KTM is a prime example of this).

Yep, that's right, in 2014 you could have a fabulously refined, useful, characterful and fast roadster with bang up to date suspension and brakes for nine-and-a-half grand.

What's more, we at MCN also reckon this Zed was a great rival for the ever-popular Triumph Speed Triple range and made the more performance-focused Speed Triple R look extortionate.

Not to mention the 'uber' expensive supernakeds like the late V-Twin and early V4 powered Aprilia Tuonos and aforementioned KTM Super Duke, which appear unnecessarily extravagant by comparison.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Although the basics of an alloy twin-spar frame and hefty, 1043cc transverse inline-four remain unchanged from the previous model and there’s no electronic rider aids - like some of its rivals - the suspension and brakes were top drawer.

There are also enough posh bits to satisfy the biggest accessory snob: including the clear master cylinder fluid reservoir, the radial pump lever, two-tone mirrors, new LCD display (despite lacking a gear indicator and having a baffling twin digital tacho) and more.

The LCD display lacks a gear indicator

Like all full-fat Zeds, there are also a raft of after market extras to kit your bike out with, including lightweight carbon wheels, full-sytem exhausts and power commanders. There are also a mountain of bolt-on parts available through the MCN Shop, including crash protection from R&G, sintered racing Brembo pads and Puig screens. 

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2014
Year discontinued -
New price £9,499
Used price £6,000 to £11,600
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost £300
Performance
Max power 140 bhp
Max torque 111 ft-lb
Top speed 147 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.38 secs
Average fuel consumption 36 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Specification
Engine size 1043cc
Engine type 16v liquid-cooled transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin tube
Fuel capacity 1 litre
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 221kg
Front suspension Preload and rebound damping
Rear suspension Preload and rebound damping
Front brake 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

History & Versions

Model history

  • 2003: The original steel-framed version based around a retuned ZX-9R engine. The odd quad pipes were homage to the 1973 Z1.
  • 2007: This bike got restyled bodywork and engine cases, a new steel frame and uprated brakes, but it was heavier and plainer than the original.
  • 2010: Back to mad form with a snakeskin seat option and weird orange clocks. New ally frame and 1043cc motor keep things interesting.

Other versions

  • Z1000SX: An excellent sports-tourer, based on the same rolling chassis and powertrain as the corresponding Z1000 model, but with plainer styling, luggage options, alongside traction control and switchable power modes.
  • Z1000 R: A hugher spec Z1000 R was revealed for 2017, introduced alongside a revised standard Z1000 for Euro4. Alongside a new paintjob, it also got an Öhlins S46DR1S fully-adjustable shock, with remote preload adjuster and a revised ECU for a smoother power curve.

Owners' Reviews

4 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z1000 (2014-on) 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 (2014-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Flakey paint.

23 March 2016 by Mogz

Would be five except for below

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
Gearing means it's a bit high revving on the motorway
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Seven months old, 4k miles. All fasteners gone white, paint flaked off engine and Fork bottoms. Warranty worthless because "it was dirty". It was bought as a commuter and i would have expected the finish to last longer than this. Especially as the FZ8 which I part-exchanged at five year old was spotless by comparison.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Due to mileage, services are frequent.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Stunning to look at. Tail tidy is a must.
5 out of 5

Z1000 2014 review (slightly revised!)

07 July 2015 by Comfy

Ive added this extra bit to my original review, why, well, its just come back from the dyno which has transformed it. The ECU has been rewritten without the need for a powercommander. The fueling has been sorted out, flapper valve removed for a full race system (where the motor used to be under the seat I can now put a puncture repair kit!), Kawasaki put in some restrictions in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd which have also been removed. Fuel shut off is fixed making it incredibly smooth with the roll of and on of the throttle. It now makes the same amount of power as an s1000r. To put it bluntly, its now a controllable animal, 1st 2nd and 3rd are now brutal, but smooth with more torque and brake through the entire rev range. Apparently the fueling was set up to be overly rich so I should also see some fuel savings along with the extra performance. CJS tuning in Clutton Nr Bristol carried out the work. Absolutely brilliant service!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
Upped this to 5 out of 5 now the ecu has been sorted out, has transformed the bike.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Z1000 2014 quick review

02 July 2015 by Comfy

Best features are the looks, the finish and the handling. Not as quick in stock for as an s1000r but chose this after test riding the s1000r. Supremely comfortable. Collected mine from the opposite side of the UK and rode 4.5 hours home with a 10 minute stop for fuel....brilliant.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Ride quality is a little hard but also well planted. I use it for commuting. I can ride for about 2 hours then need a rest....In comparison the s1000r I test rode my shoulders would ache after about 30 mins.
Engine
4 out of 5
A little flat down the bottom end, but I do have a full arrow system on it so it needs to go to the dyno. Having said that when it winds up its amazing.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Previous owner knew nothing about bikes, registered in sept 2014 an proceeded to ride through the winter and just wiped the panels down. When I got it stripped and cleaned it....Most of the mild steel coated stuff had to be re coated. Most of the bolts around the bottom of the bike had to be replaced but other than that it's cleaned up well. It's been totally reliable since I've had it.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Not had it officially serviced yet. The 4k service consisted of an oil change so I did that myself.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The looks, chunkieness (if that's a word). And the size. I love the fact that it's small. I also own an rsv4 and sit on that with the ball of my foot touching down, the zed I sit flat footed and bent legged which makes it very easy to throw around and control at slow speed.
Buying experience

Bought privately for 7.8k but had the pics been a higher res so I could see the fact that it was caked in 4 month of winter weather I would have definitely gone for a discount....I'll learn that next time....ask for hi res pics.

5 out of 5

Don't knock it till u try it

28 July 2014 by dunlop207

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

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
-

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki Z1000 in action
  • The front end of the Kawasaki Z1000
  • The Kawasaki Z1000 has twin end cans
  • Kawasaki Z1000 tank
  • The Kawasaki Z1000 in action
  • MCN's West riding the bike at its launch
  • The Kawasaki Z1000 is a competent street bike
  • Quality suspension makes the Zed great in the bends
  • 140bhp makes the Z1000 a manageable lump
  • The Z1000 is available in multiple colour schemes
  • A sideways view of the Kawasaki Z1000
  • KAWASAKI Z1000  (2014-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z1000  (2014-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z1000  (2014-on)
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