2024 Kawasaki Z7 Hybrid review | Is this dual power source bike the future of urban transport?


  • 451cc parallel twin with additional electric motor
  • Automatic or manual gearbox modes
  • E-boost button

At a glance

Power: 68 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.3 in / 795 mm)
Weight: Medium (496 lbs / 225 kg)


New £11,949
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Kawasaki have to be applauded as unlike their rivals, they have actually committed to some carbon neutral models within their range. This year as well as the fully-electric e-1 bikes, they have a brace of hybrids.

The world’s first mass-produced hybrid motorcycles, the Z7 hybrid and Ninja 7 Hybrid are designed to be fuel-efficient city commuters that are able to enter zero emissions zones if required thanks to their ability to turn off their 451cc parallel twin petrol engine and run fully-electric. Is this the future of urban transport in the UK? That’s still open to debate...

While the Z7 Hybrid certainly has promise, and its ability to either run fully-electric or record around 80mpg in Eco-Hybrid mode is very impressive, the final product needs its rough edges smoothed off to appeal to a mass market. Its hybrid tech is undeniably clever, and I genuinely like hybrids as they remove the range anxiety you get with pure electric power, but the Z7’s gearchange is poor, the handling heavy and the price tag too high for it to appeal to everyone.

Kawasaki Z 7 Hybrid static shot

The scenarios where it would make sense to buy are very limited and I can’t realistically see why you would pick it over a petrol-powered middleweight and a stack of leftover cash unless you were a dedicated early adopter who really wants a hybrid two-wheeler and is prepared to pay the extra for it.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Due to the fact the electric motor and battery are placed around the petrol-engine and it has a long wheelbase, the Z7 has a very heavy-handling feel that isn’t all that pleasant.

At low speed this top-heavy feel can easily catch you out, a sensation not helped by quite a small turning circle, and it is anything but light and nimble – in fact it weighs 55kg more than a Kawasaki Z500! Also, while the brakes and forks are good, the shock is quite harsh in its action and doesn’t deal with bumpy B-roads very well.

Kawasaki Z 7 Hybrid front brakes


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Z7 Hybrid has three modes – Sport-Hybrid, Eco-Hybrid and fully-electric EV. Sport-Hybrid mode requires the rider to change gear via the bar-mounted buttons as there is no automatic option, which is odd as it is available in Eco-Hybrid mode. More than fast enough, once you get used to the push-button gearchange, the Z7’s engine is pleasingly responsive and even has an extra trick up its sleeve in the shape of e-boost.

Only available in Sport mode, e-boost adds a claimed 9.9bhp and 12.3ft.lb of performance through the electric motor that lasts for five seconds and is a helpful, if not entirely necessary, overtaking aid that give you an extra zip of acceleration.

It can also be used from a standing start to help you get away from the line and Kawasaki claim it can match a ZX-10R’s initial acceleration, which is a touch optimistic... But it’s not all plain sailing and despite an automatic clutch and push-button gearchange, there is an annoying lurch between every gear selection as if the quickshifter is set far too slowly. And in Eco mode it gets even worse...

Kawasaki Z 7 Hybrid left-hand switchgear

In Eco, which has reduced engine power and electric assistance, the Z7 averages an impressive 80mpg under a mix of riding conditions. With start/stop, it pulls away on electric power before quickly swapping to petrol and although its performance is definitely lacklustre when compared to Sport mode, it cruises along merrily.

But, once again, the gearbox is a problem, especially in auto mode. Very keen to change up through the gears as quickly as possible to conserve fuel, the Z7 holds onto a high gear too long, reducing engine braking and muting acceleration, and during up changes the unpleasant lurch is very noticeable at anything other than a constant throttle.

Also, annoyingly, should you over-ride the auto gearbox with the push-button selectors it doesn’t return to auto unless you tell it to and there is no ‘kickdown’ function for overtakes and the e-boost is disabled.  It feels crude and somewhat unrefined, which is a shame as it ruins the whole riding experience.

Kawasaki Z 7 Hybrid e-boost button

In EV mode the Z7 becomes fully electric but unlike most electric bikes, it still uses the gearbox. Able to hit about 40mph flat out and a maximum of fourth gear, at sensible urban speeds you have a range of roughly 5-8 miles before the battery’s charge is used up and the bike automatically reverts to its petrol engine (it takes about 25 miles at 60mph to fully recharge again).

Effective as an electric bike, the gearbox is once again a nuisance as it lurches when it changes gears and as there is no motor noise, you can hear it clunk as it engages. It’s certainly acceptable urban transport in EV mode, and the forward/reverse ‘walk’ mode is handy, but it’s not fault-free.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Z7 Hybrid, like most of Kawasaki’s middleweights, is built in Thailand and not Japan, which isn’t an issue and there is no reason to assume it will be unreliable.

It comes with a four-year warranty as standard and the parallel twin is a fairly basic unit that should be solid while the hybrid system is also fairly tried and tested technology. Quite how much extra strain it puts on the gearbox is yet to be seen but we would be fairly confident with its reliability.

Kawasaki Z 7 Hybrid sitting still in traffic

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The big selling point for hybrid technology is reduced running costs and the Z7 should average about 70mpg during normal use with 60mpg a worst-case scenario and 80mpg the very best.

That’s not bad considering a Z500 generally averages around 60mpg. But, and this is a big BUT, at £12k the Z7 Hybrid costs over double what the Z500 will set you back and also has to pay the same road tax.

In the UK there are currently no zero-emissions zones and any bike built with or after Euro3 can enter ULEZ zones, which makes the Hybrid feel a bit pointless. Pleasingly the hybrid has the same service intervals as a petrol-powered bike. Realistically, Kawasaki’s hybrid is a lifestyle choice rather than an economic one.

Kawasaki Z 7 Hybrid engine/motor


3 out of 5 (3/5)

With the Zed costing £12k, you really would hope for more in terms of its spec. With its non-adjustable telescopic forks, two-piston sliding calipers, lack of angle-responsive electronics and no traction control, the Kawasaki doesn’t feel a premium product.

It lacks kerb appeal and aside from the clever tech, which is hidden away under the fairing, it certainly doesn’t look or feel a £12k bike. You get a TFT dash with connectivity as standard, but Kawasaki’s Rideology app and dash is much more basic than some rival products.

Kawasaki Z 7 Hybrid left turn in city centre


Engine size 451cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel-twin/ interior permanent-magnet synchronous motor
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 795mm
Bike weight 225kg
Front suspension 41mm telescopic forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single monoshock, adjustable preload
Front brake 2 x 300mm discs with two-piston calipers. ABS
Rear brake 250mm single disc with single-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 71 mpg
Annual road tax £84
Annual service cost -
New price £11,949
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Four years

Top speed & performance

Max power 68 bhp
Max torque 44.6 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 217 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

Introduced as a new model in 2024

Other versions

Kawasaki Ninja 7 Hybrid - a sportier version of the hybrid with fairings and a slightly more focused riding position.

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