KAWASAKI Z800 (2013 - 2018) Review

Highlights

  • A bike with surprising talents
  • A2-compliant version available
  • Beautifully balanced in every respect

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £720
Power: 111 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.8 in / 834 mm)
Weight: Medium (505 lbs / 229 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £4,000 - £6,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

We’re genuinely shocked how good the Kawasaki Z800 is, given how uninspiring the old Z750 was - it’s a fitting tribute to the Zed’s 40th birthday. The ride quality is sumptuous, the motor smooth and there’s power spilling out of it at every rpm. It’s a real joy to ride. All the hard work Kawasaki has put into improving the engine, stiffening the chassis and sorting the suspension has really paid off, but it’s still on the heavy side.

Kawasaki Z800e for A2 licence holders

The Z800 is now one of those rare bikes that’s beautifully-balanced everywhere – easy and fun to ride.  As well as being the most refined and sorted Zed we’ve ridden, new riders won’t miss out on the fun, thanks to the A2 licence-friendly Z800e model. Tyres, brakes and agility could all be improved slightly, but these are minor niggles and things you’ll never notice, if you don’t ride like a lunatic.

Kawasaki Z800 Performance

Not a separate model, just a few added extras: pillion seat cover, tank pad, dark flyscreen and an Akrapovic exhaust. Nice, but £700 more than the standard model. ABS is an option.

In 2017 the Z800 was replaced by the Kawasaki Z900.

Watch: Kawasaki Z800 video review

Ride quality & brakes

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

Based on the old Z750R’s steel tubular backbone frame, Kawasaki has added a cast aluminum subframe section running down each the side of the engine and connected by a tube around the front. It reduces engine vibration and increases rigidity. The double-sided steel box-section swingarm is 12mm longer to maintain the same wheelbase with the bigger rear sprocket.

41mm KYB forks and rear shock are adjustable for preload and rebound damping. The shock is moved 20mm to the left of centre to make way for the new exhaust.

Twin front brake discs are bigger (up from 300mm to 310mm) and gripped by Nissin four-piston calipers. ABS is an optional extra.

Engine

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

The Zed’s liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder motor is bored-out to 806cc. Bore and stroke is now 71 x 50.9mm (the old bore was 8.4mm). Power is up from the Z750’s 105bhp to 111bhp and the overall gearing is shorter thanks to a two teeth bigger rear sprocket (up from 43 to 45). These two main changes are responsible for the Kawasaki’s extra grunt out of corners and power all the way through the revs.

Revised intake and exhaust ports, longer intake ducts (up from 36.5mm to 41.5mm) and a new intake funnel arrangement, where the inner two trumpets are longer then the outers, all help boost mid-range power.

There’s a new fully-aluminium die-cast cylinder head with plated bores, which is 1kg lighter than before, 10% lighter pistons, bigger oil jets, wider radius crankshaft journals, a redesigned oil pan, a new camchain with smaller side plates and new intake valve seat material. Throttle bodies are up 2mm to 34mm.

Detail changes inside the gearbox and clutch mechanism offer more durability and an easier action.

To boost midrange, the exhaust header pipes are made as long as possible. They curve beautifully outwards before coming back underneath the engine and into a new, stubby end can.

Reliability & build quality

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

Built quality is excellent and up there with the best. 

We've got 9 Kawasaki Z800 owners' reviews on MCN, with an overall score of 4.3 stars out of 5. Common problems include a lack of kit and lots of vibration when riding - both of which can be solved by adding your own extras. 

Value vs rivals

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

The price of the Z800 on par with its main Japanese rival: the Suzuki GSR750. It’s a fair way cheaper than Yamaha FZ-8, but more expensive than the class-leading Triumph Street Triple.

Watch: Kawasaki Z800 vs Triumph Street Triple vs Suzuki GSR750 vs Yamaha FZ8 vs MV Agusta Brutale 675

Kawasaki Z800 parts and servicing

Service schedule - The 3750-mile interim services are little more than a walk round and a tyre kick. Oil and filter are changed at 7500 miles,along with the spark plugs, while valve clearances are at a generous 26,000 miles. You can safely double the spark plug change interval, especially if you’ve removed the secondary air system. Access isn’t too bad to the top of the engine, although you’ll have to move a small black box to get at the fourth spark plug – make sure it goes back the right way up, as this is the bike’s tilt sensor. Put the box back skew-whiff and it’ll tell the ECU the bike’s lying on its side, disabling the engine management. One irritating point - while you can check the coolant level easily enough by peering past the tank side pod, to top it up you have to take the pod itself off and it’s easy to damage it in the process, especially in cold weather.

New and used parts - Genuine service parts aren’t too bad, with an oil filter under £10 and an air filter about £40. Individual bits of bodywork are mostly not too dear either, though there are a lot of them. Damage your radiator and you could be looking at £600 for a replacement. Pattern parts are available – brake pads for £24 a pair, K&N air filter £42.58, oil filter £5, chain and sprockets for £90 quid (all prices from www.wemoto.com). There aren’t many in breakers. Used engine and electrical bits aren’t a problem, but front-end parts are harder to find.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

Although there’s an ABS option, you get no electronic rider aids with the Z800 and it’s devoid of fancy designer labels, but new headlights and nose fairing are the most obvious difference to the old Z750. There’s also a new bellypan, hugger, radiator shrouds, a slimmer fuel tank, plastic fuel tank ‘wings’ and a slimmer rear tail unit. The new LED rear lights form two ‘Z’ patterns and the seat is also full of Zeds. Handlebars are now flatter and further forward and there are new luggage hooks.

A new three-part LCD dash has its tacho display in the middle segment and it flows up and down like a graphic equalizer. As well as a speedo, odemeter, clock, dual trips and engine temperature, the Kawasaki dash now has a fuel gauge, and an eco-meter.

Optional extras include a fly screen, crash protection, a single seat unit and undertray.

 

An exhaust upgrade is popular, not just on aesthetic grounds (some people love the standard silencer, but most loathe it), but to save an awful lot of weight. You won’t gain much power though. At the same time, many owners remove the secondary air bleed system – Z1000 blanking plates fit, though you’ll also need a plug-in resistor to avoid its absence being flagged up as a fuel injection fault. Getting rid of the air bleed also cuts down the amount of backfiring on the overrun.

 

Specs

Engine size 806cc
Engine type 16v, inline four-cylinder
Frame type Tubular steel spine frame and double-sided swingarm
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 834mm
Bike weight 229kg
Front suspension Non-adjustable 41mm KYB forks
Rear suspension Single rear shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs with four-piston Nissin. Optional ABS
Rear brake 250mm single disc with single-piston Nissin caliper. Optional ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £720
New price -
Used price £4,000 - £6,500
Insurance group 14 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 111 bhp
Max torque 83 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2013 – Z800 hits dealers.

2014 - Z800 Performance launched

Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI Z800 (2013 - 2018)

10 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z800 (2013 - 2018) 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 Z800 (2013 - 2018)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £720
5 out of 5 Great engine and great fun to ride.
20 June 2020 by Chatters

Version: Non ABS

Year: 2014

A really nice bike to ride. You can jump on and go to work or take it for a blast, it's equally at home with both. A great engine with really planted handling. It has no bells and whistles, it doesn't need them, a "proper" bike that most riders could just jump on and have a good time.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I would like a bit more bite from the front brakes, not enough to worry about though. Probably it just needs some braided lines and they would be much better.

Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is a peach power everywhere. I've added an Arrow rear section (which removed the cat and exhaust valve) which makes it crisper and makes it pull hard from the low down, with a great sound track. A Dynojet power commander V has tuned in the new pipe properly.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The bike is a dream, reliabliity wise, and at six years old it only shows one slight spot of furring on one caliper mounting bolt and a little spot on the gear shifter. everything else is sltill spotless. Kawasaki have upped their build quality in the last decade or so and it shows on this bike.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Not a lot of standard toys, no traction control, ABS or rider modes. I added an Arrow rear exhaust and Power commander. They are worth the money (in my opinion), for the added power and sound effects!

5 out of 5 Amazing bike, a real hidden gem
16 October 2018 by Dane Reynolds

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £800

Fallen in love with this bike, it has a real quirk that everyone loves!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front brakes are great, spot on for the weight they have to handle. Rear brake is uninspiring, it requires a little more pressure to actuate.

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Great build quality and attention to detail.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Oil is changed every 4 months - £150 Tyres 2-3 times a year - £400 Pads and overall inspections, lubing cables and adjustments are additional costs.

Equipment 3 out of 5

No extras, just an engine, frame and a rider. However, the look of the bike is stunning, something very different.

Buying experience: Paid £5500 for a 2015 model, with 4,000 on the clock. Fresh tyres, pads, oil, warranty, Scorpion carbon exhaust and Datatag.

5 out of 5 13 Months down the line and 21,000 miles
26 April 2016 by Glenn

Version: Full Power

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £1,100

Taking everything into consideration, I can only recommend this bike.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I have given the rating 4 rather than 5, because my bike does not have ABS, however as far as the ride quality and suspension then I would give 5 out of 5. The handling on the road is fantastic. this is not a track bike, therefore can not be compared with a sports bike, it is what it is and that's a naked street bike and for that purpose I can not fault it.

Engine 5 out of 5

I can not fault the engine. All the comments regarding power and torque still stand. My up to date comments relate to reliability. Never has it put a beat wrong, starts immediately with the push of the button, this is from day one until the present and throughout the winter. Does not burn or drop any oil whatsoever all gaskets are bone dry like brand new. Have not needed to put any water in the radiator. The fuelling is still perfect.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

After writing my previous review at 12k miles, would you believe about a week later my clutch cable broke, it had been getting a bit notchy for a while and quite frankly I had learnt to live with it. I had tried lubricating, but after a couple of hundred miles, it returned to its "normal" stiff self. Anyway after having a new clutch cable fitted it was so smooth and effortless, yes loving this bike all over again. Now the big issue after about 6k miles the same issue, I put up with it for another 2k miles and after several attempts at lubricating decided on another new cable. Yes its like new again, absolutely fantastic so light I had to get use to using it again. I have considered a hydraulic clutch conversion, however the cost is approx £300 as opposed to a cable fitted £50 (not main dealer). All the competition in the same price range have cable (manual) clutches.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I once said to my mechanic, this bike is not cheap to run. He then gave me the following analogy: "Do you realise that running a bike like yours is the equivalent of running a Porsche Boxter in terms of performance, therefore when making a comparison to car servicing it is unfair to compare with a Ford Focus. If you want a cheap bike to run then buy a honda CB250!". I thought about what he said and considering the miles I am doing it's not expensive!!

Equipment 4 out of 5

My previous review "6 months down the line and still love it! " I made a comment about the bike not having ABS and locking it up a couple of times, however I would now like to comment further. I have not locked the bike up since and have learnt to do without ABS, therefore I do not have any issues with my bike not having ABS. I also note that from later in 2015 most of the Z800's now have ABS so just maybe Kawasaki have taken note and have made the right choice in fitting ABS

4 out of 5 Kawasaki Z800 (Indonesian)
14 February 2016 by Ivan Tanujaya known as vanzmotoblog

Year: 2013

Annual servicing cost: £600

The bike is too heavy, it's even heavier than the Z1000. And due to the (over) weight, the height is quite a problem too. It takes quote some times to adapt to this bike.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

I got my rear wheel dented. Not that noticeable, though. It was due to a hole on the road during Sunday Morning Ride. I heard from my friend he passed through the same hole before with GSR750 and no problem at all, no dent. Well, I live in Indonesia, I believe the road in the UK is much much better.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

I'd recommend engine guard (cover, not the frame slider). There are plenty of choices from Rizoma, SW-Motech, and etc, but among those brands I would recommend the OEM Kawasaki Z800 engine guard. It's cheaper and protect the engine very well. If I'm not mistaken Rizoma only provides for the left side, not good, bad value for money. I'd recommend Metzeler Z8, I use this tyre. It is a road-purpose tyre but it handles like the M7RR.

Buying experience: Well, it's Indonesian price, much more expensive than in the UK

4 out of 5 great value for money
24 October 2015 by ADI

Version: z800 full power

Year: 2013

Highly recommended

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

excellent brakes

Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

the stock rear tyre gone in 2000 mile, could be my riding style

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

original exhaust way to heavy, i went for IXIL 55 less than 1Kg stock tires gone quick ,i went for METZELER Z8 they are great

Buying experience: Dealer/I paid £6600 brand new with gear indicator included

5 out of 5 6 Months down the line and still love it!
21 September 2015 by Glenn

Version: Full Power

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £900

Loads of power throughout the rev range, very flexible engine, gearbox and clutch are unbelievably smooth, would recommend to a friend. Personally I think the looks are a work of art, better in the flesh than on any photo. Riding the bike is so addictive, that's why I have done 12k in 6 months

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The suspension is smooth, feedback is good when cornering, the Pirelli tyres are better than the stock Dunlops, especially in the wet. However I miss the ABS as I have locked it up a couple of time!

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Ridden just over 12k miles since March 2015, never had any issues other than stock Dunlops only managed 3k miles, now have Pirelli Angel ST, these handle better and last longer, the weight really is not an issue at all when riding, adds to the stability especially at speed, however only notice the extra weight when man handling. This bike is fantastic, handles like a dream and has improved with the extra miles.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

The service cost includes 1 set of tyres + an additional rear (3 tyres in total). Last service was completed by a racing specialist not a main dealer half the cost (he used genuine Kawasaki parts and I watched him pour in the FULLY synthetic oil. Please take into consideration the bike has completed over 12k miles

Equipment 4 out of 5

Could have done with ABS

Buying experience: dealer experience was first class

2 out of 5 nice bike shame about the vibration
19 July 2015 by matt hoyle

Year: 2014

Annual servicing cost: £200

Loads of vibration to the point where after 30 minutes of riding you have to stop or else you will never have children again. Apparently this is normal and nothing to worry about apart from the fact that you can't ride the thing. Going to trade it in for a z1000

Ride quality & brakes 2 out of 5

again nasty vibration. need to stop after 30 minutes and the pillion seat is not the most comfortable. the brakes are good and stop you very quickly even without abs. surprisingly light for its weight and you can chuck it around with ease so long as you remember to counter steer with confidence otherwise you will be in the scenery

Engine 4 out of 5

great engine amazing pulling power and midrange torque

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

nasty vibration so not that good.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

only done the first service

Equipment 3 out of 5

engine guards are great, exhaust is a bit pants

Buying experience: The dealer was happy to do a deal and gave me extras for free

5 out of 5 Fantastic
12 June 2013 by Bubblin

Having also had my for a week, so far i'm very impressed, I've ridden all sorts of bikes and really had long test rides/weekends with all of the competitors. The Z800 feels like a rocket off the lights the gearing really helps launch this bike away, lets be honest here most nakeds have a top speed of around 90mph before your neck feels like its being ripped off, and most of us are cruising 90% of the time below 70mph (As Honda keep telling us), and it excels at all those speeds. So, weight wise, yes its heavy (229kg fully fueled) but it doesn't feel like it, very easy to turn corners, very composed on all types of bumps and very agile, I honestly don't feel that extra weight (well I'm not pushing the boundaries of nurburgring records so frankly I don't care) I also had the Street triple for a week to try this out, yes same composed feeling, but looked boring, and clutch action from standstill had no real 'feel' hence why I swayed towards the Z800, yes its lighter, but to be honest it didn't feel lighter when riding (coming from a normal Joe Average rider) Have I made the right choice, yes of course otherwise I wouldn't have bought it! Have fun whatever you choose, ignore the Weight Weenies who base buying bikes on how many grammes lighter their 2013 models is over their 2012 model and you will have fun on this.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 Bike is nice but this is not a review...
18 January 2013 by Thane87

No offence MCN, but how is this a REVIEW of the bike? All you do is outline the tech specs of the bike and changes compared to the Z750. Sorry, but i can find all these in the Kawasaki website. I like your work but this seems like a rushed attempt. You dont even have any on the roads pics for crying out loud!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Z800 is superb
17 January 2013 by timowers

Having owned my Z800 for nearly a whole week (!) after p/x'ing up from an '09 Z750 I have to admit that all the glowing reviews are spot on. It really is a fantastic bike. It's too early for anyone to comment on reliability yet, but going on the previous Kawasaki's I've owned since 1985 there shouldn't be anything to worry about. The one and only criticism I have so far is the side stand. It's far more awkward to get down than other models (it's too short). Other than that I'm very happy with it.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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