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Old 02-16-2010, 09:49 PM   #1
cyberdos OP
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z1000 review

This past weekend I was able to attend a Kawasaki Z1000 Press Ride. Kawasaki Motor Corp so gracefully asked 6 moderators from different moto-websites to spend 2 days testing out their new 2010 model. I unfortunately wasnít one of them but by stroke of good luck (and extremely bad for my buddy Hoser, sorry bud) I was heading to Cali on Friday night.

The event kicked off that same night where some apparel was handed out and some technical data about the bike was provided. I missed it but in all honesty, all that technical mumbo jumbo bores me to death. I much prefer to tell you all what the bike feels like than what the specs of it are. Iíll leave the marketing to Kawi. But to be quite honest, I donít even know why they would need to since this bike, once you ride it, you wont need anything else to want to own it.

We headed out early Saturday morning to pick up the bikes from KMC. They all had shiny new tires. That was the first thing I noticed. The other was that when I sat on the bike I thought that I would probably be needing a steering damper as the front end felt really light and the rake steep. Throughout he day Iíd determine that unless youíre riding really hard or at the track that one is not needed. The bike feels rock solid even when hitting an instant sweeping exit coming straight out of KMC and then riding through the absolutely horrible California freeways.

For those who know me you know that I ride. I ride a lot. So what I look for in a motorcycle first and foremost is comfort. Thatís why I bought my ZX6R and curiously enough, the reason I sold it as well when I started to ride even more than your typical weekend rides. The ZX was comfortable for a sportbike but not comfortable for riding back to back to back 500 mile days like I am known to do. So from what little I knew of this bike coming into this I already liked since it seemed to address my major gripe with streetbikes nowadays. Not sacrificing comfort for a more aggressive race-replica design to appeal to every wannabe Ricky Racer out on the street.

The Zís ergonomics are spot on for a street bike. Kawasaki is strongly marketing this bike as a comfy supersport. And that, it quite certainly is. Thereís no denying that this bike is a power plant. The engine is super smooth and even with the stock crap grips I didnít feel much vibration at my hands. It has handlebars so the upright position makes for a nice smooth comfortable ride. I didnít tinker with the suspension at all. Felt great both in the twisties and in the freeway. So at phase one, this bike was a winner.

The other thing I really look for in a bike is for it to be flexible. Not only do I want it to go for days but I want it to go quick when the roads bend. We took a couple of passes through beautiful Ortega Highway where the roads massage the mountain with grace. And graceful was the Z, slicing through it. Mind you we are all on brand new bikes that do not belong to us. The pace was set and we howled along with big stinkiní grins on our faces.

After lunch we headed back and over Ortega and 3 of us were split from the rest of the group as we got caught by 2 red lights before heading up the mountain. This was an opportunity for us to see what the bike really had. After a couple of miles of nonstop twisty action we stopped at Hellís Kitchen for a bit. The 3 of us couldnít stop talking about how fun that small stint of the ride was catching the rest of the crew. The engine is so strong that I didnít need to shift gears at all. I could park it either in 2nd or 3rd gear and throttle or chop as desired. Quite impressive for a completely stock bike. It really didnít didnít miss a beat.

After hitting a few more spots we headed back to KMC and later to a Supercross event which Iíll talk about on a separate ride report of the entire weekend. By the conversations among us I can tell you that Kawi really has something special with this motorcycle. Itís actually quite a shame that theyíve apparently been having a hard time selling it on the US market. IMO, all you have to do is take it for a spin and youíll be wanting one in your garage ASAP. I sure as have been trying to figure out how to do so for the past couple days.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:51 PM   #2
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Great on power. I was at about 50mph. 2nd gear clutch up. Effortless.



I described it to some of the guys as a big supermotard. The thing really turns effortlessly.



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Old 02-16-2010, 09:51 PM   #3
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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One bad thing I did find was that when I got up on the balls of my feet, my heel would touch the mammoth exhaust. I assume this would be the first mod that anyone would do to this bike as I think it looks hideous anyway. Other than that, the bike has killer looks.

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Old 02-17-2010, 12:10 AM   #5
mousitsas
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Thanks for taking the effort to write this, its a bike I like too, but never ridden.
Have you also ridden the speed triple? If yes how do they compare? If not, what other naked bike are you familiar with?
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:31 AM   #6
RedDogAlberta
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I see in the new issues that both Cycle World and Cycle Canada absolutely love this bike. I also noted that the 1/4 mile time was on par with the Ninja ZX12R when it came out and took the speed world by storm.

Once again for me, as with so many modern machines, the exhaust system has simply got to go although I'm not sure how well that can be done given the integration with lower bodywork.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousitsas
Thanks for taking the effort to write this, its a bike I like too, but never ridden.
Have you also ridden the speed triple? If yes how do they compare? If not, what other naked bike are you familiar with?
Yep, I've ridden the triple. how they compare...hmm.. I'll say that one thing is that the Z seems more tame in power. I say seems because the engine is so damn smooth that you barely feel it under you at all. Some may not like this as they will probably say that the bike has no "soul". But I don't really mind it at all. Of course once you crack the throttle and you hear the intake howl your grin will be so wide that you probably wont care about the "soul" either. It's not top end power like the litre or other supersport class bikes. It's nice smooth wherever you want it power without that grunt of say an sv650. I've ridden a lot of bikes. I like to swap bikes with whoever will let me do so when I'm out on a ride. I was really impressed with this one. It's a kick ass STREETbike.

Also, about the naked bike comparos, we rode approximately 150 miles that day. For a full out naked bike wind protection is usually an issue. It wasn't much of one that day. We did do a fair amount of freeway riding. The tank is wide and those small fairings on its side do a good job of blocking the wind which is a major concern when I ride my DR550 on long trips. I think I may have to call up Kawi again so they can let me test it out some more.
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:40 PM   #8
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I have been known to do 100 plus mile days, sometimes in temperatures below 70 degrees. I like a little pocket of calm air and I like to be able to take my laptops, cameras, chargers and first aid kit when I go. It's nice to have a place to put all my 'Stitch when I stop for my Starbucks too.


A good quality helmet, earplugs, and Aerostich Dariens and thats all you need brother,
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:21 AM   #9
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Question hey....

does the z1000 come with a slipper clutch??? love naked bikes....
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