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Review: Kawasaki Z1000
Driven January 2014
Surely you will know Kawasaki for its Ninja series of bikes, but Kawasaki has a range of other models as well, which includes the Z series of naked bikes. Anything naked does grab a lot of attention, and the Z1000 is no different in this aspect. The dare-to-bare Z1000 follows Kawasaki’s Sugomi design theme, which means 'badass' to you and me. The bike looks quite menacing, with that frowning Predator’s mask headlight, followed by an arching fuel tank and raked rear, all of which give the Z1000 an ‘in for the kill’ look.
The compact instrument cluster has a nifty-looking tachometer that houses a multi-information display. Apart from the obvious speed and revs, it also displays a fuel gauge, and a range calculator. Not that you would bother with it, but there is an ‘Eco’ mode that comes on the display, when you go easy on the throttle.
Power to the rear wheel comes from a 1,043cc motor which makes around 140bhp, while torque is rated at 111Nm.
On the move, the first thing you notice is how nimble the bike feels to ride. With the single-piece handle bar that sits lower and closer to the rider and slightly rear-set footpegs, it gives you a comfortably sporty sitting stance. Kawasaki has skipped on traction control, and power modes (low, medium, full) to keep the performance as raw as possible. Thankfully, ABS comes as standard and in a country like ours, this feature is a must-have.
The bike has a fat powerband spread across the rev range. With torque available as low down as 2500rpm, you don’t have to downshift every time you overtake. During the time we went clocking miles on the Z1000, a good chunk of it was done cruising at 120kph.
120? That’s it? Well, the bike can go much faster; we saw something like 180kph appear on the speedo before we backed off. Keeping the Z1000 at higher speeds is a task thanks to the absence of a front fairing, which means the rider faces strong wind resistance once you start moving north of 150kph. Adding to all that commotion are the vibrations from the engine that start creeping in at around 8,500rpm. To be fair, the bike is developed as a mid-range performer and on the road it works really well.
The stiff rear suspension, along with the 56.5-inch wheelbase makes the bike very flickable around the city, but can be a bit bumpy on bad roads, and the wafer-thin seat provides little relief in this matter.
On a mixed cycle of city and highway riding, the bike returned an efficiency figure of 13.6kpl, which sounds good for a 1,000cc motorcycle.
Coming to the point of buying the Kawasaki Z1000, we see no reason why you shouldn’t, if you are looking for a 1,000cc naked bike. Especially when you look at that aggressive stance coupled with the power to make sure that the Z1000 is all show and all go. Add to that an attractive price of Rs 12.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), and we surely think the Z1000 makes a strong case for itself.
4cyl, 1,043cc, 140bhp, 111Nm, 6M, 13.6kpl, 17ltr fuel tank, Rs 12.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
If the ZX-10R is too extreme, and the ZX-14R is just too big, then the Z1000 just fits right in. It has got those aggressive looks and a punchy motor to satisfy most biking needs.