2014 Kawasaki Z1000 Review
Bike Tested: 2014 Kawasaki Z1000
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 14,24,500/-
The Kawasaki Z1000 takes inspiration from the pages of science fiction and drops jaws of bike lovers and enthusiasts.
As we all know Kawasaki is doing well in India and are aggressively launching their entire range of high end motorcycles in the country, pricing them aggressively too. Launching five bikes in less than six months is almost 1:1 ratio when counted, which is always denoted as “aggressive” when we speak of the automotive world. Aggressive brings me back to the motorcycle we are testing from the Kawasaki stable this time and it is none other than the revolutionary Z1000. Showcased late last year at the Milan Motor Show, the bike was an instant success mainly because of its styling. Kawasaki is known for making super bikes for the street without sacrificing on the fun quotient or plucking out the soul of the machine by not making it characterless or boring. Speed only remains the fun factor in characterless bikes but this is not the case with the Kawasaki Z1000. The motorcycle is very alive like a animal with the howl, feel and looks. We take the Kawasaki Z1000 out for a ride to get the right feel of it and find out the “revolutionary” change that has transformed it in a good way.
Motor Quest: Kawasaki Z series of motorcycles are in existence since 1972 and to celebrate 40 years of the Z, Kawasaki launched a special edition Z1000 two years back and in 2014, this brand new model takes a massive leap in every aspect.
Styling – When the Sugomi designed Z1000 was launched, one thing that came to our mind was that the design team was constantly made to watch all science fiction movies with motorcycles in it. The designers were forced to watch it again and again to come up with a one of a kind design. Now one look at the motorcycle and your going to say the word “Transformer” or “TRON motorcycle”. The sculpted body work all around comes together as a thing which is hard to miss on the road. Long tank shrouds lend it that undeniable Kawasaki look. The Z1000 manages to turn heads because of its colour too. The silver is quite different than what we see and green is a traditional shade for Kawasaki, which speaks for itself. Two stubby exhausts on either side also attract the eye of the masses very quickly. At the front, the Gothic looking headlight is a major part which lures everybody around.
The dominating fuel tank and the aggressive looking headlight with projector and white LED lights makes it light up any kind of road almost like the Sun itself! The high beam projector has a black line in between which resembles a monster/animal. There is no doubt that Kawasaki is very serious with the design philosophy here. There is a DRL situated on top of the headlight but goes unnoticed most of the time. The styling is so good that when we were testing it together with its faired sibling, it was surprising to notice that our fairing loving junta denied the Ninja 1000 and concentrated on the Z1000 for pictures and stares. The only thing which we will complain about are the dated turn indicators, which do not receive LED treatment at this price point. Integrated indicators would have been a lot more better as well. Overall, the Kawasaki Z1000 looks compact with the chunky and sculpted body panels while still looking immensely purposeful.
Ergonomics – Upright riding position with the handlebar placed lower is always a recipe for a sporty riding position. Rearset footpegs are not aggressively set and hence it does make journeys comfortable. The die-cast mirrors give a good view of what is behind and look great at the same time. The seat is well cushioned and supportive but the riding position slightly restricts movements, track days will confirm that though. The Z1000 provides very poor pillion comfort due to the small seat.
Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – The cluster looks very futuristic with the first three thousand RPM being displayed on the screen while the rest gets a digital part with LED lights. The screen displays the speedometer, which has service interval reminder, clock and two trip meters, fuel gauge, average, current fuel consumption and distance to empty. The usual solitary turn indicators are there on each side while there are normal tell-tale lights around the entire console. Switchgear looks and feels good and houses all the buttons including the hazard light switch.
Performance and Gearbox – Powering the Kawasaki Z1000 is an all aluminium, 1043cc, in-line four motor producing 141 BHP of power at 10,000 RPM and 111 Nm of torque at a relatively low 7300 RPM. The engine gets many updates compared to the last generation bike. A new lighter exhaust, bigger throttle bodies which are placed lower than usual, redesigned intake port and air box. Throttle response is minutely dull in bumper-to-bumper low speeds but is linear once you start increasing pace. The engine like any other Kawasaki powerplant is a gem. The mill is extremely smooth, refined all the way to its redline. No jerkiness throughout the rev-range and the intake howl which Kawasaki claims is cannibalistic, lives up to the mark to quite an extent and makes it very addictive to redline every time. The centre of gravity is very low due to new techniques applied everywhere. Adequate low-end torque, a superior mid-range and an insane top end rush makes it an excellent everyday companion and weekend buddy. The way the Z1000 pulls from any gear, any speeds is obviously superbike characteristic but it’s so smooth and controllable yet so much fun which makes it garner the ideal balance an enthusiast needs while riding aggressively.
The close ratio gearbox with slightly long throws did not feel up to the mark and was a bit clunky. The Z1000 weighs in at 221 kgs, which is excessively high for a street-fighter, hampering performance and dynamics. Weighing 35 kgs more than competition is not a good sign at all. 100 km/hr is done in 3.3 seconds but still, if it would have been lighter, it would have been more flickable, economical and enjoyable. We managed to hit 211 km/hr on it, which was a very brave decision because afterwards we realised that anything after 180 km/hr, it wants your neck to be separate from your body and anything above 150 km/hr needs careful attention and patience to sustain windblast. The Z1000 does not get traction control or power modes to choose from like its faired cousin. NVH levels are excellent and the motor does heat up a bit in traffic, but not that much that it roasts your calfs into a tandori.
Riding Dynamics – The Z1000 is called super naked and for a reason. A flat fat lowered handlebar and devoid of a fairing earns it this tag. Armed with fully adjustable suspension on both ends with sticky rubber which combined to a twin-tube aluminium frame, turns out to be a recipe for precise handling. Dynamically, it is one of the most poised Kawasaki we have ever ridden. Cornering is much sharper, sweepers are taken with more authority and ride quality hasn’t gone for a toss either. There is one thing though, the Z1000 is the most stiffly sprung Kawasaki we have ever tested. The Z800 also had similar characteristics but this is in a different league. Sure, when the bumps gets to the top of the suspension stroke, it will throw you off the seat but that is not the case at low speeds. All this is happening because of the horizontal back-link suspension instead of the link type suspension. Everything combined, the bike feels as agile as the Z800 for instance and town duties are easily dealt with.
The dual disc set up at the front with 4-piston monobloc callipers and a 250 mm disc at the rear with the calliper mounted below the disc lends superb stopping power and feel at the levers. The front brakes have good initial bite and rest of it is quite linear and progressive. The rear disc lacks initial bite, but not much as the ZX-10R and ZX-14R have traction control to back out. Backing these brakes are sticky tyres and lighter set of wheels which have reduced unsprung weight by 1.5 kgs over the previous version.
Verdict – Kawasaki has definitely upped the game with the new styling and revised updates to every aspect of the Z1000. This Kwacker looks sharp and performs exceptionally well. The Z1000 is a true all-rounder with the ergonomics helping you ride comfortably while garnering all the attention you need. The pricing is spot on and with the finely sculpted aesthetics and no other option from the land of the rising Sun (all the others are massively dated), the Kawasaki Z1000 could be the bike which would do it all for you despite being a naked.
The Kawasaki Z1000 does it all. It performs and looks exceptionally well so it will keep you busy while riding and also when you decide to stare at it all day long. The Z1000 ends up pleasing both the head and the heart.
* Sci-fi aesthetics
* Docile nature
* Well priced
What’s Not So Cool
* Kerb weight
* One color to choose from
* Limited dealership network
2014 Kawasaki Z1000 Specifications
* Engine: 1043cc, liquid-cooled, inline four, DOHC
* Power: 142 HP @ 10000 RPM
* Torque: 111 Nm @ 7300 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 3.4 seconds
* Top Speed: 250 km/hr (Limited)
* Fuel Consumption: 17-24 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Aluminium twin-tube
* Suspension: Upside-down forks (Front), Horizontal monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 120/70/17 (Front), 190/50/17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 310 mm Disc (Front), 250 mm Disc (Rear)
2014 Kawasaki Z1000 Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2045 mm x 790 mm x 1055 mm
* Wheelbase: 1435 mm
* Ground Clearance: 125 mm
* Seat Height: 815 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 17-litres
* Kerb weight: 221 kgs