Kawasaki has jumped the gun and become the first of the Japanese manufacturers to spill the beans on its 2010 model range, and although it’s a varied selection the bad news for sportsbike fans is that there is no new ZX-10R, although a funky new Z1000 should soften the blow.
Kawasaki’s so-near-yet-so-far naked bike, which has somehow managed to miss the mark in both of its previous incarnations, has received a major facelift and some much needed grunt.
According to Kawasaki, the new Z1000 is designed to deliver the kind of excitement never before experienced in a street bike, not too hard if its designers had only ridden the previous models…
So how are they going to achieve this? The Z1000’s engine has been totally redesigned and is now up to 1043cc thanks to a 5.1mm bigger bore and a 0.2mm smaller stroke with a new balancer shaft to eliminate vibrations. This has upped the power to 137bhp with 81ft.lb of torque. But it’s the styling that sets the Z1000 aside.
The term ‘visual impact’ has obviously been used a lot in Kawasaki’s marketing meetings and the Z certainly announces its arrival. Although the traditional dual twin-stacked pipes remain, the nose cowl has been sharpened as has the tail, while the forks get new funky covers, all very Judge Dredd. And just wait until you see the optional extra snakeskin style seat cover!
On the chassis front the frame has been re-designed and is now 30% stiffer as well as 4kg lighter thanks to the use of die-cast sections and now uses the engine as a stressed member with four mounting points rather than the previous model’s three. The shock has been relocated to above the swingarm so it is less affected by heat and improves the bike’s weight distribution.
It all sounds very good, let’s just hope the Z1000 finally delivers the ride its look promises.
Also in Kawasaki’s 2010 stable is an updated GTR1400. The hyper fast tourer gets Kawasaki’s first traction control system, called KTRC, on the higher spec version as well as ABS. The traction control system compares front and rear wheel speed and moderates engine’s power output when it detects a spike. Also new is a neat fuel economy mode that automatically leans off the fuel to boost economy as well as lighting an indicator on the dash to let you know you are riding frugally. God, I hate that word.
For those obsessed with comfort the screen is now electronically adjustable and 70mm taller while the fairing has been modified for better heat dissipation from the engine and heated grips are fitted as standard.
Finishing the line-up is the very slightly tweaked Versys, which gets a new nose, taller screen and optional ABS, and finally the ZX-10R. The ZX-10R isn’t all new but it does get a new fairing, a new can and a modified Öhlins steering damper.