A new set of glad rags, a tweak of the chassis here and a fettled gearbox there, et voila: a really rather splendid new big Zed
The new Z1000 is more muscular, a load more aggressive yet also more compact than the old 'un. As a revamped model goes then, it's a winner. And blasting around the fantastic roads on the windy island of Fuerte Ventura it was, er, a blast.
Unlike some recent new models, like the Suzuki 1250 Bandit, you'll find a ton of interesting changes that keep you wandering round pointing and poking, even before thinking about jumping on board.
The clever quad exhausts should be first to catch your eye. Depending on your mood you can view them from the side and believe they are single silencers (which they are) or get to the rear and convince yourself both sides have twin pipes. The latest side cowls with integrated indicators also grab your attention, as do the radial mounted brakes with petal-pattern discs front and rear. Every model is also finished in metal flake paint. The orange option is in your face, while the darker colours are more subtle.
I can see styling cues here borrowed from the Aprilia Tuono, Triumph Speed Triple and KTM Super Duke, and even a touch of Honda Hornet and Suzuki GSX-R. The blend works, for at the same time Kawasaki have managed to retain some individuality for the Zed.
Hop into the saddle and you'll find the new Zed has a more upright riding position compared to last year's model. The handlebars are now further back and the seat is 40mm narrower. With the wheelbase being increased by 10mm, the head angle kicked out from 24 to 24.5 degrees and flex added to the frame and swingarm, Kawasaki say the rider should feel more feedback from this super naked.
The suspension has also been modified to give the 41mm USD forks smoother damping on the first part of the stroke, progressing to a firmer action under hard braking. Labelled by Kawasaki 'long travel' I found the now more powerful radial brakes in fact made the front forks dive much too quickly, and to cure this I had to dial up both preload and rebound damping - which quite possibly negated the effect of the modification. Oh well...
The rear shock has had a similar upgrade giving it a soft but positive feel under acceleration, which was fine for my 11-stone but it'll need a stiffer setting for anyone heavier or committed to pillion rides.
The motor's top end remains the same at 125bhp but the low and mid range grunt has been boosted through re-profiled camshafts, smaller valves and a modified fuel injection system. The gearing has also been altered offering a less frantic ride with less shifting and more cruising round in higher ratios. A relocated engine mount and new aluminium engine subframe apparently lessens vibration but I could still feel some tingling through the bars around 6000rpm (which disappeared as the revs increased).
Continue the Kawasaki Z1000 Review
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