Stick your Alstare Suzuki and your Ten Kate Honda up your jacksy. When the sun’s shining and you’re up for it, there can be few better seats to slide over for a good buzz than Big K’s Z1000 and Honda’s CB1000R
Click to read: Honda CB1000R owners reviews
Click to read: Kawasaki Z1000 owners reviews
I think it’d be wrong to open this test by trying to justify why having either one of these two bikes is a more sensible decision than purchasing their fairing clad forebears. After all, everybody knows the only people that buy new litre sportsbikes nowadays don’t need to bother with magazine road tests. They already know all there is to know about bikes, right?
Every time I try and ride a modern sportsbike fast on the road, apart from being completely humbled and feeling like a social outcast, I’ve never climbed from one thinking, yep, definitely glad I had 180bhp on cam as I was powering off that mini roundabout. Pointless. Don’t get me wrong, I love litre sportsbikes like I love litre bottles of Jack Daniels, never needed a whole one though. The best thing sportsbikes have given us is street bikes like the Honda CB1000R and the Kawasaki Z1000.
You still get the raucous, death-on-a-stick power plant, which even after the grown-ups have retuned them for more midrange and less peak power will leave you with enough shove to share with your friends. Plus you get proper brakes and suspension that can cope with everything you can throw at it, rather than only what you can’t.
They’re also comfortable, insurable and thrashable. The Zed and the CB aren’t the only two available, but they are the pick of the crop. The CB remains unchanged since it arrived on the scene in 2007. With its smooth as silk looks and its fluid riding dynamic you wouldn’t doubt it was sitting pretty until the new Zed thou’ bowled into town asking, “Who was the hardest till I walked in?”
It has a look, but I’m not sure what it’s trying to achieve yet. I’m not even sure the guy that designed it is sure what it’s supposed to look like. At any angle from the rear it looks great. The trapezoidal pipes have retained the original cool of the 2004 model’s four peashooters, yet shrugged off some of the lard the updated 2007 version sprouted. I like them. I think the whole rear end works well, even with the polished rims.
Approaching this bike from the front is best done with your eyes shut, for it is as ugly as sin. I was convinced it had been crashed when I picked it up, closer inspection revealed the twisted hideous mass of cheap plastic hiding the engine was as the factory intended, yikes. The cheap theme continued up the fork legs, just what exactly are they trying to hide with those covers?
The last word in cheap is the clock set, the square neutral light looks like something you’d find in a homemade kit car and the final two bars on the digital tachometer are in fact painted onto the screen. Are the heavy industries getting so light that they couldn’t afford two more blobs of digital? Now, as downmarket as it may look, there is definitely something about the Zed. Something I really like.
Read on for how the two naked superbikes compare
Nice article. And possibly what I needed to read to push me chopping in the CBR6 for something less hetic. But sorry, it'll still be a Honda.
Posted: 24/08/2010 at 15:21
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