The Four Horsemen - Kawasaki Z750, Suzuki Gladius, Honda Hornet, Yamaha XJ6 - Z750 - 2

Small, light and available in a variety of colours and flavours, never before has the congested middleweight street bike market been so fruity

Posted: 6 April 2010
by Rob Hoyles

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It’s not that the Kawasaki handles particularly badly, and on smooth roads the firm suspension isn't a problem. But get a bit giddy on bumpier back roads and the Zed's lack of front-end feel along with a tendency for the rear to kick off the bumps is no match for the softer-sprung Honda or Suzuki, both of which simply let you get on with giggling into your neck-warmer with the throttle wide open as the suspension does what it's supposed to. Sure the Kawasaki's chassis has more to cope with thanks to a turbine smooth motor that belts out almost 100bhp, but when it comes to feel and stability, things could be a whole lot better – a real shame.

It’s not all bad news though. The motor, while slightly lacking in midrange, fuels sweetly and has a searing top end with a beautiful exhaust note to match. The gearbox is slick enough, the finish has been improved and no longer does the Z750 look like a cheaper alternative to the Z1000 – it's now very much a model in its own right.

It's the fastest bike here, arguably the best looking and costs no more than the Hornet. It kept me alive and even managed to keep Andy out of Axminster A&E when he decided not to 'wait here when red light shows' preferring instead to clatter straight through the impertinent metal sign before parking up incredibly neatly on the grass verge absolutely unscathed.

It would seem that the brutishly handsome Z750 is invincible. And yet still we all felt a little short-changed.

Z750 RUNNING COSTS

All prices include VAT

SPARES

Front indicator assembly £28.46
Headlamp assembly £249.84
Radiator £425.45
Fuel tank £557.53
Front brake pads £78.15
Front footpeg £26.03
Front brake lever £32.21

SERVICING

First service, 500 miles £40
Interim service, 4000 miles £95
Major service, 8000 miles £225

FUEL

Average MPG 34.84
Fuel cost per 6000 miles £1,486

COMMENT

Thirsty at just 35mpg, the big Z750 punishes you for having the most power. Over 6000 miles the Kawasaki will cost over £300 more than the others.

Similar Option

Kawasaki ER-6N: The cheeky twin

If you're after something a little less edgy, easier to ride and cheaper to run, then the ER-6N could be just the Kawasaki for you. A direct competitor to the Suzuki Gladius on paper, the recently revamped ER-6N has a character all of its own, feeling far less twin-like than the Suzuki and more like half an across-the-frame four which, to be fair, is exactly what is. If you  don’t need 100bhp or the low down grunt of a twin, then make sure the ER is on your list of bikes to try.

Hogan's Second Opinion

Z750

When I first rode the Z750 I didn't like it at all. I've ridden one a few times since and each time it just gets better and better. Granted if I owned one I would feel the need to soften the suspension off, but the point is I would own one, and very happily. The new paint is classy and draws attention, I love the way it generates power and I love the way that even a wheelie-dunce like me can hoik one up. The Kawasaki has real strengths and just needs time for them to surface. A quick test ride doesn’t do this bike any justice; take the plunge, buy one and you won’t regret it.


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