A devil once, a devil forever- a befitting tagline for the Kawasaki Z1000! Originally conceived as the Z1, the Kawasaki Z series was stacked against Honda’s popular CB750 and aimed at providing a fast and technologically advanced motorcycle to the masses that met with great success. The Z1 moniker was treated to timely upgrades and it was not until 1977 when the first Z1000 was born. It rose to instant fame, becoming the first Japanese motorcycle to win the AMA Superbike Championship.
Though the GPZ series marked the end of the Z1000 series in the 1980s, the Z1000 was reborn in 2003 when Kawasaki introduced the motorcycle as a 30th anniversary edition as a tribute to the original Z1000. Using a tweaked and slightly detuned ZX9R engine, the Z1000 broke design barriers, flaunting aggression on its sleeve – and the legacy has continued till date. So when the blokes at Kawasaki headquarters decided to refresh the already edgy design of the earlier gen Z1000, they went ahead and gave it a dramatic overhaul.
So how good is the new bike? We had all of two days to experience the ‘Sugomi’ slash and decide if the new Z1000 is as potent as it looks. So here we go with our 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 review.
STYLING, FEATURES & BUILD QUALITY
The design of the new Z1000 unashamedly exudes brutality. It mimics a warrior king dressed to strike fear in the hearts of its enemies. Look at the Z from any angle- and the sculpted bodywork reeks of villainy. It won’t be flattering to say that the designers at Kawasaki have outdone themselves on the design, beautifully blending a brutal form with effective functionality and attention to detail.
The predator stance with the four LED shod projectors (a first on any Japanese production bike) makes the Z1000 gaze straight into your eyes. And it’s not just all show, the illumination from those headlights would put many a family car to shame.
The cast aluminum mirrors, the transparent brake fluid reservoirs, the machined aluminum steering bolt, the ribbed golden finished front forks, the “Z” textured saddle overlapping the co-riders seat designed to resemble more of a rear cowl- all of it is immaculately done. The designers haven’t even spared the ignition key embellishing it with the “Z” logo.
In our opinion, one wouldn’t have asked for all those features and even the absence of such intricate detailing wouldn’t probably have bothered anyone – but Kawasaki, obviously, thought otherwise.
The new digital instrumental panel is compact and has been given a twin rev counter. 0-4000 rpm is indicated on the left side of the display when the Z1000 would be lazily chugging along at 80 kph. So when riding around the city, it’s a good indicator to keep the revs confined to the left bar and keep an eye on that wrist that connects you to the snappy throttle. The horizontally positioned tacho comes into play upwards of 4000 rpm when you decide to mercilessly whack the Z to its 11000 rpm rev limiter. Ride like a gentleman and the Z acknowledges your gentleness with an ECO indicator on the dash.
And then there is the 17 litre fuel tank with overlapping shades of grey which amply complement the crouching stance of the grisly front end. The 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 when compared to the earlier gen model has shed substantial flourish of plastics thereby exposing functionality of its parts. For instance, the front suspension on the previous models was partially hidden beneath fork covers, the tank extensions were more pronounced and protruding beyond the front forks- but the 2014 Z1000 strips them all.
The present design has been elevated towards being radical than edgy, with tension taking over the bulgy theme of the outgoing model. The best part of the 2014 Kawasaki Z1000’s design is that where on one hand the visuals succeed to intimidate, on the other- the bodywork seems no less than a piece of art. The same design under an Italian badge would probably have got much more applause.
The tail concludes with those gorgeous integrated twin pipes in brushed metal finish with the 13 LED lit tail-light imparting the new Z1000 an equally menacing rear as the front.
Getting to the tech chart, the 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 gets the new Showa Separate Function Big Piston Forks that feature preload adjustability in the left tube, with damping pistons and adjustability in the right. The new front suspension aids easy adjustment with the adjusters mounted on the top of the fork tubes with preload on the left and compression/ rebound damping on the right.
At the rear is a horizontally arranged monoshock mounted on linkages over the swingarm which Kawasaki claims keeps it away from the exhaust heat and also aids mass centralization. The 4.8 inch travelling rear shocker comes with a step-less adjuster that can be infinitely tuned as per the rider’s requirement.
A pair of ABS equipped “monobloc” radial-mount front brake calipers with laser-etched Kawasaki logo grabbing twin 310mm (10mm more than the N1000) petal rotors take care of stopping duties at the front.
Complementing the front is a single piston caliper mounted over a 250mm petal disc at the rear. Footwear for the 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 reads a grippy pair of Dunlops with 120/70-ZR17 at the front and 190/50-ZR17 at the rear.
On the quality front, we’d probably need a magnifying glass to stumble upon a rough edge on a motorcycle which boasts of top notch finish. If we really have to say something for the heck of it – we would probably have preferred a better set of turn blinkers. Well that is all we could probably crib about on the 2014 Kawasaki Z1000.