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Test Riding the Kawi Z1000
07-12-2012, 09:51 AM
Post: #1
Test Riding the Kawi Z1000
I know a bunch of you got the opportunity to ride the new Z1000 at TWT. I was in LA that day and couldn't go. Fortunately, I got to ride it on Monday from the Rock Store in Malibu. Here is the route:

30354 Mulholland Hwy, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 to Cornell School Rd - Google Maps

I have to start by saying the Z1000 surpassed my expectations. I understand that in order to sell a bike for 10K, now a days, you have to cut a few corners. The end result is usually a slightly underpowered version of it's sport bike brethren. The suspension is usually non-adjustable, brakes weak...etc. Thankfully, none of this was the case with the Z1000.

The first thing I noticed is that it feels, and is, much lighter than my ZRX. I expected the suspension to cry out in pain under the weight of my big butt, and again, it didn't. In fact, I tried to get it to dive hard. I would snap open the throttle then slam it shut just as quickly. The Zed just laughed. It had minimal dive even when grabbing the brakes hard.

One of the first roads we hit was Latigo Canyon Road. This is tight, bumpy road that is full of surprises. The bike handled the multiple and quick side to side changes and never got upset. Trust me I tried. Even when making intentional throttle changes mid corner the bike stayed composed. The Z1000 soaked up all the bumps and never complained.

Power was very linear with a nice bit of torque. I intentionally exited several corners a gear too high and the Kawi pulled hard even from under 3k. It doesn't have the torque my ZRX does, but it is close. Once you got the revs over 8K the power comes on strong, but smoothly. The new Z1000 doesn't suffer from the vibration issues that plagued the previous versions.

Throttle response was very good. Even when getting to a maintenance throttle in mid turn, it was never abrupt. This is very surprising for a bike in this price range. I've ridden far more expensive bikes that didn't have nearly as smooth a throttle response.

The brakes were very linear and predictable. Don't get me wrong, these are not the throw you over the bars brakes that the ZX6/10 are known for, but they get the job done. They are actually far more easy to modulate and brake smoothly. There were a few times were I had to brake hard due to some serious debris in the next corner. The bike got slowed down and the suspension stayed composed.

The transmission is another area that really surprised me. It was VERY smooth. I never hit a false neutral and never felt any clunky shifts. The shifter has a very short throw, so minimal input is required.

The wind protection was also better than expected. Mind you, this is a naked bike. For a naked bike it did a great job of keeping the wind from pulling me off the bike even at speed.

The new Kawasaki Z1000 is a great all around bike. You can just as easily put around town as carve up some corners or even hit up a 500 mile ride. I have to hand it to Kawasaki, they did a great job with the new Z1000. I think a lot of riders would be shocked at how well the bike works, given the opportunity to throw a leg over.
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