Last year Kawasaki launched their all-new 2010 Z1000 super naked and while the opinions of fans vary from “aggressive and powerful” to “it could have shown better build quality”, nobody will ever call this motorcycle dulling. Kawasaki claims this is their stripped-down Ninja ZX-10R and while that’s an ostentatious way of putting things, we’ll talk about its most important features and much more after the break.
New in every aspect, the bike is now being powered by a 1,043cc
136-hp fuel injected inline-four engine
inline-four developing an impressive 136bhp and 81lb/ft of torque. The all-new engine makes this the most powerful Z1000 so far and we expect it to turn the new generation model into also the fastest Z1000. The chances for that to happen are quite big because the new aluminum frame reduces overall weight, about which Kawasaki hasn’t yet mentioned a word. Yet they do brag about better mass centralization and the ZX-10R cast aluminum frame, which makes its way around the top of the engine, keeps overall width at a level that allows even female riders to ride the Kawasaki Z1000 easily. Also, aerodynamics should be significantly improved, but we’ll get to that later.
Meanwhile, it is a must mentioning that the engine is now a much greater source of low- and mid-range power thanks to the 77.0 x 56.00mm bore and stroke. It is supposed to sound better as well and it isn’t mainly the 4-2-2 exhaust system’s music that you’ll be hearing, but also the intake sound because the ducts are now positioned closer to where the rider is sitting.
Kawasaki doesn’t mention much about the new bike’s riding position, but they make sure we find out about the tapered-type grips and Ninja ZX-10R-style footpegs. Still, it shouldn’t be a killer for the rider’s back.
Speaking of comfort, the suspension equipment is soft and while the 41mm USD forks are fully adjustable, the new horizontal rear shock apparently isn’t.
Even if Kawasaki says something else, this is a bike built with performance in mind and the brakes aren’t forgotten. We’re talking about 300mm front petal brake discs gripped by opposed four-piston radial-mount calipers up front and 250mm disc gripped by a single-piston underslung caliper at the rear.
Overall, the bike sounds like a totally enhanced riding experience and it has come a long way since its 2003 debut.
Yamaha also launched their all-new FZ1 / ABS model and this is the first to stand out as the new Z1000’s competitor. The bike’s 998cc in-line 4-cylinder engine is based on that of the R1 and for 2010 it delivers more midrange power as well and the revised ECU mapping improves throttle response in the low to mid-rpm range. The FZ1 frame is also made of aluminum, the bike is much more refined, looks expensive and it even has optional ABS.
It seems that Kawasaki designed the Z1000 as a naked superbike and we have to admit they haven’t done such a bad job, but the possibilities for a much more refined appearance were endless. To begin with, the bike’s front end shouldn’t look like it is struggling to be mean because the bike itself unveils this sort of character when the engine goes vrooom. Also, the fork would have been better off without that thick shroud. We can understand the fact that this copes with the large nose, but when, from the side, your bike looks like a cougar attacking its prey, what you crave for are two thin legs with excellent road grabbing power.
We do appreciate the fact that Kawasaki designed it with ergonomics in mind and the thing looks like offering a rather natural riding position for the category. The 4.1 gallons fuel tank follows the shape of the frame and so it is positioned quite high. The good thing is that this determined designers to bring the bars even higher and closer to the rider, which is what brings a major contribution to the Z1000 serving as anything from a commuter to a weekend adrenaline supplier.
The engine is very compact and we like the fact that the exhaust system splits on both sides. You get to see most of it because the side panels and engine spoilers are contoured around the big four-cylinder unit. You also get a 32.1-inch rider seat and a sharp tail on which passengers will most likely rarely sit on.
This thing rolls on shiny and new five-spoke wheels that enhance the bike’s aggressive note at which the Pearl Stardust White, Metallic Spark Black color schemes do have a significant contribution.
“With an open road ahead of us, feeding in a handful of throttle elicited even bigger grins. It pulls strongly from anywhere in the seemingly lumpless powerband. Compared to the old Z, it has more power from top to bottom.” – motorcycle
“The new chassis setup challenges you to ride as hard as you can. The bike is a little on the heavy side at 218kg but it has lost 10kg over the old one from the lighter engine and frame. It doesn’t feel heavy though, flip flopping from side to side for near on 40 miles of pure biking nirvana.” – superbike
“The Zed-1 now uses its very own 1043cc liquid-cooled Inline-Four engine. Kawasaki claims this new engine utilizes its own architecture and is not based off either the previous bikes’ 953cc ZX-9R-derived motor or the current one found in the Ninja ZX-10R.” – motorcycle-usa
“The 2010 Z1000 is the most impressive sports naked ever to roll out of Japan. It has excellent performance, handling and is super-stylish to boot. It’s less intimidating and easier to ride than a fire-breathing European super naked too.” – MCN
“It was punchy, involving, and more agile than its bulk suggests, with brakes that were up to the task of undoing the speed brought on by the powerplant.” – motorcycles.about
In the end, this is a real streetfighter that comes with an MSRP of $10,499.
In the past several years, Kawasaki managed to build a strong reputation for their Z1000 “naked superbike” and the 2010 model year is anything but a disappointment in terms of performance, while the way it looks is discussable depending on…taste really.
Engine and Transmission
- Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
- Displacement: 1043cc
- Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm
- Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
- Fuel Injection: DFI with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
- Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Final Drive: X-ring chain
Chassis and Dimensions
- Rake / Trail: 24.5 degrees / 4.1 in.
- Frame Type: Aluminum Backbone
- Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
- Rear Tire: 190/50 ZR17
- Wheelbase: 56.7 in.
- Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41 mm inverted cartridge fork with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.
- Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 5.4 in.
- Front Brakes: Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers
- Rear Brake: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper
- Overall Length: 82.5 in.
- Overall Width: 31.7 in.
- Overall Height: 42.1 in.
- Seat Height: 32.1 in.
- Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gal
- Color Choices: Pearl Stardust White, Metallic Spark Black
- Warranty: 12 Months
Features & Benefits
- Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve 1,043cc inline-four offers greater torque and a stronger top-end rush than previous Z1000 models
- Bore and stroke of 77.0 x 56.0 mm were chosen to achieve the desired engine character strong in the everyday rpm range most used by naked super bikes
- 38mm downdraft throttle bodies allow intake air to travel to the engine in the shortest possible distance
- Oval sub-throttles help keep the engine slim a good thing since the throttle bodies are positioned between the rider’s knees
- Soft rev limiter provides good overrev; power doesn’t drop off suddenly at high rpm
- Crankshaft and transmission shafts are arranged in a straight line instead of a triangular layout, to maintain the design from the previous Z1000 a design that offers the best look for a naked model
- The crankshaft was lowered to allow for a longer stroke without adding engine height
- A secondary balancer, driven off a gear on the sixth web of the crankshaft, eliminates excess vibration
Cool Air System
- The intake system routes cool air to the airbox from ducts above the radiator shrouds, minimizing performance loss due to heated intake air
- Positioning the ducts close to the rider allows the intake sound to be enjoyed by the rider
- A resonator inside the airbox reduces noise at low rpm, and enhances intake sound at high rpm
- The exhaust system features a 4-into-2-pre-chamber-into-2 layout. Silencer end-caps maintain the quad-style image
- Main and pre-catalyzers ensure emissions are clean
- Thanks to the under-engine pre-chamber, silencer volume could be reduced. The silencers are also lighter. Overall exhaust system weight is about the same, but the new system offers much better mass centralization and contributes to a lower center of gravity
- Slim-type fuel pump features an integral fuel gauge
- With revised fuel tank design and the slim-type fuel pump, dead volume inside the tank is minimized; fuel capacity is 4.1 gallons
All-New Aluminum Backbone Frame
- An aluminum backbone frame designed specifically for the Z1000, and similar in concept to the frame of the Ninja ZX-10R, allows a narrow construction that is easy to grip with the knees
- Lightweight and highly rigid, the frame uses the engine as a stressed member, for a firm, planted feeling and enhanced stability
- Frame is tuned to transmit the ideal level of engine feedback directly to the rider
- The frame’s five-piece construction consists of steering stem, left and right main frames, and two cross pieces. The two main frame components have open C-shaped cross sections
- As much as possible, welds were eliminated for simplicity and appearance. The frame beams and swingarm brackets are now single die-cast pieces
- The new frame uses four engine mounts; three mounts are rigid, the upper rear crankcase mount is rubber
- The rear sub-frame is a three-piece aluminum die-casting construction, light, strong and good for mass centralization
- The sub-frame is an example of form and function combined, negating the need for side covers and allowing underseat narrowness for a shorter reach to the ground
All-New Horizontal Rear Monoshock
- New rear suspension positions the shock unit and linkage above the swingarm where it’s less exposed to exhaust heat and contributes to mass centralization
- Visible from the outside, the horizontal monoshock contributes to the aggressive appearance of the new Z1000
- Linkage characteristics are the same as those of a standard UNI-TRAK rear suspension: Wheel movement versus shock stroke is the same ratio
- The shock features rebound damping and spring preload adjustability
Fully Adjustable Front Fork
- The Z1000’s 41mm inverted fork is adjustable for compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload and it’s protected from harm by a cool-looking shroud
- Settings are designed for both sporty back road performance and excellent comfort on the street
Handlebar, Grips and Footpegs
- The tubular handlebar is rigid-mounted, contributing to sharp, direct handling
- A wide, flat bend handlebar offers a design similar to those on off-road bikes, for excellent control
- Tapered-type grips, like those used on supersport models, offer more direct feel
- Ninja ZX-10R-style footpegs with knurling offer good grip, direct feel and control and no-nonsense looks
- The passenger footpeg brackets incorporate convenient luggage hooks
- The Z1000’s 300mm front petal brake discs are gripped by opposed four-piston radial-mount calipers. (Caliper piston size is 4x30 mm)
- A radial-pump front brake master cylinder contributes to the superb control and feel offered by the new calipers
- The rear brake is a single piston, pin-slide caliper gripping a 250mm petal disc. The caliper is mounted below the swingarm, and located by a torque rod
- A distinctive tilting instrument panel with multifunction LCD display behind an orange lens covers all systems