• 2014 kawasaki z1000 01
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 02
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 03
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 04
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 05
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 06
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 07
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 08
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 09
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 10
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 11
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 12
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 13
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 14
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 15
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 16
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 17
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 18
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 19
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 20
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 21
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 22
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 23
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 24
  • 2014 kawasaki z1000 25

Power Delivery Down Low is Hang-On-To-Your-Hat Awesome.

Much like their fanbase, naked bikes are kind of a breed apart— some more than others. Kawasaki’s Z1000 is just such a bike with an almost cult-like following that has propped up the family since ’03 with their enthusiasm for the streetfighter flavor the Z1000 brings to the table. Minimal bodywork (by the factory’s estimation, anyway) and relaxed ergos come bundled with the 126-pony, 1,043 cc mill. The factory saved both weight and money on the electronic fandanglery by leaving it on the shelf for a rather raw ride that many of us still appreciate. Relatively simple and built for performance, the Z1000 served as Kawasaki’s flagship naked standard until it was replaced by the Z900 for MY17.

Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z1000.

  • 2014 - 2016 Kawasaki Z1000
  • Year:
    2014- 2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    1043 cc
  • Price:
    11999
  • Price:

Design

2014 - 2016 Kawasaki Z1000
- image 737135
The handlebar pushes the rider into an upright riding position to define the duality of the Z1000 as a bike that can go for a relaxed putt around town or flip the script to engage in some carving action.

I want to see why it was so popular ’cause it sure as heck wasn’t the looks! I know they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but whoever be-holding one of these, be-holding one fugly motorcycle. Like home-made mud fence ugly. That’s right sports fans, Kawi leads off with an alien/insectoid-looking headlight housing that sports four of those insanely bright LED headlights for great visibility and safety, but that isn’t enough to redeem the visage of the Z1000. Seriously, I feel like I’m just waiting for the green Power Ranger to show up at any moment.

From there, we move aft to the bikini flyscreen that barely even provides adequate coverage for the instrumentation, let alone the pilot. Said instrumentation comes entirely digitized with an LCD display with speed, fuel status and the bottom 3,000 rpm of the tachometer. The rest of the tach info is displayed on the lighted gauge above the LCD screen, and the scale runs from 4,000 on up to the 10.5 K redline braced by a trio of idiot lights for the rest of the common indicators. All very compact and neat, though I’m not particularly fond of the LCD screen/sunlight interaction myself, and would prefer to see a bit more of a flyscreeen hood over it.

While there isn’t much rise in the blackout handlebar, it’s more than you get from a set of sport-tastic clip-ons, and this detail really makes the bike what it is; comfortable to ride with a reasonably relaxed rider triangle. Sure, the 32.1-inch seat height is about normal for sportbikes, as are the jockey footpegs, but it’s the handlebar that pushes the rider into an upright riding position to define the duality of the Z1000 as a bike that can go for a relaxed putt around town or flip the script to engage in some carving action.

The word “naked” gets batted around a lot, but the Z is sort of the naked that ain’t with radiator shrouds that extend almost all the way to the chin spoiler and wide, flat frame beams that masquerade as body panels to give the Z a less-than-naked panache. Don’t even get me started on the dual Batman exhausts that hang off the rear end like anchors ready to drop and obscure the rear wheel. Like I said, fu-gly.

Chassis

2014 - 2016 Kawasaki Z1000
- image 737143
One would expect it to deliver sporty yet balanced handling, but in truth the Z1000 feels a little nervous at the front end and is reluctant to hold a stable line when pressed in the twisties.

The cast-aluminum twin-spar frame hangs the engine from a trio of mounts while leaving the bottom-front corner of the engine compartment open so there’s room for all the other components mounted there, no doubt. An asymmetrical swingarm sports a straight arm on the drive side with a gull-wing on the other side and a horizontal coil-over shock to tame it. With 4.8 inches of travel at the axle and stepless rebound/compression paired with the spring-preload adjustment gives the rear end a plush and tune-able ride.

Up front, a pair of 41 mm usd SFF-BP forks bring a stepless compression and rebound feature with a spring preload adjuster as well, but the ride is widely regarded as entirely too stiff for most tastes. On paper, the Big-Piston forks look good, but reality is something else entirely. Same with the relatively Standard (See what I did there?) steering geometry of 24.5 degrees of rake and 4.0 inches of trail. One would expect it to deliver sporty yet balanced handling, but in truth the Z1000 feels a little nervous at the front end and is reluctant to hold a stable line when pressed in the twisties.

The brakes give a much better account of themselves with dual 310 mm petal-cut discs and radial monobloc calipers up front and a 250 mm disc and single-piston anchor out back that includes ABS protection all around. Kawi bumped up the caliper-piston diameter a bit, and the result is a brake system with plenty of bite, though ABS is needed to get the most out of it for an altogether better feel than the previous gen.

Frame Type: Aluminum backbone
Rake/Trail: 24.5°/4.0 in
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41mm inverted SFF-BP fork with stepless compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability/4.7 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload/4.8 in
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: 190/50 ZR17
Front Brakes: Dual 310mm petal-type rotors with radial-mounted four-piston monobloc calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper, ABS

Drivetrain

2014 - 2016 Kawasaki Z1000
- image 737143
Relatively simple, the engine runs sans any sort of wizardry with no rider modes, traction control or any other such foolishness on board.

Power generation comes courtesy of the inline-four cylinder, water-cooled engine. Just how much power it can actually develop depends upon whose dyno one uses, so we’ll just go with the numbers claimed by the factory, shall we? At 7,300 rpm, the plant is expected to crank out 81.9 pound-feet of torque, and if you go ahead and wind it up to 10 grand you can expect something in the neighborhood of 140 ponies to push the 487-pound (wet) machine.

Kawi’s Digital Timimng Advance works with the coil-over-plug ignition to deliver intense and reliable ignition with electronic fuel injection set in 38 mm throttle bodies to manage the induction. The four-valve heads are timed by a DOHC system that boasts a revamped intake camshaft with a redesigned airbox to help boost volumetric efficiency and make sure the beast can breathe freely. Relatively simple, the engine runs sans any sort of wizardry with no rider modes, traction control or any other such foolishness on board. This leaves the mill rather raw (which can be a good thing), but the factory had to keep costs down somehow.

The six-speed transmission comes geared for the holeshot and for pulling out of corners, but is a bit on the short side for high top-end speeds. Sure, you can ride it faster than you should, but you really have to work at it, and with the less-than-stellar suspension you’d do well to not work at it too hard unless you remembered to wear your kidney belt.

Engine: 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled
Displacement: 1,043cc
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm
Compression ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel System: DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: 6-speed

Pricing

2014 - 2016 Kawasaki Z1000
- image 737141
Kawi didn't carry the Z1000 forward after 2016 in the U.S. market. MSRP is $11,999 while they last.

Kawi didn’t carry the Z1000 forward after 2016 in the U.S., but there apparently is plenty of old stock available since it’s still for sale. The base MSRP is set at $11,999, and as of this writing you can score a piece of (recent) history for a couple grand less than when this gen was current.

Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Colors:
2015: Metallic Matte Graphite Gray/Golden Blazed Green
2016: Golden Blazed Green / Metallic Graphite Gray
Price: $11,999

Competitors

2014 - 2016 Kawasaki Z1000
- image 737140
2015 - 2017 Ducati Monster 1200 / 1200 S / 1200 R
- image 674565
Brake hardware is more or less consistent across the board, but where Kawi offers ABS, Duc offers the Bosch corner-sensing ABS that modulates the intervention to account for the extra stress of cornering on the contact patches, reducing the chances you'll go for a low-sider.

For my head-to-head, I decided to go with the polar opposite in the looks department and grabbed Ducati’s popular Monster 1200. Curvy as ever, the Italian stallion carries itself with a sensual grace that is pure sex on wheels. The Kawi carries some curvature as well, but there’s curves, and then there’s curves. Ducati decided to be a bit more conservative with its headlight can, and it definitely lacks the almost comical look with which the Z1000 is cursed.

Ducati built the Monster as more of what you might call a “proper” naked standard as the only sheet metal (plastic or whatever) is in the fuel tank and fenders with just a splash at the chin cooler; all else is open to the world with little in the way of secrets. Bare. Minimal. Spartan even, just like a naked should be.

As well-engineered as the Z’s frame is and as much as it contributes to the look of the bike, the Monster’s Trellis still comes out on top, aesthetically at least. The Monster’s steering head pulls the forks in to 23.3 degrees for 3.41 inches of trail and crisper handling than the Z with a set of fully adjustable, 43 mm, inverted Kayaba forks. Duc gets another edge at the rear shock with a fully adjustable Sachs unit to tame the single-side aluminum swingarm.

Brake hardware is more or less consistent across the board, but where Kawi offers ABS, Duc offers the Bosch corner-sensing ABS that modulates the intervention to account for the extra stress of cornering on the contact patches, reducing the possibility that you will lose it if you brake a bit too hard in a turn.

A 1,198 cc Testastretta L-Twin powers the Monster with 147 ponies and 91 pounds o’ grunt under the management of an RbW throttle with traction- and wheelie-control features as part of the standard equipment package. In other words, those crazy Eye-Ties put all that top-shelf yummy-goodness on the Monster that Kawi left on the shelf. Naturally, this is reflected in the stickers. Ducati asks $14,995 for the Monster 1200, that’s another three grand over the Z1000, and that difference is likely to make up for the lack of equipment that I suspect many naked-bike fanboys could probably live without.

He Said

“If I rode one for a month, I’m sure that I’d (probably) get over the looks (maybe) once I made friends with the performance, but as harsh as the stock suspension is, I don’t know how friendly that could be. I ain’t trying to get boxer’s colic everytime I go for a long ride, know what I’m sayin’? But the looks y’all, the looks...”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I’ve heard tall folks say the bike is too small for them. I can’t speak to that, but there ya go. Power delivery down low is hang-on-to-your-hat awesome. It seems like it would be very easy to pick that front wheel up. The bike feels very light and manageable underway, but can feel a bit heavy at a stop. If there’s a downer here, I’d say it has to be the mirrors. They suck."

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled
Displacement: 1,043cc
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm
Compression ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel System: DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: Sealed chain
Chassis:
Frame Type: Aluminum backbone
Rake/Trail: 24.5°/4.0 in
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41mm inverted SFF-BP fork with stepless compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability/4.7 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload/4.8 in
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: 190/50 ZR17
Front Brakes: Dual 310mm petal-type rotors with radial-mounted four-piston monobloc calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper, ABS
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 80.5 in
Overall Width: 31.1 in
Overall Height: 41.5 in
Ground Clearance: 4.9 in
Seat Height: 32.1 in
Curb Weight: 487.3 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Wheelbase: 56.5 in
Details:
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Colors:
2015: Metallic Matte Graphite Gray/Golden Blazed Green
2016: Golden Blazed Green / Metallic Graphite Gray
Price: $11,999

References

2015 - 2017 Ducati Monster 1200 / 1200 S / 1200 R
- image 650084

See our review of the Ducati Monster 1200.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: kawasaki.com, ducatiusa.com

Press release
What do you think?
Motorcycle Finder: