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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Kawasaki Z1000 Review - Beast off its Leash

Text & Photographs: Bobby Roy

Sugomi - An intense aura or energy given off by a person or object. This essentially means, someone or something that possess sugomi inspires awe and leaves an unforgettable impression on the mind. And THAT is precisely what the Kawasaki Z1000 leaves you with - an indelible impression on your mind, body & the soul!

Right from the way the machine looks to the way it rides & handles, it leaves you absolutely speechless. It is almost as if various bike manufacturers these days have almost forgotten how to create a simple looking machine. "Angry" is the name of the game as far as the looks are concerned, but we are not complaining. As a matter of fact, if we can go back more than a decade, Kawasaki was the first one to come up with this specific design philosophy with their first Z1000 in the year 2003. And it took the world by storm. That machine was a cut above the rest in the "anger stakes", if I can put it mildly.

Looks & Styling
The Kawasaki Z1000 ABS sets new standards in terms of of the way it looks. From the moment you set your eyes on the bike, you'd have to agree that it was built with adrenaline in mind and promises to reward you with an absolutely unforgettable experience each time you jump on the saddle. I, for one, adore the way the Z looks. It was a really bold move by Kawasaki - and not just because it almost looks like a machine straight out of a Transformers movie, but also because of the fact that Kawasaki decided to forego with the electronic aids, and focus on real world riding pleasure. The Z1000 does not boast of any electronics whatsoever, apart from the ABS system ofcourse; there is no wheelie control, no traction control, no rider modes, no nothing! Just gun the throttle and go!

Engine & Performance
The 2014 Z1000 is the fourth generation of the platform,.The engine was bumped from 953 cc to 1,043 cc for the third generation in 2010, and the version we tested receives minor changes to the engine and new styling. Though the same size as the previous model, the 1,043 cc inline-four has been reworked with a new intake camshaft, new airbox, new ECU, and taller velocity stacks. These changes bump power to 142bhp at 10,000 rpm and 11kg-m of torque at 7,300 rpm. The Z1000 uses a twin-spar aluminum frame, which is derived from the one on the Ninja 1000. It’s cast as a single unit with a swing-arm pivot to eliminate the need for welds. The engine, which is used as a stressed member, is bolted to the frame and rubber mounted.

Enough of technical jargon, let's talk performance, shall we? The revs build exceptionally fast and there’s power all through the rev range.  You do not need to think; any gear, any revs, all you need to do is just twist that throttle. Power just builds and builds with the kind of ferocious intensity Kawasaki 1000cc engines have become renowned for. This surging power is matched to a gearbox with very short ratios. So you’ll find yourself snapping up the gearbox real quick when you're looking for real performance. The gears are so short that I kept thinking I had another cog to shift to, only to realize I was in sixth already. It stops just as well as it accelerates, for the stopping power is handled by front dual 310 mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount 4-piston monobloc calipers and a rear single 250 mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper.

Even when you're doing a cool 150km/hr. on top gear, you've serious power left on reserve and believe me when I say, the revs build real quick. This is a bike which can get you into trouble really fast. Power delivery is phenomenal and almost feels like the machine is angry! Acceleration is just brutal and the bike bursts forward with powerful surge each time you twist the throttle as everything else just disappears behind you. However, the best bit about the Z is that gorgeous induction roar - it sounds like nothing else on this planet! The gearing does feel a little short at times, but the short shifts are so much fun when you want to quickly get upto speeds. However, all this performance means nothing if the machine in question cannot putter around town at legal speeds. Well, the Z1000 can happily do that and won't complain. It can very well be a bike on which you can just leisurely commute on, visit a coffee shop on a Sunday evening, order a hot cuppa and admire the beauty while your coffee is served. However, please be warned, the pillion seat is as good as non-existent and your better half would be complaining after only a very short time on that seat.

Fuel Efficiency & Price
In a country obsessed with fuel-efficiency, it would be an absolute sin not to mention the fuel economy figures. Well, if it matters, we managed to get an overall fuel efficiency figure of 16km/litre, which, I  think is really good considering the kind of hooliganism that this machine is capable of. The Z1000 is not a cheap machine to buy; at Rs 13.4 lakhs (on-road, Delhi), it is an expensive buy, but is hard to beat if you’re on the market for an in-line, four-cylinder litre class naked superbike in India.

Final Thoughts
Do I like the Z1000? Well, that is a question I do not even want to answer! I LOVE this bike, not because of how it looks or performs but because of the overall package that it is. It is simple and extremely effective as an overall package. It can be a hooligan when you want it to (that front wheel can come up so easily if you are not careful), and can very well be your daily use machine on other days. It is almost unrestrained, yet feels so nimble and well-behaved. The Kawasaki Z1000 is a beast off its leash! And that, I think, says it all.
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  1. Wow! You talk about it like it is a girl. Like it is Chitrangada! :D :D


Item Reviewed: Kawasaki Z1000 Review - Beast off its Leash Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Bobby Roy
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