Comparo: which motorbike for the road?

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Versys 650, Versys 1000, Z1000SX, ZZR 1400 and GTR 1400

The green hand

On the occasion of the Cols Verts operation, organized by Kawasaki for its customers, the Akashi firm offered us to discover the Pyrenean route, riding a selection of its road range..

Trails (Versys 650 and 1000), GT (GTR1400) and Sport GT (Z1000SX – ZZR1400) allowed us to take a fresh look at Japanese backpackers. A new look at performance as well, because for a handful of days the power of large engines is now free…. This gives personality and new qualities to the leaders in the segment. But, when choosing, which model would be best suited to meet your requirements and needs? Through a test on a fascinating, winding but also cold and (very) wet course, we offer you some answers.

Kawasaki Z1000SX

Recall

First of all, it is important to recall a few characteristics of each. Let’s start with the icon of the day. Taking the legendary mountain roads of the Tour de France cyclist, the route is familiar to the dynamic and iconic GTR1400. For decades, this model has followed the efforts of racers, becoming almost a must-have vehicle for the event. Based on the hyper sport-GT ZZR1400, it therefore shares the demonic four-cylinder of 1.352 cm3. A little quieter, it delivers here 160 hp 8,800 rpm and 13.6 da.Nm at 6,200. Another difference, the block incorporates a VVT system varying the angle of the cams for a smoother engine response, as well as injectors with a diameter of 40 mm. Those of the ZZR display 44 mm and the mechanics are in no way filtered. Much more excessive, the alien sports tourism unleashes 210 hp at 10,000 rpm and 15.8 da.Nm of torque at 7,500 revolutions / minute.

Kawasaki GTR 1400

More common, the engines of the Versys 1000 and Z1000SX would seem almost nice. However, their four cylinders of 1,043 cm3 deliver respectively 120 hp at 9,000 rpm and 142 hp at 10,000 rpm. Nothing to be bored then. And their more accessible size makes them all the more enjoyable. The trail is also a benchmark of comfort and agility, as the GT roadster demonstrates appreciable versatility..

Kawasaki Versys 1000

Finally, the Versys 650 may seem very small compared to its road siblings. The only twin of our trip, the parallel twin engine only develops 69 hp at 8,500 rpm and 6.4 da.Nm at 7,000 revolts / minute. But this little thumb seduces with its ease and long-term abilities.

Kawasaki Z1000 SX

All these mounts have ABS and, except for the trail midsize, an adjustable KTRC anti-skating and two engine maps (full and low reducing power). The GTR1400 have variable all-wheel braking and are fitted with large suitcases as standard. The Tourer option adds trunks and inner bags to the other models (800 € for SX and Versy 650, 900 € Versys 1000). As for the ZZR1400, if you are allergic to the top case, only a tank bag or saddle bag will carry your personal effects. Retractable hooks next to the seat can also be used to attach tensioners.

Urban areas

At the game of chance for the start, I take the handlebars of a ZZR1400…. In fact, a rather considered choice, with drool on the lips. Finally, the Leviathan is offered in the original version! I can not wait to see the extent of the improvements made to this model, with the end of the abject humiliation of the horseless. And the result is immediately noticeable. Where the machine seemed a little hollow before (a shame!), Especially at low speed, the engine is finally filled with a titanic force. From low revs, the available torque exceeds 11.5 da.Nm…. and the penultimate report can be held almost continuously. But the injection is quite sharp. In fact, we quickly learn to modulate the rotation of the right wrist. On board, the hyper sport-GT knows how to receive. Admittedly, its rather low bracelets recall its conception of sportswoman. And the back-footed controls frankly tilt the body forward. But apart from this (important) concession to comfort, the ZZR1400 is particularly welcoming. Our Performance Sport version is fitted with high-end Öhlins rear suspensions, responding to a quality fork. In town, the length of the machine may seem important but its turning radius is particularly short.

Kawasaki 1400 GTR

A less obvious point on the GTR 1400 and its more than 300 kilos that I take next. If the balance is appreciable, the dimensions of the hyper road require certain precautions. Its large suitcases limit narrow interweaving passages or rapid lane changes. We revel more in the comfort in urban areas. High half-handlebars, soft saddle and traveler ergonomics, the GTR1400 is an opulent road. On board, everything is well sized, offering comfort and ease to the crew. And, even at low speed, the imposing traveler handles with the tips of the gloves.

Between the walls, the Z1000 variants are more obvious. Flexible and available, their block of 1043 cm3 allows the use of 6th gear up to 30 km / h…. and tuning also has a good effect on this behavior at low revs, improving engine responses. Between sport and comfort, the half-handlebars of the SX are placed high but also the footrests, significantly tilting the bust forward. Reasonably bent, the legs benefit from an important place. The passenger also finds a comfortable position and effective support. Road roadster, the SX benefits from a dynamic geometry, easy to use in the dense traffic of the cities. However, its steering angle is not the best..

Same observation on the Versys, even more attractive. The wide handlebars provide a natural position and the ergonomics of the trail combine with a pullman seat. Agile, the wader is intuitive despite a higher weight. Likewise, mass transfers are more sensitive on repeated braking. Devoted to comfort, the default suspension setting can easily be modulated.

Less rowdy, the new Versys 650 benefits advantageously from the aesthetics of its elder. Its two-cylinder does not bring the same softness of evolution in the city but gives it an equally pleasant character. It is of course lightness and maneuverability that we immediately appreciate on the handlebars. The small trail is placed between the vehicles and the maneuvers are a formality. All in a very correct level of comfort thanks to a generous seat and flexible regulated suspensions. The grip of the brake lever of course significantly reduces the midsize on the front.

Townships turn quickly enough to the advantage of the Versys 650. But the intention being to cut the terminal, the departure to the open sea is sounded..

Kawasaki Versys 1000 on the road

Motorway and expressways

Capable of more than 300 km / h on the loop of the Italian circuit of Nardo, the ZZR 1400 could almost verify Einstein’s theories. On board, the space time is more restricted and the mechanics are in orgiastic. 130 km / h at 3,800 rpm, 150 to 5,000 for a red zone placed at 11,000 revolutions.mn…. After 7,000 laps, another world awaits you, far from the restricted version available until then. The thrust is unquenchable to the top of the tachometer. Without reaching the tachymeter Himalayas, the speeds very quickly became worthy of legal purgatory. At high speed, the stability is flawless and the body protection astonishing. Credit goes to the aerodynamics of the machine, allowing high cruising speeds without fatigue. The superlative sport GT therefore remains a fast traveler. However, the position typed for a possible companion will force the anti-ankylosis stops..

A little less swift, the GTR offers you, among other things, its electrically adjustable windshield. Hidden behind this vast screen, the motorway connections are very acceptable for the crew. Here too, the course is flawless and the suspension swallows the defects of the asphalt. In cool weather, the heated grips will be activated and, at the toll booth, the electromagnetically closed safe will allow you to easily pay your dime to the listed granting services..

The Z family also excels on the priced ribbon, without however reaching the level of the hyper GT. On the SX, the three-level adjustable screen offers little protection from the aerodynamic pressure. The road roadster remains sporty, however rewarding its driver with correct protection in order to spin towards the horizon at a good pace. On board, we calmly await the end of the soothing stretch. The Versys takes care of the crew more. Sliding in height, the screen provides good protection for the driver’s chest and shoulders. Likewise, the fairings effectively deflect airflow. Right, the crew’s position helps them overcome long distances, rocked by the purring of the four cylinder.

On the slimmer Versys 650, comfort is also essential. Bubble in high position, only the top of the helmet and the end of the shoulders are subjected to turbulence. As for the saddle, its softness makes you forget the kilometers. On the other hand, the vibrations of the twin are more sensitive than those of the multicylinder blocks, without representing a discomfort. Less efficient than that of its opponents, the damping also remains very good on clean surfaces..

Kawasaki Versys 650

On its long, fast stretches, it is the GTR 1400 that regains the advantage. When the journey lengthens over several hundred kilometers, it competes for its title in the big trail Versys 1000. The GT’s Tetra Lever gimbal will eventually convince the most road users with its limited maintenance. But the charm of the trips undoubtedly passes through the secondary network and other mountain roads. A playground that will finish deciding between the enemy sisters.

Departmental

Specialist in the most renowned cycling event, the GTR 1400 full version makes sparks on the road, in every sense of the word. Once again, we can see the full potential of an engine finally freed from administrative boundaries. Benefiting from a consistently healthy handling, the GT updates the high-speed flying carpets. The block seems to free itself from the four quintals of the crew-machine assembly in a furious breath. Precise, the front axle allows an unusual rhythm to the handlebars of an XL road, helped by a braking at the height of the events. The variable distribution of the braking forces via a combined system provides an excellent feeling when gripping the lever / pedal. Admittedly, the inertia is sensitive in hairpin or on the changes of angle. But the GTR reveals a pleasant ease on the narrowest roads.

Kawasaki GTR 1400 on the road

It is not uncommon, at the top of a pass, to find winter conditions. Thick fog and cold rain streaming over a more or less misted visor. The ideal opportunity to ride a ZZR 1400 with its sport bracelets, its dragster wheelbase and its fiery engine…. Of course, I force the line a little, but the fast UFO is not, as you will have understood, the best choice in mountain bends or narrow roads. However, as soon as the track opens up a bit, the right rubber spikes will take full advantage of the ZZR’s ultra-precise chassis. And to calm the bloated herd, the Brembo M50 monobloc calipers work wonders. Enough to play games prohibited with Akrapovic exhaust, in an ultra-hardcore version. Sometimes check to see if your passenger is still partying…

The versatility of the Z1000SX is not an empty word. A quality that she disputes with her sister on stilts. Both know how to be efficient and safe, regardless of the quality of the network used. Agile, the sisters however differ in their dynamic ability and chassis behavior. Precise, lighter and more muscular, the SX will delight GT-sport enthusiasts who will taste the joys of a mechanism that is always available and devoid of inertia. Its healthy cycle part is combined with quality suspensions to energize the stage of the day. Finally, braking is also a model of power. On board the trail, the ergonomics make it easier on hairpins and on degraded asphalt. An advantage for the passenger, less shaken on the roads with goats or cows. Less effective in pure performance than its road version, the Z on stiletto heels therefore takes more care of the comfort of the crew. A character trait that can be found on the Versys 650. Narrower than its big sister, the small remains pleasant solo but struggles to keep up with the sporting rhythm of the big cars. The cycle part then admits its limits, especially in terms of suspension. However, the handling remains flawless but the whole is less precise. With two, the twin will impose a more reduced pace in the climbs of collar but freed itself with efficiency of the long journeys. Its comfort as a duo and its liveliness in solo make it a light companion of charm. We will not hesitate, then, to get out of the asphalt to take rolling tracks or other low-traffic crossroads..

Apart from the ZZR 1400, it is difficult to distinguish a real winner in the road test. Nevertheless, GTR 1400, Z1000 SX and Versys 1000 win in duo and overall approvals.

Kawasaki Z1000 SX

Conclusion

It is certainly not a question of defining a classification of these models but to shed light on the Kawasaki road range for the addict to the brand. In particular with the possibility, from now on, of having machines in full possession of their dynamic means. In fact, the differences between these motorcycles are more clear.

The ZZR 1400 represents mechanical excessiveness and will appeal to followers of a provocative anti-conformism. In normal version, the machine delivers an unusual character, less easy to take in small corners. Reserved for "informed users", the hypersport-GT requires experience. Traveling on board is a purist’s choice requiring € 19,149 in Sport Performance (from € 15,799 in standard version).

Seasoned driver, the GTR 1400 can be rediscovered in a free version for TGV (High Speed ​​Tourism). As a duo and loaded, the GT is not afraid of the elements or narrow roads. Imperial whatever the pace, it imposes its genetics of accomplished traveler and its gimbal as efficient as it is imperceptible. A set claiming € 17,499.

On a lighter note, the Z1000 SX and Versys 1000 are above all a choice of riding style and sport-comfort compromise. In the event of a frequent duet, the trail will be more indicated. If dynamics are your priority, the SX is a great road and everyday tool. Unclamping gives them added character and engine availability. Priced at 13,399 for the SX and 12,999 € for the Versys, the road variants of the Z1000 cultivate the sporting spirit of the roadster.

The most affordable Kawasaki roadster is not the least interesting. Easy to take, the Versys 650 offers comfort and road capacity at the best price. Eligible for the A2 license, she asks for € 7,899.

Thus composed, the road range of the manufacturer of Akashi offers a complete offer, able to satisfy experienced backpackers as well as beginners. From the hyper GT to the entry-level quality trail, Kawasaki has developed a road family ready to go. Take off.

Strong points

ZZR 1400

  • Outstanding style
  • Evidence of handling
  • Engine availability
  • Agility and precision of the chassis
  • Performance
  • Braking

Weak points

ZZR 1400

  • Quite typical position
  • Shy sound at medium speed
  • Dated dashboard

Kawasaki ZZR 1400 technical sheet

GTR 1400

  • Engine availability
  • Agility and precision of the chassis
  • Performances
  • Braking
  • Gimbal
  • Electric windshield

GTR 1400

  • Dated dashboard

Kawasaki GTR 1400 technical sheet

Z1000 SX

  • Engine character and availability
  • Sportiness of the chassis
  • Finishes

Z1000SX

  • Perfectible protection
  • Comfort

Kawasaki Z1000SX technical sheet

Versys 1000

  • Engine character and availability
  • Agility of the chassis
  • Comfort
  • Finishes

Versys 1000

  • Mass transfers
  • No storage compartment

Kawasaki Versys 1000 technical sheet

Versys 650

  • Engine character and availability
  • Agility of the chassis
  • Comfort and protection
  • Finishes

Versys 650

  • A little too extreme aesthetics

Kawasaki Versys 650 technical sheet

Test conditions

  • Itinerary : –
  • Motorcycle mileage: –
  • Encountered problem : –

ZZR 1400

Colors :

  • Black Metallic Spark / Black Flat Ebony
  • Green Golden Blazed / Black Metallic Spark

Sport Performance Pack :

  • Double curvature screen (98 €)
  • Akrapovic exhaust (€ 2,228)
  • Öhlins pendant lights

Optional accessories :

  • Passenger seat cover: 239 €
  • Center stand: 288 €.
  • Top case 47L: € 124.00
  • Top case support: 175 €

GTR 1400

Colors :

  • Metal Blue / Metal Black
  • Metal Gray / Carbon Gray

Grand Tourer Pack – 600 €

  • Large Top case 47L
  • GPS support
  • Protective films (1 set)
  • Suitcase interiors

Z1000 SX

Colors :

  • Candy Green / Metal Black
  • Carbon Gray / Metal Black
  • Metal Blue / Metal Black

Versys 1000

Colors :

  • Candy Green / Metal Black
  • Carbon Gray / Metal Black
  • Titanium Gray / Metal Black

Versys Tourer Pack – 900 €

  • Suitcases
  • Tank protection
  • Hand guards
  • Suitcases
  • Inner bag of suitcases

Versys Tourer Plus Pack – € 1,400

  • Suitcases
  • Inner bag
  • Gear indicator engaged
  • Additional lights
  • Hand guards
  • Tank protector

Versys 650

Colors :

  • White Pearl Stardust
  • Black Metallic Spark / Black Flat Ebony
  • Pearl Shining Yellow

Tourer Plus Pack – € 1,400

  • Suitcases
  • Inner bag
  • Gear indicator engaged
  • Additional lights
  • Hand guards
  • Tank protector

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3 thoughts on “Comparo: which motorbike for the road?

  1. OK, understood.

    A professional essay close to the limited, by virtue of the adage "who can do more, can do less"

    Limits that I would probably reach very, very rarely or accidentally.

    This machine will therefore replace my valiant 125.

    Thank you very much for your responsiveness, in any case.

    I appreciate to smile

  2. OK, understood.

    A professional essay close to the limited, by virtue of the adage "who can do more, can do less"

    Limits that I would probably reach very, very rarely or accidentally.

    This machine will therefore replace my valiant 125.

    Thank you very much for your responsiveness, in any case.

    I appreciate to smile

  3. Hello. Well, all that remains is to try the beast as outlined above. For my part, I consider it a very good alternative to the TMAX and a sufficient tool for most scooter owners (Mostly men, sorry ladies, in their fifties, mixed use (work and weekends when it’s done). beautiful), without forgetting the transport of mom wink)

    Pierre

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