The Kawa fighter after 25,000 kilometers

Interim balance: Endurance test Kawasaki Z 1000

With a heavily revised chassis and, above all, a newly designed engine, Kawasaki sharpened the character of the revived Z 1000 with the 2010 model. How reliable is the new one?


Kawasaki Z 1000 in the long-term test.

Allow me, wolf", was the title of MOTORRAD at the end of 2009 when the lavishly revised Z 1000 was presented. The reason: Kawasaki had finally given the classic, which has been reissued since 2003, the technical orientation that matches the legendary demands of this wild four-cylinder. Aluminum instead of steel frame, aggressive design, but above all a completely redesigned long-stroke engine with 1043 cm³ displacement and 138 hp peak power transformed the previously so gentle sheep into a vicious wolf – and a potential candidate for the MOTORRAD endurance test fleet. The time had come in mid-May 2010. A brand new Z 1000 rolled into the MOTORRAD underground car park – and soon after the workshop manager Gerry Wagner had sealed the most important parts, it was also out again soon.

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The Kawa fighter after 25,000 kilometers
Interim balance: Endurance test Kawasaki Z 1000

Accessories put to the test

Super athlete drivers can tell a song about it. Much more than your own shoulders and elbows can usually not be seen in the rear-view mirrors. But even with the Z 1000, which is equipped with a wide handlebar, the extremities of a normal body cover up to half of the mirror surface. The mirror extensions from the LSL forge allow for a much more undisturbed view. The beautifully made aluminum milled parts are child’s play to assemble, move the mirrors outwards by 40 millimeters and are hardly noticeable optically. Source of supply:, costs: 35.95 euros / pair.

Heated grips
In order to cover the endurance test distance as quickly as possible, MOTORRAD equips most of the endurance test machines with heated grips. Daytona hand warmers were used on the Z 1000. Their specialty: With one "begin"-Function, the handles heat up faster in the initial phase. It works so well that whoever forgets about it "We"-To switch to the next position, glowing fingers remind you of this as quickly as possible. In the operating mode, however, the handles warmed up in a practical way. The installation is relatively easy, the controller can be glued to the fairing or attached to the handlebars with the supplied clamp. Source of supply:, costs: 49.99 euros.

Complaints about insufficient seating comfort on the Z 1000 can often be read in the endurance test logbook. Understandable, after all, the naked bike is not one of the favorites for long-distance trips. Therefore: more convenience is always welcome. Although there have long been providers who specialize in seat conversions (,, as a rule the modification of the original part is no longer reversible. This can later become a disadvantage when selling. The solution for the Z 1000 is the seat of the sister model Z 1000 SX. The part, equipped with upholstery that is ten millimeters thick, fits easily into the original seat mounts. The more voluminous foam absorbs smaller hits in particular noticeably better. The seat height only increases by ten millimeters when exchanged. Bad luck for the passenger: the uncomfortable pillion seat of the Z 1000 cannot be replaced by the SX counterpart. Source of supply: Kawasaki dealer, costs: 216.28 euros.


Three struts: Wilbers, Öhlins, Mupo (from left to right).

The sporty orientation of the Z 1000 with all due respect – on country roads of the second or third order, the Kawasaki could use a little more comfort. The standard shock absorber responds harshly to sharp-edged potholes or deep manhole covers and passes the blows on to the driver in a dry manner. Could it be more comfortable without diluting the sporty touch of the Z 1000’s chassis design? To answer this question, MOTORRAD tried three struts. To keep the retrofitting costs manageable, all three shock absorbers were ordered without hydraulic spring preload.

Wilbers Adjust Line
The tuning of the shock absorber from the renowned suspension specialist comes closest to the standard shock absorber. The basic setting was relatively sporty, the spring rate of 100 N / mm was selected to be tight. When it comes to adjusting the rebound damping, no competitor can beat the Wilbers monoshock. The range between fully closed and fully open train damping was wider than in any competing product and therefore certainly covers all loading and driving conditions. The Wilbers element smoothes extreme impacts more effectively than the standard part, but the shock absorb shows a fundamental hardness over smaller bumps. Source of supply:, price: 499 euros.

Öhlins KA 043
The reputation as a sporty, highly decorated luxury forge precedes the Swedish suspension specialist. It is therefore all the more astonishing that the Öhlins shock absorber is satisfied with a very narrow adjustment tidy in terms of rebound damping, which is also rather weakly damped in its basic configuration. At least the spring, which is also quite soft at 95 N / mm, fits this setting. When driving, the Öhlins-equipped Z 1000 proves to be a tad more comfortable than in the series setup, but hangs lower in the rear than with the standard strut – especially when loaded or in two-person operation. Source of supply:, price: 499 euros

Mupo AB2
Although the suspension manufacturer from Bologna has existed since the 1990s, it is still largely a blank slate in this country. That could change quickly. The Italians succeeded in tuning the monoshock, which is equipped with an expansion tank, straight away. Although the Mupo men chose the softest spring rate of all three retrofit struts tested at 90 N / mm, they obviously adjusted the damping settings accordingly. In any case, the Italo shock absorber swallowed large and small bumps best without working too deeply into the suspension travel in pillion mode. With this successful set-up, the additional adjustment option for the compression damping almost appears to be a luxury – which one can do without in any case from a financial and functional point of view. Even without a reservoir, the shock absorber still costs 150 euros more than the competition. Source of supply:, price: 649 euros (without expansion tank) / 939 euros (with expansion tank).

Z 1000 tire recommendation

Harder or softer springs, revised damping – there are many ways to change the handling of a motorcycle by modifying the suspension setup. However, one important influencing factor is often underestimated: the tires. The contour, carcass structure and rubber compound can have a decisive effect on handling and straight-line stability. The front wheel-oriented Kawasaki Z 1000 in particular reacts sensitively to the different types of tires. MOTORRAD tested the seven most popular touring tires on the Kawa.

Bridgestone BT 023

Bridgestone BT 023
Obviously, the rather stiff casing of the Bridgestone harmonizes well with the front wheel-oriented design of the Z 1000. After a certain warm-up phase, the BT 023 behaves extremely neutrally, hardly stands up when braking and only requires a little counter-pressure on the handlebars when the vehicle is leaning heavily. Economically interesting: In MOTORRAD’s wear tests, the Japanese tire shone with its noticeably low wear.

Dunlop Roadsmart

Dunlop Roadsmart
Neutrality is the hallmark of the Roadsmart. The Dunlop cannot be disturbed by grooves and keeps the line clean, even in an inclined position. With these good-natured and confidence-inspiring characteristics, it is reminiscent of the – even more manageable – Conti Road Attack 2. However, with the advantage of better grip in wet conditions. However: Like the Conti, the Dunlop also showed itself to be relatively easy to wear in the MOTORRAD tests.

Michelin Pilot Road 3

Michelin Pilot Road 3
If Michelin’s greed for curves is not for everyone on most motorcycles, the Frenchman is just the thing for the Z 1000. He loves to draw tight radii, spices up the relatively sluggish handling of the Kawa with his greed for curves and gives the Big Bike a clearly noticeable lightness. And because the wet grip is also first-class, the Pilot Road 3 is an explicit purchase tip for the Kawasaki Z 1000.

Avon Storm 2 Ultra

Avon Storm 2 Ultra
On dry ground, the tire from England stays at eye level with the top dogs in the industry. Tea handling is neutral. Only the low inherent attenuation and a dull feedback disturb a bit. In the large touring tire test by MOTORRAD (issue 11/2010), the Brit shone with the least wear of all test candidates. The price for this: In wet conditions, moderate grip and a narrow border area spoil the fun.

Continental Road Attack 2

Continental Road Attack 2
With the Continental, the Z-1000 pilot is immediately on top of you. The Road Attack 2 underpins the neutral driving behavior with excellent feedback, which ensures a good relationship of trust. On top of that, the tire impresses with its great rolling comfort. The downside of the comfortable alignment: In the MOTORRAD wear test, the rear tire in particular showed above-average wear.

Metzeler Z8 Interact

Metzeler Z8 Interact
The Metzeler gives a very tight driving impression. The exact guidance in curves and a high level of stability when running in a straight line are bought with a certain stubbornness on transverse grooves in an inclined position. The relatively stiff chassis of the Z 1000 in particular noticeably transmits these impacts to the driver. A major step forward compared to its predecessor, the Z6 Interact, is the significantly improved wet grip.

Pirelli Angel ST

Pirelli Angel ST
In a positive sense, the Pirelli drives the Kawasaki completely inconspicuously. Without showing any nakedness in any category, the Angel ST delivers a solid performance with great steering precision and good wet grip across the board. Even if others may be more manageable (Michelin) or more good-natured (Continental), with its balance, the tire places itself in the top group of tires suitable for the Z 1000.

Changes to exhaust systems are always an issue on motorcycles. In the case of the Z 1000 even more. Since the first model (2003-2006) with four individual silencers, the technical changes in 2007 and 2010 have also been accompanied by a significantly modified look for the exhaust system. You can find an overview of a total of 14 retrofit systems for the current Z 1000 with power and volume measurement under the following link:

Exhaust & silence

Product test: exhaust systems for the Kawasaki Z 1000

Accessory silencer for Kawasaki’s naked bike

read more

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