Kawasaki Just Stripped Their Z1000 Down To Almost Nothing
Been searching for some heightened thrills? Try riding naked.
No, we don't mean riding without any clothes on — that's sheer idiocy. Rather, a naked motorcycle is a standard sport bike that’s been stripped of all extraneous bodywork for a radical street-fighter appearance and breakneck driving dynamics. Introduced in 2003, Kawasaki's Z1000 has been entirely overhauled for 2014, and the result is a dynamic urban brawler engineered to satisfy the needs of experienced sport-bike enthusiasts.
Prior to redesigning the Z1000, Kawasaki used intensive demographic research to determine that Z1000 owners were typically older, more experienced men who preferred quick and aggressive jaunts over long-haul cruises. Performance and appearance trumped all, and so Kawasaki strove to squeeze as much '"Sugomi" as they could into the bike's styling and dynamics.
Sugomi is a Japanese term applied to things that inspire "awe, leave an indelible impression, are daunting in stature or ability, and command respect" — and the Z1000's minimal but radical design provides just that. Its sharply angled body panels leave the brute's heart as the focus: a 1,043cc DOHC 16-valve inline-four geared to provide instantaneous response and a more aggressive exhaust note. Able to rev all the way to 11,250 rpm, it features a "soft" rev limiter that that doesn't let the power drop when you nail the redline. New cylinder-connecting passageways improve mid- to high-end RPM performance, while new intake cams provide instantaneous low-end torque, together ensuring that you always have the power you need, wherever you are in the power band.
Paying specific attention to the Z1000's aural experience, Kawasaki's engineers introduced a 16-hole air box resonator to provide a more stirring intake howl at high-rpm. They also removed the revised exhaust system's valve for more natural performance and more robust exhaust note. Geared for quick and brutal acceleration, the Z1000 has been designed to nail a grin to your face with every twist of the throttle.
Featuring a new 3-piece aluminum subframe that noticeably narrows the bike’s width, Kawasaki placed an emphasis on mass centralization in order to provide the lightest and sharpest handling dynamics possible and ensure that the Z1000 maintains easy turn-in and neutral mid-corner steering, while a new low-friction steering stem provides for improved handling at low speeds and reduced steering effort. The 2014 Z1000’s new SFF-BP fork provides independent adjustment of spring preload, compression and rebound valving. The new fork in combination with the Z1000’s shorter wheelbase, Dunlop D214 tires (190/50 rear and 120/70 front), and 487-pound wet weight provide this naked street fighter with a distinct handling edge over its cousin, the Ninja 1000 ABS.
Ergonomically, the Z1000’s revised frame allows the rider to sit lower on the bike while angling you forward for a more aggressive stance and better wind-blast protection. The cockpit features a compact, dual-element digital display that saves the LED-bedazzled bar-graph tachometer for when you’re over 4,000 rpm and in the go-zone. Featuring new reflector-less LED headlamps — a first for Kawasaki — the Z1000’s lights fit seamlessly into the bike’s radical styling. From tip to stem, the Z1000’s fit and finish is admirable and as a cohesive unit it surpasses the stakes set down by its Sugomi styling mantra. Available in Golden Blazed Green or Metallic Graphite Gray, and retailing at £9,499 (£10,099 with ABS), if you find yourself lucky enough to slip one of these into your garage, you’ll be followed incessantly by an intense aura of greatness as your tear up your city’s streets.