When Kawasaki added a touring inspired fairing to their original Z1000 model they couldn’t have really predicted that the SX would carve itself a niche in the market. So when they gave the model a makeover in 2014 they looked at, and more importantly listened to, owners of the original incarnation. With a 140bhp 1043cc engine, the sporty side of its credentials are pretty obvious, but it was the comfort aids that Kawasaki focused on, after all the Z1000SX is a bike designed to appeal to those who maybe have had enough of the short comings of a full on sports bike.
The Z1000SX looks haven’t been compromised in the search for the purposeful touring needs.
The bike doesn’t just go fast, it stops quickly too. Kawasaki fitted monobloc calipers up front, and everyone who’s ridden a Z1000SX agrees they are pretty fine. The base model could be honed further, as Kawasaki offered their own range of touring products that could be purchased at point of sale. The most popular of these were the colour coded panniers that added £800 to the price tag. ABS was also an optional extra.
Kawasaki also fitted the Z1000SX with their KTRC system, their take on traction control. It also had two power modes, which possibly made sense to those who didn’t need 140bhp to go touring, but like to know that they’re there for those Sunday afternoon blasts.
Build quality is another plus for the model. The Z1000SX is one of the best selling models within the Kawasaki range, once you’ve tried one you’ll realise why.
What’s it like to ride?
Sports tourers often struggle to get the bias correct, the Z1000SX is a rare example of a bike that’s very capable at carrying out either task. There’s plenty of room and comfort for a pillion which sounds like an obvious requirement but is often forgotten. There’s no shortage of power within that 1043cc water cooled inline four engine, but what’s really addictive is the induction roar. Kawasaki have worked wonders within the airbox, well basically drilled a series of well placed holes that create an induction howl that’s a delicious touch, especially in these days of ever tighter noise and emission limits. The two power modes boil down to a choice between 140bhp or 98bhp, the later is probably suited to wet roads or loaded up bikes that are ready to go touring. When warp speed isn’t top of your list if you want to indulge yourself in the scenery, even on the low power mode the Z1000SX is no slouch.
The brakes are superb, the four pot monoblocs aided by the excellent suspension set up. The fuel injection system is worth a mention, its brilliant. With a tank range of 180 miles it’s a bike you can ride from full to empty with no issues.
What to look for when buying one?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, sales manager at Kawasaki dealership Wheels Motorcycles, in Peterborough. He says: “The Z1000SX is a bike that rarely hangs about, we can’t get enough of them, and they are still very much in demand.
“High mileage bikes that have done lots of touring suffer with cosmetic issues, but just stone chipping on fork lowers and that type of thing. Many owners ditch the large silencers, if you’re running panniers it’s always worth checking that and new silencers won’t foul the pannier cases.
“Mechanically they’re strong, being a relatively new bike means most come with full service histories. Higher screens are often fitted, but beyond that owners don’t tend to fiddle too much.”
What goes wrong?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson at Grumpy 1260. He services bikes from their workshop and breaks up older and damaged bikes. He added: “We service a few of these, more so the earlier model, probably because main dealers encourage owners to visit them in line with warranty policies if they sold the bike. The ones we do see don’t cause the owners any issues.
“It’s usually just straight services, although they are quite heavy on tyres and rears can be past their best within 4,000 road miles. Chains are also a regular item for replacement. Many owners bring them in for extras to be fitted, mostly higher screens and power points for sat navs.”
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