2014 Kawasaki Z1000
The Kawasaki Z design language has been elevated to a higher level with the new Z1000’s “Sugomi” styling. From its seductively sculpted shapes invoking a crouching predator and painstaking details like its special “Z” logo ignition keys, machined aluminum steering stem bolt, and intricately textured “Z” motif seat cover, to the tighter tolerances of its high-quality components and bodywork, the dramatic result has a very special feel that helps set the stage for the excitement to follow.
For 2014, Kawasaki engineers concentrated on making the Z1000 more potent and capable than ever. Its extremely exciting inline-four produces the sort of power that launches you away from stops and out of corners in a way lesser powerplants simply can’t hope to match. The Z1000 engine produces strong, instant-on thrust that’s capable of embarrassing many hardcore sportbikes.
Z1000’s 1,043cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 16-valve engine features revised intake cams that boost its low-to-midrange torque—where most street bikes spend their time. When the road opens up, this stylish streetfighter can better stretch its legs thanks to additional airbox vents and new cylinder connecting passageways that help strengthen mid-to-high RPM performance by improving breathing and reducing the pumping losses associated with displacing air inside the crankcase. The more pronounced growl of the intake at low-RPM and its intoxicating howl at full-song will put a smile on even the most jaded rider’s face. This engine’s responsive power allows it to excel at almost any street-going activity, be it playing around town, sport riding, or dispatching miles on the open road.
Four 38mm Keihin downdraft throttle bodies inject an ideal mix of fuel and air into each combustion chamber with help from an advanced ECU that’s been re-tuned to provide a livelier engine feel. An updated cool air intake system routes fresh air to the airbox via extra ducts at the front of the bike, and a new, non-woven air filter element provides better flow at high-RPM, while four equal-length velocity stacks help provide snappier throttle response to further increase the engine’s fun factor. Digital Timing Advance contributes to the increased low- and mid-range power, while spark plug-mounted ignition coils help ensure perfect timing for each cylinder. It’s a perfect engine for a road-going sportbike – aggressive, powerful, flexible, and blessed with the legendary reliability associated with Kawasaki sportbikes.
Shorter overall gearing complements the more responsive engine to deliver astounding thrust at the rider’s command. However, a new, slightly taller 6th gear helps maintain reasonable RPM at highway speeds so comfort and economy don’t suffer when covering miles on a long ride.
A beautifully styled 4-into-2-pre-chamber-into-2 exhaust offers a pleasing growl that is well-matched to the more-aggressive tone of the Z1000’s intake system. A butterfly valve in the right-side muffler not only helps reduce noise, but also tunes exhaust back-pressure waves to help enhance low-rpm engine response.
The Z1000 features an advanced aluminum frame similar in design to the Ninja® ZX™-10R superbike’s. The lightweight assembly curves over the engine, cradling it from above and bolting solidly to it in three places, with a rubber-backed fourth mount provided for added vibration isolation and torsional rigidity. This design allowed engineers to keep the bike’s waist narrow for superb rider interface and maximum comfort and control. The main frame and swingarm pivot pieces are cast as a single unit, with welds eliminated wherever possible for seamless aesthetics. Its new sub-frame tapers to a very shallow cross-section at the rear, allowing the bodywork to take-on an aggressive minimalist profile.
As a package, the Z1000’s engine and chassis are tuned to act more like European “streetfighter” models in both looks and feel. This innovative bike marks a significant step forward, providing an overall experience that is very different from other Japanese motorcycles, a quicker, more direct feel that is sure to please experienced riders.