The Kawasaki Z1000 ABS
returns in a new and improved package to put up a better fight in the naked bike segment. Angular styling has been replaced with properly aggressive and modern attire, highlighted by a clean, Transformer-like headstock.
Thanks to a fully redesigned intake system including equal-length intake trumpets, more efficient fuel injectors, and revised camshafts, not to mention new engine maps, output is up from 138 hp to 142 hp.
Revised frame geometry makes the 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 ABS livelier up front, especially with the new separate-function, big-piston fork. Also, braking is improved courtesy of new monoblock callipers, a more precise and powerful master cylinder, and revised brake pads that have more bite.
Those looks and specs can strike fear into any competitor for sure, but let's see how the new Z1000 ABS fares on the road and the track.
The riding position feels natural and is exactly what streetfighter enthusiasts crave. The fuel tank doesn't look like it gained two litres, while the narrow seat will allow riders of various body sizes to put two firm feet on the ground at idle.
Since you're not leaning too much over the handlebars, and your legs have a certain amount of room, there's something relaxing about the 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 ABS. Likewise, the suspension offers a good mix of ride quality and sporty handling. Of course, with such a low headstock, protection against the elements is non-existent. Meanwhile, the passenger sits fairly high above the ground on a tight pillion with just a small strap to hold on to.
The new instrument panel is more modern and includes an LED bar-graph tachometer and an ACL display featuring a fuel gauge, trip computer with fuel consumption, and other data. The only thing missing is a gear indicator.
Limited electronics, lots of agility
|The riding position feels natural and is exactly what streetfighter enthusiasts crave. (Photo: France Ouellet)
The 1,043cc 4-cylinder engine delivers a healthy dose of power at medium revs. In a curious move, Kawasaki did not equip the Z1000 ABS with its advanced traction control system (S-KTRC). Regardless, the engine proves more competent and easier to exploit than the outgoing model's.
Improved ergonomics help the rider make the most of a lively chassis that's not as challenging to control than Italian competitors. The Z1000 ABS may not be as sharp as a superbike in long, sweeping corners, but it definitely impresses in tighter turns -- riders will love that around town. What's more, the smartly calibrated injection system allows the engine to drop all the way down the rev range without bucking upon re-acceleration.
Beware of speeding tickets!
|The 1,043cc 4-cylinder engine delivers a healthy dose of power at medium revs. (Photo: France Ouellet)
On the highway, the Kawasaki Z1000 ABS still generates plenty of vibrations (you can feel them through the footpegs); however, a slightly longer sixth gear ratio now mitigates this irritant.
That being said, a streetfighter is a man's bike, so let's stop complaining and rip that throttle wide open! Clearly, the Z1000 ABS loves to attack the road, with pleasure-inducing power and a sound that unleashes adrenaline through your veins beyond 7,500 rpm. You need a smooth pair of hands not to disrupt the bike's trajectory, but once you get used to it, you can push it hard and brake equally hard.
Despite producing 40 fewer horsepower than the average superbike, the Z1000's 6-speed transmission with chain final drive allows similar acceleration. In fact, seasoned riders will never wish for more power, no matter what the conditions are.
|That being said, a streetfighter is a man's bike, so let's stop complaining and rip that throttle wide open! (Photo: France Ouellet)
Even without traction control, the new 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 ABS will make its presence felt in the naked-bike segment. It sits pretty between the wild Italians and some timid Japanese rivals. Just make sure you have enough skills... and points to spare on your rider's licence!
- Fat powerband
- Nimble and stable at the same time
- Great looks
- No S-KTRC
- Limited two-up capability