When it comes to making some of the world’s most focused and ferocious superbikes, the Japanese motorcycle major Kawasaki always holds a prestigious place in the list. The manufacturer, who is known for introducing some of the very pronounced technologies, has been making news and volumes ever since it marked its entry in the Indian market.
Talking about its Indian journey, after the Ninja lineup established it as a premium name in the industry, Kawasaki expanded its lineup by introducing its ‘Z’ lineup of roadsters, among which the Z1000 happens to be its flagship naked streetfighter. With its outrageous design and sublime performance, the Z1000 has existed gloriously and inarguably as one of the most buying-worthy options in the liter class segment.
For the year 2017, as a ritual of the yearly update, Kawasaki has recently unveiled a new version of the Z1000, the Z1000 R. The added ‘R’ suffix means that the motorcycle has become a bit sportier due to some added bits to the motorcycle. Here’s our quick and short review of what all changes does the ‘R’ suffix brings to the Z1000.
The design has always been a strong forte for the Kawasaki Z1000, and in this new guise, the Z1000 retains the extrovert and wild design language pretty well. Now, that may be annoying for some who were expecting a thorough change on the motorcycle, but that’s not a major issue, considering the fact that the current Z1000 still continues to be one of the most futuristic looking motorcycles all over the world. Though, there are some minute changes on the Z1000 R which set it apart from the regular Z1000.
Starting from the front, the Z1000 R retains the alien-looking front fascia, with the sloping headlamp console incorporating projector headlamps and LED daytime running lights. However, there are two eyebrow-shaped green colored stripes above the headlamps, which give the front face a stronger character than before. Like before, the upper cowl ahead of the instrument console too gets LED lights, thus completing the front stance of the motorcycle.
On moving sideways, the new Z1000 continues with the same muscular fuel tank and its beefy looking extension panels and sleek rear tail section as that on the standard Z1000. Though, like the front, the fuel tank extensions as well as rear tail section too get green highlights and stripes, with the upper portion of the fuel tank extensions too getting a ‘Z’ emblem. The engine cowl here on the Z1000 R gets a carbon fiber finish rather than regular paint finish on the standard Z1000, thus adding some sportiness to the profile. At the rear, the Z1000 R gets the same LED tail lamp, quad exhaust pipes on both the sides and rear fender, but here the characteristic cowl-like green colored pillion seat has gone in favor of a more conventional looking regular pillion seat.
The switchgear, handlebar, rear view mirrors and the two-part fully digital instrument console have been shared with the standard Z1000, with the console showing digital readouts for speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, odometer, trip meters and other tell tal lamps placed in a very organized but funky manner.
The limited changes on the Z1000 R over the standard Z1000 are very lesser than one’s expectations, but then, the Z1000 is already a ballistic looking motorcycle, which is why introducing very few changes and add-ons really don’t matter that much.
At the heart of the new Kawasaki Z1000 R lies the same four stroke, inline four, liquid cooled, fuel injected, 1043cc engine which powers the regular Z1000 and a couple of other Kawasakis like the Ninja 1000 and Versys 1000. Like on the standard version of the Z1000, the engine on the Z1000 R too produces a maximum power output of 142 PS and a maximum torque output of 111 Nm.
Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, this inline four mill on the Z1000 R has a linear power delivery with a punchy mid range and top end grunt, which gives it both streetfighter performance and an excellent long distance touring ability, without missing on the adrenaline rush of a 1000cc powerhouse.
RIDE AND HANDLING
It is this aspect where the changes on the Z1000 R are more pronounced. While the Z1000 R is blessed with the same 43mm upside-down hydraulic telescopic forks at the front as that on the standard Z1000, at the rear, there is a new horizontal back-link gas-charged horizontally-laid Ohlins monoshock at the rear. Slightly on a stiffer side, this suspension setup is fine tuned for giving stupendous stability to the otherwise heavy motorcycle around corners as well as fast straights with equal finesse
The electronic aids on the Z1000 R include an assist and slipper clutch, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) with different riding modes. The bike comes with dual petal 310mm disc brakes at the front and a single petal 250mm disc brake at the rear. As a change over the standard Z1000, the front brakes on the Z1000 R get dual radial mounted Brembo M50 monobloc calipers, which naturally offer stronger bite than the ones on the standard Z1000.
The new Z1000 R has globally launched the Z1000 R in only one striking and stealth paint shade of Metallic Spark Black with Metallic Graphite Grey and green inserts. While the motorcycle is yet to reach the Indian market, given the seriousness of Kawasaki towards India, the Z1000 R will reach here soon, and will be priced at a premium of Rs 50000-1 lakh, thus pricing the Z1000 R in the range of Rs. 14-14.5 lakh.
Considering the price positioning and the arch rivalry of its parent manufacturer with the other Japanese biggies, the closest competitor to the Kawasaki Z1000 is the Suzuki GSX-S1000. While the Z1000 R has that ‘designed to kill’ essence in its extrovert design, the overall profile of the GSX-S1000 is bold but simpler in contrast to the much aggressive Z1000 R, which is strictly to the varying tastes of different people.
The Suzuki GSX-S1000 has been bestowed with a very capable four cylinder, liquid cooled, 999cc engine, which puts out 140 PS of maximum power and 112 Nm of maximum torque. Thus, there is hard to differentiate between the characters of both the motorcycles in terms of performance. In the aspect of dynamics too, both the GSX-S1000 as well as the Z1000 R are almost equally marvelous, offering the rider oodles of feedback.
There is hardly any grievance from the current Z1000, as the motorcycle continues to be one of the wildest and most focused liter class streetfighters one could buy. However, with the Z1000 R, Kawasaki has just managed to spice up the otherwise slightly dated (now) package of the Z1000. Though, the changes could have been a bit more substantial as what they are now, but then, the overall changes are enough to make this an even more valuable proposition. With its sublime performance and the bettered mechanical package with Brembo front brake calipers and Ohlins monoshock at the rear, the motorcycle has just become a bit more focused than before, a good thing to keep the good times rolling for Kawasaki, just like what they want themselves to be.