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A Kawasaki summer love affair


IT’S FUN, comfortable and still relatively civilised despite wearing the Ninja insignia.

I’m talking about our Kawasaki Z1000SX long termer and while it certainly does have those characteristics usually associated with Kawasaki Ninjas, including speed and awe-inspiring handling, our Z1000SX is – how can I put it - for the more refined rider.

The thinking behind the bike is to offer superbike performance, while delivering a comfortable ride thanks to the more upright ergonomical riding position. It’s by no means something new, but having clocked up over 800km on the bike, it’s fair to say that I understand why Kawasaki did it.

Having some R&R over the festive season, I spent a good amount of time on the saddle of the Z1000SX touring some of South Africa’s finest roads. Soaking up every lump and bump, the Kawasaki’s suspension is impressive, while the upright riding position means the bike is purposely built for the long haul.

I never suffered from sore wrists or stiff shoulders, although my only irk is the adjustable front screen. No matter how much I tried and adjusted the screen, I just couldn’t find a happy medium. The wind kept battering me as it escaped over the screen, despite trying out all the different settings, it is, however, a minor flaw.

Its design might not be overly aggressive, but the powerful 1 043cc, four-cylinder engine, capable of producing 101.5kW of power and 110Nm of torque means there’s plenty of power on hand, should you want to unleash some of its superbike heredities.  
Crucially, the delivery of power is smooth and refined, making it a remarkably easy bike to ride and tour with.  It loads you with feedback through the corners, but one disconcerting feature is the heat radiated by the engine. On a hot summer’s day, your inner thighs get rather uncomfortably warm. That said, in winter, I’m sure it will be more welcomed.

Overall, Kawasaki seems to have found a perfect mix of handling and power making the Z1000SX a great touring companion thanks to its on-road composure.  Add to this the optional panniers with sufficient luggage space for a weekend away and you’re ready to escape from the city.

As we near the 1 000km mark on the machine, we’re looking forward to bringing you our next update regarding the Z1000SX’s service and then truly experiencing the bike’s performance credentials.

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