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Kawasaki a ninja of the road


AFTER months of trouble-free motoring and many happy miles, we have returned our long-term Kawasaki Z1000SX.

Having used the bike to commute and taken it on long rides, it combined high levels of comfort with sporty touring-engine performance.

I’ve always liked the bike’s simple styling package, but having spent long periods of time on the seat and asking a lot of fellow riders on their thoughts, a rather staggering amount said this Kawasaki was missing the X-factor.

It has tight lines and is suited up in a full-dress sports-tourer package. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of bike that doesn’t masquerade around like a peacock showing off. Instead it’s a humble dark horse and to be honest, I like that more.

Its comparatively light-weight physique - it weighs in at just 228kg - means it handles well and because of its high engine capacity that is injected with loads of mid-range torque, propels the bike onward like a natural killer on a hunt, all with a quick twist of the throttle.

The free-revving nature of the machine lets the bike climb strongly through the rev range as you bang it through the slick gearbox. Even low down it has some grunt, but does feel a bit bogged down.

It is equipped with 101.5kW of power and 110Nm of torque, so it’s got plenty of horses to thrill many a rider and, with an array of safety features, will allow the rider to explore their limits rather than the limits of this road-devouring Japanese machine.
The only fault that I could find during our time together was the vibrations that came through the foot pegs, but this is me nit-picking on a wonderful companion who was always ready to give me a few thrills when we went riding. I think it was the long trips together where you look for something to bug you and thankfully that is all I could find.

Okay, the 19-litre petrol tank is substantial, but on a long haul a few extra litres would’ve been a welcomed addition. However, cruising at highway speeds left this bike sipping a little over 6.0 litres/100km.

Overall, I have always been a fan of the touring-bike styling, largely because I don’t enjoy being bent over the handlebars for long periods at a time. And that’s why the Z1000SX made such an impression on me. Simplistic yet comfortable, its switchgear was easy to operate and its instrument cluster easy to read at a glance. Our test unit’s pannier boxes was an appreciated extra, because it made the bike even more of a practical runaround.

Its styling might be a tad mundane for a few, but the ride is anything but. It’s smooth and responsive, which is far more important than looking stylish.

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