Kawasaki is recalling Concours 14 police motorcycles for multiple problems

2013-kawasaki-recalls-police-concoursKawasaki is recalling 337  model year 2012-2013 Concours 14 police motorcycles. The improper installation of additional police accessories may cause multiple safety issues such as fuel leaks, reduction of braking ability and loss of electrical power to the engine, resulting in a stall.  Also installation of police accessories may cause the 30-amp main fuse to blow.the additional police wiring harness may chafe leading to a short, which may blow the main fuse. If the fuse blows, the engine may stall increasing the risk of a crash. Kawasaki will notify owners, and dealers will correct the electrical system problems, free of charge. Kawasaki has notified the affected police departments and will send trained factory personnel to the departments to repair the motorcycles.   Owners may contact Kawasaki at 1-866-802-9381. This campaign is an expansion of recall 12V-134. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Hall of Famer, Kawasaki icon Jeff Fredette selected as Grand Marshal for 2011 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — In 1978, a nervous rookie off-roader lined up in the rural Swedish countryside at the biggest off-road race in the world, the International Six Days Trial (ISDT). Six days later, Jeff Fredette was credited with a gold medal finish, and launched what would become one of the most enduring international motorcycle racing careers of all time.

In recognition of Fredette’s stellar off-road racing career, his record-setting number of ISDT andInternational Six Days Enduro (ISDE) finishes and his support of the Kawasaki brand, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA are pleased to announce that Fredette will be honored as Grand Marshal at the annual AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 22-24, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Fredette’s selection highlights Kawasaki’s status as the Marque of the Year for 2011 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.

“Jeff Fredette represents determination, excellence, sportsmanship and professionalism,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Not only does he bring a career-long association with our 2011 Marque of the Year, Kawasaki, but he stands as an excellent role model for the AMA’s aspiring cadre of amateur racers of all ages. We’re honored that he will be on hand to greet fans and support AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, which raises funds for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”

Added Chris Brull, Kawasaki’s marketing communications director: “Jeff Fredette and Kawasaki have ridden together for nearly three decades. The relationship has been long and rewarding. When it comes to celebrating the history of Kawasaki and the people who have helped elevate the brand in America, we can think of no better representative than ‘Mr. ISDE’ himself.” Not only is Fredette a multi-time gold medal winner at the ISDT/ISDE, but he has won hundreds of AMA Racing off-road events, including several on the national level.

Fredette, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, remains an active competitor. He further burnished his reputation last year when he not only competed in his 30th ISDE, where he won another gold medal, but he also won two AMA Racing National Championships: the Senior 40+ A class title in the AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series, and the 86cc-200cc Modern class No. 1 plate at the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships. Fredette also has won the 2004 Senior 40+ and 1989 126-200 A class national enduro titles and 15 Ice Race National Championships, from 1984-2007. He was named AMA Racing Sportsman of the Year in 1993 and AMA Racing Vet/Senior Rider of the Year in 2010.

“I’m excited about this opportunity and to really experience all the things going on at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days,” Fredette said. “Last year was my first year at the event, and my schedule only allowed me to see the hare scrambles. I’m looking forward to the swap meet, the flat track, the bike shows and taking in the vintage scene. Plus, I’m not going to miss out on the racing. I want to compete in the trials, the hare scrambles, the motocross and the flat track. It should be a great time all around.”

Of course, Fredette will compete on Kawasakis, which he has raced since 1983.

“It was the year after Suzuki pulled out of off-road, and I didn’t have a ride,” Fredette remembered. “Kawasaki came along with some bikes and support, and things just started to click. Kawasakis have always been great bikes, and I’m pretty loyal, so from then on, as long as everything worked, I had no reason to change.”

Fredette’s role as Grand Marshal will be one of many Kawasaki-themed activities this year at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Known as a leader in the performance category for the past 45 years, Kawasaki will host a number of interactive opportunities for attendees. Fans will be able to immerse themselves in the brand’s history — and its future, as licensed riders will be able to demo the latestKawasaki motorcycles.

Hosting a Kawasaki display at the Mid-Ohio venue for the event, the company will exhibit many of its groundbreaking models, including the famed 500cc Mach III triple and the 900cc Z1, recognized as one of the industry’s first true superbikes. In addition, attendees will have a chance to win both a modern Z1000 muscle bike and a classic Z1 in the Hall of Fame raffle.

Kawasaki riders attending the event will enjoy special perks, including a Kawasaki-only parking area and the chance to participate in a special lap of the Mid-Ohio track.

Held at the world-class Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features vintage and post-vintage competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. In addition to demo rides of current production bikes, the event includes North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, educational seminars, bike shows, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs.

Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which is located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to “celebrate, elucidate and preserve the rich tradition of motorcycling in America.” Its exhibits honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.

Tickets for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days can be purchased online at MidOhio.com. For more information about the event, visit AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.

The Everyday Bike for the Real World; 2011 Ninja 1000

“A purpose-built sport bike for the street.”

So you are getting older and your knees and back aren’t what they use be but you love sport bikes. You grew up with your wrists down, rear end up, and as far as you are concerned it’s how a real motorcycle should be. They were built for carving canyons, applying liberal doses of adrenaline through the vascular system when needed, and need to look like they are doing 100mph at rest. Sure, you can get a bike like the ZX 10R, and enjoy ten-year-old Moto GP quality performance on the street, but there is a price to pay in the levels of comfort, especially when you want to go somewhere or take a passenger for a ride. Up till now the choices have been a little slim lately. Move over to a sport touring machine, put a bikini fairing on a naked standard, or like the guy you saw at Target the other day in his jogging pants, just give up, and head out to buy a cruiser.

Well, if you find yourself at this life threatening crossroads, where waking up each morning allows you to replay the memory of all the accidents and injuries you’ve had over the years, Kawasaki has come up with a new form of therapy called the Ninja 1000. Looking like a sport bike, behaving like a sport bike when you twist the throttle or dive into a sweet series of fast corners, it’s designed to be ridden for long periods of time. Handlebars are high enough to not put any stress on your wrists, the foot pegs are low enough you don’t need a prescription for Celebrex to go for a weekend ride, and the seat comfortable enough to let you sit for longer than a 20 minute track session without pain. You can also add soft luggage and a tank bag, which will give you the ability to go sport touring. And I wouldn’t mind betting with some suspension tweaks and a stickier set of tires, it would do quite well at your local track day.

While Kawasaki is introducing this an all-new machine, the concept of this style of motorcycle has been with them for many years. Way back in 1983, they had the awe inspiring GPZ1100 and have carried on with a number of bikes like the GPZ 900R, the ZX-11 and even more recently the ZZR1200. They also had a bike called the Ninja 1000 back in ’86 which came during that odd period when someone thought 16 inch wheels were a good idea. It was never a bike I liked and seemed like a poor replacement for the Ninja 900 to me, but that’s all in the past, so let’s get back to the future.

For our test ride we headed to the mountains roads outside of San Francisco, and full marks to Kawasaki for giving us such a variety of conditions. I was amused to listen to one moto scribe who was not happy with the tight, twisting and bumpy roads in the morning. Partially strewn with pine needles and rotten branches I could see where it could have been a nightmare for someone who obviously did too many laps at the bar the previous evening. Allowing me to marvel at the wide bars, the superb balance, and excellent control available from the precise fueling, I was absolutely in heaven. Diving between fallen branches, swerving around piles of leaves and pine needles, and rattling up and down the gear box like a sax player practicing scales, I did a lot of bonding with the Ninja during this part of the day. “It’s a sport bike for the real world,” says Kawasaki’s Karl Edmondson. This was the real world, and the new Kawasaki Ninja 1000 was certainly living up to my expectations.

The suspension did a fantastic job all day, compliant over bumps, while also keeping the bike composed at speed. The Ninja started moving around speeds reached into the illegal zone on some bumpy sections of road, but it was more of a slow down signal than an alarm bell. Don’t start thinking of your old 1980 Z1000 trying to tie itself in knots when you past its limits. This is more of a gentle oscillation that says we are approaching the limit so back off. Imagine one of those gentle electronically generated female voices saying, “It’s time to slow down,” not Flo the insurance gal yelling at you to back off. Parking my Ohlins shod personal bike the day before riding the Kawasaki, I was most impressed with the way the bike would settle after hitting a bump or series of bumps. As one area of testing that always shows the quality of a suspension system, the Ninja gets extra bonus points as it was on stock settings.  For the technically minded, the Ninja uses a 41mm inverted fork featuring stepless compression and rebound damping with adjustable pre load. The rake and trail are 24.5 degrees and 4 inches respectively, and the bike rolls on a 56.9-inch wheelbase. To put this in perspective, the ZX 10R uses a 56.1-inch wheelbase. In the rear, the single shock is mounted in a horizontal fashion with just stepless rebound damping and pre load adjustments possible.

The new Ninja 1000 is highly deceptive in the weight department, feeling a lot lighter than its listed 502 pounds. Moving a liter bike around the garage manually or at low speeds with the engine running in a parking lot, reminds me of why track days can be so tiring on a bike of this capacity. These things are still pretty heavy. Performing the same maneuvers on the Ninja, you would bet money it’s 100 pounds lighter than the pure sport bike thanks to the wide bars, and low, narrow seat.

And it’s easy to maneuver, too. Turning for photos at a point where the road fell away from us, it was no problem to come to a rolling stop, let the bars fall to the steering stop before rolling down into the turn. Finding myself able to keep my feet on the pegs, with some juggling of the light clutch and throttle, it really put a smile on my face every time I turned. This can sometimes be a challenging part of the job on narrow roads when riding a heavier bike. It’s this balance and poise that made the day of sport riding on the California roads so much fun. I distinctly remember riding similar roads on Ducati’s Streetfighter, and feeling like I was a novice at a track day struggling to find my way. It was that difficult. The Kawasaki by comparison with its upright and set back bars, allows for super light input on these transitions, with no compromise to the bike’s stability. Never any nervousness, just precise, predictable handling.      Ride position is comfortable and apart from a 10mm change in the individual clip on bars, it’s the same as the Z1000, or Kawasaki’s naked standard that this bike is based on if you are not familiar with the model. After a long day in terms of riding hours not necessarily miles, the seat was starting to feel a tad firm, but nothing a quick stretch and a walk around wouldn’t fix.

The view from the saddle shows a very well finished and clean cockpit without any clutter. The gauges taken from the ZX 6R work perfectly, with a nice big analogue tachometer to let you know what the engine is doing and an adequate digital speedometer. There is a good fuel gauge, easy toggle through odometer, trip counter and sensible practical switchgear that’s not clever for the sake of it. Plus a manually operated three-position windshield that is easy to operate, but it must be done while you are parked. This is part of the full fairing, which actually leaves a fair amount of your body out in the wind. Raising or lowering the windshield gave a small change in airflow, but nothing drastic. The mirrors are good, with the usual head and shoulder routine showing only half of what’s going on behind.

On paper the bike is identical in horsepower and performance to the Z1000, but with a slightly lower final gear ratio and a more slippery aerodynamic profile. The Ninja will get to its marginally higher top speed quicker. I gushed about the 1034cc engine in my review of the naked Z last year and still feel exactly the same. The fuel delivery from the 38mm Keihin throttle bodies is as seamless as anything I’ve ever ridden, and allows perfect on-off-on throttle response. It’s just so predictable at lower throttle openings. It’s not going to land you any trouble, especially if you unexpectedly hit a bump mid corner. And it differs from a sport bike with three power modes, where the lower power option, or rain mode as some people call it, feels like someone pulled a plug wire. The Ninja engine just feels right all the time and will pull cleanly from 2,000rpm. You can drop to around 35mph in top gear and still pull away smoothly if you are not into dancing on the gear lever in town. In 6th gear out on the highway with the engine spinning along minding it’s own business you are doing a comfortable 70-75mph. Dropping the bike into fifth gear gives a 500 rpm increase, so clearly sixth gear is just an overdrive. This makes for a nice relaxed feeling at highway speeds, with none of the dry mouth, anxiety associated with Superbikes under these conditions. To me, it seems like I spend the entire time all wound up waiting to just yank the throttle and take off and stressing about the potential problems it could cause. Not so on the Ninja.

Gear changing for the most part is very good and precise. I did have a couple of times where I was left waiting for it to be ready for the next up shift, but there were no false neutrals during downshifting or clutch-less up shifting. Clutch lever pull is sharp; engaging soon after the lever leaves the bar. It should be noted it is non adjustable, where the front brake lever has six position choices depending on the size of your paws.

Brakes are full on sport bike equipment, with a radial pump master cylinder, sending fluid to a pair of radial, four piston calipers. Wave petal rotors are standard stuff these days for Kawasaki sport bikes, and at 300mm, they are a tad smaller than the all out sport bike. Nothing earth shattering about the components or their action, just good solid equipment that gives all the stopping power you need. If I was being really nit picky, I would like the initial bite to be stronger on such a sporting bike, as I’m not comfortable having to apply so much pressure to the lever when the pace gets hot.  The rear brake is useful to keep the bike settled in the faster stuff with the more softly sprung front end. It can take a good, firm push before locking the rear tire, and this adds a degree of confidence during the fast braking process. The front wheel appears to be lifted from the ZX 6R and came wrapped in a sticky 120/70 ZR 17 Bridgestone BT100. This gave superb feel and grip, as did the 190/55 ZR 17 rear, so no surprises here.

The new Kawasaki Ninja 1000’s styling is certainly interesting. The front fairing has quite the beak, and coming from one who has a large personal fairing thrusting off my face, I feel qualified to comment here that it could be a love it or hate it feature. The rest of the fairing seems well integrated, and uses the side panel design to channel heat away form the engine with its unique rounded shape. During our test day the temperatures around the San Francisco Bay remained cool, so it never got hot enough for me to tell if they were doing their job as intended. It also seems to draw attention away from the stylish triangulated mufflers, which look larger on the naked Z1000. These are the last part of a 4-into-2 pre-chamber-into-2-layout with main and pre-catalyzers keeping the stuff we breathe cleaner.

While Kawasaki is touting the Ninja 1000 as an all-new bike, not a Z1000 with a fairing bolted on, in truth most of the bike is the same. From the lightweight aluminum frame to the five-gallon gas tank, both bikes share the majority of components. Priced at $10,999, the new Ninja 1000 is ready to be shipped to dealers and will be available by the time you are reading this. There are a number of accessory items in the works with saddlebags, frame sliders and a larger windshield already on the list. This will probably be one of the big attractions to this real world sport bike, as you can pack up and go away for a weekend or more in comfort. As one of the aging demographic that can’t tolerate long days in the saddle of hard-core sport bikes too often, the Ninja 1000 is talking my language.  Compliant suspension, a powerful torque loaded engine, and heaps of low down grunt, it has more handling and braking capabilities than you realistically need on the street. And, of course, looks to match. Reminding me very much of Kawasaki’s Ninja 900 and GPZ1100 from my early motorcycling years, Kawasaki has created another exciting adrenaline inducing motorcycle that is going to make a lot of sport bike enthusiasts very comfortable. Pun intended.

2009-2010 Vulcan Motorcycles Recalled

Check with your dealer to see if your Vulcan is on the recall list

Kawasaki is recalling certain model year 2009-2010 Vulcan motorcycles. The engine may stall if the rider is coasting with the clutch pulled in due to an improper setting of the engine control unit (ECU).  An unexpected engine stall could result in a crash, causing serious injury or death.  Dealers will replace the ECU with one containing revised settings to address the engine stalling. The safety recall is expected to begin on or before November 1, 2010. Owners may contact Kawasaki consumer services department at 866-802-9381.

AMA Dragbike is gone, but Straightliner magazine lives on


Straightliner Magazine Continues despite AMA Dragbike Ceasing Operations

Straightliner is sorry to see AMA Dragbike go, but America’s only all-motorcycle drag racing magazine is looking forward to more time with the many thriving series in the sport. In addition to complete coverage of every Mickey Thompson MiRock Superbike Series event, Straightliner has already begun discussions with the ADRL and Hurricane Alley. So even though the icon is gone, the sport and our place in it will continue unabated.

Our July issue covers the May Rockingham and June Maryland races, and what will now stand as AMA Dragbike’s final event in Montgomery. We’ll have opinions from racing veterans and industry insiders about this latest development in the landscape of the sport and find out where the action is growing. This issue will debut in record numbers at the blockbuster Fast By Gast WPGC Bike Fest at Maryland International Raceway in July. Secure a spot for your company in this landmark issue of Straightliner by July 2nd.

America’s only all-motorcycle drag racing magazine thanks you for your continued support and will continue to deliver the best coverage to the best customers in motorsports!   For more information on advertising opportunities in Straightliner, contact  Tim Hailey timhailey@earthlink.net (718) 554-3866 or Sylvia Cochran sylviac@usridernews.com 478-237-3761

Kawasaki Returns To Police Duty

New Police Bike from Kawasaki

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is offering the Concours 14 ABS Police motorcycle to U.S. law enforcement agencies.  Complete sales and support services are available through the company’s network of more than 1,100 U.S. motorcycle dealers.

Kawasaki will provide post-sale warranty support as well as law enforcement maintenance personnel training. Police unit preparation will be handled through a partnership with Beaudry Motors, Inc.

Concours 14 ABS Police motorcycles lead the segment in safety, acceleration, handling, and braking.  All units are delivered with a tighter turning radius and custom law enforcement equipment, including: adjustable speedometer, a second wiring harness with 12 fused circuits and a separate battery dedicated to the add-on electronics installed by Beaudry Motors, Inc.  An extensive selection of emergency equipment is available to satisfy agency requirements.

More Capable:

The Concours 14 ABS provides significant competitive advantages for law enforcement agencies, compared to the police offerings from competing manufacturers.

  • Available high-performance Traction Control.
  • High-performance ABS brake system.
  • Quickest acceleration in the law enforcement class.
  • Best high-speed handling in the law enforcement class.
  • Heavy-duty 41.5 amp alternator.
  • 441-pound payload capacity.
  • Removable saddle bags.
  • Tough and durable clutch is the least-expensive system to replace in the category.
  • Three-year unlimited mileage factory warranty.
  • Fleet service staff training, plus the authorization to conduct non-warranty maintenance and repairs, on-site
  • Purchasing agencies may also take their vehicles to any Kawasaki motorcycle dealer for regular maintenance, repairs, or warranty service.

Competitive Pricing:

  • Turn-key retail costs vary from $16-$22,000 per unit, depending on model year and level of equipment options ordered.
  • Taxpayers save more than $2,000 per-unit in initial acquisition cost, compared to comparably equipped BMW R1200RT-P or Harley Davidson FLHTP motorcycles.
  • Depending on fleet size, total cost savings to communities, governments, and the taxpayers could rise to millions of dollars, once reduced maintenance and repair costs are factored-in.
  • A complete clutch system replacement—one of the most frequent police unit maintenance needs—costs less than $400 in parts and labor. This represents a savings of several hundred dollars1, per occurrence, and could mean a savings of thousands of dollars over the life of each vehicle.

The Big Z-Kawasaki Z1000 Road Test

By: Neale Bayly

It’s easy for me. I’ve been wearing naked standard tinted glasses since I watched old KZ900s and GS1000s roaming the earth in the late ‘70s. Personally graduating to a Laverda 1200 by the early ‘80s, after a spotty youth in England on smaller displacement dual-purpose bikes, my path to man hood also saw a stint on a Honda CBX550. (Think early GPZ550 and you get a mental image of this European import) With high unemployment and ridiculous gas prices, we had no choice but to embrace the concept of owning one bike that did it all.

It certainly made for a lot of seat time, and riding this style of motorcycle is hard wired into my motorcycle soul. We raced them through the lanes, took girls out on dates, and rode them to work on the rare occasion we had a job, or strapped our meager possessions onboard and took off traveling whenever we could. With no money for anything that came on four wheels, our motorcycles had to do it all.

The situation is, and has always been, a lot different here in the States. Motorcycles are rarely anyone’s sole transportation, and ownership typically is more focused on the hobby side of the equation than the practical. To me, this is one of the reasons that this style of motorcycle has never gained the cult status it enjoys in Europe. It’s not for lack of choice either! Triumph has the well-respected Speed Triple, Ducati the wild Hypermotards or more civilized Monsters, Yamaha the FZ1 and so on. All fantastic motorcycles but still not one of them has taken this niche to it’s full potential.

Kawasaki joined the mix with the first Z1000 in 2003, which I personally found to be a fantastic motorcycle. Able to get around a racetrack at a pace that was capable of embarrassing a few sport bikes, it was also mighty comfortable for sport touring and around town duties. Apparently the American motorcycling fraternity didn’t share my enthusiasm, since the bike was discontinued. The good news is Kawasaki wasn’t prepared to give up on this class of motorcycle and have addressed the issues that were raised by bringing out the all-new 2010 Z1000.

Styling of the new 2010 Kawasaki Z1000 is definitely going to provoke some conversations at your local bike night. The first time I saw one in the flesh I was very undecided, and it took me a full day with the bike in California to say, “Hey, this thing looks really cool.” It is more of a naked sport bike than a naked standard, although the lines are definitely a little blurred here, but whatever your opinion it’s going to turn heads.

Invited to Kawasaki’s headquarters in Irvine, California recently, I had the chance to spend an interesting day in the saddle and came away with a very favorable impression. With a long term Speed Triple in the Bayly garage, and a recent test of the new Ducati Hypermotards, it was a great opportunity to test the new Z against a pair of other naked standards.

As the four-cylinder representative in this group, the Kawasaki immediately wins the sophistication award, with its silky smooth 136 horsepower engine and roomy ergonomics. The other two just feel more raw and unrefined, and there’s nothing wrong with either if that’s the experience you are after, but the Kawasaki is just so much smoother and even though it’s a bigger, heavier bike, it’s more maneuverable at low speed. This is due to a low and narrow seat, and faultless throttle, clutch and gear operation. Super light and easy to modulate controls, this combination gives so much confidence in traffic or navigating crowded gas stations it’s easy to quickly feel at one with the big Z.

On first look you could be forgiven for thinking that Kawasaki just made some modifications to the exiting Z1000, threw on some new bodywork and called it a new model.

Dig around under the aggressive and uniquely styled bodywork and you quickly see nothing could be further from the truth. Calling it a “Supersport-Type” engine, the Z’s power plant is not derived from either the old Z1000 or the current ZX-10R. Displacing 1043cc, it’s 90cc up from the previous model and nearly 50cc bigger than the 10R. Obviously it has more power, but for the new Z the goal was to make this more manageable.

To achieve this aim, the new engine uses a slightly smaller bore, with an increase in the stroke size; this not only increases power, but also adds torque to give the bike a more muscular feel With the new figures hitting 136 bhp, it was the bike’s level of usability that impressed me most. There is never any sense you are on a ticking time bomb waiting to explode

if you are not careful with the throttle. On a full-blown liter bikes, it’s easy to get caught napping and be way over the speed limit with out any sense of how you got there. (Honestly officer)

With the Z1000, the power is always manageable and delivered smoothly and predictably without any unnecessary sensitivity during the throttle application. This smoothness is also in part due to the new Keihin 38mm throttle bodies that use oval-type sub throttles to keep things as narrow as possible and give sharper throttle response and better low and mid range performance.

It’s hard to tell without riding the old model with the new back to back, but there are no complaints from me about how strongly the bike pulls from low rpm. It actually is one of the easiest bikes I’ve ridden in a while in traffic. With the light clutch, and wide bars aiding the silky smooth engine, it is not difficult to modulate the controls to make progress when battling slow moving cages in the city.

Even the dimensions of the new engine are different this year. The crankshaft has been lowered to allow the longer stroke, and this has allowed it to be very close to the size of the original big Z. The engine is also smoother thanks to an additional secondary balancer that rotates in front of the crank. With less vibration from the motor, Kawasaki’s engineers were able to make the frame more rigid and this gives the bike better handling and a more relaxed ride.

The engineers also put some cool innovation into the intake system. It’s not ram air, and there’s no performance gain, but it sure does sound great! A pair of air ducts on each side of the fairing is routed through the frame and take the air into a resonator chamber inside the air box to give the bike a more muscular sound. It makes a lot of sense, with ever tightening emission laws pipes are so quiet these days, with this new system you get the intake growl right under your chest when you yank the throttle cables.

You get the sensory stimulation but your neighbors don’t, so full marks to the engineers for thinking “outside the box” innovation. On the subject of exhaust systems, the new Kawasaki uses a unique looking four into two into two lay out, with a pre chamber under the bike that allows smaller canisters. They are a modern rendition of the old Z900s four into four set up and are a more attractive evolution of the previous Z’s system.

Included in the story on the USRiderNews website is a photo of the Roaring Toyz custom Z1000 with the photos, as it comes with a very tidy looking Brocks Performance exhaust to show what the bike looks like when fitted with aftermarket equipment.

With the new engine up over ten horsepower from the last model, Kawasaki designed a new aluminum frame. Dubbed a “Supersport” styled chassis, it uses five piece construction and is 8.8 pounds lighter, while boasting 30% more torsional rigidity.

The new result is a more stable machine with better side-to-side handling and better ergonomics. During the press brief, this new improved handling was mentioned a number of times, and during our ride there was no disappointment. The bike has an all-new aluminum die cast sub frame, where the previous model used steel, and it features removable three-piece construction. This new sub frame is a fantastic feature that eliminates the need for side covers so it loses weight and makes it easier for the rider to put their feet on the ground.

A great frame needs quality suspension, and there is a set of 41mm inverted forks up front with full adjustment options. The compression-damping feature is the addition for this year and the forks are very compliant over rough surfaces, without sacrificing stability at higher speeds. They don’t exhibit too much unsettling dive under heavy braking, are a very good compromise between handling and comfort, and add sophistication. The rear shock is a horizontal back-link unit with both shock and linkage living above the swingarm. It has pre load and rebound adjustment options, and is easy to adjust if needed.

With the bike’s increased performance it’s no surprise to find a ZX-10R style radial brake set on the new Z1000, a pair of opposed piston calipers work with 300mm Wave rotors, and take fluid from a radial master cylinder. Action at the lever is precise and progressive, with no unsettling bite. There is a single piston caliper out back, with a smaller 250mm Wave rotor and the caliper is hung underneath the swing arm to accentuate the new five-spoke cast aluminum wheel. The new wheels have machined edges and a two-tone custom mag style for a high quality appearance.

With my looks, I might not be able to get a riding date soon, but I could certainly throw on some soft luggage and take the new Z1000 on an adventure. And I certainly wouldn’t have any objections to running around town on business, heading to the drag strip for a few passes or throwing on some race compound tires, dialing up the suspension and heading to a track weekend. Available in either Metallic Spark Black, or Pearl Stardust White the big Z is available for $10,499 at your local Kawasaki dealer.