2003-2004 KAWASAKI Z1000
List Price: £6995
Insurance Group: 15
Designed from the wheels up to be a purpose-made streetfighter instead of a race replica with its fairing stripped off, the Z1000 is smaller, lighter, more powerful and better-handling than Kawasaki’s own ZRX1200.
It handles like a sports bike, wheelies like a stunt bike and looks completely fresh and individual. That said, if you remember the old Z1, you might see bits of it in this – it takes styling cues, including the piggyback exhausts, from that model.
The Z1000 features a bored-out version of the ZX-9R engine with two-step fuel injection for seamless delivery, all producing 125bhp. Styling touches include those wicked digital wraparound clocks from the new ZX-6R, an LED back light, extensive polishing and wicked inverted forks.
The build quality is exceptionally high and stems from Kawasaki’s recently announced determination to deliver better two-wheelers than it has managed of late. Paint is thick and lustrous, and the polished aluminium rims look the business.
It is a brilliant all-rounder with capable city manners thanks to a strong clutch and responsive fuel injection, but excels on tight roads where sports bikes become a handful. It is also effortless to ride thanks to big leverage at the bars. But it does have one negative point: Its brakes feel weak compared to others.
MCN’s Keith Farr says: “You should think about changing the brake pads to get a little more bite. But it’s One mean mutha of a motorcycle and is impossible to pigeonhole”