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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I received the PM from the Admin of this forum asking me if I would like to participate in a Press Ride for Kawasaki, my adrenaline levels spiked to a level I never thought possible. “Of course! What do I have to do?” was my simple reply. Little did I know that only three short hours later, I would have an itinerary on the way for what would be one spectacular weekend.

Flash forward to Feb. 11th…the night before my flight. “My God, that jacket takes up a lot of room…I guess I really only need one pair of underwear. Are carbon fiber knuckles considered a weapon? How do you pack a helmet in your carry-on luggage?” The quick answers…It’s easier to find a place for your jacket if you take the armor out and pack it separately from the jacket, “carbon fiber knuckles aren’t considered a weapon…just don’t put them on while you’re in the air” (good advice straight from the TSA), and use your helmet as your carry-on luggage…it’ll hold at least four pairs of underwear.

The flights themselves, pretty uneventful but seemed to last for days. The excitement of going to California for the first time to test ride the new Z1000 quelled the fact that I was sitting right next to the restrooms with the world’s most incontinent passengers since the birth of flight. Due to some strong headwinds, we had a bit of a late arrival into John Wayne Airport so, it was a rush to get to the hotel and freshened up for the 7 o’clock Tech Meeting.

I hurried downstairs to meet the Kawasaki representatives: Shawn Alexander, Russ Brennan and Jeff Herzog…I know I know these guys from somewhere. Then I met the other “forumers” I would be spending the weekend and riding with. Our forum’s administrator, ZX10R.net’s Admin, Sportbikes.net’s SuperMod and the Facebook Z1000 Club’s Prez. We would be joined by a Kawiforums Mod the next morning. However, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to get acquainted just yet…it’s time to learn about the new 2010 Z1000.

It was quickly made clear that the new Z1000 was indeed “NEW”. It’s not a freshened up version of the previous Z, it’s not a detuned ZX10R motor and it’s not a reused frame/chassis design…this bike is all new. Built from the ground up to offer ground pounding low and midrange power with a canyon carving suspension, the new Z is set to offer riders a sportbike-type engine, sportbike-type chassis and sportbike-type mass centralization while still giving them the street-ability of a sport-touring bike. And I hesitate to use the term “sport-touring” since it’s only the riding position that would put it into that category. The frame is now all aluminum and almost 9lbs. lighter and more rigid than the previous Z. It’s a 5 piece design and an all-new die cast aluminum 3 piece sub-frame. The suspension has been upgraded to fully adjustable 41mm inverted forks and an all-new horizontal back-link shock that actually sits above the swingarm and also offers both rebound and preload adjustability. The motor is an all-new 1043cc I4 putting our 138hp at 9,600rpm and 81.1 at right around 7,800rpm (the same amount of torque as the ZX10R, but at about 900rpm less!).

Alright, now I’m getting antsy. It’s time to ride…but not yet.

After the tech meeting and dinner at the hotel, Shawn offered to take us over to Kawi HQ to take a spin on the new Teryx. Since it had been a long day and getting late, Stew and I were the only takers. I was beat but, come on, how often do you get a chance like this? Kawasaki was offering a 24hour “new riders” course on a small dirt track just outside the building. Basically, with a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and absolutely ZERO riding experience, Kawasaki would teach you to ride. Pretty cool, eh? They created 75 new riders that night. Anyway, the Teryx, that is a fun toy and with Shawn driving it…well, the best way to describe it would be “controlled chaos”. It was a blast and totally worth losing some sleep. AND, Greg White from SPEED showed up just before we left. Unfortunately, in the hurry, I forgot to take my camera with me so, sorry, no pics.

The next morning, I geared up and went downstairs to meet up with the crew for the ride. We pulled up to Kawi HQ to see this…








This one would be mine for the day...



And after a brief safety talk and meeting Alfonse (the ride photographer), we were off. Immediately, I noticed that even though the Z1000 looks like a tank from the front, it’s surprising slim once you climb on…to the point where it almost feels as if your knees are touching. The gauges are all digital and easy to read on the fly. And, if they aren’t, you can adjust them. With a simple pull on a little knob, you can adjust the gauges to 3 different positions which is pretty cool. And once we got onto the streets the low-end and mid-range power was very apparent. It didn’t matter what gear you were in, it was the gear for the job. Getting up to speed on the highway and dealing with crazy Cali traffic was effortless. Throttle response was instant and would pull you to the back of the seat with a quickness. We headed up into the hills where the bike really showed its fun capabilities. It truly is a sportbike with a relaxed seating position. Steering into a turn was done with just a thought and powering out of the corners made me smile so quick I think I pulled a muscle.

We made our first stop at the Lookout over Lake Elsinore. A pretty beautiful site.














Then we were off again to our first “photo-stop”. Alfonse set up on the side of the road and we all took turns blasting past him. I'll have his pics later, but here are some I snapped while waiting my turn.











We ended up stopping at a few “biker” hangouts like Hell’s Kitchen...



Nice condiment bar, eh?





...Cook’s Corner...





...and Tom’s Farm but got about 128 very fun miles of riding in before heading back to Kawi HQ. The bike performed flawlessly for the whole ride. There were times when I had to force myself to shift just to see what it was like. Most of the time I didn’t bother since the power was always on tap. Coming out of a corner at 20mph in 3rd gear on my 636 would leave me putting along while the engine bogged. On the Z1000, coming out of a corner at 20mph in 3rd was no problem…a twist of the wrist and the smoothest delivery of power I have ever felt on a bike rocketed me back up to speed in no time. Even during the city riding, the bike was nothing but fun to ride. Powering off from red lights and stop signs was enough to make me smile and hearing the roaring growl of the intake was “intoxicating” (just in case you’re reading this, Shawn). The exhaust had a nice rumble to it on the downshifts as well. I’ve never enjoyed bringing a bike to a stop but this wasn’t so bad. Speaking of stopping…the brakes on this fabulous machine were awesome. They now sport 4 pot radially mounted fronts and a single pot under-slung rear which put my 636’s brakes to shame. Overall, I had a blast on this machine. My only beef was that the front suspension was a little soft for my tastes but a little bit of adjustment would have taken care of that, I’m sure. In fact, I could have had them adjust it while on the ride but I was having too much fun as it was.

To be honest with you all, I was looking forward to the trip, going to Cali for the first time and riding a new bike…but I was a little reserved about the bike itself. I had thought about it and prepared myself to be a little disappointed in its performance which, as it turns out, just allowed the bike to impress me even more. Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the bike. As some of you know, I have always wanted to take a ZX6R or a ZX10R and turn it into a streetfighter but now, if I ever get the chance, I think I’d rather just save my time and money and pick up a Z1000. I can honestly say that riding the new Z1000 was the most fun I’ve had on two wheels in a long time.

The rest of the day was just icing on the cake. After the ride, we had about an hour to get cleaned up and changed and on our way to Angel Stadium for the Anaheim 3 Races. We were supposed to take a track walk but confusion at the gates had us running a little late. So, we headed over to the pits a little early to enjoy a tour of the Kawasaki Monster Racing Team trailer. And man, is that trailer amazing. With two race-ready bikes parked outside, there are still enough spare parts to build 4 more bikes. Every nut, bolt, hose, motor, plastics, etc…everything for 4 more bikes was inside this trailer/shop/office/living room. From there, we took our seats for the races. Kawi pulled out wins in the first two heats and Villopoto pulled out the win in the main event.








Mmmmm, Titanium...








Some FMX demo...








Sunday morning, I hopped on a plane for home. And even though I had offered to personally deliver each Z1000 to the Cincinnati dealers one-by-one (and already broken in), they said they’d take care of it themselves. Bummer…maybe next time.

Russ, Tom, Jeff and Shawn...



Like I said, I’ll update with more pics of the ride as I get them from the other riders and Alfonse but if anyone has any questions about the bikes and/or the weekend in general, just ask. It was a hell of a weekend that’s for sure. And I have to thank Shawn, Russ, Jeff and Tom for having us, Alfonse, for taking pics of my ugly mug, Stew for offering me the opportunity and Tracy, Tammy, Ben and Julio for being there and part of a weekend I’ll never forget. It was the first organized group ride I had been on in a long time and I couldn’t have asked for any better riders or a more fun group of people to do it with. Everyone was super nice and great to hang out with…I hope we can all do it again sometime.
 

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Looks like an awesome time! wow... pretty slick looking bike too! :thumbup In addition to pictures, did you by chance get any video of the z1000 in action? Nice write up shifty!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.

To be honest, we didn't have a whole lot of time to take pics, ourselves. Some of the shots in my post are from Tammy and Fonzie. Tammy was actually wearing her GoPro Hero for most of the ride so, I may be able to get some footage from her but I didn't get any myself. I'm still waiting on some more pics from a few people and will update as I get them.
 

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Nice write up Shifty and for the airport detail too. Never really gave it much thought, but what a pain.

The Z reminds me of a Triumph Speed Triple. Kinda odd looking, but like many things, that all can change after a ride. Glad you liked the trip and honor of being asked to evaluate Kawi's new bike. Maybe a mag editing position is in your future.
 

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Great writeup. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you had fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Z reminds me of a Triumph Speed Triple. Kinda odd looking, but like many things, that all can change after a ride.
100% agree. The looks definitely grew on me. The more you look at it, the more you notice the details like the subframe. It's left exposed in some areas, but it's cast aluminum so, it looks like it's sculpted. The rims have a bit of a custom look to them since they are contrast cut cast aluminum. And the rear axle has eccentric adjusters. You can tell they really paid attention to the details.

 

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Still waiting for the vid to load but WOW, what an experience. I'll bet the whole thing felt like it went by in the span of a few hours once you got home.
 

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Vid was a nice piece of work too. Looked like an awesome time.
 

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I hope you've forwarded this topic on to Motorcyclist and Sport Rider as a resume! Sounds like a great time, mostly due to how well you've accounted for it.

Now you also know from experience what some of us literbike street riders are talking about when we say it's not about whether it's ultimately faster than a 600 or not, it's about how much easier it does it at any RPM. Coming out of a 30MPH turn in 3RD and still having loads of torque to power you out and up to speed without even thinking of a downshift... it gets very addicting in no time flat. :mfclap
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, JBear...I might just send it in to SSB or something. Just as cool as the trip, were the people we met from Kawasaki. Everyone was super-nice and laid back...They all just seemed to love what they were doing and that says a lot about a company. Knowing that their employees take pride and care about what they do goes a long way for me.

And I know what you're saying about the power...I'm betting the 636 may feel just a bit inadequate come spring time. Fortunately though, I've already got a +3 Supersprox going on which should help.

But yeah, the whole weekend flew by. Keep in mind as well, those twisties we were hitting...while a beautiful nirvana for most of us...were just "OK" by the local standards.
 

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Hey, look what the cat dragged in!

Yeah, the +3 should make 'er snap a good but, but I'm thinking by the time Spring gets here you'll be so amped up to ride again you'll have forgotten all about how that big liter feels.
 

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Watched the GoPro vid. on youtube. Looks like you had a nice weekend. Congrats.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, man. I had a blast...maybe Kawi will have us back next year.

P.S. Just in case you check back...any idea why your posts are being moderated?
 
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