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April-June 2010
Review: Kawasaki's 2010 Z1000 Print E-mail
Written by Rachael Westfall   

z1000Call Michael Bay! One of the Transformers escaped from his movie and is now parading itself around town as the new 2010 Kawasaki Z1000! 

Igniting the imagination is an easy feat for the Z1000. If you see it parked at a bike night or in front of a café somewhere, it’s almost irresistible to swing a leg over the seat and make vroom vroom noises as if you were ten years old all over again, sneaking an imaginary ride on your Dad’s motorcycle in the garage. But beware the owner might see you doing it! 

This new aggressively-designed machine is decadently close to stimulating your dark side; yet tame enough to make it a fun, every day toy. Everything about this bike screams “Play with me!” From its urban styling to its fly-by-wire handling to its satisfyingly ferocious power curve is enough to entice me back into my felonious ways.  

Kawasaki’s goal with this new robust steed was to take the punchy power band and nimble prowess of the ZX-10R and put it into an approachable and usable chassis that makes sense for the real world. But make no mistake! This new hooligan is no slouch on the dyno! 

The engine is unique to the Z1000 with no carbon-copied components from its full-faired cousins. The crank shaft has been repositioned lower to allow for a longer 77.0 x 56 mm bore and stroke, creating a whopping 1,043 cc’s without an increase in engine size. This is a 90 cubic centimeter increase in cc’s from the previous model. 

This increase in rip curling grunt means the Z now has the same foot poundage of torque as the new ZX-10R, and about ten percent more horsepower than the ZX-6R. Fitted with Keihin 38 mm downdraft throttle bodies with oval sub-throttles to promote a more compact design, the power is gratifyingly instant, packing a walloping punch with no obvious sacrifice in power throughout it’s entire r.p.m. range. 

The ram air intakes are located just above the radiator shrouds to allow for more cool air to reach the engine, and thus smoothen out power in addition to allowing the rider to hear the Z1000’s blissful throaty howl from the intakes. 

z1000 exhaustThe exhaust has also had a makeover, making it a little more pleasing to the eye than the bulky cans of its predecessor. The new headers have a 4-into-2 design with a prechamper-into-2 addition, which allows for the exhaust mufflers to be more aesthetically compact with better sound. The reduced silencer volume lets the deep harmonic thrum of the motor really stand out when getting on the gas. 

Other user friendly additions to this bike are the rider-friendly ergos. The seat is lowered and narrower while the fuel tank slims at the seat and flares to the front. This revised, seat-to-tank curvature creates an easier reach to the ground and allows for better grip with the knees, a vast improvement from the awkward, sloped-forward saddle of the previous model. 

My favorite part about this machine is the light-weight feel and effortless handling. It’s wide, almost flat rigidly-mounted handlebars make maneuvering this 481 lb. stallion on the highway as easy as cutting through butter. 

The Z1000 has shed 22 lbs. from the previous version, as the old steel skeleton has been replaced with a new aluminum frame and sub frame, with fewer visible welds for a more seamless appearance. This makeover in volume, along with a newly efficient, and fully adjustable suspension make cornering through off camber hair pins and doing tight U-turns in gas stations a breeze. 

Some more fancy and convenient add-ons to this revolutionary naked street fighter are an adjustable instrument panel with a geeky sci-fi orange lens; a line beam headlight (which is awesome at night I might add!), aluminum wheels with black trim and a skinny, yet sexy tail section with an LED taillight. 

The only cons to this beauty that I found are as follows: Because of the monstrous, nail-biting torque, the four-gallon fuel tank only allows for about 32 mpg, which can be frustrating when a fuel stop is needed after a little more than 100 miles of riding. In addition, there is little wind protection with a pathetic excuse for a stock windscreen. This makes for a miserable ride at freeway speeds, but Kawasaki makes up for this short coming with a nice aftermarket, higher profile windscreen that protects the rider from excess air flow nicely. My final nit-picky quark is the fuel gauge, which shows you the tank is full right up until it’s about to go empty, at which point, all the bars disappear at once. As deceiving as this may be, I suggest sticking with the odometer to gauge fuel stops. 

rachaelOtherwise, I can’t get enough of this machine! I haven’t had this much fun on a bike in years and the new Z1000 showed me what it was like to escape the dreary life of a work horse and go back to my moto-holic roots. Now if only I had about $10,499 m.s.r.p. to go purchase one! They come in metallic spark black and pearl stardust white, so go take a gander, if you dare. Go to www.kawasaki.com to see more.

 

 

 

 

 About Rachael:

Rachael Westfall is a freelance writer living in Apple Valley, CA. She has been riding street bikes for ten years, is an MSF Rider Coach, an MMI graduate, a track junkie, an assistant for Kawasaki Motors Corp.'s QA department...basically a Jane of all things moto. Look out for her upcoming article about Jessica Maine in Two Wheel Tuner.
 
Blog links:
http://my.sportbikeclub.com/Thundercat
http://hubpages.com/profile/Risk+for+Passion

 
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