Kawasaki Z1000SX

What is it?

The Kawasaki Z1000SX is presented as a Sports Touring bike, with some attitude thrown in for good measure. Well, it does that and some spirited robot-to-robot drags as well. In this guise, the new Z is given a half-fairing and some new body panels. The handlebars are higher, providing for a more relaxed seating position.


The engine is hailed as “all new” but feels very much like the old trusty liquid-cooled engine, now up to 1043cc tuned for mid-range performance in this guise. The compact four-cylinder DOHC motor performs flawlessly and has just the right amount of grunt to pass those slow-moving mid-morning cars on Joburg’s roads. Pushing out a decent 101.5kW, the motor is confidence inspiring with very little to fault it – it performs as is to be expected from a middle-of-the-range bike – no frills but lots of thrills. The Keihin electronic fuel injection supplies unleaded fuel smoothly, with no perceivable lag or any jerkiness, unlike some earlier models, which were a bit jerky when pulling away. (The old Z 1000 suffered from this problem, which Kawasaki seems to have sorted out now.)

Style, instruments and equipment

The modern styling retains the traditional Kawasaki lines and the lean, green machine that I tested certainly looked sporty, attracting looks from many passers-by. The digital instrument displays were slightly difficult to read in bright sunlight and needed adjustment for daytime riding. At night, the soft blue glow is easy on the eyes. The wavy brake disks that bring the bike to an effortless halt are now standard features on this model. The brake lever gives good tactile feedback and suffered no fade over the 400km that I spent on it.


The bike performs well, with a sweet spot around 7500r/min. The unofficial cruising speed of 170km/h is comfortable with little to no buffeting. At higher speeds the wind factor is more noticeable. [Remember that this Kawa has an adjustable windscreen … ed.] This bike is no slouch and will keep up with most sports bikes, but prefers being ridden within the limits of a touring/cruising bike – in other words, not at breakneck speeds all the time! The slightly larger than average 19-litre tank adds weight, but also gives that little extra range for longer rides.

Ride and Handling

The Kawasaki is a big bike and you feel as if you are seated on top of it. The ride height could be a problem for shorter riders, but this is adjustable. Handling was near perfect and the bike can be tossed into the twisty bits without any concerns. I would even go as far as to say that this bike would make a very decent B-class track tool, with excellent cornering abilities. The Kawa felt plush on the bumpy Gauteng roads, easily soaking up the less than perfect road conditions. The bike’s front and rear suspension is adjustable.


This bike is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character – two personalities in one bike. A passive commuter bike during the week, it will transform into a countryside twisty road-eating monster at weekends. This is a no-frills, take-it-as-you-get-it bike and will fill the niche of the old Z1000 perfectly, without any electronic gadgetry (like TC or rain-mode settings). I didn’t like the ugly exhaust pipes and would change them for a decent set of Yoshimuras or Akrapovics.

Verdict and rating

Kawasaki’s motto applies – Let the good times roll! Tickles my fancy and pushes the right buttons on the Man-O-Meter – a solid 8/10

Also consider

Triumph Tiger 1050, Honda CB1000R, KTM RC8 and 990 Super Duke, BMW S1000RR and R1200R, Suzuki GXSR 1000.

Specifications for Kawasaki Z1000SX (2012 model)

  • Engine  1000cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected in-line four
  • Gearbox  six-speed, chain drive
  • Power  101.5kW@9600r/min
  • Torque  110Nm@7800r/min
  • Weight  228kg (wet and fuelled)
  • Seat height  820mm
  • Fuel capacity  19 litres
  • Fuel consumption  6.3 litres/100km
  • Tank range  Approximately 275km
  • Warranty and servicing  Two years unlimited km warranty; two years AA roadside assistance. Service every 6000km
  • Price  The current price of the Z100SX is R125 995. It was reduced from R135 995 in August 2012
  • Ridden by Bikeroutes  April 2012
  • Review by Mukhtar Mukuddem

More info from http://www.kawasaki.co.za/


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