Kawi once produced a bike so nasty it was coined, "The King." The year was 1973 and the Z1 Kawasaki cleaned house as it left everything dead in its wake. Performance records fell, lap records were shattered and the Z1 ruled the streets.
Fast-forward 35 years and Kawi is looking to repeat history with the all-new Z1000- a street brawler that's here to knock heads.
Although it isn't the first Z1000 to hit US shores, the previous generations ('03-08) weren't the heavy-hitters Kawi hoped for. But third time's the charm because Team Green is back for the crown.
Where the previous Z1K used a tweaked version of an older ZX-9R motor, the new 1043cc bullet was drawn from a clean sheet. Power is rumored to be north of 120 HP and 70 LB-FT at the rear tire. But high-RPM power takes a backseat on the street and Kawi also claims monstrous midrange thanks to the motor's generous stroke (77.0 x 56.0mm bore/stroke). The compression ratio is a lofty 11.8:1 and the massive slugs are fed by a quartet of 38mm throttle bodies. Unlike the older model it replaces, the new Z1K benefits from forward mounted air intakes that not only increase power, but as Kawi puts it, "lets the rider savor the bold sound of screaming air being sucked into the engine's downdraft intakes."
But more than just brawn, the Z1000 is down to dance thanks to a new aluminum frame based on the ZX-10R's unit. Supporting this new backbone are adjustable 41mm forks, a new horizontally mounted rear shock and radial-mounted four-pot front brakes.
As with previous Z's, the styling is bold thanks to edgy bodywork and the infamous quad exhaust pipes. Keeping with the theme, it also sports new five-spoke rims with polished lips and a small bikini fairing. Other interesting features include an adjustable LCD instrument cluster that pivots up and down and a retro-style LED taillight.
If all these figures aren't enough to wet your whistle, the fact the Z1000 retails $10,499 means it's a straight bargain-costing only hundreds more than a ZX-6R.It's been awhile since the Z1 was number one, but take notice because in 2010 we welcome back the original badass-long live the king!