Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Review

Kawasaki Z1000SX

Many are of the opinion that the SX is nothing more than a “fully dressed” version of the Z1000. But in my opinion, it is totally a new breed. However there are plenty of similarities to the Z1000 and they are:

• Engine – 1043cc in-line four.
• Fuel system – 34 mm x 4 Keihin fuel injection.
• Max power – 101.50KW @9,600rpm.
• Max torque – 110.0 N-m @7,800rpm.
• Frame – Aluminium twin-tube frame.
• Front suspension – 41mm inverted, compression, rebound, damping and spring preload adjustable.
• Rear suspension – Horizontal back link. Gas charged. Stepless rebound, damping and spring preload adjustable.
• Front wheel – 120/70-17.
• Rear wheel – 190/50-17.

Differences are:
• SX overall length longer by 10mm. (2,105mm to Z1K 2,095mm)
• Overall width narrower by 15mm. (790mm to Z1K 805mm)
• Overall height taller by 85mm. (1,170mm to Z1K 1,085mm)
• Ground clearance shorter by 5mm (135mm to Z1K 140mm)
• Seat height taller by 5mm. (820mm to Z1K 815mm)
• Heavier by 10Kg (228Kg to Z1K 218Kg)
• Fuel capacity bigger by 4 litres. (19 litres to Z1K 15 litres)

Kawasaki have indeed made a good job in maintaining the essentials but improved on the “shortcomings” of the Z1000. With a narrower width, the rider can safely land on his two feet to the ground. Riding position of the SX is typical of a sports tourer, but shift your body backwards and bend down a little under the screen (at its lowest level) and you will feel like it has transformed into a sports bike. A longer body coupled with a shorter ground clearance and heavier weight, the SX stability is far better than the Z1000. It was indeed fun riding on the twisties even with a pillion and in the rain. The bike holds on well during those treacherous wet test ride and the ABS front and rear did a good job in preventing the brakes from locking up on fast turns. It is one of those bikes that give the rider a sense of confidence and makes riding a joy. A good weight distribution makes the SX lighter than it actually is.

The front screen can be adjusted to 3 positions but it has to be done manually. The good part is, one less electronic to worry about. The not-so-good part is, you need both hands to adjust the position and it can be tricky as well as hazardous to be doing that while you are in motion. The highest level of the screen proves to be good at preventing both wind and rain from hitting the rider but it can be hot especially in tropical countries whenever you are riding slowly on the highway or caught in the city’s traffic.

The SX cockpit comes with an analog rev meter (hitting red at 11,000rpm), a digital speedometer, a fuel gauge (whoopee), a clock, 2 trip meters and very tiny neutral, turn and high beam indicators. Sadly there was no temperature gauge and I was a tad worry when I was caught in a traffic jam and the fan started blowing hot air all over and I have no clue how high the temperature is.

The standard exhaust purrs at low speed but trumpeted a sports melody on high rev. Perfect for bikers who seeks attention only when required. Power delivery and gear change are smooth and the SX can easily hits 200Km/h with just with a tap on the throttle. However the 6th gear ratio seems to be “short”. With the absence on a gear indicator, I was always on the shift into higher gear thinking that I am still on 5th. The engine sounds way too stressful on the 6th at high speed. This is something Kawasaki engineers may need to look into.

Overall the bike gets a 5 out of 6 stars rating from me for the super-touring class. Price without insurance and road tax in Malaysia is RM81, 900.

Test Bike courtesy of Kawasaki Motors (M) Sdn Bhd.
Text & Pictures by Justin Hong.
@2011 Justin Hong. All Rights Reserved.