The tremendous interest shown in the naked bike models across all makes have probably got Kawasaki to invest in the Z 800 model. The Z 800 has the looks of a Transformer on 2 wheels. Aggressive yet sexy looking, with the right curves at the right place.
This 806cc DOHC in-line 4 naked class beauty churns out 111.3 HP. More than sufficient power for easy overtaking in both highways and busy traffic condition. Having a 17 litres tank, the Z 800 can go the distance courtesy of its efficient fuel injection system.
The chain driven Z 800, like a majority of the naked class motorcycles do not have an efficient way to channel out the engine heat away from the rider. This is very obviously felt when you are stuck in traffic and the engine fan kicks in. The heat from the engine that dissipate onto the rider would be a welcome comfort for those riding in cool climate countries or on cold rainy days but not in Asia where temperature can scorched up to 40° Celcius. To avoid your thighs getting burned, it is best to wear thick jeans or riding pants when riding the Z 800. But then every motorcycle rider should practise safe riding through wearing proper protective gears regardless of what the weather condition is or how short the distance of travel going to be.
The chassis of the Z 800 is made up of high tensile steel. It is tough but rigid and does not help on the handling part especially when the weight distribution of the bike is concentrated to the front. Although the handling of the Z 800 is much better than the Z 1000, there is still much room of improvements for Kawasaki on their Iconic Z models.
In recent time Kawasaki has done a great job on the suspensions of all their motorcycles and the Z 800 is no different. The front has an inverted 41mm fork with rebound damping and spring preload adjustability while the rear is equipped with Bottom-link Uni-Track that has a gas charged shock with piggyback reservoir and stepless rebound damping and pre-load adjustability.
Stopping the 120/70-ZR17 front wheel is via Double 310mm Petal disc with duo opposed 4-piston callipers. The rear has a 180/55-ZR17 wheel and comes with a 250mm Single Petal disc, single piston calliper. Brake system is good but pressure on the lever can be unpredictable at times. This may be due to the brake pumps and / or the brake hose which Kawasaki should look into improving.
Weighing in at 229 Kg and a seat height of 834mm (if adjusted to its lowest level), the Z 800 can be a challenge for riders with a height of 168cm and below. Its short 1,445mm wheel base is good for clear tight corners but will react if you push hard on high speed turns.
In conclusion, if you are more a leisure rider with occasional need for speed, then this Z 800 is just the bike for you. But if you are a highway speed demon or someone who like squeezing through tight heavy traffic then go look for a bike that suits that needs.

Words and Photos by: Justin Hong.

Kawasaki Z 800 Courtesy of Kawasaki Motors Malaysia SDN BHD (KMMSB)