Kawasaki Z1000SX Review
|✓||Smooth power, sounds great, LED headlight, brakes, pannier system, all round ability|
|×||Pillion comfort, seat comfort, low clutch biting point|
What Is It?
The 2017 Kawasaki Z1000SX is a super popular sports touring bike which was first launched in 2011 and updated in 2014.
Engine: 1,043 cc Inline Four, 140 bhp
Economy: 35 mpg, 150 miles
Seat Height: 815 mm
Wet Weight: 235 kg
Top Speed: 150 mph
What Is It Like?
I bought my new Z1000SX last year. Being near Bournemouth I bought it from Bournemouth Kawasaki (superb dealers) and home to Kawasaki's BSB team.
Having had many bikes over the years my last was a VFR1200F and I wanted something that could tour but also cope with the twisties. I test rode a few bikes including the MT-09, MT-10 Tourer (crazy bike but great fun), H2 SX (licence loser) and the SX. Overall the SX was the best for my needs, it fitted the criteria and then some.
Living With It
To me, it looks superb in the classy Emerald Green. I went for the tourer pack with the spacious panniers, but aesthetically I have improved the looks by adding an R&G tail tidy and smoked screen. Being an oddball, I like the look of the standard cans, but they're not to everyone's taste.
The engine is a peach. Smooth, almost turbine like with an amazing top end rush at 7,000rpm that reels the horizon in swiftly. Kawasaki have also waved a magic wand on the airbox, giving an addictive howl. The gearbox with its slipper clutch is positive in its action as is the light clutch.
Being 2018, it benefits from the latest electronic wizardry with cornering ABS, switchable power modes and amazing LED headlights. These are superior to my BMW 5-Series xenons..
So, Any Negatives?
Just a few, but nothing major. The seat isn't great, buy a gel seat, I did and it transforms it.
The pillion perch isn't the best, my wife finds it cramped, so get a divorce and be happy. It feels slightly buzzy, but coming off a V4, perhaps it is me and not the bike. Maybe I'll drop a tooth on the rear as this seems a popular mod, as I'm sure it would pull this with ease.
Beyond doubt, it's the best bike I've ever owned. It may not be the best tourer, the best sports bike or most powerful, but it covers all these bases admirably.
There are very few direct competitors, the most obvious being the Suzuki GSX-S1000F however the Kawasaki has a far better pillion perch and hard luggage so makes a sensible tourer. The model is Kawasaki's biggest seller and with good reason. Go buy one, you won't regret it.
- Simon M, 2019
How Does It Compare?
The Second Opinion
Why The Z1000SX?
My previous bike was a VFR800 and although I loved it, it was just getting to uncomfortable for me which ruled out a new one as my next bike. This left me with two options that I had narrowed down to, the Z1000SX and Ducati SuperSport.
Fair play the Ducati was a nice bike and comfortable but the Z1000SX had the edge in more ways than one. More power, more rider aids and more comfort, in fact as soon as I sat on the Z1000SX it felt right, before I got out of the car park on test ride I just knew it was the one.
What's It Like?
What an outstanding piece of machinery! I'm not the most experienced of bikers only having ridden for three years however I know enough to appreciate just how good this bike is. I have not toured on it yet but will be very soon. One of the things that really attracted me was the way the panniers attach without the need for bulky ugly racks.
In terms of every day riding it's a more than capable sports bike, especially for the road. The power delivery is spot on due to the bhp and torque, even in 6th gear at low speed it picks up and just goes with a twist of the throttle. In terms of handling it just eats the bends, I ride on full power with traction control on level one and never once questioned whether I'll make the next bend.
It also looks beefy which again I loved. I had read that the clutch bite was low and could catch you out, knowing this it didn't catch me out but I see how it could do. The clutch itself is very light and gear change is silky smooth. The brakes are sharp and stop you extremely well.
I am yet to find fault in this bike, first time out in the dark the other night and all I can say is the LED headlights are outstanding.
To Sum Up
This truly is a great all rounder, if you want comfort, power and an option to tour then get a test ride booked. Awesome.
- Ian G, 2019
More Kawasaki Z1000SX Reviews
I bought my SX in March 2019. The bike gets a lot of looks and I'm surprised just how much attention I get compared to when I'm on my Honda VFR800 Cross Runner.
The SX has a real deep exhaust note even on tickover. You can literally feel the power this beast has got when sitting at the lights. Open the throttle in any gear and it will fly. It's a pocket rocket. A very well balanced bike that is so easy to manoeuvre you'd not think it weighs 235KG.
What's Not So Good?
My grumbles are that it's not as economical and with a 19 litre tank refuelling is more frequent than my Honda. Position two with the windshield is necessary. Otherwise holding on above the speed limit can be tiring after a while.
Also, I'm looking at upgrading my seat. An hour and a half in the saddle and you'll need a comfort break. Having said that I'd still buy this bike because the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives.
What Have You Changed?
I've put lots of after market accessories on such as body and exhaust sliders, Denali Sound Bomb air horn, Chrome grill protector, heated grips, hand guards, USB charging port and red rim tape. The 2017 model has all the latest electronic gadgets so personally I wouldn't get an older model. Hope this helps you in your buying decision.
- Bill M, 2019