– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Radical 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 Unveiled



The new Kawasaki Z1000 has “Sugomi” styling that, according to Kawasaki, invokes a “crouching predator”.  This is not just a styling exercise, however.

Sharing an engine with the new Ninja we recently tested, the new naked Z1000 gets a bump in usable power and refinement.  Other performance features are shared with the new Ninja 1000, including the awesome monobloc radial-mount front brake calipers that impressed us so much.

Here are all the details from Kawasaki:

 The “it” factor is hard to describe, but you always know it when you see it. Likewise, the new 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 has a hard-to-define “streetfighter” style that is impactful enough to ensure everyone knows they’re seeing something special. In a significant departure from the concealing bodywork of its sportbike predecessor, the new Z1000 strips-off unnecessary covers and bodywork to expose the superior functionality of its parts.

The Kawasaki Z design language has been elevated to a higher level with the new Z1000’s “Sugomi” styling.  From its seductively sculpted shapes invoking a crouching predator and painstaking details like its special “Z” logo ignition keys, machined aluminum steering stem bolt, and intricately textured “Z” motif seat cover, to the tighter tolerances of its high-quality components and bodywork, the dramatic result has a very special feel  that helps set the stage for the excitement to follow!

For 2014, Kawasaki engineers concentrated on making the Z1000 more potent and capable than ever.  Its extremely exciting inline-four produces the sort of power that launches you away from stops and out of corners in a way lesser powerplants simply can’t hope to match. The Z1000 engine produces strong, instant-on thrust that’s capable of embarrassing many hardcore sportbikes.


Z1000’s 1,043cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 16-valve engine features revised intake cams that boost its low-to-midrange torque—where most street bikes spend their time. When the road opens up, this stylish streetfighter can better stretch its legs thanks to additional airbox vents and new cylinder connecting passageways that help strengthen mid-to-high RPM performance by improving breathing and reducing the pumping losses associated with displacing air inside the crankcase. The more pronounced growl of the intake at low-RPM and its intoxicating howl at full-song will put a smile on even the most jaded rider’s face. This engine’s responsive power allows it to excel at almost any street-going activity, be it playing around town, sport riding, or dispatching miles on the open road.

Four 38mm Keihin downdraft throttle bodies inject an ideal mix of fuel and air into each combustion chamber with help from an advanced ECU that’s been re-tuned to provide a livelier engine feel. An updated cool air intake system routes fresh air to the airbox via extra ducts at the front of the bike, and a new, non-woven air filter element provides better flow at high-RPM, while four equal-length velocity stacks help provide snappier throttle response to further increase the engine’s fun factor. Digital Timing Advance contributes to the increased low- and mid-range power, while spark plug-mounted ignition coils help ensure perfect timing for each cylinder.  It’s a perfect engine for a road-going sportbike – aggressive, powerful, flexible, and blessed with the legendary reliability associated with Kawasaki sportbikes.

Shorter overall gearing complements the more responsive engine to deliver astounding thrust at the rider’s command. However, a new, slightly taller 6th gear helps maintain reasonable RPM at highway speeds so comfort and economy don’t suffer when covering miles on a long ride.

A beautifully styled 4-into-2-pre-chamber-into-2 exhaust offers a pleasing growl that is well-matched to the more-aggressive tone of the Z1000’s intake system. A butterfly valve in the right-side muffler not only helps reduce noise, but also tunes exhaust back-pressure waves to help enhance low-rpm engine response.


The Z1000 features an advanced aluminum frame similar in design to the Ninja® ZX-10R superbike’s. The lightweight assembly curves over the engine, cradling it from above and bolting solidly to it in three places, with a rubber-backed fourth mount provided for added vibration isolation and torsional rigidity. This design allowed engineers to keep the bike’s waist narrow for superb rider interface and maximum comfort and control. The main frame and swingarm pivot pieces are cast as a single unit, with welds eliminated wherever possible for seamless aesthetics. Its new sub-frame tapers to a very shallow cross-section at the rear, allowing the bodywork to take-on an aggressive minimalist profile.

The wheels, brakes and suspension bits that allow this bike to move so gracefully and swiftly are truly state-of-the-art. Suspension is handled by a new fully adjustable 41mm inverted SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork – Big Piston) fork up front and a preload- and rebound-adjustable horizontal back-link shock in the rear. The single-shock system features a damper mounted nearly horizontally above the swingarm for optimal mass centralization and heat resistance. The gas/oil shock offers superb wheel control whether you’re hammering along deserted backroads or prowling across pothole-infested city streets.

Great looking new one-piece “monobloc” radial-mount front brake calipers offer world-class power and feel. The ABS equipped disc brake system – 310mm petal-type front rotors squeezed by those ultra-rigid radially mounted “monobloc” calipers, is controlled by an equally race-spec radial pump master cylinder. The new, monobloc front calipers are machined from a single piece of aluminum delivering both increased caliper stiffness and reduced weight. Riders will love the responsive braking power and improved feel at the lever. A 250mm petal-type rotor and single-piston caliper provide good rear brake feel at the pedal for maximum finesse during aggressive riding. The power and feel of the brakes at both ends is amazing, providing supreme confidence when slowing the bike down from speed. The Z1000’s standard anti-lock brake system (ABS) promotes additional rider confidence when riding in slippery situations.

The wheels working with those brakes – lightweight six-spoke supersport-style units – are also the latest in lightweight production technology. They not only reduce unsprung mass, which allows the suspension to function optimally, but also carry the latest in radial tire technology. The result is superb grip, precise handling and reasonably long tread life.

The Z1000’s sculpted styling is easily its most stunning aspect. The thin, compact headlight housing was positioned as low as possible, extending the line that starts from the top of the tank. The new reflector-less LED headlight design is a first for Kawasaki.  It uses four LEDs that enable the housing to be shaped in a way that contributes to the more intense glare of the Z1000’s new face. All four long-life, low-energy LED bulbs: two low-beam (center), two high-beam (outside) illuminate when the high-beams are on, and a separate LED position lamp is located on the instrument cover.  Slim, futuristic looking radiator shrouds partially surround the Z1000’s powerful engine, and a new under-cowl further contributes to the aggressive image. The new slender tailsection bodywork is more compact than the previous Z1000 models, further contributing to the bike’s crouched-forward appearance.   The compact passenger pad was designed to integrate with the rider’s seat and gives the appearance of a solo-seat cover, adding to the sporty look of the new more-compact tail section. A new LED taillight design also adds a futuristic touch to the bike’s rear.


In keeping with its radical looks, the Z1000 offers a highly effective riding position. The wide, large-diameter aluminum handlebars offer great leverage for aggressive maneuvers, and the knurled metal footpegs grip the rider’s boots to provide a direct-connection to the chassis.   It all adds-up to the perfect cockpit for maximum agility without sacrificing real world comfort.

As a package, the Z1000’s engine and chassis are tuned to act more like European “streetfighter” models in both looks and feel.  This innovative bike marks a significant step forward, providing an overall experience that is very different from other Japanese motorcycles, a quicker, more direct feel that is sure to please experienced riders.


A large selection of Kawasaki Genuine Accessories is available through authorized Kawasaki dealers.

2014 Kawasaki Z1000

Features and Benefits

Key Features

  • NEW Uniquely aggressive “Sugomi” styling gives the Z1000 a distinct predatory look
  • UPGRADED 1,043cc inline-four with DFI® offers sharper response that enhances this engine’s already impressive mid-range and top-end power
  • NEW Showa Separate Function – Big Piston Fork (SFF-BP) offers light weight, easy adjustability and excellent wheel control to cope with the high forces associated with aggressive riding
  • NEW One-piece “monobloc” radial-mount front brake calipers offer superb braking power and control, along with a premium laser-etched Kawasaki logo and black alumite finish
  • NEW Supersport-style 6-spoke lightweight aluminum wheels contribute to the Z1000’s sporty image while reducing rotating inertia and saving approximately 3.3 lbs. of unsprung weight
  • NEW Shorter final-drive gearing provides quicker response and enhanced riding excitement, while a new taller 6th gear helps maintain highway comfort
  • NEW Analog + Digital instrument cluster includes a large tachometer and a digital display offering a wealth of information on current bike conditions and settings
  • NEW Compact subframe design is more slender and shorter to match the new styling
  • Upright “streetfighter” riding position provides excellent leverage on the controls for maximum maneuverability, coupled with a commanding view of the urban jungle

DOHC, 16-valve, 1,043cc Engine

  • 1,043cc liquid-cooled inline-four offers true open-class power from idle to redline
  • NEW Cylinder connecting passageways reduce pumping losses and improve mid-to-high  RPM performance
  • NEW Intake cams provide improved low-to-midrange torque for instant thrust and maximum rider satisfaction
  • NEW More-aggressive ECU settings provide sharper throttle response
  • Bore and stroke dimensions of 77.0 x 56.0mm offer an ideal balance of peak power and low- and mid-range flexibility
  • 38mm Keihin throttle bodies cram the air/fuel mixture directly into combustion chambers via downdraft intakes for maximum power
  • Oval sub-throttles help keep the engine slim, and a slim midsection allows an ideal bike/rider interface for maximum comfort and control
  • Engine’s rev limiter comes into play “softly,” providing usable overrev character because power doesn’t drop off suddenly at high RPM
  • The engine’s relatively low crankshaft position allows a moderately long stroke without adding engine height
  • A secondary engine balancer, driven off a gear on the sixth web of the crankshaft, eliminates excess vibration and contributes to rider comfort
  • NEW Shorter final-drive gearing provides quicker acceleration and enhanced riding excitement, while a new taller 6th gear helps maintain highway comfort

Digital Ignition

  • Digital Timing Advance enhances low- and mid-range power
  • Individual spark plug-mounted ignition coils fire each of the four spark plugs independently to achieve the optimum timing for that cylinder
  • ECU includes an idle speed control system for easier starting and warm-up

UPGRADED Cool Air System

  • Intake system routes cool air to the airbox via ducts in the fairing, minimizing performance loss due to heated intake air
  • UPGRADED Airbox features additional atmospheric intakes to further enhance the engine’s intoxicating intake howl
  • NEW Non-woven air filter element provides better flow for enhanced high-RPM performance
  •  REVISED Velocity stacks are now equal-length and provide improved throttle response and a more exciting engine character
  • Intake ducts are positioned close to the rider to allow the intake howl to be heard and enjoyed

UPGRADED Exhaust System

  • The exhaust system features a 4-into-2-pre-chamber-into-2 layout to provide ample silencer volume without requiring excess bulk in the rear mufflers
  • NEW Oval-shaped connector tubes are larger than last year’s round tubes and help improve engine response for heightened excitement at all rpms
  • Main and pre-catalyzers help ensure clean emissions
  • A butterfly valve in the right-side muffler not only helps reduce noise, but also tunes exhaust back-pressure waves to help enhance low-rpm engine response
  • NEW Brushed-metal finish on the silencers provides enhanced visual appeal
  • Exhaust system offers excellent mass centralization and contributes to a low center of gravity

NEW Larger Fuel Tank

  • NEW 4.5 gallon (17L) fuel tank offers increased range
  • Radical shape and two-tone finish complement the Z1000’s new Sugomi-inspired styling
  • UPGRADED Slim-type fuel pump features an integral fuel level sensor with enhanced accuracy for 2014

NEW Monobloc ABS Brakes with Petal-type Rotors

  • NEW One-piece “monobloc” radial-mount front brake calipers offer superb braking power and control, along with a premium quality look from their laser-etched Kawasaki logo and black alumite finish
  • Opposed four-piston radial-mount monobloc calipers with differentiated diameter (32mm upper, and 30mm lower) pistons provide excellent feel and progressive braking response
  • A radial-pump front brake master cylinder contributes to the superb control and feel offered by these high-end monobloc calipers
  • NEW ABS pump features a fluid pressure sensor that allows more precise control of line pressures and also provides data to the ECU to help suppress rear lift under braking
  • A low-battery mode helps preserve ABS effectiveness when the battery charge is low. (although riders may notice that ABS operation is less smooth than in normal mode)
  • Petal-type 310mm front brake rotors are full-on sportbike hardware
  • NEW pad compound has a higher coefficient of friction that contributes to the enhanced power and sensitivity
  • A single-piston rear caliper grips a 250mm petal-type disc. This compact caliper is mounted below the swingarm, and located by a torque rod

Aluminum Backbone Frame

  • Aluminum backbone frame is similar in concept to the Ninja ZX-10R’s, and helps make the bike narrow and easy to grip with the knees for maximum rider comfort and feedback
  • The frame is lightweight and highly rigid, and uses the engine as a stressed member for solid handling and optimum stability
  • Frame elements are tuned to transmit optimal engine feedback to the rider
  • The frame uses four engine mounts, three of which are rigid, one of which (the upper rear crankcase mount) is rubber
  • NEW Compact subframe design is more slender and shorter to match the new styling
  • The sub-frame is an example of form and function combined, negating the need for side covers and allowing underseat narrowness for a shorter reach to the ground

NEW Separate Function Fork – Big Piston: (SFF-BP)

  • New SFF-BP fork combines the features of Showa’s big piston and separate function forks, featuring springs on both sides, with dedicated preload adjustability in the left tube and dedicated damping pistons and adjustability in the right tube
  • Big Piston design provides smooth action during the initial part of the stroke and contributes to excellent feel during heavy braking.  The large-diameter damper piston is much bigger than those used in traditional “cartridge” forks
  • Big Piston design allows the fork oil to act on a much larger surface area, so the damping pressure can be reduced without compromising effectiveness.  Reducing the damping pressure allows the slider to react more smoothly, which is especially noticeable during the initial part of the stroke.  The result is greater control as the fork begins to compress and very calm response during braking-induced weight-transfer, for greater chassis stability on corner entry
  • Fork settings were tuned to cope with the extreme forces of aggressive use, while still providing a comfortable ride
  • SFF-BP design offers easy adjustability, by locating all adjusters in the caps at the top of the two fork tubes: preload on the left; compression and rebound damping on the right.

Horizontal Back-Link Rear Suspension

  • Rear suspension design positions the shock unit and linkage above the swingarm where it’s less exposed to exhaust heat and contributes to mass centralization
  • Stepless rebound damping adjuster allows damping characteristics to be tuned to match changes in spring preload and/or loads

Rider Interface

  • NEW A wide, large-diameter solid-mount tubular aluminum handlebar contributes to the Z1000’s quality, top-shelf feel
  • Double-taper grips, like those used on supersport models, offer a more direct feel than traditional designs
  • NEW Intricately textured seat cover features a distinct Z-logo pattern
  • Ninja ZX-10R-style footpegs with knurled surfaces offer good grip, direct feel and control, and purposeful looks

NEW Instrumentation

  • NEW Extremely compact dual-element digital instrumentation keeps the front of the motorcycle as compact and unobtrusive as possible, making the bike almost disappear from the rider’s field of vision
  • NEW Dual element bar-graph tachometer with 0-4,000 rpm indicated vertically along the left edge of the lower display and a larger 4,000rpm+ tachometer filling the entire horizontal upper display
  • NEW LCD functions include ABS and Economical Riding (ECO) indicators
  • Additional LCD functions include a unique digital speedometer, odometer, dual trip meter, clock, instant and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature, and low-fuel warning lamps

2014 Kawasaki Z1000 Specifications*

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Displacement: 1,043cc
Bore x stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm
Compression ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel injection: DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: X-ring chain
Rake / trail: 24.5 degrees / 4.0 in.
Frame type: Aluminum Backbone
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 190/50 ZR17
Wheelbase: 56.5 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 41 mm inverted SFF-BP fork with stepless compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, remotely adjustable spring preload / 4.8 in.
Front brakes: Dual 310mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston monobloc calipers and ABS
Rear brake: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper and ABS
Overall length: 80.5 in.
Overall width: 31.1 in.
Overall height: 41.5 in.
Seat height: 32.1 in.
Curb weight: 487.3 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Color choices: Golden Blazed Green / Metallic Graphite Gray
MSRP: $11,999
Warranty: 12 Months
Kawasaki Protection Plus: 12, 24, 36, and  48 month plans are available
Wholesale distributor: Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.9950 Jeronimo RoadIrvine, California 92618




*Specifications are subject to change. Media are encouraged to visit for most current specifications.


  1. ROBBIE RADEL says:


  2. Mikej says:

    Look at the wheelbase and weight
    This will be so blistering fast on any swervy rode it will not matter what it looks like. You won’t be able to make that out anyway.

  3. davidex400 says:

    a Barbie doll wouldn’t be comfortable on that “pillion” if that’s what it is…. im sorry I like function over form, but this just may be too ugly

  4. Exunt says:

    The Reptile Queen approves of this bike.

  5. Hevace says:

    The previous version was a “maybe” for me. This is “No F*#@%}& Way!” Seriously, look at that seat. That horrible, horrible seat.

  6. Motorhead says:

    Mommy, that bike is scaring me!
    Don’t worry son, your daddy will handle it.

  7. Anti-NormG says:

    Perhaps it takes the Japanese designer to understand that, in a world so overcrowded with, well, everything and everyone, it takes a bold statement to a. get noticed, and b. appear progressive. IMHO, that’s my take on the thinking behind the styling of this bike. I’m a huge Kawasaki fan, but I can’t deny this is a wretched looking machine made to appeal to those who undoubtedly want to turn heads just for the sake of capturing others’ attention.

    • Doug says:

      I’m a Kawasaki fan as well, and agree with the spirit of you’re comment. The bike might actually look better in the real, but right now the photos have me feeling sad. I would point out it’s the headlight thing that is trying WAY too hard. The rest is looking good. Maybe the headlight things are the new “codpiece” of the euro street fighter scene.

      • jake says:

        This bike is ahead of its time. I suspect it is a forerunner for future similar designs to come. Does Kawi pull it off? Sort of. Like the animal look, but if that dang headlight was just a little shorter, more compact and less droopy booby, that slight change I suspect would make a world of difference.

        Also, no problem with the muffs, but change them out with something that is longer and leaner and the look improves. It helps to complete the viper look.

        I don’t think this bike will be a sales failure.

  8. eUROLISM says:

    Euronese must COPY again soon…

  9. viktor92 says:

    Really ugly

  10. Pablo says:

    It is not for everybody. But I like it. It is distinctive and not a cookie-cutter sport bike.

  11. jim says:

    I suppose you could describe a toad waiting for an insect to fly by as a” crouching predator”, but it’s still a toad.

    • jake says:

      Come on, you are being too harsh. Look at the tapered tail, look at the green strip from front all the way to the back, look at the scaly seat. It’s supposed to be a snake, a viper.

      Now you could say a snake on top of a toad waiting for a fly, but to say it is simply a toad is just not fair.

  12. AFW says:

    They should’ve called it the T1000.. T for Terminator. Very forward design, not for everyone.

    • jake says:

      Actually, the longer I look at this bike, the more it is growing on me. I guess my inner Vanilla Ice is starting to come out.

  13. Dai says:

    Is this naked version for Europe only? Very nice looking bike. I like the shape and styling. Very muscular looking. Love the power even more. I will test ride this at Long Beach show, if not available, will try Ninja 1000.

  14. Les says:

    Remember when bikes used to have headlights instead of sculpted plastic alien heads? Ah, yeah, good times they were.

  15. Crazy Shamus says:

    Well, it’s obvious someone here has bike envy issues. But that’s ok because we all do to some degree which is why we look at this website. I will confess I am an owner of one of those red, hot Italian bikes (I got a good chuckle out of the “over the hill” comment thank you). I never had any intention of buying one because I don’t care about popular names and labels and frankly didn’t really know they had a reputation (Yes, I was out of touch with the motorbike world). I stumbled upon and bought a Multistrada because it was the only bike on the planet that offered a balance of what I wanted/needed. I paid a premium for it, but holy S#6t it’s been a phenomenal motorbike and worth the extra cost hands down.

    As for the Z, I am bit biased as our friend below is. I’ve owned a Ninja 750 and loved it and have always had liking for Kawa sport bikes. As for the Z, it seems to be that you either love or hate them. I happen to think this new bike looks awesome and sounds like it should ride awesome! I might even have to make a trip down to the Long Beach International motorcycle show to test ride one for the fun of it.

  16. JonL says:

    Just keeps getting fuglier and fuglier……..

  17. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    That’s what it is..they replaced the headlight with a snapping turtles’ head.

  18. Superlight says:

    A Japanese version of the Ducati Streetfighter, but with Transformer overtones. No thanks.

    • KAWZIES says:

      Yeah. Ok. Ducatis are European so they’re somehow better. You couldn’t pay me to buy a Ducati with it’s higher priced maintenence and price, fragile parts and butt ugly L-twin engine. People get all hot for them because they’re Italian and red but this bike makes them look 2 decades over the hill. I’ve owned 2 “Z”s and they are rock solid dependable and fast as hell. This is a Japanese version of a very hot motorcycle-not those lumps of crap from Italy.
      They are their own machines with they’re own unique styling. “japanese version of the Ducati streetfighter”-what a load of crap. The streetfightwer (stupid name) came out in 2009. The modern Kaw Z’s came out in 2003. Who’s copying who?

      • Neutron73 says:

        Agreed. Ducati gets “props” from the press because they are red and Italian, yet are not innovative or standout for anything. The last Ducati I liked was the 999, and it has been downhill ever since. I’ve never owned one (I’m a Kawasaki guy (owned 4)) and I think this thing is….interesting. Definitely not run-of-the-mill, and I have to say I am equal parts intrigued and taken aback. I’d prolly buy it because at the end of the day, it does present an interesting case of unique styling and what appears to be ridiculous performance.

  19. Doc says:

    No matter the angle, it still looks like something the cat left in the litter box.