Kawasaki Z1000 R

The hooligan got an R.

As you know „R“ stands for RACING or RAW  and this brings it straight to the point! The Z1000 R is a bike for people who love pure riding experience! To test the new Kawasaki Z1000 R, we were invited to Portugal, Algarve. An excellent place to test the Hooligan bike (or just to visit, but everything is better on a bike), on the street and the track. Two very different arenas but exactly what this bike was meant to do!

Quick question: Don’t you think that Z1R would fit the bike way better as a Name? Anyway let’s stay on the subject!

What’s new / What’s better

First we got a new clutch lever with five adjustment possibilities, a new Display with gear position indicator, shift up indicator and it shows the RPMs on two different parts (the lower ones on the left side of the display and the higher ones, with LED’s, on top). We also got new indicators and Mirrors, which I think look very nice. On the technical side Kawasaki also made a few changes, like the new rear shock link system. The link system ratio has been improved in order to allow a better more supple suspension action and an enhanced shock absorption. Even the front suspension got an update, now using the Showa BigPiston with a Kawasaki setup modification. On top of that we get a new system from Brembo, to ensure you stop whenever you want (IF you want). By the way the Brembo system is the same as on the Ninja H2, monoblock M50 in combination with 310mm brake discs.

Let’s talk engine specs. Altogether the Z1000 R has 142hp and a top torque of 111Nm, Wheelie specs!

The machinery has a volume of 1043cc in an inline-four.

If we look at the modified suspension link system, we now have  the travelwork increased by 13mm, which comes up to 135mm in total. The machine has also become a lot more stable on the tail section due to better shock absorption and an extreme good throttle-to-tyre response.

Unleash the beast

Now it’s time to unleash the beast. Out on the road, the first thing you will notice is that the bike has an extreme good engine response, not too aggressive and not to soft. I would say not far away from perfect, considering that the bike has no traction-control. It would have been nice to have this feature but personally I didn’t had the need for it.  Just a very natural bike to ride.

With an output of 111Nm in an inline-four, the best thing is, you don’t need to change gears all the time, good for the lazy ones. The thrust was more than enough and present all the time. The cool thing is there is no real lack of power, the engine just pushes and pushes.

Let’s come back one more time to the rear end of the bike. With all the modifications Kawasaki made it’s hard to tell if the new link-system or the Öhlins shock made this Z1000R so enjoyable, but fact is, with so much feedback from the back end it has been a pleasure to ride around on those tight mountain corners.

Now the front, the forks were more on the stiffer side, in my opinion not ideal for the road use. So here you need to find the setting that best fits you. My guess would be to take a look on the damping adjustment; a few clicks softer will do no harm. I don’t think I need to mention that both the Öhlins suspension and the Showa BigPiston are fully adjustable, but for those who didn’t yet know: Both the Öhlins suspension and the Showa BigPiston are fully adjustable.

On the race track, things are different. This is my element. #homesweethome . Portimao, what a race track. Some of you might know it but for those that don’t, well let’s say it’s got its Ups and Downs. First the stiffer forks work very well on the track, so it’s really important to know where your bike will spend most of its time and then find the perfect adjustment.

Second the engine, 142hp might seem like not enough for this kind of usage but actually this had a lot to do with the fun we had on the circuit. The fact that you can use all the power and don’t feel overwhelmed, gives you a lot of confidence. The sound was also quite good for an OEM exhaust which has a lot to do with the airbox. The intake sound roars as you go through the gear at full throttle! Didn’t seem like the EURO4 hit Kawasaki. One more thing I want to mention for race usage is the assist and slipper clutch. Nothing really new so far on this system for Kawasaki but the performance was still very good. I missed a corner at some point, downshifted faster than usual and the slipper clutch made its job perfect.


The sitting position is a slightly aggressive one, with the foot pegs a little further back and down and the handlebar have a light tilt. Meaning you are inclined to the front in a comfortable way. This position allows you drive in a sporty as well as a relaxed position. Only the ground clearance isn’t that great and you will quite often touch the ground with the footpegs. #sparks

Also available will be a PERFORMANCE KIT from Kawasaki. This counts for both, the Z1000 and the Z1000 R. Included are:

  • Dual Akrapovic Exhaust
  • Carbon heatshield
  • Tankpad

    Price 1.099€ on top of the normal price.

Price for Belgium and Luxembourg: 13.999€

Price for Netherlands: 14.999€


Displacement: 1043 ccm 
Engine type: In-line four, four-stroke
Power: 142 HP at 10000 RPM
Torque: 111 Nm at 7300 RPM
Compression: 11.8:1
Bore x stroke: 77.0 x 56.0 mm 
Lubrication system: Forced lubrication, wet sump
Cooling system: Liquid
Gearbox: 6-speed
Chassis, suspension, wheels and brakes
Frame type: Twin-tube, aluminium
Trail: 104 mm 
Front suspension: 41 mm inverted fork with stepless compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability
Front wheel travel: 120 mm 
Rear suspension: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload
Rear wheel travel: 135 mm 
Front tyre: 120/70-ZR17
Rear tyre: 190/50-ZR17
Front brakes: Double disc. Dual radial-mount, Brembo M50 monobloc, opposed 4-piston.
Front brakes diameter: 310 mm 
Rear brakes: Single disc. Single-piston
Rear brakes diameter: 250 mm 
Measurements and capacities
Curb weight: 221 kg
Seat height: 815 mm 
Overall height: 1,055 mm
Overall length: 2,045 mm
Overall width: 790 mm 
Ground clearance: 125 mm 
Wheelbase: 1,435 mm 
Fuel capacity: 17 litres 
Color options
Available colors: Metallic Spark Black/Metallic     Graphite Gray/Green