Kawasaki has stuck to what India loves in a superbike – an inline four-cylinder motor that is quiet at low revs, but comes alive with a howl if you gas it. It displaces 1,043cc, breathes through dual throttle bodies, 16 valves that are driven by a DOHC, and the figures stand at 139bhp and 111Nm, which is also a significant increase over the previous model, but what struck me the most was the friendly way in which it delivered the power. There are no ‘steps’ in the delivery, and riding it below 3,000rpm is something even a novice will be able to do with ease. It doesn’t grumble or stutter, the fuelling is quite perfect, and there aren’t any jerks to speak of. This is despite Kawasaki reworking the engine for better midrange and quicker throttle response.
There aren’t any electronics to speak of in the engine department – no ride modes, no traction control or adjustable settings for it; just good, clean power delivery. Kawasaki has consciously chosen not to offer electronics on the Z1000 – judging by most Indian conditions (and rider skill levels) electronics like traction control help, but on the other hand, I also am drawn to the fact that if I ride the Z1000 well, I know it is me who gets the credit, not some electronics. This could very well be the most friendly 1000cc motorcycle on sale in the country today.
The gearbox is a six-speed one, and the gearing has been shortened over the previous model except for sixth, which is taller. This is great, because at idle in first gear, the bike trundles along at an indicated 11kmph, which is perfect for weaving around in traffic without having to slip the clutch. The clutch is light and progressive, but what makes it truly usable is the short gearing – even in traffic you don’t need to slip the clutch much. The drive goes to the rear wheel via a chain.