2010 Kawasaki Z1000 & Versys First Looks

October 5, 2009
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Gone during the 2009 model year  the Big Zed is back and one glance at the 10 Z1000 makes plain that theres more than bold new graphics afoot.
The 2010 Kawasaki Z1000 features an all-new 1043cc Inline-Four, aluminum chassis and restyled bodywork.

‘Tis the season for new year motorcycle debuts and Kawasaki has unveiled an all-new 2010 Z1000 and revamped Versys. After initial teaser press releases, Kawasaki unveiled all the goods on its new 2010 street bikes.

2010 Kawasaki Z1000

Gone during the 2009 model year, the Big Zed is back and one glance at the ‘10 Z1000 makes plain that there’s more than bold new graphics afoot. The styling of the Big Z changed dramatically changed. The profile is sharper, more angular, dialing down the nakedness of its predecessor with black bodywork covering the front fork and belly of the design. Perhaps to combat the disparity in popularity of naked designs in American, compared to Europe, where they are often top sellers, Kawasaki has this to say about the new design:

2010 Kawasaki Z1000 Photo Gallery

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2010 Kawasaki Z1000 Specs
Nissin calipers up front are swapped out to radial-mount four-piston Tokico pinchers  which grab hold of Kawasakis dual 300mm wave rotors through input from the radial-pump master cylinder. A single piston-caliper bites down on a 250mm rotor out back.
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Displacement: 1043cc
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
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Rake / Trail: 24.5 degrees / 4.1 in.
Frame: Aluminum Backbone
Front/Rear Tire: 120/70 ZR17, 190/50 ZR17 
Wheelbase: 56.7 in.
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41 mm inverted cartridge fork with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in. Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 5.4 in.
Front Brakes: Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers
Rear Brake: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper 
Seat Height: 32.1 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gal

“A unique blend of Japanese art and technology, the 2010 Z1000’s styling takes a dramatic leap forward with the distinct look of an apex predator. Hunched-down and ready to pounce, its visual impact is much stronger than that of a naked sportbike, or a derivative copy of some Euro trend.”

But it’s more than the outside that’s been overhauled, the 2010 Z1000 bragging an all-new engine and frame as well. The previous incarnation of the Z1000 debuted in 2007 model year, still featuring a 953cc mill based off the ZX-9. The latest version sports an all-new 1043cc liquid-cooled Inline Four. Sporting a 77mm bore and 56mm stroke, the new Kwakker’s motor is fuel-injected and bolted to the frame as a stressed member.

Speaking of the frame, gone is the steel design of its predecessor, replaced by a “quick-steering” aluminum unit. Teamed with a three-piece aluminum subframe, the frame bolts to the new motor in four locations, three rigid and one of which is rubber mounted. Kawasaki fitted a secondary balance shaft to keep the Z1000’s mill from rattling too hard, though it promises “on this bike, a little bit of character is designed in.” Similar to the ZX-10R sportbike the frame beams “curve over the engine” for a narrow feel. Steering geometry, at 24.5 degree rake, 4.1 inch trail and 56.7 wheelbase appears virtually identical to the ’08 (wheelbase recorded at 56.9 inches). At 32.1 inch, the seat height is marginally lower (0.2 inch).

Suspension changes include the addition of compression damping to the 41mm inverted fork and its rebound and preload adjustability. The all-new monoshock rear features rebound and preload adjustment.

Nissin calipers up front are swapped out to radial-mount four-piston Tokico pinchers, which grab hold of Kawasaki’s dual 300mm wave rotors through input from the radial-pump master cylinder. A single piston-caliper bites down on a 250mm rotor out back.

Also new for 2010 are five-spoke cast wheels, which replace the 3-spoke units adorning the predecessor. As for the Z1000’s distinctive four-muffler exhaust system, it returns, with wide triangular cans on both sides. Like the previous model, however, each side canister is really a single muffler, with a faux dual-pipe cap retaining the four-can look found on the original Z.

2010 Kawasaki Versys First Look

2010 Kawasaki Versys
The 2010 Kawasaki Versys features a revised half-fairing, with a funky stacked headlight assembly.
Stacked headlamps aboard the 2010 Kawasaki Versys.

The changes to the Versys are less dramatic, with Kawasaki opting to refine its popular mid-sized street bike with new styling lines and minor tweaks to improve rider and passenger comfort. Most noticeable is the new fairing, and its funkuliculous stacked headlight array. A new front fender, mirrors, muffler, clutch cover, radiator shrouds and a handful of other components complete the facelift redesign.

New rubber engine mounts look to decrease vibes from the 650 Parallel-Twin, along with revised hollow rubber-covered footpegs. The passenger accommodations are also spruced up, with the seat position fine-tuned, grab rails revised and a new seat cover material used . The three-position adjustable windscreen is larger too, for better wind protection and further improving the versatility for which the popular Kawi is named. .

2010 Kawasaki Versys Specs
The 2010 Kawasaki Versys features a revised front end.
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid cooled, DOHC, four-valve per cylinder, Parallel Twin
Displacement: 649cc
Bore x Stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.6:1
Cooling: Liquid
Fuel System: Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: O-Ring chain
Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
Rake / Trail: 25 degrees / 4.3 in.
Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload / 5.9 in.
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Single offset laydown shock with 13-position adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload / 5.7 in.
Front Tire: 120/70×17
Rear Tire: 160/60×17
Front Brake: Dual 300mm petal discs with two-piston caliper
Rear Brake: Single 220mm petal disc with single-piston caliper 
Seat Height: 33.1 in.
Curb Weight: 454.1 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal.
Colors: Metallic Spark Black

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