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2010 Kawasaki Z1000 & Versys First Looks

Monday, October 5, 2009
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: 120/70x17
Rear Tire: 160/60x17
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

Kawasaki Dealer Locator
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Related Kawasaki Versys Articles
2010 Kawasaki Versys Photo Gallery
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Francis Belandres -Artist  April 5, 2010 07:45 PM
I just recently purchased the 2010 z1000...I've owned seven bikes in the past 4 years because my philosophy is that you have to own a bike to know if you like it or not (get to know the bike). this approach is expensive but necessary to even make a comment. I had a v-rod, r1, burgman 400 super scooter, kawi zx6rr sportster 1200 custom and was not satisfied with any of them. I wanted a bike met my requirements which are: the bike had to be fast, could lean low or ease of leaning without concentrating too much, comfortable, light, nimble and looks good. I wanted to get the 2010 busa (the king of the road) but I would be leaning forward again like my r1 which I found uncomfortable. After a lot of pondering and resaearch, I came to a decision; the z1000 was perfect for me and I promised my wife that this would be my last bike. It's comfortable for long rides, a lot of power for the track (I like to drag race too) and is unique which in every way. This is the ultimate bike for me hands down.
Gordon -Ducati Streetfighter  March 30, 2010 10:11 AM
Bought the new Ducati Streetfighter last year and had a Triumph Speed Triple before. Very happy with the Duke. Of course the Z1000 is cheaper, but it cannot match the emotions the Ducati Streetfighter creates. The design, the handling and the punch from that Desmo engine breathing music through Termignoni pipes... Would be interesting to see how the Z1000 stacks up against the new MV Agusta Brutale and the Streetfighter? Might rent these bikes on my next vacation from Columbus in France. Here the link: http://www.columbus-international.com/motorbikes/
Jake -Z1000  November 15, 2009 07:40 PM
Badass! Both color schemes. Friend of mine asked me if I had seen the bike. I said yeah, sweet huh? He said "Dude, I love it, it's badass!" Why the big deal? He rides a Harley! Nuff said! Kawasaki hit the mark with this one! Awesome friggin' bike! Gotta have one!
asd -dasd  November 6, 2009 10:04 PM
just cool~ I LIKE IT!
Steve -2010 Versys  October 22, 2009 11:07 AM
I think Kawasaki makes some great bikes, but this one's not the best looking of the lot. Take away the muffler, head light frame & weird shaped gas tank, you might have a Suzuki 750. Back to the drawing board hermanos.
Michael Txxxxxx -Factory Fighter  October 16, 2009 09:28 AM
The Z1000 is one of those bikes that you either love or hate - here in the US, at least. The press photos of the 2007 were hideous, but when I saw it in person I had to have it. I could see past the unsightly parts and after chopping the tail, removing the mirrors, and ditching the giant exhaust, it is one of the most badass bikes on the street. All of the sportbike riders I meet on bike nights love the look of her and I constantly get stopped for questions. The new 2010 model looks awesome in the press photos and I can hardly wait to see it in person. It is definately the least naked the Z has ever been, but that should make it appeal to those who lean toward the race replica look. I think a lot of people who don't like nakeds feel they are lesser sportbikes or not sportbikes at all. Nakeds are sportbikes for the street, where supersports are street legal race bikes. They are all sportbikes, but built for different purposes.
Clancy-pants -New Z?  October 12, 2009 01:27 PM
Is the Z going to be imported stateside?

I thought Kawasaki discontinued the Z1000 in the North American market a couple of seasons ago.
Ben N. -The bikes look great..  October 11, 2009 07:46 PM
Forget those fat-tattoo riders, I'd buy those.
Digger -z1000  October 11, 2009 06:56 PM
What does this transform into?
Superbikemike -Z1000.....  October 11, 2009 07:57 AM
this Z1000 will look very nice next to my Superduke....i'm a big fan of the naked bikes.... been checking out the specs and can't find anything info if the bike comes with a slipper-clutch.... a must have for me..... and what do the Japanese have against braided brake lines... also a must have for me....
Ed P. -Why Americans don't buy naked bikes  October 10, 2009 10:55 PM
As an X-European that has lived in 4 differnt countries. Americans buy motorcycles as toys. Not for commuting in general (except perhaps a few in some of the warmer states) in any case they buy bikes as toys or to portray an "Image" (Bad biker with fat belly and tatoos, how childish is that?). Meanwhile those fat guys on cruisers are killing themselves where I live (Idaho) when they go around corners and their "foot boards" hit the ground, ofcouse they don't wear helmets either. They can't ride for two cents worth. However, if you ride a bike because you are more comfortable on a bike than in a car and choose to commute on a bike come rain, hail or snow, (well perhaps not snow) like I do a standard naked bike rules supreme and those stupid ten ton cruisers don't even rate a look. Sport bikes are nice as expensive toys to ride on the weekend scratching around the mountains but unless you are in to pain, are no good for commuting either. I love this new Kawasaki and will seriously consider buying one, but it actually is not quite naked is it? There is too much plastic already just a gap where the cylinders are. But atleast it has an inteligent riding position and that counts.

Glad to see the Z back...
FBI -2010 Kawasaki Z1000  October 10, 2009 08:28 AM
"better looking than ducati streetfighter. probably faster on the straights and mid-corners. definitely cheaper, by like $5k." You might have the price advantage right but why would you think a heavier bike with less horsepower and cheap suspension would be faster on the straights and especially mid-corner? Ride a Ducati Streetfighter if you haven't already, I doubt the Kawi would be a match even with $5K of aftermarket parts.
benroe -new "Z"  October 8, 2009 07:53 AM
I like the new look of the bike, but like most that will purchase it, I think the pipes have to go. The pipes on the origional z have been the only stock pipes on any bike that gave me a chubby. Nowthen, it needs an aftermarket pipe, and either a cafe bar or clip ons and this bike will be the hogs tits!!! I like it, I like it alot.
Frank -Naked bikes  October 8, 2009 12:06 AM
I love naked bikes and I am an American. In fact, I like naked's far better then any race rep. any day of the week. I dont like all the plastic skins that most "sports" bikes have covering the engine. I think that in USA most guys "macho" draws them to the bigger, faster better and have no consideration for what is plenty fast enough on the street. Street fighters are more comfortable and better looking to me. This Z1000 along with the "euro only" CB1000R are the ballz! My first sport was a TL1000 S. Ten years and several cruisers later I had the itch to get a sport again so as of now I am the owner of a 07 Triumph Speed Triple. I love all street fighters and the Super Duke and Ducati streetfighter are my objects of desire. I probably will never personally own a race rep unless I runh into a deal that would be a wise buy just to turn around and sell it to make a few extra $. STREET FIGHTERS RULE!!! I don't care for most characteristics of inline fours but if I changed my mind then this bike would be a consideration.
Jim K -2010 Kawasakis  October 7, 2009 08:35 PM
The Z1000 is very aggressive looking - totally cool especially the black version. However, I really like the subtle changes they made to the Versys including the black color scheme which is just what I was waiting for. It has to be one of the most comfortable, do it all bikes out there. Sign me up!
Gary C. -New Kawasaki  October 7, 2009 10:45 AM
Here's another worthless opinion on the Z1000. It's ugly, uncomfortable, and has shrunk another 10-20 percent in body volume, they are trying too hard to make bikes acceptable to the tattooed freaks out there, why not just make something good and comfortable that many will want to buy??? Like everything else these days the price does not go down, but the package and its contents gets smaller and smaller...................
Jake -Z1000  October 6, 2009 09:09 PM
Anyone who thinks the new Z1000 is anything less than totally BADASS looking, needs go buy a Royal Enfield, put on a diaper, and go play Bingo.

I hope it's not real vibey like its predecessors but that bike is one hot and mean looking machine. To pussies though....it's ugly.
Joseph Adrian Walker -Design aesthetics and ergonomics for "real" everyday use  October 6, 2009 06:40 AM
I do not mean to stir the pot but being a South African, with "deathtrap" taxis (most of which never indicate and are fully UN-roadworthy - a culture-shock to any American, as many visiting here the first time would attest) and pedestrians running literally rife without any observance of road rules, ergonomics on a sports bike are just about as important as the aesthetics. Personally I LOVE naked bikes in this regard, and I love it even more when manufacturers realise that there ARE people outside America who appreciate both the ergonomics and design of a "production streetfighter", in combining practicality of use (ergos) with aesthetic appeal for this niche market ("semi-faired" look). I would go so far as to say that the Suzuki Bandit, TL1000S, etc (semi-faired bikes) are more beautiful than today's either fully naked or full-faired bikes. I LOVE the "semi-naked" design aesthetic as demonstrated by the 2010 Z1000 and can't wait to test ride it! By the way, I own a 2009 Z750, so please excuse my "Kawasaki bias"... :-)
Nitin -Z1000  October 5, 2009 10:51 PM
Looks as ugly as ever.. i hope they smooth out its snatchy power delivery!!
GAR -Kawasaki z1000  October 5, 2009 08:49 PM
The white and orange photo in this article is ugly but look at the black and silver on other sites. Its got to be my favorite bike without a full fairing ever.

better looking than ducati streetfighter. probably faster on the straights and mid-corners. definitely cheaper, by like $5k.
Beezy -Looks hawt to me!  October 5, 2009 03:03 PM
I feel the reason that most Americans do not like naked bikes is because they feel that they are not either fast enough and or good looking enough, and in some cases not a sportbike at all! I was talking with a gent the other day and I told him that "(energetically)I was more interested in street fighters/naked's as I feel they have better ergos for the street and city riding as they usually have more usable torque curves". He had a puzzled look on his face; so I went on to explain; "(with a hint of sarcasm)you know kinda like a Speed Triple or Z1000". He had no idea what I was talking about. So I quickly moved to a computer terminal and fired up a couple of pics; he said without hesitation; "that's not a sport bike, it's a cruiser"! It comes a time in life when you have to just walk away! So I could be way off base here but there is something that is missing in the way that SF's and nakeds are marketed; if they are at all outside of forums like this! Damn shame really, I just wish that they were priced in the same manner that they sell; I would have a stable of them... Either way I think that the new Zed looks hawt; with that motor it is going to be a beast if they can lock down the suspension issues that have plagued the Z1000 for years! Just my .02!
vugluskr -Why americans don't like naked bikes?  October 5, 2009 12:40 PM
Americans don't like naked bikes because there are few "streets" in America. I live in a suburb and my 60 mile/day commute is mostly twisties then highway and some streets. I will take my Sprint ST with fairings over any cool naked citybike anyday. Have to admit I like that new Z1000, only if I were in a city
NW -VERSYS  October 5, 2009 11:36 AM
I don't see a picture of the new Versys. ????
They really beat that Z1000 with the ugly bat though.
Samxrl -Mods  October 5, 2009 10:58 AM
To the above comments. Beauty is in the beholder and I think the Versys (especially that diabolical headlight assembly) is by far the ugliest bike out there!!! Here's a thought, instead of rehashing former bikes how about lowering the retail prices so people in todays economy don't have to look (and not buy) then walkout of the dealership with a bad case of stickershock. The manufacturers are pricing themselves right out of the game! Can you say Craigslist? I knew you could!

Tim B -Why Kawi...why?  October 5, 2009 09:45 AM
This was the best looking Kawi by far and now they made it look like a reject from the Transformers movie. That's such a shame! But I guess I shouldn't be surprised as Kawi has the ugliest bikes by far lately. They need a new designer in house!

I like that they're making the Z lower and the brand new engine has my interest too.

I don't know why Americans don't like sporty naked bikes. They're awesome looking, comfortable, better suited for the street, and they can keep up with replica racers at street paces.