Comparison test of naked bikes from Japan

Comparison test of naked bikes from Japan

Nippon naked bikes

Strong, undisguised motorcycles have a long tradition in Japan. In the meantime, Nippon’s manufacturers have also added a good dash of streetfighter look to the design. But from whom does the most powerful mixture come from??

Let’s go very briefly to the origin. Rebuilt, stripped of their disguise and resurrected with a martial appearance, these are the roots of the street fighters. Seen in this way, the Japanese manufacturers can draw on a rich repertoire of forefathers for their power-naked creations.

Yamaha, for example, does this by implanting the FZ1’s far forward-leaning engine of the R1 and preparing it for its use as a street fighter with more flywheel and various modifications to the cylinder head. When creating the CB 1000 R, Honda reached into the parts shelf of the 2007 Fireblade. Tea athlete donates the drive, also trimmed for more torque with slightly capped peak performance. But because Streetfighters are also a commitment to individuality, the Honda guys didn‘t leave it at that and donated the CB 1000 R not only a spacey front mask but also a single-sided swing arm and a wicked rear wheel styling. The Suzuki troop went to work even more mercilessly. Massive, downright monstrous compared to the petite Honda, the appearance of the B-King. Her scepter of power that she wields respectfully commanding: the 1340 cubic centimeter and 184 hp row quad from the Hayabusa. In addition, scowl, sweeping tank sides and silencers like trumpets. Corners and edges also shape the appearance of the Kawasaki Z 1000, the legitimate successor to Frankenstein’s daughter, the legendary Z 900. A design that, with the jagged covers, the exhaust tips and the somewhat old-fashioned-looking lamp mask, also offers plenty of talking point. After all, she is actually the first representative of the Japanese streetfighter squad, on the market since 2003.

Comparison test of naked bikes from Italy

Italo naked bikes


Aggressively styled, greedy for speed, dynamic, the FZ1.

But basically quite tame. In terms of performance, it ranks at the end of the quartet with the Honda with 125 hp. Your four-row quad with just 953 cm3 is the smallest in the field. And yet of an extremely fine nature. In spite of the windshield, which vibrates in a strange way, the four-cylinder runs smoothly. Purrs and purrs. He pushes hard from the lowest speeds, never seems strained or tired. A twist of the wrist does a small intermediate sprint. Above all, however, he accelerates wonderfully gently, no annoying load change jolt hails the line in serpentines. In addition, the gears slide precisely. Meanwhile, the driver lets his eyes wander over the pretty, white dial of the analog tachometer and enjoys the dresser seating position. Well, his pillion isn’t quite as comfortable. More comfortable than with the Honda and the Suzuki but definitely. In terms of chassis technology, however, the Kawasaki has some catching up to do. Your stately 235 kilograms hit the handling noticeably. And if it is still quite stable across the country on level slopes, there is noticeable movement in the chassis in undulating curves, and the righting moment when braking does the rest. On the other hand, the spring elements ensure a good level of comfort, and the ABS-reinforced stoppers grip really well. The Z 1000 is a great companion for carefree everyday life, but the role of the real street hero has to be left to others.

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Comparison test of naked bikes from Italy

Italo naked bikes

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Drive and chassis


The Z 1000 almost pales a little in the group of young competitors. Although your engine can be presented nicely.

For example the Honda. Dynamic appearance, wiry, sinewy stature. That’s exactly how it swirls across the streets. No one zigzags over winding slopes as lightly as the CB 1000 R. For some, this may seem almost hyper-agile, especially since the softly tuned fork can get out of step when the pace is too violent. Ultimately, she lacks the reserves for that. One cannot chalk much more to their chassis. Sporty natures, on the other hand, look forward to the perfect hold on the grippy grooved notches during curve dancing. And so there are only small things that could darken the look of the Honda driver. Darkness, for example, because it brings out the meager light output of the headlights. Gold rain. In the absence of a splash guard, the pillion passenger or the driver’s back is heavily covered. In addition, the cockpit is difficult to read due to the lack of contrast? its blue lighting, which goes out gently when it is switched off, is of little help. All of this becomes secondary when the Honda is allowed to let off steam. Tea oven-cylinder pleases with gorgeous acceleration and pulling power in all situations. Lively, lively, easy to turn.

He lets the dynamic appearance follow suit. The powerful drive and the agile frame merge into a driving machine of the purest water. And because the pilot rules even more relaxed and at the same time more active and closer to the handlebars than on the Kawa, the tank flanks nestle between the legs, you could easily roam the country like this all day. In any case, it shouldn’t fail because of the range and low consumption. The engine does not handle throttle acceptance and gear changes with the smoothness of the Kawasaki, but crisp, precise and ?? apart from the rough blow when engaging first gear ?? always smooth enough. Smooth gear changes have never been the forte of earlier R1 engines, and consequently the FZ1’s gearbox also demands a bit of emphasis on otherwise precise gear changes. Your drive is by far the strongest of the 1000s. With this certainty, the driver grabs the handlebars, as straight as a bar, and sets the FZ1 on its spurs. It’s compact, not uncomfortable. Although the tank spreads its legs a bit and the pegs should sit a little further back. So immediately rushed angrily at the Winkelwerk, or what?

Driving experience


Honda went to work with the design of the CB 1000 R with unusual courage. Stocky, compact, greedy, she got.

Not quite. The FZ1 falls willingly from one lean angle to the next. Folding it from left to right is done with little physical effort thanks to the wide handlebar. But the lean angle is quickly used up with energetic bending. The FZ1 has excellent systems for dedicated curve sharpening. Ore-stable bridge frame, extremely long swing arm for ample traction. In addition, tightly coordinated spring elements. The suspension comfort is still okay, but above all they give the FZ1 excellent stability and great precision. The faster the Yamaha is moved, the more its advantages, including the superbly gripping, ABS-reinforced brakes, come into play. However, your driver should have a certain tendency towards revs in order to really enjoy the ride. The drive is less interested in strolling. Too little the punch below 7000 / min, only above it does all of its energy discharge vehemently. This is accompanied by pronounced load changes. This is how the FZ1 really blooms when things are moving quickly. One would not trust the B-King to have such dynamic talents at the mere sight of its massive, majestic appearance. And whoever maneuvers their colossal 259 kilograms out of a narrow gap against the resistance of the steering damper, which is powerfully taut in the central position, seems certain: No, this monster cannot walk around the corner in a neat way.

Until they have climbed their throne and lifted their anchors. Once in motion, it is as if the Suzuki had lost a hundred pounds in one fell swoop. Sure, she does not accomplish great handling feats. How also, with these dimensions and a fat 200 cm rear wheel? But the precision and the sovereignty with which it finds its way through winding routes, the neutrality with which it rushes through fast, long curves, that is remarkable. Long-legged people, however, will be bothered by the ergonomically poorly designed tank flanks. For this, the Suzuki technicians have found a chassis set-up that confidently walks the fine line between too tight and too comfortable. Earthy road holding goes hand in hand with good feedback and gives the pilot the confidence that the impressive colossus is safely on course. In addition, the ABS stoppers act reliably, even if the spontaneous bite is missing and they need some hand strength. The hammer, however, is the four-cylinder power plant of the B-King. The pressure wave of 140 Newton meters falls over the pilot like a dam break, so that the spit stays away. The pure peak performance of measured 174 PS becomes a minor matter. The hurricane from the engine room shows no mercy. The B-King is similar to a sumo wrestler: At first glance it looks cumbersome, as if it could hardly walk with strength. Once in action, she shows astonishing agility and unyielding, at the same time well controllable and good-natured strength. So she masters even city speed in large corridors and 30s zones with ease. As befits a king.

Technical data: Japanese

Honda CB 1000 R.
Four-cylinder in-line engine, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, displacement 998 cm3, rated power 92.0 kW (125 PS) at 10,000 rpm, max. Torque 99 Nm at 7750 rpm, central tubular frame made of aluminum, ABS. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17, seat height * 830 mm, weight with a full tank * 220 kg, load * 190 kg, tank capacity / reserve 17.0 / 4.0 liters, price of test motorcycle 10,890 euros, additional costs around 170 euros.

Kawasaki Z 1000
Four-cylinder in-line engine, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, displacement 953 cm3, rated power 92.0 kW (125 PS) at 10,000 rpm, max. Torque 99 Nm at 8200 rpm, backbone frame made of steel, ABS. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/50 ZR 17, seat height * 820 mm, weight with a full tank * 235 kg, payload * 166 kg, tank capacity 18.5 liters. Test motorcycle price 10,495 euros, additional costs around 180 euros.

Suzuki B-King
Four-cylinder in-line engine, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, displacement 1340 cm3, rated output 135.0 kW (184 hp) at 9500 rpm, max.
Torque 146 Nm at 7200 rpm, bridge frame made of aluminum, ABS. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 200/50 ZR 17, seat height * 810 mm, weight with a full tank * 259 kg, payload * 201 kg, tank capacity 16.5 liters. Test motorcycle price 14,270 euros, additional costs around 145 euros

Yamaha FZ1
Four-cylinder in-line engine, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, displacement 998 cm3, rated output 110.3 kW (150 PS) at 11,000 rpm, max. Torque 106 Nm at 8000 rpm, bridge frame made of aluminum, ABS. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/50 ZR 17, seat height * 800 mm, weight with a full tank * 230 kg, load * 180 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18.0 / 3.4 liters. Test motorcycle price 10,650 euros, additional costs around 170 euros.

MOTORCYCLE test result


Winner Suzuki B-King: She is not the most agile, but when it comes to elemental force, she is unreservedly sovereign.

1st place: Suzuki B-King

2nd place: Honda CB 1000 R

3rd place: Kawasaki Z 1000

4th place: Yamaha FZ1

A powerful engine and chassis with no real weaknesses, the B-King deserves the throne. The balanced Honda skilfully combines liveliness, temperament and handiness. With weaknesses in the chassis, the Kawasaki lands in third place. The tail light FZ1 has a great chassis, but is dependent on speed.

Winner Japanese: Suzuki-B-King – You’ll be happy with this bike, if …

There’s a reason for you to celebrate: Die Hard Part 5 is rumored to be coming to theaters soon. Actually, you’re not into riot movies, but John McClane is a really cool guy … Admittedly, you’re open to the quiet side of life. Just got the book? Annual Vacation ?? read by Tommy Jaud and set out to reduce beer consumption on the Isle of Man over the planned ten days. For the health. For the figure. For the ego. On the other hand: you only live once, right? The rare vinyl record ?? Big Bubbles, no troubles ?? by Ellis Beggs & Howard is gathering dust on your shelf, you own three G-Starr Elwood jeans and while cruising in your Ford Focus tournament you dream of the wind in a jet-black Mustang convertible, built in 1983. And of the fact that Monchengladbach might somehow still become champions.

MOTORCYCLE – How to scoring

There is no herb against the elemental force of the Suzuki big block. His ability to accelerate is amazing. In the passage, however, Honda and Kawasaki can stand up to him. Despite all the measures to promote pulling through on the R1 engine, the Yamaha had to tear down. Your profession is more like speed. The load changes should also take place more smoothly, as well as the gear changes in the transmission with long lower gears for everyday use and, given the performance characteristics, unfavorably spread transmission. On the other hand, the FZ1 unit impresses with its refined running and great acoustics. After cold nights, the B-King needs a few hundred meters to clear its throat and digest fresh gas without complaint.
Winner engine: Suzuki

landing gear
Hardly anyone would believe just looking at the B-King that she was going around the corner in a mannered manner. But their handling is surprising. The benchmark in this gang is the Honda, which also cuts a good figure in fast corners. Only their softly tuned fork could provide more transparency. In terms of steering precision and neutrality, the B-King only has to bend over a point. Which gives both an excellent certificate. The Kawasaki is losing ground, especially on undulating terrain. Drives there wobbly and not very precisely. Overall, the chassis looks the least harmonious and balanced for a committed driving style. Their domain is the comfortable ride, also thanks to the good responsiveness of the spring elements.
Chassis winner: Suzuki

everyday life
Everyday life ?? Actually a good chapter. Because the pilot is accommodated in a very appealing way on all four naked ones. In contrast to the pitiful co-drivers. With differences, of course. The best way to endure it is on the Kawa and the Yamaha. But basically, real street fighters do without the pillion seat anyway. The light output of the CB 1000 R is a little disappointing. Karg also the equipment and payload of the Z 1000. But it offers the greatest range.
Winner everyday: Kawasaki / Yamaha

Another highlight is the braking section, as all four are equipped with ABS. However, there are outliers here. Kawasaki and Yamaha not only have the strongest righting moment, but are also the most prone to handlebar slap due to the lack of steering dampers. Your pilots would definitely benefit from a steering damper.
Safety winner: Suzuki

There is not a single drunk among the four, consumption of a good five liters is okay. The FZ1 is the only one to have 10,000 intervals for the inspection, with the B-King the fat 200 rear tire has a negative impact on replacement.
Winner cost: Yamaha

Price-performance winner: Honda
The uncomplicated and agile as well as powerful Honda is not naked in any discipline, is significantly cheaper than the B-King and is therefore in this rating? even if only very tightly? right at the front.

Conclusion – group winners

Three out of twelve ?? the group winners on points have been determined. And they also shine with very individual attributes. Because a powerful engine or a stable chassis alone does not make the difference between victory and defeat…


Other countries other manners. Twelve power naked bikes had to prove themselves in a comparison test.

The three winning bikes represent their own philosophy: BMW’s K 1300 R impresses not only with its powerful drive but also with its suitability for everyday use and equipment, while the powerful B-King pushes itself into the limelight thanks to its problem-free rideability. Honestly: Apart from the huge dimensions, could Suzuki advertise the King as an exemplary driving school machine? quasi the sheep in wolf’s clothing. The wolf in the wolf’s skin comes from Italy: The Ducati, a stripped super sports car, which is very stubborn and idiosyncratic to pilot, implements the original street fighter idea most consistently and typically Italian ?? uncompromising, tough, polarizing.

The latter seems to be the key stimulus that Europeans and Japanese are finally including in well-dosed form when planning their bikes. The Italian function-follows-form principle, according to which pragmatic technicians subordinate themselves to apparently detail-loving designers, is now also taking hold in the hoards of reason. How else can it be explained that a design study (B-King) is going into series production or that the white-and-blue 173 racehorses are sent outside without weather protection? All manufacturers have looked outside the box and, in times of greater demand for individuality, offer not only more performance but also more character. The bike is a figurehead and ultimately like a shoe: It should not only fit well, it should also look good. Whether BMW will ever offer stiletto-style hiking boots or Ducati comfortable pumps is questionable.

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