Endurance test final balance of the Kawasaki Z 1000


Endurance test final balance of the Kawasaki Z 1000

Endurance test final balance of the Kawasaki Z 1000

The naked bike after 50,000 km

With the Kawasaki Z 1000, the 40-year tradition of the Z series is continued. But can the naked bike not only be wild, but also long? At the end it is added up.

Of all things, MOTORRAD Classic editor Eirich was enthusiastic about the Z 1000 long-term test straight away in May 2010. “This bike is a wolf in wolf’s clothing. It drives exactly as it looks. Great ”, Gerhard put his opinion in the still virgin logbook. What does she have Z 1000 in itself that they even win over youngtimer fans like colleague Eirich? First of all its famous name: the “Zett”. Aggressive, strong, wild – with its unruly character, the first Z 900 already cemented the radical image of the naked Kawa four-cylinder in 1972. A good shot of the genetic make-up of Frankenstein’s daughter – the slogan that has become a legend for the first driving report of the original Z in MOTORRAD – can still be found in the Z 1000 exactly 40 years later.

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Endurance test final balance of the Kawasaki Z 1000

Endurance test final balance of the Kawasaki Z 1000
The naked bike after 50,000 km


The Kawasaki Z 1000 disassembled into its individual parts.

And because the uncomfortable suspension and the hard seat repeatedly gave rise to complaints, the accessory test for the interim balance at a mileage of 26,000 was just right. The results in brief: The Italian Mupo shock absorber (649 euros, www.zupin.de) and the thicker, padded driver’s seat of the Z 1000 SX (216 euros, Kawasaki dealer), which fits without modifications, improved the ride comfort. The Michelin Pilot Road 3 underlined the character of the Z 1000 as a corner robber (approval only via dealer or TÜV / Dekra, costs from 40 euros).

By then, the Kawa had already completed five inspections, which were very broadly priced. While the 1000 and 6000 inspections went exceptionally cheaply at 164 and 66 euros respectively, the next inspections increased significantly in some cases. 12,000 kilometers: 367 euros, 18,000 kilometers: 139 euros, 24,000 kilometers: 543 euros. Nevertheless, the editorial transporter had to move out shortly afterwards. At kilometer 24278 the Z suddenly stopped starting. Diagnosis: defective battery. It was replaced under warranty along with the ignition lock, which became more and more difficult to operate over the years.

After that, the Kawa scraped kilometer by kilometer, was mostly praised – and only occasionally reprimanded for its reduced tank to 15 liters (previous model: 18.5 liters). With a test consumption of 6.3 liters, she warned for replenishment after every 200 kilometers. While the first Z of the modern era – the 2003 Z 1000 – probably also became a top seller due to the classic appearance of the four slim silencers, opinions differ on the look of the angular successors. For the issue of MOTORRAD 19/2011, various retrofit silencers were tried out on the long-term test machine. If the stylistic aspect is not taken into account, the bottom line is: The dampers brought little or no increase in peak power and torque, but saved up to 60 percent of the weight of the 7.8 kg original system. Akrapovic’s slip-on won the test.


Vacation trip to La Rochelle – the Z 1000 does everything.

“The front brake rubs,” noted the sensitive test editor Andi Bildl shortly after the 30,000 inspection (408 euros) as the first in the logbook. A problem that has occurred in the past with many of MOTORRAD’s endurance test machines. Together with the cost of the 36000 inspection, the replacement of the two discs including the brake pads cost 1071 euros. While the first valve clearance check also drove the costs for the 42,000-kilometer inspection up to 545 euros, the inspection at 48,000 kilometers made for discussion. In this context, the Kawasaki service specification stipulates the replacement of all brake lines and seals on the brake pistons. A complex undertaking, for which the dealer entrusted with the inspection expressly obtained approval from MOTORRAD – and then billed the impressive amount of 2505 euros. That didn’t change the fact that the replaced parts were still fully functional. Anyone who does not have the brake line replaced is unlikely to run a safety risk. This could create a legal gray area for guarantee or goodwill claims.

Nevertheless, the Z 1000 – apart from this rather bizarre tip shortly before the end of the test – leaves a respectable record after two and a half years. Unscheduled visits to the workshop were limited to replacing the defective battery, the number of damage and wear and tear (ignition lock, steering head bearing) was limited. Only the replacement of the rubbing brake discs does not fit into the picture. Paint and plastic parts still shine properly even after the often rough treatment, there is hardly any corrosion. The inner values ​​are also right. After dismantling, the piston, cylinder, crankshaft and transmission are in good condition. Two steel disks of the clutch are warped without their function having suffered. Two of the five crankshaft plain bearings have reached their wear limit. Four exhaust valves distributed over a total of three cylinders no longer hold tight either. On the dynamometer, however, the four-cylinder delivered better values ​​than when new at the end of the test – and thus also proves that the mechanics would be able to cope with the increase in the out-of-date short inspection intervals of 6000 kilometers.

Last but not least, one of the reasons why the reliable Z has blossomed after 50,000 kilometers into what it actually never wanted to be: everybody’s darling.

Balance after 50,000 kilometers


Tooth for tooth: flawless gears on the Z 1000 – only the traces of engagement of the driving claws are clearly visible, but not critical.


Cylinder head:
Four exhaust valves are leaking, only minor carbon deposits in the combustion chamber and on the valves, minor traces of wear on the camshaft bearings, valve guides show hardly any wear, the valve seats are slightly widened – with slight scorch marks on the exhaust side.

Cylinder / piston:
All pistons show a uniform contact pattern and only minor carbon deposits as well as a few harmless cold running traces. The cylinders and piston rings also show hardly any signs of wear.

Crank drive:
The main bearing play is increased, but the tracks are inconspicuous, as are those of the connecting rod bearings and piston pins.

Power transmission:
The gearbox is in good condition except for traces of engagement of the driving claws, two steel disks of the clutch are warped beyond the limit value and strongly discolored. The gearbox output bearing has worked its way into its seat.

Frame / chassis:
The frame and swingarm are in good condition, there is hardly any corrosion. Deflection levers and bearings are free of play.


Measurement according to
  6080km  49760 km acceleration      
0-100 km / h  sec  3.1  3.2
0-140 km / h  sec  5.0  4.9
0-200 km / h  sec  9.7  9.6
60-100 km / h  sec  3.2  3.1
100-140 km / h  sec  3.1  3.1
140-180 km / h  sec  3.3  3.1
Average consumption over 50,000 km      
Fuel (super)  l / 100 km    6.3
Engine oil  l / 1000 km    –

Costs and maintenance


Reason for discussion: expensive replacement of brake lines.


Operating costs over 50,000 kilometers:
22.8 liters of oil at 14.44 euros: 329.23 euros
6 oil filters at 10.99 euros: 65.94 euros
3 air filters at 31.83 euros: 95.49 euros
16 spark plugs at 18.84 euros each: 301.44 euros
1 set of rear brake pads at 71.34 euros: 71.34 euros
4 sets of front brake pads at 65.08 euros: 260.32 euros
1 set of front brake discs: 375.88 euros
1 brake line set: 1143.39 euros
1 steering head bearing: 76.56 euros
2 chain sets of 332.03 euros each: 664.06 euros
1 battery: 36.74 euros
Brake fluid: 54.50 euros
Small parts, lubricants: 75.06 euros
Seals: 107.66 euros
Inspections and repairs: 2980.23 euros
Tires (including assembly, balancing and disposal): 2208.94 euros
Fuel: 4910.63 euros

Total cost: 13,757.42 euros
Acquisition costs: 11,475.00 euros
Loss of value: 5225.00 euros
Estimate (dealer selling price): 6250.00 euros

Costs per km with / without petrol (without depreciation): 27.5 / 17.7 cents
Costs per km (with depreciation): 38.0 cents

Maintenance and repairs (according to the specified mileage)

tires renewed front and rear, Dunlop Qualifier 2: 6161 km
Brake hose changed front (recall campaign): 7200 km
tires renewed rear, Dunlop Qualifier 2: 12939 km
tires renewed front, Dunlop Qualifier 2: 13821 km
tires Renewed front and rear, Michelin Pilot Road 2: 19052 km
Chain set and brake pads front renewed: 21,824 km
Battery and lock set (Guarantee) renewed, heated grip correctly connected, radiator fan plug plugged in again: 24278 km
tires Renewed front and rear, Michelin Pilot Road 3: 26,321 km
Brake pads renewed at the rear: 29775 km
tires Renewed at the rear, Michelin Pilot Road 3: 34,985 km
Brake pads and discs front renewed: 35823 km
tires Renewed front and rear, Michelin Pilot Power 2CT: 43,870 km
Chain set renewed: 44234 km
tires Renewed front and rear, Avon AV 59/60: 49568 km
Steering head bearing and brake line set renewed: 49693 km

Kawasaki takes a position


On-site meeting: Michael Resch and Andi Seiler from Kawasaki with the MOTORRAD team Vetter, Mayer and Wagner.

Kawasaki takes a position…

… to the service specification about the replacement of the brake lines after 48,000 kilometers regardless of the technical condition:
At this point, we refer again to the statement we made in MOTORRAD 20/2012, but would like to add that Kawasaki is at the level of the other manufacturers with the time limit for a review after four years. (Editor’s note: In a statement, Kawasaki cited the very different global operating conditions as the reason for this internationally applicable precautionary measure). We are still in discussion with our Japanese parent company with regard to the complete exchange and the mileage specification.

Does warranty or goodwill claims expire if a customer does not allow the brake lines to be exchanged?
Yes, if a possible damage, defect or accident is causally related to the failure to replace the brake lines.

… to the two warped clutch steel disks:
Since the function of the clutch was not noticeably impaired or restricted even with this relatively high mileage, the clutch would not have been dismantled and checked. Since the clutch has now been dismantled and examined, the discs should of course be replaced.

… to the leaking valves:
For this mileage, the slightly leaky valves are not a concern, especially since the compression on all cylinders is still relatively high.

… for increased play of two main crankshaft bearings:
No clear cause can be assigned here. However, the values ​​are within the operating tolerance, so that reinstallation is possible without hesitation.

… to the rubbing brake discs:
At the time of the change, the brake discs were not yet affected by increased wear or even warped at 35,823 kilometers. We attribute the rubbing of the panes to a “jump in the coefficient of friction” that could have resulted from changes in the material structure.

… to the out of date short inspection intervals of only 6000 kilometers:
This point is also currently being discussed with our parent company.

Reading experiences


Christoph Wuttke switched from an athlete to the Kawasaki Z 1000 – and is thrilled.

My Z 1000 now has almost 20,000 kilometers on the clock. I switched from an athlete (Suzuki GSX-R 750) to a naked bike. The powerful engine and the short gear ratio inspire. The somewhat rough engine is simply a part of Kawasaki. I installed a slightly wider handlebar and swapped the standard tires for the Michelin Pilot Power, later the Michelin Pilot Road 3. The design polarizes, but I like the beefy appearance. I definitely won’t have the brake lines changed after 48,000 kilometers. There were no repairs. The only point of criticism, the tank content: With 15 liters, a refueling stop is due after 200 kilometers. I still do not regret the purchase.
Christoph Wuttke

I drive a Z 1000 Black Edition with an odometer reading of 3500 and can make a good comparison with the previous model from 2007. Complaints about the current motorcycle: At 1500 kilometers, a metallic rattle sound suddenly appeared. This was caused by the chain running on the swing arm guard. Despite editing, there was no improvement. The front brake is very doughy and the pressure point drifts. This was not the case with the 07er. The rear brake has hardly any effect. On the positive side, the powerful and nicely running engine should be mentioned. Consumption is okay at 6.5 liters with a brisk driving style. The standard Pirelli Diablo Rosso tires drive satisfactorily, but are not a handling miracle. In spring I will decide between the MOTORRAD test winners Bridgestone S 20 and the Conti Sport Attack.
Christian Schlenz

So far I have been traveling almost 9000 kilometers with my “chain dog”. The first Pirelli Diablo Rosso tires were recently swapped for Michelin Pilot Power 2CT, which have made the machine more manageable. The adjustment options on the fork and shock absorber are helpful, but the chassis remains difficult to adjust. The engine is a force, has a lot of pressure and can still be moved comfortably. The design of the machine polarized, but it was the decisive factor for me. The dealer only saw the bike for service, which I also expect from a Japanese product. So far I am completely satisfied, only the seating furniture is a bit overwhelmed with my 90 kilos. And at some point I’ll probably look for other mufflers in the accessories trade.
Rainer Schnieber

After 32,000 km an interim balance. What’s good about the kawa? Lots of driving fun, the interesting two-part look, pulling force and handling. What could be better? The range. The tank light comes on after about 190 kilometers, the reserve is only enough for about 30 kilometers. The clutch does not separate optimally. The handles are unfriendly to women. Too short translation. I remedied this with a larger pinion. Maintenance intervals too short. What I’m missing are optional accessories such as gear displays, on-board computers, cranked valves, heated grips or better lashing options for luggage. I am happy every time I can sit on it and drive off. So far, she hasn’t let me down.
Antje Bloch

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