Z 750 dossier: Kawasaki’s stroke of genius !
Unbeatable, the Kawasaki Z750? This is what its dominance in the mid-size roadster segment suggests. How did the Zed become the darling of many bikers and dealers? Back on the trajectory of a phenomenon with green blood.
More is better !
Six years after its launch, the Kawasaki Z 750 continues to thrive: with more than 40,000 units sold in France and significant sales figures in the rest of Europe, the Green has not only eclipsed an aging ZR 7, but Kawasaki also owes much of its return to the forefront of the motorcycle scene. !
More than a success, it is almost an icon for Akashi’s coat of arms … and for an impressive proportion of bikers! Designed by Shinji Tanaka, the Z 750 landed in November 2003 in French dealerships: by taking up the fundamentals of the Z 1000 (chassis, design and engine re-bored to 748 cc), this modern and sexy roadster gives a boost to a category acclaimed in Europe and almost exclusively composed of 4-cylinder 600 cc.
However, if the 750 cc has lived its heyday with, among others, the famous Honda CB 750 Four, the Suzuki Inazuma, the FZ 750 Yamaha and other Kawasaki Zephyr 750 and ZR 7, the Japanese engine manufacturers have gradually stopped using use this displacement (apart from Suzuki GSX-750) for the benefit of 600 cc or 1000 cc engines, developed for the new Supersport and Superbike categories.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the established order wanted the "4-legged" derived from sports cars to be found more or less quickly on roadsters, thus giving birth to light machines and adepts of high speeds (Suzuki Bandit, Honda Hornet, Yamaha Fazer …) or more torquey, even a bit intimidating like the 900 Hornets or Fazer 1000.
Shaking up the achievements of this rather narrow offer, the Z 750 unveils a range of simple but powerful arguments (read our): a 748 cc engine both powerful (110 hp in full) and torque (7.4 m / kg at 8,200 rpm), a young, billhook-cut design, ballerina agility (195 kg dry) and a low price (less than € 7,000 for the first 800 copies sold in France).
Immediately, the recipe works (4933 sales in 2004 then 7160 in 2005) and is a hit with a large majority of – young – users who see in the "Zed" a motorcycle far more fun than a Bandit and more playful and available than ‘a Hornet or a Fazer. Not to mention that its hoarse and melodious sound is responsible for convincing lovers of beautiful vocalizations !
Riding on the need for "always more" specific to many bikers, Kawasaki has achieved a master stroke: put a 750 – both smooth and efficient at low revs and snarling in the towers – at the price of a 600 cc! Strangely, the Greens will not, however, initiate enthusiasm for this engine: Honda will content itself with sharpening its efficient 600 Hornet, while the Yamaha FZ 6 plunges into sport at full speed by taxing the sharp engine of the R6, imitated in 2005 by Suzuki with the GSR 600.
Result: the "Zed", the only flagship of this intermediate displacement in its category, shamelessly takes advantage of its additional 150 cc to stick a boulevard to the competition at low and medium revs … and in the sales charts. of motorcycles over 125 cc in France !
Sold in blue, red or black at its launch, the "Zak" hardly changed until 2007: new colors (gray in 2005, orange in 2006), the addition of a coded key (2006) and the launch of a little tasted model S in 2005 mark its first years of marketing.
However, if this happy roadster undoubtedly deserves its laurels, the picture is not perfect: the 4-cylinder tickles the feet and scrambles the mirrors at mid-speed, the practical aspects are non-existent (lack of storage space under the saddle, comfort and protection spartan, passenger seat and readability of the dashboard average), the shock absorber is a bit dry and the box sometimes lacks precision…
Aware of the alterations necessary to stay at the top, Kawasaki must however maneuver finely so as not to upset the balance of its child prodigy. Torn between the desire to do well and the ban on crashing, Japanese engineers proceed smoothly and in 2007 unveiled a Z 750 both more opulent and easier to live with (read our).
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