Kawasaki has a few 1000cc bikes in their line-up here in South Africa. There is the mighty H2, the World Superbike dominating ZX-10 and the adventure styled Versys. Filling the sports-tourer category is the Z1000 SX.
Now in its third iteration, the 2017 Z1000 SX has received a number of upgrades. These have all been done based on customer feedback. The 1043cc engine remains and pushes out around 140hp, even with the restrictive EU4 regulations. Even though the SX’s styling has been updated to look like the ZX-10, it is by no means meant to be a track bike. The weight, and styling points to sports touring.
The front has been restyled to bring it in line with Kawasaki’s design language and the headlights are now LED units. The mirrors have moved 20mm further apart. The whole bike is 28 mm wider to give better wind protection and the 3-way adjustable screen is 15mm taller. The seat is lower and wider, and the pillion gets a beefier perch, and proper grab-handles. The styling is more aggressive, but fortunately Kawasaki has left the engine alone. As is becoming the norm, the SX offers clutch assist and a slipper clutch.
ABS is standard, and traction control is adjustable through 3 levels. You can also change the power output to low, should road conditions dictate it. Power is cut by around 25% to help in rainy or slippery conditions.
The SX has been conceived as a Sport Tourer and the whole suspension and underpinning has been set up accordingly. Kawasaki also offers a custom set of panniers should you want to use the bike as it was designed. Two things that are notable in their absence is heated grips and cruise-control. Kawasaki is marketing this as a tourer, so of the two, I think cruise-control should have made it onto the list.
I own a dual-sport bike, and I have been on many a gravel road. Lately though, my needs have shifted to long distance touring, and the SX has been on my radar for a while now. It provides raised handle bars and a seat that actually has some padding on. It offers a good combination of power and comfort. With all the rider aids available, and the optional pannier system, this does make a good case for what I have in mind. The seating position is more on the sporty side of touring, but I will easily be able to live with the SX as an everyday bike. At R155 995 I will be foolish not to have this on my shortlist. – words and pictures – Brian Cheyne