2010's Best Naked Bike: Kawasaki Z1000

Return of Son of Z1

Okay, so it can't match Kawasaki's original '73 Z1 for pure game-changing, mind-blowing impact. The Z1000 has other ways of getting your attention. Pry your eyeballs away from the SyFy-channel styling long enough and you'll see this is no dumbed-down naked compromise. From that all-new 1043cc inline-four to the equally new aluminum-spar skeleton, everything about it transcends standard equipment. Optimal adrenal stimulation comes online well below the five-figure revs and triple-digit speeds where razor-sharp supersports do business. Armed with compliant suspension, admirably powerful brakes and humane rider accommodations, Kawasaki's maximum minimalist gets down to the business of pleasure much closer to legal speeds. Beyond that, one trip past 7000 rpm will make you forget all about the original Z. Broad bars, quick steering and a broader spread of power make it equally adept at everything from Sunday-morning scrapes to urbane jungle warfare. Nice.


Alternative Take
Triumph Rocket III Roadster
The biggest bruiser

If naked performance is what you seek, look no further. The re-cast Rocket's 2297cc longitudinal triple lays down triple-digit torque from idle on up, making the five-speed transmission essentially irrelevant. It handles better than a 750-lb. package should, and at $13,999 undercuts Yamaha's V-Max by $5500. We're sold.

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