2011 Kawasaki Z1000 | Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

By Brian Catterson, Photography by Andrea Wilson

WRIST: Brian Catterson
MSRP (2011): $10,599
MILES: 5028
MPG: 36
MODS: Dunlop tires, Kawasaki solo seat cowl, Puig windscreen, SkutrNet Servo Buddy, Targa fender-eliminator kit, Yoshimura exhaust

Now we’re talking! In my last installment, we here at the magazine had finally concluded testing for our naked-bike comparison (see page 50) and I had free reign (or rein; the etymologists are divided) to begin making changes on my long-term Kawasaki Z1000. So change I did…

In my first installment, I lamented the Z’s Transformers styling and ray-gun mufflers. Surprised to say, then, that the look has actually been accentuated. Maybe it’s growing on me?

The dark-smoke Puig Z-Racing windscreen ($89.95; www.puigusa.com) looks like it came straight out of the USAF Stealth Fighter program, but diverts air much better than the stock credit card and perfectly complements the Z’s origami folds. Likewise, the Kawasaki accessory solo seat cowl ($250.87) is a perfect fit, even if its black paint contains metal-flakes that the bike's does not.

That seat cowl made the stock rear fender appear even more ungainly, so off it came, replaced by a slick-looking fender-eliminator kit from Targa ($84.95; www.targa-acc.com). This bolted on with little fuss, though I’d prefer not to have had to cut and splice the stock taillight wiring. That plus the wire routing for the four-LED license-plate light seemed kinda hokey given the overall high quality of this kit. The Targa turnsignals are smaller than stock but still plenty bright, and don’t flash faster like some aftermarket units do.

Truth be told, I ordered a Ninja 1000 front fender so I could remove the Z’s bizarro fork blades, but the brake-line grommets didn’t line up and it exposed some unsightly brackets, so that experiment is on hold for now.

Those ray-gun mufflers also went up on a shelf, replaced by a set of Yoshimura R-77 slip-ons (www.yoshimura-rd.com). These offer a glimpse into the future, as they retain the stock catalytic converter to comply with future California legislation. Although they’re available with titanium ($945) or carbon-fiber ($999) canisters, I opted for stainless steel ($799) in the interest of saving a few bucks. Their carbon-fiber end caps are plenty trick anyway.

Replacing the mufflers also eliminated the exhaust power valve, saving a total of 7.4 lbs. Yoshimura's instructions advise that you can simply disconnect the cables and leave the power valve’s servo-motor in place, but removing said servo saves another pound and frees up space under the seat, so off it came. (Even more space could be had by pitching the evaporative canister, but we’re trying to set a good example here.) Unplugging the servo caused the “FI” light on the dash to illuminate, but plugging in a SkutrNet Servo Buddy ($59.95; www.servobuddy.com) shut it off again. The Z hasn’t been run on the dyno yet with the Yosh cans, but that’s on the To Do list for next time. For now, the fact that they look great, save weight and sound better than stock is enough.

The last mod I made, I’m slightly embarrassed about. Never before had I installed a wider rear tire on a bike simply because it looked cool, but with the stock rear Dunlop Sportmax wearing thin and now much more visible under the newly docked tail, I replaced it with a 200mm-wide Sportmax Q2. I’ve got to admit that looks pretty damn sexy and, paired with a matching front tire in the stock 120mm width, didn’t affect handling nearly as much as I thought it would. Steering is slightly heavier and less neutral, and the bike is noticeably slower in edge-to-edge transitions, but how many of those do I make on the way to and from work each day?

Next time we’ll put that newfound space under the seat to good use with an EFI tuner, and work on improving the brakes. suspension and handling. Stay tuned…

By Brian Catterson
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