2011 Kawasaki Z1000 | Doin' Time

Photography by Joe Neric

Wrist: Brian Catterson
MSRP (2011): $10,599
Miles: 8521
MPG: 35
Mods: EBC clutch, Full Bore tires, Royal Purple oil, K&N oil filters, Spider Grips, SuperSprox sprocket, Vibranator bar ends

Well that was quick, and I’m not talking about my long-term Kawasaki Z1000. Though the black beauty and I were together for 16 months, the time flew by...

Previous updates detailed the many mods we made. Some were successful; some less so. My decision to fit Yoshimura R-77 slip-ons—which retain the stock catalytic converter—may have been PC but seriously limited performance gains. It would have been better to go for a full system with power, not weight savings or appearance, as the main goal.

Naked bikes are called that for a reason, thus some readers wondered why I sampled no fewer than six windscreens. I liked the one from California Scientific best as it greatly improved wind protection while still looking somewhat sporty.

I also spent time combating vibration. Early on, that meant a one-tooth-smaller rear sprocket from a Kawasaki Ninja 1000. That stamped-steel silver part looked cheap, however, so it was replaced with a black-on-black SuperSprox Stealth (www.supersprox.com; $119.95), which combines a long-wearing steel chain ring with a lightweight aluminum carrier. I also installed a set of vibration-reducing Vibranator bar ends (www.vibranator.com; $109.95), plus a set of Spider Grips Slim Line SLR gel grips (www.spidergrips.com; $16.95). No single item was a great improvement, but they were collectively effective.

Maintenance was nil, as we barely made it halfway to the first scheduled valve adjustment at 15,000 miles. We simply changed the oil and filter every 3000 miles, using Royal Purple oil and K&N filters. The clutch pack did have to be replaced, as Road Test Editor Ari Henning smoked the stock one at the dragstrip. Here we went with an EBC EP Series Kevlar clutch kit (www.ebcbrakes.com; $142.75), which gave nice feel at the lever but increased effort. We might have tried running half stock and half aftermarket springs in an alternating pattern but the Z has an odd number.

The tires were replaced for the second time around 6000 miles with a set from new name Full Bore (www.fullboretires.com; $104.99 front, $175.99 rear). Though budget-priced, the M-1 Street Sports handled just as well as the same-size Dunlop Sportmaxes they replaced, while wearing no worse.

In the end, I greatly enjoyed my time with the Z1000. If I had to do it again, I’d be tempted by the award-winning Ninja 1000. Then again, if there’s one thing sexier than our 2011 Motorcycle of the Year, it’s the naked version!

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