Since its launch, the Kawasaki Z1000 has developed mini cult status in the streetfighter class, and makes a storming second-hand buy with its unique style, stimulating performance and excellent value, something that's only got better with the arrival of the 2007 Kawasaki Z1000.
The angular, eye-catching, laddish-looking bodywork makes it stand out, with its unusual four-into-four exhaust system adding to the macho effect. Its appearance certainly can't be viewed as subtle. Bright anodized alloy radiator covers, garish paint scheme options, polished rims and colored engine covers help see to that.
The fat power delivery of the Kawasaki's engine isn't too refined either. And that's one of its plus points. Essentially a bored-out ZX-9R engine, the sportbike-derived lump is raw and vibey and not short of stomp, with a claimed 125 horsepower on offer. But it's the way all those horses are delivered that's the key to the appeal of the Kawasaki Z1000.
After some fluffiness not far above tick-over, there's some decent enough stomp in the mid-range to allow a bit of left-foot laziness. However, just like the Kawasaki ZX-9R engine, to see its real meat you need to spin the thing up nearer to its 11,000rpm redline. Do that and the Kawasaki Z1000 comes alive.
And combined with the lack of any real wind protection, you really do feel as though you're getting a proper shift on. It's well worth giving the engine a good seeing to, for both speed and thrills.
That makes quite a change these days, when even the fastest sportbikes pick up speed so effortlessly you have to look at the speedo to get any idea of the pace at which you're rushing along. The Kawasaki Z1000 is never that deceptive. It's a fast, in-your-face bike, and it likes to let you know that. Some say bikes like this will help you hang onto 'earthly' life longer.