The 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 was officially unveiled on November 5th at EICMA, but whats the point? Better question, how does one decide if they are better suited to the Naked Z or the faired Ninja 1000. Well besides personal taste there are a few differences you should consider.
Mechanically the Ninja 1K and Z1000 are identical. Both bikes have been upgraded for 2014, receiving KTRC Traction Control, dual power modes, more power and better brakes. Both bikes have seen a low and mid range power bump via revised intake cams. improved velocity stacks boost the top end. Both see Traction Control lifted from the ZX-10R and dual power modes allow the two Kawasaki 1K's to operate at 70% power. New ultra rigid monobloc calipers pinch 300mmm petal rotors, equipped with ABS. Suspension has remained unchanged on the Ninja 1000 while the Z1000 has seen a complete suspension overhaul. Showa Separate Function-Big Piston Forks (SSF-BP). The left tube is dedicated to the single spring (with preload adjustment), while the right handles the adjustable compression and rebound damping. The single shock offers spring-preload and rebound-damping adjustability. Lastly the Z1000 received a bump in fuel capacity, from 4.1 gallons to 4.5.
For a full look at upgrades for 2014 check out the 2014 Ninja 1000 vs the 2013 Ninja 1000 thread
So we got the easy bit out of the way, but what actually distinguishes the Z1000 from the Ninja 1000?
Although the bikes are mechanically identical they are set up and mapped in completely different ways. ITs quite easy to say the Z1000 is simply a naked Ninja 1000 but that would be decidedly lying. On Ninja 1000 the suspension set up could be described as plush compared to the Z1000.
The biggest concern on a naked bike is typically wind protection. While the Z1000 does do a rather good job of protecting you compared to other nakeds it still does not offer the comfort of a full fairing Ninja 1000. Wind typically begins to become a factor on the Z1000 around 105 mph. On the Z1000 you will feel the wind punching you straight in the chest while the Ninja 1000 is a more comfortable top of the shoulders. Although if its really a problem multiple aftermarket windscreens are available for the Z.
Power delivery is decidedly different between Ninja 1K and Z1000, this is mainly due to differences in sprockets. Ninja 1K has a 39T sprocket vs the Z's 41T sprocket. This contributes to the Z's desire to throw the front tire in the air through gears 1-4.
Aesthetically and ergonomically the Ninja 1000 has higher bars, lower pegs, different instrument cluster and thicker seat foam. The Ninja 1000 is no doubt more comfortable for long touring rides, thats not to say the Z1000 will disappoint, its all dependent on what type of flavour you're looking for.
Ninja 1000 Instrument Cluster
Z1000 Instrument Cluster