Kawasaki’s Z1000SX has been a best-seller for the brand ever since it launched in 2011. It almost single-handedly breathed life into the dying Sports-Tourer genre of motorcycling, offering ageing Sports-Bike enthusiasts an alternative to the unstoppable Adventurer-Tourer juggernaut. Of course, it wasn’t perfect, and has been revised every couple of years since with nips and tucks to keep customers happy. Now the evergreen bike has been re-branded the Ninja 1000SX, and has received a plethora of upgrades to match. Is it enough to tempt my fancy?
A first-generation Kawasaki Z1000SX actually made it on to the same shortlist as the freshly-updated Triumph Street Triple R, the bike I eventually purchased brand-new in 2013. Back then my criticisms were that it was expensive and heavy, and I was keen to try something light and flickable after my 250kg Suzuki Bandit 650S. But all the reasons I considered it then are still true today, and at £12,000 on the road for the “Tourer” model it’s downright reasonable compared to some of its increasingly expensive competition.
A shame then that it’s still a 235kg proposition, a mass figure that’s quite apparent when wheeling the bike around for photographs – and that doesn’t include the 56 litres’ worth of included waterproof plastic panniers that clip neatly onto the integrated luggage racks. You could save yourself £1,000 and choose the standard bike, but alongside those boxes you’d also lose the taller touring screen, tank pad, and heated grips. The version I was given to ride for this review lacked all of those extras, but they’re certainly features I’d want on my long-distance touring motorcycle.