Close to Gibraltar, the popular southern Spanish town of Malaga played host to the launch of the much anticipated Z1000SX and Z1000SX Tourer in late October.
Based on the popular Z1000 Streetfighter, the new concept is a machine which effectively bridges the gap between the naked urban concept of the Z1000 and the Supersport Ninja models by adding long distance fun yet not incorporating some of the “compromises” that many sport riders accuse conventional tourers of.
Representatives of the European media – including the UK motorcycle press – spent two days riding both variants of the machine on differing Spanish roads in a variety of conditions including what might be called “typical UK weather”…that being rain!
Day one and the group left Malaga and made their way via Monda and Coin towards the romantic hill top town of Ronda, itself a destination for many motorcycle and car launches in this popular part of Spain with manufacturers.
With darkening skies, the conditions were challenging especially as it began to rain on previously sun baked roads creating what could only be described as “limited adhesion” characteristics.
As an unplanned test of the handling and poise of the new bike, there could have been none better. Able to “feather” the throttle on the fuel injected bikes and use the gears for braking as well as the “feel” of the radial front brakes, all riders navigated unfamiliar roads with ease and praised the confidence the bikes engendered.
A photo shoot and tracking shots completed the group enjoyed slightly better weather for the run to lunch and the first chance to collect their thoughts and make notes in the comfort of the lunch stop. The general initial impression of all was that the concept – a bike that would appeal to migrants from the Supersport class and be able to tour effectively – rang true and that the design, look and feel was “integrated” in comparison to many machines on the market.
The road down the mountain from Ronda is justifiably famous among journalists and in dry conditions the chance to examine the handling of the Z1000SX and SX Tourer was grasped with both hands.
Reducing radius corners, deceptive apexes, long straights and bumpy sections were all despatched with ease, most journalists saying in complimentary terms that the bike was so accomplished that they could effectively spend the majority of their time thinking about the road conditions other than the machine beneath them – the sort of inverted compliment that only motorcyclists could understand!.
A second day including more mountain roads and a long motorway section to test the three position screen ended with a dash back to Malaga airport and flight home with no “incident or issue” with either machines or roads.
Four pages in this week’s MCN are headed “New Z1000SX fulfils its sport tour promise” while the full page article in Friday’s Daily Mirror hailed the SX and SX tourer with the headline “Trailblazing Z1000SX splices sport DNA and Tourer durability to deadly effect” – watch out for launch reports in UK motorcycle magazines and on enthusiast web sites over the coming days and weeks.
The new Z1000SX and the Z1000 SX Tourer will be at the Carole Nash Motorcycle Live event at the NEC, Birmingham later this month.
Source: Kawasaki Press Release, Youtube.