Okay, we've now ridden the all-new Z1000, and it brings to the sportbike table big grins, liter-class performance, a wide range of capabilities and a wicked appearance, all at an MSRP less than some 600cc sportbikes.
Now, the question yet to be answered is whether the American market will continue its bone-headed aversion to any sportbike without a full fairing. If they do, they will be missing out on one of the best performance bargains available.
I once had a first-gen Z1000 as a long-term project bike, which gave me plenty of time to learn its strong points and its deficiencies. Its distinctive styling and hooligan demeanor gave it an enthralling personality, but those positive attributes were countered by an unbalanced suspension and a vibey motor. The old Z had its fans, but there weren't enough of them. A 2007 revision calmed the annoying vibes and had midrange-enhancing tricks to go along with its freshened cosmetics, but continued slow sales caused it to be dropped from Kawi's 2009 lineup.
No matter, because the 2010 model is new from the ground up. Improvements are so vast that comparisons to the previous iteration are pointless. It's a well-engineered street-fighting machine that will be difficult to humble by any of the illustrious naked sports bikes from Europe.
More: 2010 Kawasaki Z1000 Review