The only thing better than a thorough aesthetic makeover is a vigorous mechanical one, and Kawasaki’s all-new Z1000 ($10,499) has been indulged with both for 2010. While it’s compacted, creased, and angulated assemblage of sharp geometrical shapes lends it a certain visual crispness, its underpinnings are similarly massaged into athleticism.
Starting with an aluminum frame that’s stiffer and lighter than the steel unit it replaces, nearly every component in the Z1000 has been revised for higher performance. The new 1,043cc power plant gains thicker mid-range torque and a horsepower boost, while the exhaust system is more mass centralized, and the suspension offers greater adjustability.
The Z1000’s updates made it refreshingly responsive during a day’s worth of riding through the tightly coiled back roads of the central California coast. I walked away impressed with the bike’s more pointed personality and newfound sense of purpose, confirming that the Kawasaki’s aggressive exterior is wonderfully matched with equally compelling musculature. (800.661.RIDE, www.kawasaki.com)