The 2016 Kawasaki Z800 now features full digital instrumentation, enhanced braking with new opposed four-piston callipers and 310mm petal discs and optional ABS, a revised seating arrangement and a reservoir-equipped rear shock.
This all results in a machine that handles better and is much more comfortable to ride than the bike it replaces. It also significantly starts to reduce the gap between its rivals from Triumph and Suzuki like the Street Triple and GSR750 respectively.
If you’ve access to £7,899 you could see your self riding out of your dealership on one of these. It is dearer than the Triumph Street Triple at £7,499 and the Suzuki GSR750 at £7,135. The styling of the Z800 may not be everybody’s’ cup of tea.
With the modern trend for smooth curves, Kawasaki’s designers seem to have rebelled against this consensus and gone for a more angular design with definite straight lines in abundance. It certainly looks different than the other bikes in its sector. You pay your money and take your choice.
Despite the new equipment, the Kawasaki Z800 isn’t a game changer. It has, however, improved significantly on the out going model. The 2016 model provides significant grunt with Kawasaki claiming 111bhp and 61lb/ft of torque.
The new bike feels less heavy to ride despite the slight increase in weight from 224kg to 229kg. This is where the chassis and suspension come into their own. The Z800’s smoother ride on rough surfaces is testament to the improvements that have been made by the Kawasaki engineers.
What the Z800 will give you most of the time is a bike that is reliable and predicable, allows you to concentrate on riding and enjoying the experience. What is more the Z800 is price competitive too.
It would not be fair to describe the Z800 as a jack of all trades but master of none as it does a creditable job of addressing both commuting and cross country requirements, but there are still better models out there that do the job better.
If you need your bike to really earn its corn and fulfil a variety of roles however, it’s well worth putting any prejudices on hold and giving the Z800 a try. It may not be the first choice for hardened bike aficionados, but the sales success over the years of its predecessors, especially in Europe, can’t lie.
Bike: Kawasaki Z800
Engine: 806cc 16v dohc liquid-cooled, inline four, four-stroke
Weight: 231kg (wet), (ABS)
Seat height: 834mm
Tank size: 17 litres