2005 Kawasaki Z750s
Kawasaki 2005 Z750S – Quick Ride
A practical and fun naked bike that's ready to take you just about anywhere!
Boots: Oxtar "Matrix" Gore-Tex Boot ($209.95; Oxtar-usa.com) Gloves: Held "Galaxy Racing" Glove #2935, ($229.95; Held-usa.com) Helmet: Vemar "GP1" Helmet ($479.95; Vemar-usa.com) Suit: Aerostich "Roadcrafter" 2-peice suit ($767; Aerostich.com) Action photos by: Rich Van Avery
I first saw Kawasaki’s new Z750S last year just before the bike was scheduled for release as a 2004 model in the US. Just days before the company’s dealer show, however, Kawasaki decided not to release the bike in the states. For 2005 this bike is definitely coming to US shores, and it's already here.
Based loosely on the Z1000, the liquid-cooled, 748cc, inline-four powered machine feels smaller, lighter, and more flickable than the Z1000. The Z750’s six-speed powerplant features double overhead cams, 4-valves per head and digital fuel injection. The cylinder block is all aluminum, the cylinders chrome composite plated for long wear and better heat dispersion. Intake flows through 34mm throttle bodies. The engine exhales through a great sounding 4-into-1 exhaust system tuned for mid-range response. The oval stainless wrapped exhaust can encloses a catalyzer. The Z750 weighs in at a claimed 430 lbs. dry, has a wheelbase of 56.1 ins., carries a good 4.8 gals. of as a seat height of 32.1 ins.
The Z750 rides on 17-inch radial tires, a 120/70ZR front and a 180/55R rear. These are mounted to lighter weight three-spoke wheels for the US model. These wheels are suspended by a Uni-Trak link rear suspension featuring a single shock with 7-way spring preload and 4-way rebound adjustability. The fork is a non-adjustable 41mm cartridge type unit. Clearly a budget minded suspension package, the damping and spring rates chosen by Kawasaki surprised us as they are nearly ideal. Kawasaki didn’t skimp in the controls department as the Z750 gets the same instrument panel as the ZX-10R featuring a radial tachometer, digital speedo and tripmeter. The bright LED taillight and turn signals are shared with the ZX-6RR. The fuel tank is narrow at the rear, and since it’s made of steel you’ll be able to mount your favorite magnetic tank bag. Additional welcomed features include a great fuel gauge, a clock, adjustable brake and clutch levers and a nicely covered seat that’s quite neutral in shape.
Brake duties are handled by dual 300mm discs up front squeezed by four-piston calipers. In the rear you’ll find a single 220mm disc. These brakes are strong, predictable and offer excellent feedback. Combined with the manageable chassis and quick and precise steering, it’s fun to lock the brakes and slide to a stop – this bike is fun and very controllable.
Good styling! Bright LED tail
A great fuel gauge
and a clock.
and straight up
Plenty of power
Perceived by us as somewhat of a parts-bin built bike, we were eager to learn what the Z750 had to offer. The bikes straight up seating, small windscreen and large comfortable looking seat certainly had us wishing this bike would be comfortable and good for commuting or long weekend trips – we weren’t let down.
Our day aboard the bike came at a Kawasaki press day, just after Southern California had experienced a period of exceptional rain. This meant the familiar local surroundings were anything but that. When the sun came out the grass was greener and taller than ever and the typically dry riverbeds were flowing mightily. On the blacktop this meant our normally clean roads were strewn with sand, dirt, and rocks, not to mention numerous water flows.
This provided a great opportunity to evaluate the bike in less than perfect conditions - you had to be ready for anything around the next bend. The good in this is that we were able to ride the bike in less than optimal conditions where sudden braking and direction changes would better convey how the bike was working overall.
Though we were initially ready to get off the bike after just 15 miles of Interstate 5, as a result of the slightly tweaked-in standard type handlebars, things got better as the day progressed. Other than the bars, the seat was comfortable and spacious, the upright seating position comfortable and without a steep knee bend, the suspension compliant, and the small windscreen made all the difference in the world by taking the direct blast off the riders torso.
Once off the interstate and onto two lane backroads we learned the newest Z has a butter smooth clutch, excellent shifting and handles smoothly and steers easily and predictably. The gear ratios seem well chosen and the chain final drive lacks any bothersome chain lash – helping to provide for a really nice ride. On back roads we could make good time just short-shifting the 750 and letting the engines torque do its thing, since there’s far more roll-on torque at your disposal than with a 600 class machine. Pick up the pace some and the smooth rides turns to a bit of a distraction as the engine is buzzy at upper mid-range power settings, not at all what we expect from a 750 class machine.
Once we got to some serious twisty roads many editors seemed happy with tooling about, but we wanted to learn how the Kawasaki ran and handled when pushed – and we did. To our surprise, the small and light feeling Z750 rose to the occasion of having the throttle twisted to the stop and leaned seriously into corners.
As we pushed the blue Kawasaki harder it just took it all in stride, feeling better the harder we rode it. When in sport mode, the engine and gear ratios work well and the buzzing of the engine seems to go away or just not matter so much. The dual 300mm front discs are clamped by four-piston calipers; a single 220mm rear disc stopped the Z quickly and with confidence as well. Some rear wheel hoping was present under severe braking maneuvers. What impressed us most is that the bike was quite flickable in tight corners and felt lightweight and very well composed. It’s not a ZX, but it will more than hold its own – more so than the Z1000 which we never felt completely at home with in tight conditions. Adding to our excitement and enjoyment of the Z was a suspension package that didn’t go south once we seriously picked up the pace.
The new Z750 certainly surprised us, delivering composure, comfort and all around usability. We could see ourselves commuting during the week on the Z750 and blasting down back roads over the weekend. The bike wouldn't make a bad mount for a Summer vacation either. Available in only one color, Candy Plasma Blue, the manufacturers suggested retail price is $7,099. The Z got to our shores a little late, but we feel this all-around performer was well worth the wait. This is the kind of bike that's easy to live with mile after mile. We like it!
2005 Kawasaki Z750S Specifications Engine: Four-stroke inline four-cylinder, DOHC, 16 valves (four per cylinder) Displacement: 748cc Starting: Electric Bore x stroke: 68.4 x 50.9mm Compression ratio: 11.3:1 Cooling: Liquid Carburetion: Fuel injection with (4) 34mm throttle bodies Ignition: Digital Transmission: Six-speed Frame: Diamond, high-tensile steel Rake / trail: 24 degrees / 4.1 in. Front suspension: 41mm non-adjustable cartridge fork Rear suspension: UNI-TRAK® linkage with 4-way rebound and 7-way spring preload adjustability Wheel travel, front / rear: 4.7 / 5.0 in. Front tire: 120/70 ZR x 17 Rear tire: 180/55 ZR x 17 Front brakes: Dual 300mm hydraulic discs Rear brake: Single 220mm hydraulic disc Overall length: 81.9 in. Overall width: 30.7 in. Overall height: 40.9 in. Seat height: 32.1 in. Dry weight: 430 lbs. (claimed) Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal. Wheelbase: 56.1 in. Colors: Candy Plasma Blue Instruments: Radial-type tachometer, digital LCD speedometer, clock, tripmeter, temperature gauge, bar graph fuel gauge, indicator lamps. MSRP US: $7,099
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