Next to the current Z1000 supernaked, as Kawasaki calls its streetfighter models, a new variant will be available for 2017. The Z1000 R Edition borrows dark styling cues from the Sugomi paint schemes of the relevant Zeds, and makes a difference with some high-end suspension and brake equipment.
During the last two years, Kawasaki introduced the Sugomi editions of its basic supernaked models, the Z1000 and Z800. Identical in technical terms with the standard models, they are mainly distinguished by their dark paint themes which employ carefully selected colored details on a black canvas, complemented with Akrapovic slip-on exhausts.
The latest Z1000 was introduced in 2010, receiving a generous update in 2014 with the introduction of new Showa forks and radial front brake calipers with ABS as standard. The only thing that changes on the basic Z1000 for 2017 is, apparently, the engine's tuning in compliance with EU4 emission norms.
The R Edition comes as a higher-spec Z1000, using the same main engine and frame package. The obvious difference centers around the paint job, which is inspired by the black and grey Sugomi theme, adorned here with green accents. Unlike the Z1000 and Z800 Sugomi editions though, the R does not come with an Akrapovic end can, instead opting for the standard Z1000 exhaust.
Apart from the aesthetics of the bike, two important upgrades grace the R Edition. The petal-shaped front brake disks of the basic Z1000 have been replaced here with a pair of semi-floating Brembo disks measuring the same 310 mm diameter, coupled with top-of-the-line Brembo M50 monobloc radial calipers.
The second point of interest concerns a new rear shock absorber, outsourced from industry leader Öhlins. The S46DR1S shock fits horizontally without any linkage – just like the standard model's unit – and is adjustable for rebound damping and spring preload via a remote hydraulic knob.
The front suspension retains the Showa Separate Function Fork – Big Piston, the simplified version of the highly successful Big Piston Fork where spring preload adjustment is handled on the left fork leg and hydraulic damping on the right.
Kawasaki has not defined when the Z1000 R Edition is expected at showrooms, although it has already started to gradually incorporate it in several official websites around the world, albeit without stating a retail price yet. We expect further information to be released at EICMA, along with the new model's full press kit – and hopefully a clearer indication of the future path that Kawasaki has in store for the Zed family.