By Troy Siahaan Editor Score: 82.0%
2016 Kawasaki Z800 ABS
Editor Score: 82.0%
I have a confession to make: I rode the Kawasaki Z800 in 2013, long before its U.S. introduction in Palm Springs, California this week. It was on a test track in Southern Italy during a new tire introduction, and despite the fact the track is not the Z800’s element – Kawasaki bills the baby Z as a streetfighter ideally suited for commuting or weekend blasts in the canyons – I came back pleasantly surprised. I remember the spread of power was impressive, the completely analog transmission shifted with buttery-smooth precision, the brakes never faded and the chassis was fluid and responsive. I wanted one but left Italy disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on a Z800 Stateside.
Fast forward to today with the naked streetfighter class gaining in popularity. According to Kawasaki market research, within the past five years, sales in the midsize segment of the Standard category have been growing rapidly. Quicker, even, than the open-class Standards. It’s easy to see why when the bikes like the MV Agusta Brutale 800 ($12,798), Ducati Monster 821 ($11,595), Suzuki GSX-S750 ($7,999), Triumph Street Triple ($9,400) and Yamaha‘s FZ duo – the FZ-09 ($8,190) and FZ-07 ($6,990) – all occupy a similar space.
European riders have been enjoying the Kawasaki Z800 since 2013. Now it’s America’s turn to try some of the fun. Unless you live in California.
It’s a crowded landscape to join, but Kawasaki realized it had just the weapon for the job, both in terms of cost and performance, in the $8,399 Z800 ABS – and it’s been residing in Europe (and Australia …read more