Kawasaki’s Z750 has been one of Europe’s most successful naked middleweights. The three-quarter-liter inline-Four is a good all-around performer, efficient and versatile, nicely styled and finished. Last year, however, sales dipped sharply, due in part to the worldwide economic crisis and changes in market tastes.
In response, Kawasaki’s European branch urged management in Japan to take appropriate action to hold its position in this critical segment. Their response is the 2011 Z750R.
This “R” is a natural evolution of the Z750, which remains for sale as an entry-level model. This version was developed as a private owner would have done it himself, adding state-of-the-art components that didn’t require major reworking or machining but would result in a higher level of performance while dramatically altering the bike’s appearance.
Beefy brakes: 2011 Kawasaki Z750R is equipped with four-piston radial-mount brakes and 300mm rotors. ABS is optional.
The engine remains the same reliable and tractable, liquid-cooled, dohc, 16-valve, 748cc Four fed by 32mm Keihin throttle bodies. Power claims are 106 hp at 10,500 rpm with 57.8 ft.-lb. peak torque at 8300 rpm.
That engine is harnessed by the Z750 chassis, unchanged in geometry or structure, but with better brakes, suspension and rolling gear. The inverted 41mm fork, inherited from the 2009 Z1000, is adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping. The swingarm is new, fabricated from cast and stamped aluminum elements and actuating a piggyback-style shock, which is also adjustable for preload and rebound.
The entire braking system has been upgraded. Up front, 300mm rotors are teamed with four-piston radial-mount calipers. The rear rotor is sized down to 250mm and the caliper is a floating single-piston unit. All rotors are thicker, up from 4.5mm to 6.0, and have a daisy-style design. Brake lines are steel-braided, and ABS is available.
Styling is sharper, with a new bikini fairing and updated instrumentation. The front fender and the massive, Z1000-like muffler are also new. Options include an Akrapovic exhaust, a suede-trimmed sport seat, a spoiler and imitation carbon-fiber add-ons. Two-tone or matte-black paint schemes contribute to the edgy new look, making the Z750R a very desirable naked bike.