2005 Kawasaki Z 750S

"The motorcycle American consumers should buy."

This brings us to around-town errand running and commuting, which is what the prospective Z750 buyer will be doing plenty of. The Z shines in city traffic. Its wide bars and short wheelbase allow you to nip in and out of traffic easily, and the short first three gears and smooth torque curve mean you can accelerate smoothly and quickly away from our nice but inattentive four-wheel driving brethren.

Once at our destination, we want to lock our helmet up. The Z obliges with an old-fashioned helmet latch by the left passenger footpeg, and a groovy little cable lock under the seat. Removing the seat requires playing "where's the seat lock" for about 10 minutes before you find it, very well hidden, in a tiny hole underneath the tail section. You also find a small storage box, which will fit two PB&Js, or maybe a pair of summer gloves, a sequined thong and a pamphlet on Latvian folk music. Just not all four at the same time.

Luckily, there are bungee hooks under the tail section so you can just attach the whole mess to the seat and be off, unless you have mounted the optional solo-look cowl for the passenger seat. Of course, you also removed the subfender/license bracket to clean up the slightly busy-looking tail section (which removes very quickly with just four bolts), in which case you are probably too cool to attach anything to your sleek new ride with bungee cords.

Passengers are not forgotten on the Z750, since Kawasaki made a few accommodations for them. First, the seat is a single piece unit, unlike the stepped two-piece affair on the Z1000 and Euro-market Z750. This should put the pillion in a lower and more comfortable position. The passenger also has contour-molded grab rails for their grabbing pleasure, and passenger pegs are placed slightly lower than you would find on more hard-edged bikes.

However, a sit-on and brief ride as passenger did not impress me much- the passenger portion of the seat is small, thinly padded and not truly butt-shaped (Not all butts are shaped the same, and none are nearly so hairy as Gabe's -I'm quite embarrassed to know this- Sean). Motorcycle seats should be shaped like human seats, not with the contours of whatever the current design trend is. This seat is crowned at the front, and then slopes back, narrowing to a thinly-padded point right where your tailbone rests. Maybe somebody at the Kawasaki factory is married to a penguin? Judging from the Z1000 and the ZX-6R, that would explain a lot. Again, it is nothing a trip to a good motorcycle upholsterer won't fix.

It's rare that I ride a bike where the only thing I can truly fault is the seat. The Z750 provides a high-quality, dependable, fun and useful multi-purpose motorcycle for a moderate price. The build quality is on par with anything else in the price range, and the understressed motor should last forever with basic or even indifferent maintenance.

It will happily perform commuting, sport-riding and in-town hooliganism with equal aplomb, and all this for less than the price of a second-string sportbike. Maybe this really is the motorcycle American motorcyclists should ride: a dependable, versatile bike that doesn't sacrifice handling, power or character to accomplish it's mission of being a budget all-arounder for the masses.

Maybe you will get an additional $500 discount if you bring a penguin into the dealership, bringing this bike into the same price range as an FZ6 or SV 650S. However, even if you can't get a penguin, stop by your Kawasaki dealer and give serious consideration to this machine, if you are in the market for an all-around motorcycle that will still get you excited about motorcycling for motorcycling's sake.



Engine: Four-stroke inline four-cylinder, DOHC, 16 valves
Displacement: 748cc
Bore x stroke: 68.4 x 50.9mm
Compression ratio: 11.3:1
Cooling: Liquid
Induction: Electronic fuel injection, four 34mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Digital
Transmission: Six speed
Frame: Diamond, high-tensile steel
Rake / trail: 24 degrees / 4.1 in.
Front suspension: 41mm cartridge fork
Rear suspension: UNI-TRAK® linkage with four-way rebound and seven-way spring preload adjustability
Front wheel travel: 4.7 in.
Rear wheel travel: 5.0 in.
Front tire: 120/70ZR x 17
Rear tire: 180/55ZR x 17
Brakes, front / rear: Dual 300mm hydraulic discs / 220mm hydraulic disc
Overall length: 81.9 in.
Overall width: 30.7 in.
Overall height: 40.9 in.
Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
Ground clearance: 6.5 in.
Seat height: 32.1 in.
*Claimed* Dry weight: 430 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Colors: Candy Plasma Blue
*Specifications are subject to change.

748cc, DOHC, 16-valve, In-line, Four-cylinder Four-stroke Engine
  • Tuned for linear powerband to suit any riding style
  • Compact and lightweight, contributing to overall handling excellence
  • Stunning appearance, enhancing naked design

Cylinder Head
  • Fins cast into head improve external appearance
  • Aluminum die casting cylinder head cover is thin-walled and lightweight yet strong

Cylinder Block
  • All-aluminum, closed-deck cylinder block with chrome composite plated cylinders is light, long-wearing and offers excellent heat dispersion

Exhaust System
  • Four-into-one exhaust system enhances mid-rpm response
  • Oval-shaped muffler looks good and helps keep the Z750 running quietly
  • Kawasaki Low Exhaust Emissions (KLEEN®) catalyzer system helps keep the Z750 environmentally friendly

  • Profiles modified for more low- and mid-range power
  • Lightweight hollow inlet and exhaust cams each ride in five ball bearings to reduce friction loss
  • Front cam-chain guide is light, easy to mount and provides accurate valve timing

Six-speed Transmission
  • Provides the right gear for every riding situation and riding style

Digital Fuel Injection
  • Provides excellent throttle response and power with less fuel consumption
  • Compact electronic control unit processes information faster for better engine response
  • In-tank, electric fuel pump delivers a constant supply of fuel in all riding conditions

Throttle Bodies
  • 34mm throttle bodies with sub-throttle valves promote smooth engine operation

Digital Ignition
  • Plug-mounted ignition coils are fitted to suit the new injection system
  • Compact 32-bit ignition CPU delivers highly accurate information for the Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) system

Liquid Cooling
  • Large-area radiator with electric fan maintains operating temperatures at the proper level

Diamond Frame
  • Rigid yet lightweight diamond frame of large-diameter thin-walled tubes contributes to responsive handling performance
  • Engine is mounted as a stressed member for high chassis rigidity
  • Detachable top engine mount makes tune-ups easier
  • Steering head uses caged ball bearings for light steering qualities

Adjustable Rear Shock
  • Rear shock settings match the rigid chassis
  • UNI-TRAK® bottom link rear suspension features a nitrogen gas-charged shock
  • Shock equipped with spring preload and rebound damping adjustments

Lightweight Disc Brakes
  • Dual front, semi-floating 300mm discs are gripped by lightweight two-piston calipers, providing impressive braking performance
  • Rear brake caliper holder designed for low weight; mounts directly to swingarm

Wheels and Tires
  • New, six-spoke 17-inch wheels are lighter and stronger than previous three-spoke designs, and further reduce the Z750's overall *claimed* dry weight
  • 17-inch radial tires deliver excellent traction
  • Large diameter front and rear axles are hollow, for high rigidity and low weight

Defining Bodywork and Ergonomics
  • New half-cowl accentuates the bike's provocative lines
  • Seat cowl with LED taillight and swingarm-mounted inner fender give an aggressive, sporty image
  • Sleek fuel tank constructed of galvanized steel to resist corrosion
  • Seating position is very comfortable and allows the rider to mold to the machine
  • Dual, multi-deflector halogen headlights enhance front-end appearance

  • Optional tandem seat cover adds to the angular, sculpted lines
  • Tamper-resistant ignition switch
  • Forged side stand is strong and tucks out of the way for ample cornering clearance
  • Seat utilizes special low-slip surface material for high comfort

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