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Have you ridden the FZ09? I have and was not impressed. If these two bikes are indeed direct competitors, one has to weigh all the components before determining value for the price. The FZ09 has budget suspension, poor fueling, and passes a lot of vibes on to the rider. I am not familiar with the Z800, but if it has better fueling, better suspension, less vibes, then it may be a better all around package. Or it may just be that Kawasaki is bringing it here because it is so popular in Europe and they want to see if can sell. Might end up being a one or two year bike which is why they are not bothering to put out a California model.

We, in the US get quite a few one or two year bikes because it is hard for the manufacturers to figure out what we will buy besides cruisers. The Europeans do more commuting on bikes than the Americans.
I have definitely ridden the FZ09, it's a pretty impressive bike for the price IMO.

You're implying that the FZ09 is indeed put together with "budget" parts, but the Z800 isn't?
It's not a supersport, it's not $15-20k, it's not a new engine and it's power output is almost identical with the FZ, yet the FZ weighs a significant amount less and is actually a tad cheaper.

You can't sit there and tell me the Z800 is a better complete package when all Kawi did was slap a US sticker on it. Nothing new, nothing original for 2016. They painted it and stuck it in the US market.

My biggest thing here is that Kawi is constantly bleeding out it's old ideas of what did work and forget about the rest of the competition world. Atleast in the mid tier market. Ninja 650? Literally unchanged in several years, except minor adjustments here and there. Nothing too exciting to keep drawing that new demographic of customers is.

The FZ-09 was awarded bike of the year by many critics and review sites. Not just for it's value, but also for it's originality.

I'm not fully in love with the FZ, I just don't see Kawi matching Yamahas originality and eye grabbing attention here, that the FZ had.
Kawi definitely needed an 800cc standard bike in their US lineup, and for that I'm plenty happy to see.
But if this is the best they can really come up with, then I'm rather dissapointed.

Again, parts for parts and build for build, don't expect the $200 msrp difference(FZ09 to Z800)have a dramatic change in quality difference.

And don't even get me started on the FJ 09, a tweaked(for the most part, better)/faired version of the FZ.
Is reusing an older model really the best method to gain a new audience? I don't think so. Nothing new, nothing really stands out with this Z800.

Oh, and those vibrations are more than tolerable on the FZ.
 

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Actually my biggest curiosity about this bike is, are the wrist pins the same diameter as ours (will they work with our con rods)? It'd be nice if we could oversize and replate our cylinders do some porting and slap in some bigger pistons without having to do the whole new head/pistons/cylinders/throttle bodies/clutch conversion. It wouldn't make as much power as a z1k but still more power/torque than we have now with the z750. I wouldn't mind riding a bike with 110>115 hp. and 60ish lb./ft of torque, but I'm not willing to go back to a suspension that's worse than what I have now. I think I killed Kawasaki's chances of selling me a z800 when I upgraded to the bpf front end. I really don't want to discourage anyone from buying a new z800, I just don't see it ever happening with me. I'd upgrade my engine or go with the n1k instead. And as far as vibes go on the fz9, I've been riding my 07 z750s since I bought it new in October 08 so I'm pretty used to vibes from the bars and pegs, so I'd not let that keep me from buying that bike either.
 

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Kawi didn't need to do anything new and "bike of the year" exciting. Yamaha did because they didn't have ANYTHING appealing for basic, everyday riding. Kawi is able to be more conservative because people keep buying their bikes. Ninja- nuff said. It depends on what you want to do. The hooligans rip snortin' riding mode doesn't last very long. A bike for everyone is out there
 

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I'm apparently fashionably late to this party. I recently read the Motorcyclist article on the Z800, and that prompted some research. I like the improved power over my Ninja 650r and the suspension may not require redoing to make me happy (and a new 650 with a suspension upgrade gets closer to the Z800's cost). I also think that the relative weight may help keep the Z800 a bit more stable in a 30+ mph wind.

Fuelly indicates some poor mileage, but that may be more to do with the riders who are attracted to a naked bike. There's a big difference between the Z1000 and the Ninja 1000 in mileage, so maybe if the Z800 is ridden in a sport touring mode instead of a hooligan mode, the range would work out right.

If I were to consider a Z800, it would need some aftermarket help. Hepco-Braker (sp?) has some removable hard luggage brackets, and several waterproof softbag options would also work. I hope that Kawi wouldn't mess up the Z800's tail on the US version and make it so the luggage brackets don't simply bolt up, but that's what they did with the Ninja 650 so there's no guarantee of common sense. Puig makes a good-looking windscreen, and there's a clip-on extension for long highway rides. Just add your favorite chain oiler, and the Z800 is off and running for a multi day trip.

The only problem for me individually is the seat hight. I sat on a KTM Superduke, which has about the same seat hight (my dealer has yet to have a Z800 arrive), and I was able to get the balls of my feet on the ground, but it would be very difficult to get on the bike if I had luggage on the passenger seat. Tall people probably don't need to worry.

I think that it would be fun to give the Z800 a test ride. Comparing stats, accessories and magazine reviews helps narrow the field, but is no substitute for the actual experience.
 

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Fuel mileage isn't going to be as good 50+ added cubes and lower gearing will do that 15/43 for the 750 vs. 15/45 for 800 will do that and the tank is a litre smaller as well 17 litres compared to 18 that will affect range somewhat, but I wouldn't necessarily go by what the bike magazines say about mileage, I got 400 km. 250 miles out of a tank this summer trying to see how far I could go with the stock 15/43 gear ratio on my 750, I put in 16.9 litres when I filled it so there was about a litre left. Typical mileage is about 300 to 350 km. a tank for me and I've only added more than 16 litres a couple times, flashing fuel lights make me uneasy but I doubt you'll ever see a write up claiming that much range. I'd expect about 250 km. with the 800 with me on it driving the same way I typically do on the 750. Someone should buy one of these so we can get some real opinions, it won't be me I'm to poor and I don't want to lose the wind protection or handling on my upgraded suspension S model either.
 

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Fuel mileage isn't going to be as good 50+ added cubes and lower gearing will do that 15/43 for the 750 vs. 15/45 for 800 will do that and the tank is a litre smaller as well 17 litres compared to 18 that will affect range somewhat, but I wouldn't necessarily go by what the bike magazines say about mileage, I got 400 km. 250 miles out of a tank this summer trying to see how far I could go with the stock 15/43 gear ratio on my 750, I put in 16.9 litres when I filled it so there was about a litre left. Typical mileage is about 300 to 350 km. a tank for me and I've only added more than 16 litres a couple times, flashing fuel lights make me uneasy but I doubt you'll ever see a write up claiming that much range. I'd expect about 250 km. with the 800 with me on it driving the same way I typically do on the 750. Someone should buy one of these so we can get some real opinions, it won't be me I'm to poor and I don't want to lose the wind protection or handling on my upgraded suspension S model either.
Slightly bigger size won't really affect gas mileage. The gearing will make a slight difference. People get anywhere from low 40s to 60+ with these bikes. It has more to do with throttle modulation than anything else. This is a pretty typical thread report The MPG Thread - page 1 - Z800 General Chat - Kawasaki Z800 Forum
 

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I was in Fargo for a business meeting and stopped by the Kawi dealer as they were rumored to have a Z800 in stock. The rumor was correct as they had one, sold it, and now had another.

The seat hight was better than I had thought based on my substitute comparison with the KTM Superduke because the Z800 has a narrowed seat and body. I was able to get the balls of my feet down very well--not tiptoes--and could one-foot it easily. The ergos seemed ok, but I didn’t take a test ride. The salesguy wasn't sure whether the bars were steel or aluminum, which is important for northern riders who need heated grips. The seat is almost unpadded in comparison to my 2007 Ninja 650r's comfy stock seat. Aside from that, the ergonomics seemed suitable to an all day ride if a windscreen was added.

My problem, which may not be shared by others, is that if I were to trade, I'd be looking to turn the new bike into a light sport tourer. And I'm not sure that the Z800 wants to go there.

I aslo sat on a Ninja 650 just for comparison, and it felt like home. But that may be my issue more than the bike's. I've really made my Ninja 650r my own and anything else feels odd. Really, I'm not Sheldon Cooper, honest!
 

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Couple things to note. I am surprised to see the the Z800 weighs more than a Z1000. Also regarding fuel mileage estimates its notable the European "gallon" is 20% larger than US gallon so keep that in mind when trying to figure mileage expectations.
 

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Like how it looks. Had it been stateside when I was looking, very possible it would've been my first bike instead of the 650. But that's honestly based purely on looks. The 650 is just perfect for me and where I'm at.
 

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I liked the Ninja Z800, very cool looking & get up. World Superbike (WSBK) is using the 300cc & 400cc though; so, the Ninja 400 is filling that new void. Weird how it worked out. However, the Z8 can still do an 800 streetfighter class for short & small lower speed tracks.
 
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