Kawasaki Concours ZG1000: 1985-2006

2006 Kawasaki ConcoursLast month Kawasaki announced they would be introducing an all-new sport-tourer: The Kawasaki Concours 14, for 2008. Although this will replace the existing ZG1000 Concours (known in Europe as the GTR1000), it’s a completely new motorcycle, based upon the Kawasaki ZX14 sport bike (introduced earlier this year), which is one of the fastest production motorcycles in the world.

Although the new Concours does offer the same essential ingredients for a purpose-built, sport tourer – which includes factory luggage, a shaft drive and a full fairing – the bikes are so different from each other that if there is even one bolt that’s the same between the new and old bikes, it was not intended.

The announcement was not a surprise. In fact it has been rumored for MANY years, since there are very few motorcycles that have enjoyed the long production run of the venerable ZG1000.

I should also mention that, having owned a number of motorcycles over the years, including several ZG1000’s, I will definitely always maintain a fond appreciation for this machine.

So, to note the passing of a historical bike, I thought I’d offer a little background on the Concours.

A Little Concours History

Kawasaki introduced the Concours in 1985, based on their Ninja 900 and Ninja 1000 sport models, as a model year 1986 bike. (So, there have been 20 model years for the bike, even though the production run would have been 21 years).

The ZG1000 Kawasaki Concours is a 1000cc, six speed, four cylinder, liquid cooled, sport-touring motorcycle with a shaft drive.

It has enough “sports” power to cruise at triple-digit speeds and is designed to negotiate twisty, canyon, mountain, or back-country roads with ease.

A fairing with windshield, two removable locking luggage cases, and a 7.5 gallon gas tank (that uses regular unleaded gas), can carry one or two passengers with accouterments across a continent in relative comfort and economy, hence the “touring” part of the “sports-touring” depiction.

The Concours may be likened as the “ultimate utilitarian” motorcycle, since it has been around a long time, is very reliable, can be used for weekend “get aways”; for multi-week, cross-country excursions; is an able commuter bike; can handle many errands; and is considered the best motorcycle value in its class.

In an era when the evolution of a motorcycle model may seem as short-lived as some women’s fashions, the Concours has been unique in having been around since 1985 without many revisions. However, there have been some small ones:

♠ From 1985 to 1993 the design was largely unchanged aside from modifications to the screen, handlebars and other very minor changes.

♠ In 1994 Kawasaki updated the instrument cluster, forks, controls, front fender, front brakes, and the front wheel. From 1994 to 2006, the design again experienced only minor changes: fork protectors and exhaust tips.

In other words, a Concours manufactured in 1985 looks largely similar to the last ones of 2006.

Due to its longevity, for the do-it-yourself mechanic, there exists a substantial market for used parts that can be purchased at reduced prices through motorcycle salvage yards. There is also a fair amount of after-market accessories available to a Concours owner to better personalize his/her vehicle.

The European GTR1000 has 10–20 percent less horsepower than the US Concours, which varies by country.

An additional benefit to the Concours owner is the support of the Concours Owners Group which is comprised of helpful, knowledgeable and in some cases, quite passionate members who enjoy their Concourses and like to help other Concours riders.

So, even though we won’t see any “new” ZG1000 Concours motorbikes after this year, this legacy machine will be around for many years to come, since there’s a lot of them that have been sold in the last two decades.

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2 Responses to “Kawasaki Concours ZG1000: 1985-2006”

  1. Shoulars Says:

    This bike is very reliable. I’ve been riding one for many years and highly recommend it.

  2. Mike Says:

    An awsome bike. Bought a 2006 so I could have the last one. My kids will probably get it.

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