They always sound like they're not hittin' on all four to me.........The Triumph triples are indeed fantastic motors. They have a unique character laden sound and their mid focused power delivery is great for street use.
I just about went for a Tiger instead of my FZ1, but the Tiger's cost was a bit high when taking the mods I would want on it into consideration (suspension, exhaust, PCIII) and I liked the FZ1's horsepower potential. I will have to get around to owning a Triumph Triple at some point though, no doubt about it
Unfortunately for Kawasaki most of the people seeking hooligan bikes are going to agree with you and buy the S3.I'm cheering for the Z1000, because I think the streetfighter niche needs to become more than a niche here in the US.
But I've never loved a bike the way I love my '08 Speed Triple. It's just about perfect. I like the Z1000 in principle, but you don't get the Speed Triple's motor, which is what's so fantastic about it.
Others have mentioned things like curb appeal (the Triumph is going to get that over "some weird looking Kawasaki thing" any day) and the strange exhaust... but for me, the character of the motor is the reason why you buy the Triumph. And that's the most important thing, right?
(and it goes without saying, the bike absolutely screams)
Being in the market for a new bike and with a decent budget can be frustrating due to all the great choices out there! If you rode the Z1000, you'd love it. If you rode the Duc MTS, you'd love it. If you rode the VFR, etc! Tough to beat the sheer value of the Z.I finally got out to the local stealership and had a chance to sit on both the Triumph Street Triple and the new Kawasaki Z1000. For my 6'5" frame (36" inseam), the Kawi just plain fit better. The fit and finish on the Zed was on par with the Trumpet. Some might say the Triumph's style is "classic", but IMHO, the Triumph style is starting to look dated. Overall, the Kawi presents well in person.
One thing I don't particularly care for are all the plastic cowlings surrounding the forks. Once they get scratched and faded, they probably will look like excrement. Nevertheless, the chunky styling of the Z1000 is cohesive from front to back.
I'm narrowing down the choices for my next bike. It will likely be either the new Z1000, the Triumph Sprint ST, the new Honda VFR, or the Ducati Multistrada 1200. I'll let you know the clear front runner once I check out the Viffer in person in a couple of weeks.
NOTE: Thanks to KDuke and company for their excellent review of the new VFR. Now I have another bike to consider as a stable mate to the Uly.