A RETRO REVIVAL
Kawasaki Z900RS set to rewrite the retro roadster standard
Kawasaki will launch a retro Z900RS at this year’s Tokyo Motorcycle Show on October 25, as the Japanese firm get set to take on the likes of BMW’S R ninet family and Yamaha’s XSR900.
MCN first learnt of their plans in 2016, and Kawasaki have now confirmed the new bike in a series of teaser videos which name the new model as the Z900RS and use the ‘Truespirit’ hashtag.
Based heavily on the current Z900, the new RS will share its engine, frame and running gear, but sport all-new bodywork and design elements. Clearly visible in the films is a heavily retro-styled new naked, sporting twin chrome-ringed clocks, an all-led round headlamp, LED indicators, cast wheels, a large steel fuel tank, and iconic 1970s Z900 paintjob.
The mildly retuned 948cc Z900 engine, meaning circa 115bhp at peak (down from 123bhp) and a broader, punchier mid-range for improved drive.
Kawasaki say the new Z900RS is a “modern classic evoking the style and emotion of the iconic Z1 Super Four 900 of 1972 - a bike that changed the face of performance motorcycling. The Z900RS represents a radical departure from the Z900, appealing to riders seeking outstanding style, curb appeal and the true spirit of riding satisfaction at the premium end of the Modern Classic sector.”
Japanese café cool
There will be two versions of the new retro, a base model expected to be a direct rival for bikes like BMW’S R ninet Pure, and it will be priced accordingly at around £9999. Sitting above that will be a premium café racer version, expected to boast higher spec suspension, spoked rims, a small headlamp cowl, and a different exhaust system. The price will reflect its premium spec, and is expected to be in the region of £10,699 – taking the fight squarely to the Triumph’s Thruxton and BMW’S R ninet Racer.
Our Japanese contact says the bike sounds fantastic, with the factory even working hard on the static exhaust note, so that even at idle from start-up it sounds authentically beefy. Our Japanese contact says the spec will be top notch, and the ride torque-laden and engaging. It should have all the best of modern technology and reliability, but with the character of the original Z900/Z1. We can’t wait.
What goes around The bikes in Kawasaki’s teasers have cast wheels, but we expect laced rims on a higher spec café racer, and as RS options. Iconic styling We expect there to be two heritage paintjobs, but for those wanting a more modern retro, there’ll also be a contemporary scheme. Retro revolution The engine is a mildly retuned version of the Z900 unit, with peak power moved lower in the rev range, and tuned for better torque.