Kawasaki Z900RS set to re­write the retro road­ster stan­dard

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

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.

There’ll be a top-spec café racer ver­sion, too

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