The 900R changed bikes forever. From performance, handling, styling, right down to the way they were designed and built. With the GPZ, Kawasaki came up with the world’s first truly integrated motorcycle.
Up until that point a ‘sportsbike’ was just a regular model with fancy paint and a fairing that rarely handled any better – usually worse if more power had been extracted from the engine in an attempt to upgrade it from the base model.the GPZ900R was different. Its chassis matched its engine, allowing the rider to enjoy the full 110bhp without landing in the nearest ditch.
Compared to what was to come in the following two or three years, the 900’s tubular steel spine frame was fairly basic. But it was strong and light as well as bolted to a box-section ally swingarm, decent (for the time) suspension, a quick-steering 16-inch front wheel and a sharp (again, for the time) triple disc brake set-up. It could leave its contemporaries for dead in a straight line and also out-handled many smaller, nimbler machines – unchartered territory.
It was even reintroduced to the Japanese market a decade after it first appeared, such was its enduring appeal.
“You could enjoy the 110bhp without landing in a ditch”