Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - The 1990's -

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”

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