The new Kawasaki Z900RS masterfully marries the nostalgic charm of 1970's café racers with today's innovations and conveniences.
The new Kawasaki Z900RS is new and classic all at once. This model is a tribute to the café racers of the 1970s, a class of bikes in which the Japanese brand reigned supreme back then with the hugely influential Z1.
In the 50 years that have passed, this generation of bikes has really started to show its age with outdated mechanics. But what if you could have the rose-tinted experience of driving a Z1 with the modern advancements that have made motorcycles far easier, speedier and comfier? That’s what the Kawasaki Z900RS is all about.
There’s a grand history to live up to, but does the Kawasaki Z900RS do it? We look at its design, performance, comfort and practicality to find out.
Design is perhaps the most important aspect of a bike like this, and Kawasaki has hit it out of the park in this regard. The Z900RS is so easy on the eyes, with an adorably large round headlight, pure chrome headers and deep, glossy paint (which is an upgrade from the regular Z900). Some parts of the design have a tangible effect on the riding experience, too, such as the unique circular mirrors that give you greater rearview and the exposed engine design that means you get to hear a low, brooding grumble-gargle from the exhaust.
All of this works hand-in-hand with more current-day technologies like water cooling, fuel injection, 6-speed transmission and ABS brakes. When you sit down, you’ll be looking at a retro dual-dial HUB setup that displays 70-style large numbers on a crisp LCD screen. As with everything else on the Z900RS, the blend between the old and new is tasteful.
In the hands of the Kawasaki Z900RS, you feel like you can turn on the power at any given moment and it will race with glee. At just 215kg in curb mass, this bike is well-balanced and lightweight enough to make handling very grippy and nimble low-speed riding.
The liquid-cooled, 4-stroke engine can deliver up to 6,500rpm in torque, and the way it moves from a breath to a roar to an almighty scream is hair-raising and all thanks to the open engine design.
You’ll be using perfectly serviceable Dunlop Sportmax Tyres, which neither improves nor detracts from the performance. One thing that does arguably detract is the classic furnishings; at higher speeds or forceful headwinds, the lack of modern flarings on the bodywork does mean it’s a more challenging ride. But if you’re going for the authentic vintage experience, you’re likely prepared to face that.
The Kawasaki Z900RS gets major plus points in the comfort department. For one, the seat is broad, level, deeply cushioned and has ribbed detailing for extra comfort. But it’s the considered position of the seat that pushes it to be one of the most comforting out there. It’s positioned higher than what you’d expect, but it means your legs aren’t compacted into a tight triangle like on a sports bike, giving your body room to breathe as you ride. With the footpegs in a natural position and a featherlight clutch lever, this bike is just as breezy as you’d want it to be.
While you’re hardly going to be going for a bike such as this for fuel economy or practicality, the Kawasaki Z900RS is at least considerate to its passengers. Fuel economy sits at around 45mpg with a range of 170 miles, so you’ll never be short on reserve.
In terms of equipment, there’s a switch on the handlebar that alters the traction control settings from normal to a more rain-suited option. Plus, you can turn it off altogether by holding it down.
The Kawasaki Z900RS masterfully marries the nostalgic charm of 1970's café racers with today's technological utilities. Its performance is exhilarating, with its lightweight frame offering nimble handling, and its engine delivering a captivating range of sounds. The seating and ergonomics are outstandingly comfortable, allowing riders to relax during long journeys. Although not primarily designed for practicality, it offers reasonable fuel economy and user-friendly traction control settings. The Z900RS is a brilliant fusion of Kawasaki's rich history and contemporary innovations.
If you’re desperate to have a Kawasaki Z900RS of your very own, there are no finer experts in the UK than at Cradley Kawasaki an official Kawasaki dealership, supplier and service based in Cradley Heath, Birmingham. With five decades of history, it is one of the oldest Kawasaki-approved motorbike shops in Birmingham and indeed the UK, and we’re still at the forefront of their famous range.
Check out our range of new bikes today and see how a brand-new bike from Cradley Kawasaki will change your riding experience. Reach out to our team to make a general enquiry, reserve a bike, set up a part exchange or book a test drive.