Bikes 9 Nov 2017

Bike: 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS range

Cafe model introduced at EICMA alongside recently unveiled standard variation.

Following the unveiling Kawasaki’s all-new retro-inspired Z900RS at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Japanese manufacturer used EICMA to reveal another model in the line-up, the Z900RS Cafe.

Tagged a Retro Sport’ thanks to its RS moniker, the new Z900RS has been painstakingly created by Kawasaki’s styling department and factory engineers as an all-new machine owing little to the recently introduced Z900 supernaked family.

Although sharing some lineage with the four-cylinder water-cooled Z900, the Z900RS will appeal to a totally different rider group encouraging those who currently ride to possess a machine with outstanding style, curb appeal and the true spirit of riding satisfaction while re-awakening the desire to return to two wheels among licence holding dormant enthusiasts.

Source: Supplied.

Of course the 900cc class capacity serves to underline the connection with the 903cc Z1 of 1972, but the Z900RS is very much a motorcycle of today complete with a new chassis and new engine specification. Equipped with a distinctive LED headlamp, LED indicators and tail light, distinctive wheels, a striking exhaust delivering a rich sound experience plus numerous detail features, the Z900RS will have knowledgeable Z enthusiasts nodding in approval.

From its Z1 derived paint scheme to the typeface and surface treatment of the complex side panel badges, the Z900RS successfully blends past, present and future even down to the polished cam cap covers on the cylinder head and highlighted cylinder fins just like those that appeared on the original Z1.

And speaking of paint schemes, the Z900RS will be available in three evocative colour ways for its debut season including an homage to the 1972 Z1, a classic looking black with gold and silver pinstripes plus the contemporary urban cool of matt green with accentuated 900 graphics on the side panels.

Source: Supplied.

Like the Z1, the Z900RS features a 948cc-class inline four – an engine configuration that inherently offers a great balance of power and manageability. Tuning focuses on the low-mid range. Revs build in a measured, but very determined manner, giving the rider a sense of connectedness between the throttle and rear wheel.

Contributing to rider reassurance, the Z900RS is equipped with advanced Kawasaki rider support technology. KTRC features two modes that cover a wide range of riding conditions, offering either enhanced sport riding performance or the peace of mind to negotiate slippery surfaces with confidence. Riders may also elect to turn the system off.

Race-inspired clutch technology offers both a much lighter feel at the lever, as well as a back-torque limiting function that helps prevent rear-wheel hop when downshifting. At the front, 300 mm brake discs are gripped by opposed four-piston radial-mount monobloc calipers.

Source: Supplied.

The monobloc front brake calipers offer a firm initial touch, the level of brake force is very easy to control, and overall brake performance is superb.The machined monobloc calipers feature an alumite coating and are laser-etched with a Kawasaki logo, adding to the bike’s high-quality sporty looks.

Complementing a light overall weight (noticeable as soon as the bike is lifted off its side-stand), frame rigidity and chassis geometry tuning were selected to deliver light, natural handling. Like the engine, the chassis responds to rider input predictably, going where the rider wants it to without resistance. In keeping with its retro sport model character, the Z900RS’ stance is less forward-leaning than the Z900.

Large-diameter inverted fork contributes to excellent ride comfort and sporty riding potential. Response is unhurried, offering reassuring handling in riding situations ranging from intown to winding roads. The high-grade fork features compression and rebound damping adjustability, enabling precise settings to suit rider preference and riding style.

Source: Supplied.

Unlike the twin rear shocks of the Z1, the Z900RS features Kawasaki’s Horizontal Back-Link rear suspension. This choice of modern suspension (also featured on Kawasaki’s supersport and Supernaked models) offers a higher level of sporty riding potential – something that Kawasaki engineers were not willing to sacrifice. Like the fork, the linked suspension delivers a balance of ride comfort and sporty performance.

Taking the modern classic style of the highly received Z900RS in a new and imaginative direction, the Z900RS Cafe can also trace is roots back to the super four model Z1 of 1972, although adds a twist to proceedings with a bold approach to colour and graphics, plus a more focussed riding position thanks to its drop-style black finish handlebar.

A step away from standard, the low handlebar creates a sporty body position matched well by a bikini cowling and stylish seat complete with racer inspired rear hump. Making sound sense, the exhaust system is Kawasaki’s first tuned specifically for tone and fits the overall attention to detail of the Z900RS Cafe perfectly with its subtle brushed satin finish.

Source: Supplied.

Multi-spoke cast wheels give the appearance of traditional wire spoked items while the meticulous attention to detail manifests itself with clever engine details and a clean overall appearance uncluttered by poorly routed hoses and cables.

As with the legendary Z1, the heart of the machine lays with its formidable engine. In the case of the Z900RS Cafe this is a unit equipped with KTRC traction control and an assist and slipper clutch. Contained in a lightweight tubular trellis frame and matched to 41mm inverted front forks and horizontal back link suspension, handling and performance are totally up to date.

Source: Supplied.

Lighting the way a distinctive LED headlamp is mated to a Z1 style elliptical LED rear unit while the traditional speedometer and rev counter assembly is complemented by a central LCD information panel covering the vital functions of this confident arrival on the modern classic scene.

Of course for some riders the Z900RS Cafe will be merely the starting point for further personalisation and a wide range of Kawasaki genuine accessories will be available to personalise the vintage lime green machine.

Kawasaki Motors Australia is yet to confirm pricing and availability domestically. For the latest on the released and more information, visit