Kawasaki Z900RS

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As you probably know by now I ride a Kawasaki Z900 so I jumped at the chance of being able to have a Z900RS on loan for a week by Kawasaki, I thought it would be interesting to see how the two bikes compared.

I picked the bike up from Kawasaki UK in Bourne End which is not too far from me. When I saw the bike I felt myself smiling at how beautiful it looked and walked round the bike to have a closer look at it. I hopped on the bike and rode off in the sunshine. By the time I got to the end of the road I knew I was going to like this bike.

For those of you that like techy stuff, here’s some figures for you:

Engine:             Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke In-Line Four

Brakes:           

Front: Dual semi-floating 300 mm discs.

Caliper: Dual radial-mount, monobloc, opposed 4-piston

Rear: Single 250 mm disc; caliper: Single-piston

Suspension:    

Front 41 mm inverted fork with compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability

Rear Horizontal Back-link, gas-charged shock with rebound damping and spring preload adjustability

Max power:      82 kW {111 PS} / 8,500 rpm (approx. 109 bhp)

Fuel capacity:   17 litres

Seat height:     835 mm

As I was riding home I was struck by how light the RS is, it even feels light when riding along. When I first saw the bike I thought it looked heavy but I was completely wrong. It weighs 215kg which is just 5 kg heavier than my Z and I found getting the bike in and out of the garage to be relatively easy.

I’m 5’6” and I found the seat height to be okay for me and I really loved just how much padding there was in the seat.

It was bike night at London Colney that night and as the sun was shining I rode over on the bike. The paint on the RS sparkles in the sunshine and I have to admit it did look good sitting amongst the other bikes. It certainly garnered a lot of attention, people seemed to like the old school retro look and the colours are reminiscent of the 70’s.

The following day I went for a longer ride to see how the RS was on a longer run. Now I have to say here that I like overtaking, I don’t ride flat out and consider myself to be a careful rider but I do like an overtake. With my Z I find that I can just roll on the throttle and the bike responds and accelerates quickly and I am past the car and back in.

With the RS, if I rolled on it would take longer to get past, I found it best to drop it a gear or two and then I zipped past the car okay. The RS has apparently been re-tuned to produce peak torque approximately 1,000 rpm lower than my Z although this has resulted in less bhp. Once I adjusted my riding to how it liked to be ridden, it was good, we got on well and gelled together.

I found the RS was confident and smooth through the corners and handled really nicely and gave me the confidence that I crave from a bike.

I really like the styling that has gone into the bike, Kawasaki have sympathetically designed this bike to have some retro features including the analogue clocks, old style round mirrors and some cosmetic cooling fins on the engine.

I was out both days at the weekend. The Saturday I did a lot of urban riding with some stop/start traffic. The RS was quite happy sitting in traffic (unlike me!) and because I feel it to be a light bike, I was happy too. Later in the day I had to do some motorway riding and again, the RS adjusted to this type of riding no problem.

On my Sunday ride, it started raining and although I was not happy as I was getting rather wet, the RS wasn’t bothered and coped with the wet roads perfectly. I was not ready for my ride to end and I could have carried on quite happily. This is definitely a bike I could see myself touring on.

In comparison to my Z900, the RS is slightly less powerful (my Z has 123bhp) but it is such a lovely bike to ride, so comfortable and nimble in the corners. I love the shape and sound of the exhaust, I would possibly take the cat off to make it a little bit louder but that is purely my personal choice. However, unlike a lot of modern bikes the exhaust is stylish and in keeping.

There a couple of things I would change on the bike:

  1. A tail tidy – I know it is a legal requirement that the number plate is the rear most part of the bike and some people might like the back end of the bike as it is, but personally I would have to change it;
  2. Heated grips. This one is just for my own benefit as I fit heated grips to all my bikes as I ride all year round.

Other than those couple of things, which let’s be honest are not major, I wouldn’t change anything on the bike, I really do love it as it is, it is such a cool looking bike and I was not anywhere near ready to give it back and I went the really, really long way back to Kawasaki UK!

Thank you Kawasaki for the loan of the Z900RS, it was a privilege to ride 🙂

BK

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I did a walk around video of the Z900RS and you can see it on my YouTube channel here:

https://www.kawasaki.co.uk/en/products

https://kawasaki.onyerbike.net/new/models/5196/Modern-Classic/models.aspx

2 comments

  1. Agree heated grips are vital on long winter rides to keep your hands flexible and sensitive to the controls 🙂 I add them to all my bikes. Love the retro looks of this Kawi!

    Thanks for the review.

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