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Countdown to Retro Z900RS | Manufacture News | News

Kawasaki is close to unveiling its tribute to the hugely popular Z900 of the early 70s

Word in Japan is that Kawasaki will take the wraps off its new Z900RS model at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.

We first revealed the existence of the Z900RS more than a year ago (AMCN Vol 65 No 20) when Kawasaki applied for a new trademark on the name, and now our inside sources reveal it’s very close to making an official appearance.

The image here is the latest rendering from Japan, using the most up-to-date information to predict the bike’s appearance. As previously expected, the machine is a response to the latest neo-retro machines like Yamaha’s XSR900.

Since the Z900RS trademark was first filed, Kawasaki has launched the Z900 as a replacement for the old Z800, using a lightweight new steel chassis and an updated, 948cc in-line four-cylinder engine. It’s clear that these mechanical components will be carried across to the retro-styled RS version, just as Yamaha uses the MT-09 engine and chassis as the basis of the XSR900.

Our sources say the bike’s specification will be near-identical to the Z900. That means we’re looking at 92.2kW at 9500rpm and 98.6Nm at 7700rpm, with a kerb weight of around 210kg. Identical suspension, with a 41mm inverted fork and near-horizontal rear shock – adjustable for rebound and preload – is almost certain.

The changes will be largely visual. The latest renderings show how the original 900cc Z1 is the inspiration, with the tank and tail unit shaped to mimic the 1972 machine. While the engine is mechanically unchanged from the new Z900, our sources say that purely cosmetic cooling fins are to be added to the sides of the cylinders to give it a little more visual allure. Wire wheels may be offered as an option, but alloys are expected as standard fitment.    

Custom Copy

Like Yamaha’s Yard Built projects – where custom builders were given bikes to turn into show machines and inspire customers – Kawasaki is understood to be doling out Z900RSs to famous builders.The planned Tokyo launch reflects the fact that Kawasaki’s main focus for the bike will be the Japanese market, at least initially. However, with the Z900 type approved for sales worldwide and a burgeoning retro scene, it’s almost certain the bike will eventually appear in other countries too.

By Ben Purvis