Kawasaki Z900 | Bike Tests | Top Sellers in Australia
All this for $12,499 (+ ORC)? Talk about a great deal – 86kW of raw Zed power has never been so cheap. This Kawasaki looks horn, too, just the way you expect a naked Kwaka to look. Aggressive grunt, aggressive styling … is there anything else that matters? Not at this price!
And that’s the key to understanding the Z900. It doesn’t give you frilly bits for your money, it provides only the raw ingredients that make motorcycling what we love. There’s 45 years of unadulterated Good Times in this model; you can still taste the 1972 Z1 when you drink from its cup. Kawasaki has always aimed to excite you and there isn’t a moment when that thrill isn’t there for the taking on the Z900.
Groff summed it up: “Superb, classic Kawasaki engine with broad spread of power and torque.”
There is of course more to it.
“The Z900 is riding in its purest form,” Chris said. “No electronics, a lovely engine with a linear power delivery, comfort, a well-sorted chassis, and good looks all backed by that Kawasaki reliability.”
“Between its price tag, its seat height and its just-bold-enough styling, Kawasaki has made a capable motorcycle accessible to a wide variety of people,” Kel said.
Like the Harley, the Kawasaki was brought down in the scores by its lack of technical sophistication, something that can’t be helped but which was also reflected in its value for money. Lance pointed out some of the deeper use of technology in the Z900, too:
“I think it is worth commenting on the great job Kawasaki did delivering a bike that performs as well as the Z900, without all that,” he said. “When you look at the bike, Kawasaki included some low-cost design elements that make the bike look more than it is, like the plastic frame fascia on the sides that disguise the basic steel frame. Containing cost was important and I think Kawasaki did this without making the Z900 look cheap.”
Most of us thought the kinked-in handlebar position was weird, but what really cost this bike points was its basic suspension, which “struggled when things got a bit racy,” in Chris’s words. Kel agreed, saying it’s “not designed to be ridden on the limit, and was sloppy at speed and required more brawn than brains when ridden in anger.”
Still, it was easy to ride, so some of us still rated it as confidence inspiring when pushed hard. It’s just that the chassis reached its limits well before the engine (shades of 1972 Z1, perhaps). Its ease of riding comes down to the nice low-rev power delivery that flows into the fun top end; and to the predictability of the chassis when experienced from the in-control riding position. Its wet weight of just over 200kg is eminently manageable, too.
“For the money you are getting a well-rounded package.” Stef said. “The Z900 didn’t stand out in any one area, but as an overall package for the price, it is pretty good value.”
Dyno Dave says
Possibly a little under-powered for a 900. Lots of potential for this bike if you like to tinker. Personally, I don’t like the instrument layout, especially the rev counter. Very smooth engine and would be a great commuter and fun bike in the hills on a quiet Sunday with some suspension and engine upgrades.
Kawasaki has done a great job delivering a no-frills performance bike in the Z900. It feels small for a 948cc motorcycle – the seat height is only 795mm and the reach to the fairly straight ’bars is easy and comfortable. Tall riders might feel a bit cramped on a long trip though.
The standout is the silky-smooth power delivery that instils confidence and holds no surprises. It makes the Z900 perfect for a LAMS rider moving up to their first unrestricted bike.
Kawasaki delivers a basic performance bike at a bargain price. Riders on a budget won’t be paying for anything they don’t need and what they’ll get is a great-looking, super-capable motorcycle.