Kawasaki Z900RS 2018

Kawasaki Z900RS: Modern Classic Game Changer

Kawasaki Z900RS finally launched: the Tokyo Motorshow saw the wraps taken off Kawasaki’s new ‘neo-retro model, the Z900RS. And, it looks as though it’s going to be a game-changer for the retro motorcycle sector.

Kawasaki Z900RS: Worth the Wait?

There have been nearly two years of rumour and speculation about this bike and on the surface it appears to have been well worth the wait.

Based on the Z900, the Z900RS has all the trappings of its modern super-naked garage mate (and more) however pays homage to Kawasaki’s Z1, in terms of styling. The “and more” comes in the form of a two-mode traction control system, all-around LED lighting and higher spec radial-mounted brake calipers – none of which you’ll find on the Z900.

“The visceral spirit of a 1970s legend – Kawasaki’s original king of cool Z1 finds expression in the Z900RS….”

Kawasaki Z900RS 2018 Lone Rider

Z900RS – A True Modern Classic

Kawasaki’s promotional material for the Z900RS uses the tagline True Spirit – essentially signalling that this bike is the only truly authentic bike in this market sector. To that end, from a styling perspective, there are definitely style notes that leave you in no doubt as to the era this bike is emulating.

Kawasaki Z900RS Launch Video

Much like the W650 & W800 which arguably looked more authentic than their competitors at the time,  Kawasaki has produced a bike that looks as though it’s emerged from a bygone era and evokes the spirit of the original 70s Z1. Only this time they added modern features.

Kawasaki Z900RS Instrument Cluster

The borrowed Z900 frame has been altered to accommodate an original-looking 17-litre tear-drop tank. Additionally, the rear of the bike adopts the duck-bill tail that is synonymous with the original Z1.
The instrument cluster comes in the form of dual clocks, comprised of an analogue-style speedometer and tachometer dial. That’s then combined with a multi-functional LCD screen which is sandwiched in-between the two.

The liquid-cooled 948cc engine has been given cooling fins to further espouse authenticity.
However, rather than the four pipes that you’ll find on the original Z1, there’s a more modern-looking 4-into-1 pipe configuration on the new Z900RS.

Why is the Kawasaki Z900RS Launch a BIG DEAL?

Well firstly, this launch gets Kawasaki back in the neo-retro motorcycle segment.  Kawasaki chose not to update the W800 to meet EURO 4 regulations, -meaning they didn’t really have an offering for this lucrative sector of the market.


Additionally, it’s a bike that can actually match or out-perform several naked middle-weight motorcycles. That last fact means buyers who prefer the styling of neo-retro motorcycles no longer have to feel as though they’re making a compromise on performance (in opting for the Z900RS). 

On top of that, there are rumours of a more powerful café racer variation in the works that may possibly be based on the Z1000. Truly exciting stuff. But before all of that, it’ll be great to see some custom shops like Bull Dock, Japan get their hands on this bike as it seems to offer an excellent starting point for a custom café racer or bobber.

Kawasaki Z900RS Price And Availability?

Kawasaki is remaining tight-lipped about the price but most analysts seem to concur, that it will be close to £10,000 (approx. $13,500 US) and is likely to appear on dealers’ showroom floors by the end of 2017.

Launch Video

Kawasaki Z900RS Specifications

Kawasaki Z900RS Launch


  • Engine type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke In-Line Four
  • Displacement 948 cm³
  • Bore x stroke 73.4 x 56 mm
  • Compression ratio 10.8:1
  • Valve system DOHC, 16 valves
  • Starting System Electric

Performance & Transmission

  • Maximum power 82 kW {111 PS} / 8,500 rpm
  • Fuel consumption 5.3 l/100 km
  • CO2 emission 136 g/km
  • Maximum torque 98.5 N•m {10 kgf•m} / 6,500 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed

Kawasaki Z900RS Colours

The Z900Rs will be available in three colour schemes.

  • Candytone Brown / Candytone Orange – [Pays homage to the original Z1 colour scheme]
  • Metallic Matte Covert Green / Flat Ebony Metallic Matte Covert Green / Flat Ebony
  • Metallic Spark Black

Kawasaki Z900RS Complete Launch Images

All of the images from the Kawasaki Z900RS, neo-retro roadster launch.