Kawasaki Z900 RS

It’s no superbike and probably won’t appeal to the track riders, but it is a fantastic day to day bike… ‘Strue! Back to old school, a big comfortable machine with lots of modern, performance technology thrown in and an astonishing attention to build quality. It looks just like the bike that a guy called Geoff owned when I worked next door to The Bike Hospital in the nineties. Everything shouts old school, from the ducktail back end and oval rear light, to cut engine fins, textured metal tank and side panel badges and replica cam covers. Even the clocks use the same typeface and needle shape as the old bike, marked up to 240KPH… Pretty flippen cool!

Step back and you’ll see how the upper frame shape allows the seat and slim, tear drop-shaped fuel tank to be placed, like the 80’s machine. The 2023 Z900RS has that same hour-glass shape. Kawasaki has even made crisp rear LED lights glow like a ‘70s light bulb, the tank stripe wraps around the front of the tank and meets around the front in a Z-shaped bow. The headlamp, however is much updated over the original and it cuts into the darkness beautifully.

They have fitted the tried and tested 82KW 948cc 4 cylinder engine into a 70’s retro look chassis. But looks are only skin deep. Forget the air cooled bike that you rode in the early eighties, this is a thoroughly modern motorcycle. Kawasaki has included a three way switchable traction system ABS and traction control, top of the line suspension and decent brakes to compliment the package. And it really is quite a package…

It’s really comfortable, with a decently padded, comfortable seat, sensibly positioned bars and decent , well placed foot pegs. The tank is sensible with a 17 litre capacity. The OEM suspension is on the plush side, great for those long lazy rides and the Nissn brakes are properly decent. In the cockpit you’ll find a digital analogue setup with chrome details. The clocks match the bikes personality perfectly.

From a performance perspective, this is just such a chilled bike to ride. By chilled, I don’t mean lazy. The very nature of this bike is… just relaxed, retro Sunday morning rides or comfortable day to day commuting. She’s not manic at all, but delivers excellent torque and smooth acceleration all the way up to the 200kph mark. The six-speed gearbox is butter smooth with a clutch that’s soft and light. Kawasaki has bolstered the low to midrange power for everyday riding. First gear is short and the stock exhaust is tuned for a decent sound track, as well as grunt. A quick 170 odd KPH is the sweet spot where she is happiest and you can run along there all day long. Transitioning from fifth to sixth, there is a notable drop back in acceleration, it’s more of an economy/overdrive gear than anything else. When you want to cane her, you can, lots of power on tap, but that’s not really what a bike like this is all about. This is a head turning classic.


This is quite possibly one of the best bikes I’ve ridden all year. An absolute pleasure every time. Oh! Hold on… It’s only the end of January… But damn its fine! If you have even an inkling of nostalgia in your being, then you need to have a look at this one. Kawasaki has taken on the retro theme with some serious intent. Overlook this bike at your own peril…

Second opinion: Sean says

I rode the previous incarnation of this bike about five or six years ago, taking it on quite a long, yet pretty quick road trip from the East Rand to Koster and back via Rustenburg and loved every minute on the Z900. Swinging a leg over it again this past weekend for the Anti-Pants/Anti-Poaching event was well looked forward to. The first thing I noticed is how tight the handling is and how responsive the RS is to rider input… I immediately felt at one with the Zed 900. I made a quick adjustment to the handle bars, rolling them up a bit to suit my length and she felt even better. In true Sunday morning fashion I overslept and had to make post haste to get to the start of the event in Pretoria and blasted down the R21 way north of a “Nando’s full family meal with chips and Cola”, blitzing past many other riders along the way. This is one amazing engine, I recently rode a 900cc triple from another manufacturer and found I had to get quite energetic with the gear changes on up hills and overtaking and rev the nuts off of it to get it to make a bit of torque. The Z900, however is a completely different kettle of fish, sixth gear is a fuel saver, but a little kick down into fifth and the induction howls as it sucks in huge lungful’s of air and the exhaust give an angry shout at the world as the scenery begins to blur around you, it doesn’t yank your arms but it does pick up it skirts and run very well.

However, for me that is not its party piece, that honour goes to the crowds and comments it attracts. Pulling in at the A-P/A-P event comments like, “Jirre Boet, that is a lekker old Boney”, “Damn, that old bike is in pearler condition” and my favourite, “Mah Boet, how did you get that old boney to bliksem past me so quickly on the freeway?” and then the bewilderment in their eyes when I explain to them that it is actually a brand new, modern bike with just over a thousand clicks on the clocks…
Priceless! This bike is not only brilliant and fun to ride but a real head turner and ice breaker…
Want to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons? Go get yourself one of these new Kawasaki Z900RS’.

Price R 209 995 at your Kawasaki Dealer:

Engine Capacity:    948cc
Engine Type:    4-cylinder
Power:    82Kw
Torque:    98.5Nm
Drive:    Chain
Gearbox:    6-speed
Weight:    215kg
Tank Capacity:    17L
Fuel Consumption:    5.25L/100km
Ground Clearance:    130mm
Seat Height:    835mm
Front Brakes:    Nissin
Rear Brakes:     Nissin
Front Suspension:     OEM – 120mm – Adjustable
Rear Suspension:      OEM – 140mm – Fully-adjustable

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