Everything used to be better! Well, maybe we agree in this case on earlier was some pretty. In fact, Kawasaki is not the only manufacturer that tries to associate the successful retro design timelessly beautiful classic with today's much better technical possibilities. This is a challenge that is far from always a success. We want to find out how well "RETRO meets HIGH TECH" was feasible at the KAWASAKI Z900RS and what else is in the bike.
On the way to our test of the Z900RS I honestly didn't have a proper opinion on the machine. This wasn't just because I haven't driven them yet, but the main reason for this was that I'd previously associated KAWA with squeaky green yoghurt cups. They certainly have their justification and also the fan base – but they are not my thing. But after only a few moments in the yard of the Kawasaki dealer, I realized that my personal attitude could prove to be extremely incomplete and will probably not be tenable after today.
At Kawasaki in Japan, the "retro market" field has long been left to the competition. All the more pleasing now this really successful litter. Compared to the basic model of the Z 900, a lot has been changed: control times, compression, flywheel, power, anti-hopping clutch, transmission, cylinder and housing, fork, wheelbase, radial brakes, chassis, seat height.... Not to mention, of course, the successful design (tank, rear bumper with an LED rear light that could be a light bulb, spoke wheels, hinted cooling fins and cockpit with round instruments). Thus, one thinks - base back and forth - more of the Z1 from the seventies than of the sister Z 900 of today and experiences a correspondingly nostalgic driving feeling.
On the Z 900 RS it sits comfortably and comfortably. With 40 millimetres more seat height than on the Z 900, even larger drivers can cope with the machine. One sits almost upright on the RS with its wide and relatively high handlebars. It took us a little moment to make friends with it and gain the legitimate confidence in the machine. But already after a short period of friending, the Kawa made us really fun and swung happily with us through the curves. Chilled torque surfing with a wonderful sound experience. There, too, it seems that efforts have been made and actually sound design. The anti-hopping clutch is smooth-running, the ABS regulates early but sensitively and the traction control can be controlled in three stages. Who likes can also let the front wheel rise with the traction control switched off. All in all, however, it is a leisurely cruising through the autumnal landscape and the Z performs its service absolutely reliably.
A really successful bike which is really fun but above all looks really good. Now, of course, you can still find something to complain about. For example, among the more extreme retro fans, there may be those who miss the two-sided struts compared to the legendary Z1. Or find the LCD between the round instruments superfluous. The Most strikingly missing is the Z9000 RS compared to the Z1 but certainly the exhaust system with 4 silencers. But who ever wants this can fulfill this wish for about 3000€ at the company Hattech https://www.hattech.de/380-kawasaki/z900-rs-z900-rs-cafe. Otherwise, the motorcycle test crew agreed that the Z900 RS in Candytone Brown makes an even better figure than our test model in Sparkle Black which would be worth us the 300€ surcharge in any case. But that's a matter of taste, of course.
The test machine was kindly provided by Heller & Soltau.