Kawasaki has had a real bestseller in its range with the Z 900 since 2017. But the years pass, and the customers once again demand a facelift of the crisp Naked Bike. Ideally, a faclift serves to maintain strengths and alleviate the weaknesses. The test of the 2020 model shows whether this worked.
Let's start with a look back: When the Z 900 started testing for the last time,it left an almost completely satisfied test crew: How the engine delivered its power of 125 hp, the chassis put this away unimpressed, and the compact Naked Bike wet through the curves – great. Two things, however, bothered: first, the minimal comfort of the passenger. Unfortunately, it has to be said that Kawa did not change this. Why most manufacturers have decided across brands to form a grand coalition of sociable tormentors remains completely unclear.
The second point of criticism is somewhat more nuanced. The old Kawasaki Z 900 saved for a large part of the drivers in the wrong place: there was an ABS, but no other electronic driving aids. For hardcore fans, the anti-lock system is enough, even a digital rev counter is considered a new-fashioned Murks in these circles. These buyers will not appreciate that the new traction control is adjustable in different stages. Even the driving modes will not trigger storms of enthusiasm here. All functions can be selected via the new and coloured TFT display.
To be brief, the Kawa used to go like the famous sow, even if it is not driven through the equally famous village. We all make mistakes – so that even if you consider yourself the best of all possible motorcyclists, the electronic protective shield of the Kawa makes sense.
Does the new technology work perfectly? Then let's go.
Let's start with the impressions that are unimportant for driving. The first lap around the bike shows in direct comparison that a lot of cladding parts have been changed. Kawasaki describes this as the "next stage of Sugomi styling," which means that the typical mix of Transformers elements and insect eyes has been retuned. And yet - without being able to identify a particular cladding part as responsible - it works. The new Z 900 looks more harmonious than the old one. The fact that there is now full LED lighting rounds off the beautiful picture.
The new TFT display is actually good. It is clearly arranged and clearly structured graphically. Sorting, tuning and adapting the electronic helpers should therefore not be a problem. If, yes, Kawasaki would not have been so surprised by the new features that it would have scattered the operation on switches and buttons on the left side of the handlebars and on two more buttons on the display. During the journey you should leave the many necessary fingers away, but you don't have to.
More importantly, everything works wonderfully. The traction control is finely regulated, as well as the appropriate driving mode. The old Kawa made one wonder: 125 hp in a mid-range bike? Finally, we decided to define the Z 900 as an "upper middle class", because otherwise the Z 650 or Yamaha MT-07 would have flown out of the mid-range grid.
125 horsepower, and Kawa wants to re-adapt the engine software. What is clear is that whatever the new program lines of the hardware command in the form of the fantastic four-cylinder, it worked. The Z 900 storms through the speed band with enthusiasm and has a very wide range of usage. Even among 2,000 tours she does not beat with the chain around her and tries to throw off the rider. At the other end, the force doesn't want to stop, from 6,000 the storm unleashes to the top. That's how it has to be. The fact that the new exhaust sound fits in completes the picture.
The Z 900 is a relatively compact bike. But at 210 kilos not overly light. This does not prevent the Kawa from throwing itself into the curves with great vigour. The stoppers work stable and when braking in the curve with a low set-up torque. The sitting position on the rather high handlebars is pleasant, not too sporty. This means, on the other hand, that the wind has a rather large attack surface, which is not mitigated by any wind protection. Naked Bike. In this case, the 240 km/h peak is more theoretical in nature. Unless you have fixed your seat meat to the now higher but still comfortable bench by means of a double-sided adhesive bench.
What else to forget? Oh yes, the gearbox. It switches japan-typically butter-soft and precise, here comes no lawsuit. Although the top gear is designed rather speed-lowering, it does not choke off the 948 cubic centimeter in-line four-cylinder. But Kawa still has a bit of a refusal: one of the increasingly popular Quickshifters is not even available at an extra cost.
What remains? At 9,845 euros, the Kawasaki Z 900 of the 2020 vintage has become more expensive, but with its electronic equipment it has also become considerably more valuable, especially in the area of security. She has lost nothing of her qualities – at least for sporty riders.
However, it is a very animating motorcycle: the bike appeals to the rider on an emotional level. Only the message is always the same: finally turn to the stop! If you like this and don't need a socioseat, you have a fully everyday athlete colleague here. If this is too hectic, the new features will not convince you either.
The test bike was provided to us by Heller & Soltau in St. Michaelisdonn.