Kawasaki makes its long-awaited entry into the retro category with the all-new Z900RS Cafe. Conceived as an homage to the legendary Z1,it is powered by a liquid-cooled 900cc-class In-Line Four – an engine choice that makes the Z900RS Cafe unique in this category. The newest Z is a synthesis of the traditional and the modern. An engine with a traditional In-Line Four configuration is backed by Kawasaki’s latest rider support technology, the engine and frame design both benefit from the latest in advanced analysis technology, and carefully crafted styling elements are complemented by high-tech features like LED lighting and digital instrumentation. Great pains were taken to achieve the Z900RS Cafe racer styling look and feel, with each component meticulously selected and every setting carefully considered. A synchronous ride feel combines the smooth response of an In-Line Four tuned for low-mid range torque, a deep rumbling exhaust note crafted to deliver additional rider enjoyment, and neutral handling that enables both leisurely and sporty riding. This is complemented by timeless looks that blend Z1-inspired styling with modern technology and craftsmanship techniques, and an attention to detail and high level of fit-and-finish to rival that of the Z1 itself. For riders searching for a bike with character and a rich history, the Z900RS Cafe – offers both in abundance, while providing an opportunity to slow down, look around and enjoy the simple things that life can bring.
Synchronous Ride Feel
Thanks to its smooth In-Line Four tuned for strong low-mid range torque, and unhurried handling care of its lightweight trellis frame, the ride feel of the Z900RS Cafe is unique in the retro category. Both engine and chassis response were carefully designed to not be too quick, making it easier to feel at one with the bike. The resultant stress-free riding is complemented by a crafted exhaust note that enriches the riding experience from the time the rider thumbs the ignition – features that will enable riders to enjoy their machine for many long years. The Z900RS Cafe’s racer styling is reminiscent of the legendary Kawasaki bikes of yesteryear: it is happy to run at a leisurely pace, but is more than capable of accommodating more spirited riding should the mood arise.
Strong, Smooth In-Line Four Engine
Like the Z1, the Z900RS Cafe features a 900cc-class In-Line Four – an engine configuration that inherently offers a great balance of power and manageability. Tuning focuses on the low-mid range. Revs build in a measured, but very determined manner, giving the rider a sense of connectedness between the throttle and rear wheel.
KTRC (Kawasaki TRaction Control)
Contributing to rider reassurance, the Z900RS Cafe is equipped with advanced Kawasaki rider support technology. KTRC features two modes that cover a wide range of riding conditions, offering either enhanced sport riding performance or the peace of mind to negotiate slippery surfaces with confidence. Riders can choose from two modes. Mode 1 prioritises maximum forward acceleration. Mode 2 provides rider reassurance by facilitating smooth riding on slippery surfaces. Riders may also elect to turn the system off.
Carefully Considered Exhaust System
When designing the exhaust system over 20 variations were considered before arriving at the final design, one that emphasises the presence of the In-Line Four engine. Double-walled header pipes give the exhaust a more powerful appearance, while making it more difficult for the headers to become discoloured over time. The Z900RS Cafe features brushed finish to the short megaphone silencer which contributes to the Z900RS Cafe retro sport image.
Kawasaki’s First Tuned Exhaust Note
While Kawasaki In-Line Four engines are historically renowned for their great-sounding exhausts, this the first time that Kawasaki has conducted sound research to craft a model’s ideal exhaust note. Designed to elicit rider response, the sound tuning focused on the engine’s initial roar to life, idling and low-speed riding where the rider is best able to enjoy the exhaust’s deep rumble.
Assist & Slipper Clutch
Assist & Slipper Clutch uses two types of cams (an assist cam and a slipper cam), offering two functions not available on a standard clutch. When the engine is operating at normal rpm the assist cam functions as a self-servo mechanism, pulling the clutch hub and operating plate together to compress the clutch plates. This allows the total clutch spring load to be reduced, resulting in a lighter clutch lever pull when operating the clutch. When excessive engine braking occurs – as a result of quick downshifts (or an accidental downshift) – the slipper cam comes into play, forcing the clutch hub and operating plate apart. This relieves pressure on the clutch plates to reduce back-torque and help prevent the rear tyre from hopping and skidding.
Horizontal Back-Link Rear Suspension
Unlike the twin rear shocks of the Z1, the Z900RS Cafe features Kawasaki’s Horizontal Back-Link rear suspension.This choice of modern suspension (also featured on Kawasaki’s supersport and super-rnaked models) offers a higher level of sporty riding potential – something that Kawasaki engineers were not willing to sacrifice. Like the fork, the linked rear suspension delivers a balance of ride comfort and sporty performance.The rear shock features stepless rebound damping and stepless preload adjustability.
Lightweight Trellis Frame
Complementing a light overall weight (noticeable as soon as the bike is lifted off its side-stand), frame rigidity and chassis geometry tuning were selected to deliver light, natural handling. Like the engine, the chassis responds to rider input predictably, going where the rider wants it to without resistance. In keeping with its retro sport model character, the Z900RS Cafe stance is slight more forward-leaning than the Z900RS, and it features a black drop-style handlebars design. A product of Kawasaki’s advanced analysis technology, the frame had to be completely redesigned to accommodate the slim teardrop fuel tank and offer a handling character optimal for enjoyable riding at a more measured pace.
Inverted Front Forks
41 mm inverted front fork contributes to excellent ride comfort and sporty riding potential. Response is unhurried, offering reassuring handling in riding situations ranging from in-town to winding roads. The high-grade fork features compression (10-way) and rebound (12-way) damping adjustability as well as stepless preload adjustability, enabling precise settings to suit rider preference and riding style.
Relaxed Riding Position
Whether navigating city streets or winding through the hills, the Z900RS’ relaxed riding position, more upright than that of the Z900, offers both comfort and control, accommodating both leisurely riding or running at a more spirited pace. The relationship between pegs, seat and handlebars was designed to enhance communication between rider and machine, giving the rider a confidence-inspiring feeling of control that complements its light, natural handling. Upper-triple clamp is positioned 40 mm higher, contributing to the higher
handle position and a more upright riding position than the Z900.
With a seamless blend of Z1-inspired styling elements and modern craftsmanship – from the iconic teardrop fuel tank to the innovative oval LED taillight – the Z900RS Cafe offers timeless good looks with an exquisite attention to detail and superb fit-and-finish that results in a very high-quality appearance. Functional beauty was a priority, with a simple, yet refined design pursued. In contrast to the sharp, edgy design of the Z Supernaked models, the Z900RS Cafe uses rounded elements to emulate the retro-style design of classic motorcycles.
Round LED Headlight
A blend of retro and modern designs, the large ø170 mm LED headlamp casts a bright, white light for great night-time visibility. It features six chambers (four for low-beam, two for high-beam). Position lamps in the high-beam chambers ensure the whole lamp appears lit, like a retro-style bulb headlamp. Details like a convex lens and chromed headlamp ring add to the high-quality, retro sport design. LED turn signals contribute a modern touch.
Oval LED Taillight
The oval design LED taillight is another homage to the Z1. Unlike standard LED taillights that appear as a collection of dots, the surface-emitting LED taillight lights up as a solid surface, creating a design that is both retro and modern.
Wide Flat Handlebars
Wide, flat handlebar contributes to the retro sport styling while offering a wide grip to facilitate control. A wide 35° steering angle facilitates low-speed maneuvering. The black finished drop-style handlebars add to the high-quality image.
Thanks to the low seat height and the bike’s slim overall design, it’s easy to keep both feet firmly on the ground when stopped, an important consideration for many riders. 820 mm seat height enables a wide range of riders to enjoy the Z900RS Cafe with confidence.The seat is slimmer at the front, facilitating the rider’s reach to the ground. The seat can be removed without tools, offering easy access to the battery, fuse box and tool kit.
Radial Pump Front Master Cylinder
Radial-pump front brake master cylinder also contributes to the superb control and feel offered by the caliper. At the front, 300 mm brake discs are gripped by opposed 4- piston radial-mount monobloc calipers. The monobloc front brake calipers offer a firm initial touch, the level of brake force is very easy to control, and overall brake performance is superb. The Z900RS features ABS brakes standard.
Spoke-Style Cast Wheels
Original cast wheels feature flat spokes designed to look like classic wire-spoked wheels. Designed using Kawasaki’s advanced analysis technology, the wheels offer a balance of light weight and stylish looks, contributing to both handling and a design suited to the retro category. Low unsprung weight (thanks to parts like the swingarm and wheels) greatly contributes to the light, natural handling. Dunlop GPR-300 tyres contribute to retro sport look
Dual-Dial Instrumentation with Multi-Function LCD
Analogue-style speedometer and tachometer dials are complemented by a multi-functional LCD screen, balancing retro-style looks with modern functionality. Bullet-shape dial cases are a fitting touch for a retro sport model, while a spindle finish on the dial faces adds to their high-quality design. Gear position indicator increases shifting precision and confidence. In addition to the gear position indicator, display functions include: odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, remaining range, current and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature, external temperature, clock and the Economical Riding Indicator.
Meticulous Attention to Detail
From the Cafe racer-style-image front cowl to the high-grade coating selected for the bolts, attention to the smallest detail, carefully considered wire routing, and a clean fit-and-finish contribute to the Z900RS Cafe’ high-quality appearance. The engine head cover is all black and the engine crankcase covers feature the DOHC logo used on the original Z1 for added style. The Vintage Lime green version it features original colour and graphic design and the wheels feature green rim stripes and blacked out paint.
Transmission and Gearing
Gearing is optimised for the Z900RS Cafe’ engine character. Relative to the Z900, a shorter 1st facilitates moving from a stop. The engine’s strong low end torque makes R900RS difficult to stall when first starting to move. A longer 6th gear ratio contributes to ride comfort when touring or cruising at highway speeds. Enabling the engine to run lower rpm results in lower vibration and better fuel economy. A longer final drive ratio ensures smooth departure from stop while contributing to ride comfort when touring (much like the longer 6th gear benefits).
A handy DC outlet is located under the seat provides a convenient power source.