Kawasaki marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Z Series with four special models.

To honour the signature models, Kawasaki recreates the look of its Z900RS and Z650RS, while the naked siblings, the Z900 and Z650 get a trailblazing new colour.

Kawasaki developed a special painting process for the Z900RS and Z650RS to capture the colour scheme of the original Z1 with a combination of a deeper brown and burnt orange candy.

In addition, the RS also gets a vibrant gold wheelset.

Team Green also adds the 50th-anniversary emblem on the tank and engine case cover including a retro-inspired 900 Double Overhead Camshaft badge.

While the Z900RS and Z650RS is almost a perfect rendition of the original Z series, the Z900 and Z650 displayed the Z1100GP Firecracker Red livery.

The modern Z900 and Z650 also get a blazing red rim along with the anniversary emblems on the fuel tank and fender.

According to reports, the 50th Anniversary Z Series will land in Japan on February 1 2022.

  • The Kawasaki Z900RS Café caters to the classic café racer look.

  • Changes are cosmetic while everything is shared with the naked Z900RS.

  • However, the riding experience was rather different.

“Café racers” originally bikes modified from stock which owners bring to cafés to show off. There were no Starbucks in the 60s and 70s but restaurants and cafés such as Ace Café were the haunt of modified motorcycle riders. That’s in London, but we have plenty of mamaks here, intead. However, are bikes the Kawasaki Z900RS Café factory fads to milk the nostalgia?

First off, the Z900RS Café is the factory café racer variant of the Z900RS modern classic. Kawasaki calls the latter the soul successor to one of the most iconic bikes of all time, the 1972 Z1.

Conversely, the Z900RS Café is the tarted-up version with a headlight cowling, windscreen, forward handlebar and stepped-up seat. Kawasaki has (officially) called it the soul successor to the Kz1000R which dominated the AMA Superbike series in the hands of Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner, John Pace and of coure, Eddie Lawson.

1982 Kz1000R

The Z900 RS Café shares everything else including the engine, suspension, chassis and electronics. The 948cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve engine produces 110 bhp at 8,500 RPM and 98.5 Nm of torque at a low 6,500 RPM.

The new handlebar puts the rider in a sportier riding position, hence more weight on the front wheel.

Firing up the engine let loose stirring “vroom” from the exhaust. To recap, Kawasaki made the exhaust system to mimic the note from the Z1. It even has that sound of a tuned inline-Four… “vroom… pause… vroom… pause”. Blipping the throttle returns a howl mixed with a growl.

The clutch take-up and throttle are still “eager.” Well, that’s a diplomatic way to say snatchy. You have to be vigilant otherwise the bike will just take off with your brain still sitting in the parking lot.

However, the sportier riding position lent a much better control over the front wheel. On the “standard” Z900RS, the front went light with hard acceleration.

Similarly, charging into corners was much easier on the Café. Now it’s not just sweeping corners but also those pesky sharp ones at intersections.

The suspension felt harsh and uncompliant at first, but it turned out that the previous tester had dialed in all the wrong settings. Imagine riding a bike with close to the forks adjusted to full compression damping and full rebound damping!

If that’s not enough, the rear shock had its preload set to the lowest (which gave the bike a low rear and high front akin to a cruiser). The shock’s rebound damping was also almost fully dialed all the way out. WTF!

Readjusting the suspension yielded a bike that’s easy to flick into corners and maneuver around traffic. Unfortunately, the rear suspension still hopped over sharp bumps. However, that wasn’t meant to say the bike’s suspension was bad. Instead, it as what we’ve always said that some Malaysian roads can be kidney-busting.

The inline-Four based on the naked Z900 is tuned for low-down and midrange torque, hence it shows especially when riding in heavy traffic. Filtering through at 60 km/h in fourth gear still leaves plenty of acceleration.

Blasting away was just a small throttle’s movement away, leaving everyting else to reverberate in the exhaust’s howl and burnt hydrocarbons.

Bad points? The fuel tank is old school as per the Z1 so it’s plenty wide between the knees. The uptick, though, it’s easier to grip it with your knees during hard braking and cornerning.

So, is the Kawasaki Z900RS Café merely a prettied-up bike? Well, depends on how you look at it. In our books, however, the revised riding position has made the bike much better. The snatchy throttle took lots of concentration at first, but you grow to manage it.

But its looks were definitely a head-turner. The headlamp cowling, plus the classic lime green paint with white stripe gave it that real old school Kawasaki look.

Just wished I had a Bell classic full-face and bomber leather jacket when I rode to Starbucks…

It’s priced from RM 72,372 (basic selling price inclusive of 10% SST).


The 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS was officially launched last February paying homage to the original 1970s Kawasaki Z1 or “Zephyr”.

The main base is somewhat similar to the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS but with many ‘upgrades’ from its chassis to suspension, brakes and more.

Kawasaki Motors Malaysia (KMSB) has priced it from RM67,900 (basic price with GST).

With the rising demand and interest for modern retro bikes in this day and age, more manufacturers are taking note of this by including their very own version in their motorcycle line-up. One of these manufacturers is none other than Kawasaki who recently introduced the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS back in February. (more…)

  • Kawasaki Motors Malaysia (KMSB) telah memperkenalkan motosikal terkini mereka, Kawasaki Z900RS 2018.
  • Tawaran moden klasik terbaru ini dijana oleh enjin empat selari 948cc yang sama seperti motosikal Kawasaki Z900 ABS 2017.
  • KMSB telah menetapkan harga bagi motosikal Kawasaki Z900RS ini pada harga RMM69,900 bagi skema warna Special Edition Orange dan RM67,900  bagi edisi standard berwarna hijau dan hitam  (harga asas beserta GST).


Kawasaki Motors Malaysia (KMSB) has unveiled their latest 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS.

Their latest modern-classic option is powered by the same 948cc inline-four engine found in the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS.

KMSB has priced the Kawasaki Z900RS at RM69,900 for the Special Edition Orange paint scheme and RM 67,900 for Standard Edition. (basic price with GST).

Kawasaki Motors Malaysia (KMSB) has officially unveiled their first new bike of the year which is the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS. This is Kawasaki’s first ever modern-retro bike since the Kawasaki W800 which was last manufactured in 2016 and it looks stunning for both current and old school riders alike. (more…)

  • Motosikal Kawasaki Z900RS serta Z900RS Cafe 2018 bakal membuat kemunculannya pada tahun hadapan.
  • Kedua-dua buah motosikal ini adalah motosikal moden klasik yang sejati.
  • Kemunculannya bakal menggegarkan lagi pasaran.


  • We can expect the Kawasaki Z900RS and Z900RS Café in 2018.

  • Both bikes are truly modern bikes.

  • They’re set to take the market by storm.

We mourned the loss of the Kawasaki W800 modern retro. Here was a bike that looked properly retro: The engine had the bevel drive cover on the outside of the engine block, and beautifully polished aluminium accented cooling fins; the “bread loaf” seat; peashooter exhausts; twin rear shocks; even the front brake disc looked retro.

Then Kawasaki launched the W800’s replacement during EICMA last month. Called the Z900RS and Z900RS Café, they rocked the motorcycle fraternity.

Here are some of the features we are looking forward to.


Back in 1972 (for model year 2013), Kawasaki unveiled the monster bike which cemented the Japanese manufacturer’s name as a premiere brand. It was the Z1.

The 900cc, inline-Four was the first air-cooled engine which featured double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and produced 82 bhp to propel the bike to 210 km/h. It was the fastest production bike of its time. It also went to dominate sales and Motorcycle News name it as the Best Bike of the Year four years in a row.

The Z1 went on to spawn the Kz900 which in turn gave birth to the dominant Kz1000-S1 which gave rise to GP greats Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, and Wayne Gardner.

It was also the bike in the popular TV series CHiPs.

Screen grab from CHiPs

(Click here for our article on the evolution of famous Kawasaki motorcycles.)

Best Iteration of the Z1 Yet?

Kawasaki had revived the inline-Four modern classic in the vein of the Z1 before. Remember the Zephyr 400/750/1100 in the 1990’s?

How about the later ZRX1100 (1997 to 2005) and ZRX1200 (2001 to 2008), modeled after the mighty Kz1000R-S1?

They were surely beautiful, showing just eternally beautiful was the Z1’s form. However, these were fairly heavy.

The Z900RS on the other hand, weighs only 214 kg, ready to ride. Additionally, it features fully adjustable forks and a rear shock that’s derived from the ZX-10R superbike. A new, lightweight trellis frame holds it all together. The Z900RS is given a sporty rake angle of 25.4 degrees and trail of 88.9, ensuring agile handling.

Z1 Styling Cues

Oh yes, they’re all there.

The ducktail back end, oval rear light, machined engine fins, textured metal tank, side panel badges, cam covers, bread loaf seat, the instrument panel, and gauges that use the same fonts. Even the needles rest at the same angle as the original.

The new upper frame accommodates the seat and tear-shaped fuel tank. The two-tone orange and metallic brown paint are faithful reproduction of the original.

If you want a more racer-esque feel, opt for the Z900RS Café, which has a bikini fairing, lower handlebars and humped seat.

Let’s not forget the new 4-into-1 double-wall steel exhaust system, which most owners of the K1 modified to and mimics the Kz1000’s. Anyone know if Kerker still makes exhausts?


Horsepower is useful for the track. Out here on the mean streets, it’s torque that rules.

While the Z900RS’s engine shares the same architecture as the Z900 naked sportbike’s, it’s tuned for more low- and mid-range grunt for the real world.

It means that you don’t have to shift like you’re auditioning for Riverdance when you need to overtake other vehicles and while riding at low speeds.


Judging from how the bike looks, its spec sheet and reviews from overseas media, the Z900RS and Z900RS Café are both practical for the daily commute and weekend mountain road riding. It also looks like it has a more pragmatic riding position for all day comfort.

The way we see it, we could attach soft luggage on both sides (since it’s a monoshock) and tankbag without ruining the looks of the bike.

So there you go. We’re sure to discover many other great (and not so great) features of the bike when it arrives in Malaysia. Oh, that may be in the second quarter of 2018.


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