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U.S. Market Gets All New 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS

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Kawasaki has announced that the all-new Z900 ABS will be available in the U.S. market for the 2017 model year (we do not know the exact date, yet) priced very aggressively at $8,799 ($8,399 for the non-ABS version). This is an interesting new bike that should provide plenty of performance from its 948 cc four-cylinder engine.

The attractive, exposed steel trellis frame gives the Z900 a unique look and character, in our opinion, as it stands out from the aluminum-beam-frame crowd of high-displacement naked bikes. Despite the attractive pricing, the Z900 will have four-piston front brake calipers and an “Assist & Slipper Clutch,” which slips on downshifts and engages more firmly on upshifts. Kawasaki claims a reasonable wet weight (4.5 gallons of fuel) of 459 pounds.

Follow this link for further details and specifications, and here is the press release from Kawasaki:

The sun is rising in the distance. The light jumps to life against a motorcycle’s slender, exposed frame. Parked on the street its potent engine shines through the minimal, thin bodywork. Its style reflects its purpose. The 948cc engine, exposed trellis frame and linked suspension are all visible. It has nothing to hide. The curvy roads are all in the distance, beyond the city.

Aggressive, condensed and elegant, this motorcycle quickens the heart rate.  A longing flows through you and moves you with its Sugomi™-inspired design. You can feel the machine alive. Fall in love at first sight, introducing the all-new 2017 Kawasaki Z900 motorcycle.

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The 2017 Kawasaki Z900:

  • Sublime balance of power and handling
  • Exciting 948 cc in-line-four engine
  • Z-styling (Sugomi inspired)
  • Adept handling and low seat height

Designed for maximum riding pleasure, the new Z900 mounts a 948cc in-line, 4-cylinder engine into a new, ultra-lightweight, trellis frame. Sugomi is a Japanese word that describes the intense aura and energy of an object that is felt in those viewing it. The new Kawasaki Z900 is designed to evoke the thrill of motorcycling in those who see it up close.

The purposeful choice of a 900cc-class in-line-four was intended to reward the rider with crisp, smooth response and exhilarating acceleration at every twist of the throttle. The engine becomes more exciting the higher the revs climb, its smooth power delivery aids control. The lightweight chassis responds quickly to rider input; the nimble handling lends itself to spirited sports riding.

Like many legendary Kawasaki 900cc-class in-line four machines before the Z900 (Z1, Ninja®/GPz900R, Ninja® ZX-9R), the Z900 motorcycle’s package delivers a sublime balance of power and handling – ideal for a supernaked model.

The 948cc engine delivers the exhilarating excitement of power and freedom to the rider with every release of the clutch. This is a lightweight, nimble supernaked meant to redesign the large-displacement naked bike market. The crisp response of the Z900’s in-line-four cylinder engine is perfectly balanced by its light, agile handling.  Exhilarating without being overly intimidating, the combination is simply sublime. 

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ENGINE

  • New 948cc inline-four cylinder engine
  • Smooth acceleration
  • Adept in any rpm range

The new liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve 948cc inline four-cylinder engine offers impressive power and strong torque. Designed to complement the new chassis, with a lightweight, strong engine with plenty of torque, the 73.4 x 56.0 mm bore and stroke were chosen tocreate an engine design that exemplifies the thrill of acceleration. 

Silky smooth response from mid-high rpm provides excellent driveability, with hard-hitting power delivery above 6,000 rpm. Good over-rev characteristics mean that power does not drop off suddenly at high rpm. 

Four individual 36mm throttle bodies offer ideal mid-range power and the sub-throttles ensure smooth, sensitive throttle response. The downdraft throttle body layout creates the shortest distance possible for the fuel-air mixture, contributing to performance. 

The manufacturing process used for the pistons on the Z900 motorcycle take a lesson from Kawasaki’s premiere supercharged sportbikes, the Ninja H2™ and Ninja H2™R. Lightweight and rigid, the pistons are formed using a unique casting process (similar to a forging process) that scrapes unnecessary material to achieve the ideal thickness. This enables a lightweight piston, on par with forged pistons.

The Z900 uses “sound research” in creating the intake layout. This results in a mix of performance techniques and enhanced intake noise. Inside of the upward mounted airbox are varying length intake runners, with the two outside cylinders being longer than the inside two. This results in a tuning that helps both low and top end power output and provides an exhilarating intake noise during large amounts of throttle input. Twist the throttle and all of the rider’s senses are activated.

The exhaust system features a four-into-one-pre-chamber-into-silencer layout, with joint pipes linking the exhaust headers (headers 1-4, 2-3 are linked) contributing to stronger mid-range torque for improved feeling. Silencer’s dual-chamber internal construction contributes to performance as well as the exhaust note, while ensuring noise regulations are met.

Use of stainless steel material on the end-cap and silencer cover adds a high-quality feel, while contributing to a stylish design that looks compact and light.

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TRANSMISSION AND CLUTCH

  • Short gear ratios for quick acceleration
  • 6-speed for overdrive capabilities
  • Assist & Slipper Clutch in one, for ease of use and smooth operation

Short gear ratios for first through fifth gears contribute to the Z900 motorcycle’s strong acceleration in the rpm range used in everyday riding, while sixth gear is a true overdrive gear.

The Assist and Slipper clutch on the Z900 borrows from engineering knowledge learned on the race track and with models like the Ninja H2R and Ninja ZX™-10R is. The clutch uses two types of cams (an assist cam and a slipper cam).

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 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 tire from hopping and skidding during quick deceleration.

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CHASSIS 

  • Trellis Frame
  • Lightweight with straight bars and reduced complexity
  • Twin-spar for increased strength
  • Horizontal back-linked rear suspension
  • Engine structural part of frame, for increased strength and reduced weight

It’s noticeable as soon as you snap the kick stand up, just how lightweight the Z900 really is. Starting with the chassis, which is a new, high-tensile steel, twin-spar, trellis frame, this design contributes significantly to the bike’s light, nimble handling.

The approach to have the fewest bends and most straight lines in the frame allowed for a chassis that disperses stress extremely well. The frame design also trims all unnecessary material, helping cut down on weight.

The engine is rigid-mounted in five points on the engine, aiding in the nimble handling. Twin-tube type rear frame contributes to the bike’s low seat height with easy reach to the ground.

Up front is a pair of 41mm inverted front forks which feature stepless rebound damping and spring preload adjustability. Adjustment is via the conveniently located fork top caps. 

Horizontal-backed linked rear suspension positions the shock unit and linkage above the lightweight aluminum swing arm. This arrangement contributes to mass centralization, while ensuring that the suspension is located far enough from the exhaust that operation is not affected by heat. The rear shock is also adjustable, featuring rebound and preload adjustability. Settings offer both sporty performance (contributing to light handling on the street and in the hills) and comfort.

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WHEELS, TIRES AND BRAKES

  • Dual 300mm front disc brakes
  • Dual 4-pison front calipers
  • Lightweight, 5-spoke wheels enhance the looks and cornering turn-in performance

The Z900 features dual 300mm front petal disc brakes and a 250mm rear petal brake. This contributes to the high level of quality and sportiness. Dual opposed 4-piston calipers with resin brake pads offer a linear brake touch, facilitating control for the rider. The Z900 motorcycle is available with and without ABS.  

Stylish star-pattern 5-spoke wheels contribute to light weight and quality appearance, while their high rigidity benefits handling.

COLORS

Z900 ABS – Pearl Mystic Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black

Z900 ABS – Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black

Z900 – Pearl Mystic Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black

Z900 – Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black

MSRP

2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS – $8,799

2017 Kawasaki Z900 – $8,399

AVAILABILITY

For a full spec sheet on the 2017 Z900 motorcycle, visit www.kawasaki.com.

ACCESSORIES

A full range of Kawasaki Genuine Accessories are available at authorized Kawasaki dealers. For the different models, these can include different seats, seat cowl, frame sliders, tank bag and tail bag. Please visit your local Kawasaki dealership for more information.


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62 Comments

  1. jt says:

    I might be nitpicking here but one thing I noticed I don’t like is they moved the gauge cluster even closer to the handlebars. like on top of them. I have a z800 and thats one of my gripes with it is the cluster is to close to be useful. you have to look straight down to see it. the speed triple is further away and i noticed they moved it further away on the 2017 fz09 too. I hope they come to market with some brighter or at least different color schemes too. I mean hell if you already have that graphite color then its a detractor to upgrade to the new same graphite color. lame. But dang it grabs your attention with the engine and price point.

  2. chuckster says:

    Another hideous anime inspired wiz-banger from Japan.
    I’m absolutely sure it will be brilliant to ride but it’s just so butt ugly.
    I guess it’s not as frighteningly horrid as Yamaha’s equivalent.

  3. Eric says:

    So, is this what was rumored to be the new retro-themed bike by Kawasaki, or is that still forthcoming?

  4. jt says:

    Looks like it will have 73fp and 125hp even with 30 something pounds it should spank the fz09 with equal riders. fz09 is getting some goodies like traction control abs and slipper clutch plus already had modes. none of that except abs which i would probubly forego with the z900. oh yeah has a slipper. im thinking if the suspension is good which it looks like it should be it will handle nice too. the fz09 gets an updated fork but we will see how good that is. really even though they are going to be direct competition for each other they have a totally different character. fz09 will still likley be the wheelie king tho.

  5. VEGA says:

    948 cc four-cylinder engine for $8,700…?

    That’s almost 1000ccs, Kawasaki should’ve called it 950cc cause, ironically, this would’ve attracted MORE Americans!!! Anyhow, I must say that its quite a STEAL at this price… Among The Yamaha’s FZ09 & this, I’ll choose this in a HEART BEAT simply because I love the howl of 4-Cylinders, and I also happen to love Kawasaki which I think is The Ducati of Japan with looks as well as reliability…!

    The FZ09 has a jerky low-end so yet another reason to get this BEAST…!!!

  6. Mindspin says:

    The question is will it be available in California??? The Z800 is not.

  7. Max says:

    In black it kinda reminds me of a small Suzuki B-King.

  8. billy says:

    Hmmm.

    “Kawasaki claims a reasonable wet weight (4.5 gallons of fuel) of 459 pounds.”

    That’s reasonable? That’s really heavy, don’t ya think? Especially with the almost non existent tail section, bodywork, and also with the advent of aluminum, magnesium, and plastic.

    • mickey says:

      Sounds light to me for a big bore 4 cyl. My CB1100 weighs 575 and it feels like a featherweight compared to my ST 1300 at 717 pounds.

      • Dave says:

        Indeed, the GSXR 1000 and other 1,000cc Super sport bikes have hovered around 450-460lb wet for most of the past decade. Considering the price and tech advantages they possess, this is a pretty competitive weight for the Z900.

        • billy says:

          Not very impressive but we’ll call it reasonable.

        • billy says:

          Tech advantages?

          The race replicas could be considered at a disadvantage as far as weight goes.

          Wider rims, beefier frames, beefier forks, larger brakes, more electronics, more bodywork, etc.

  9. Gremlin says:

    Dirck: You are my first stop every day for motorcycle information! I’ve been waiting for a big bore Kawasaki since your December 2008 piece on the ZRX 1200 DARG that was never released in the US. Any info from the dealer show only Z1400, or additional supercharged bikes?

  10. Provologna says:

    For those comparing this to Yamaha’s 847cc FZ-09 triple: I presume, considering Kawasaki’s performance reputation, 12% larger displacement, and 1/3rd more cylinders (four vs. three), the Z900 should have considerable power advantage, likely in the top third of its power band. Certainly, I presume the power advantage (my guess is +12%) shall be considerably greater than the estimated 4% heavier weight (35 lb heavier bike = about 4% of the bike + rider + riding gear).

    Very interested to read the road test.

    Ditto what someone else said: this is an awesome, highly enjoyable, and easy to read website!

  11. TexinOhio says:

    Like the idea of more Kawasaki models, but 3 in-line 4’s with 806, 948 and 1043 cc’s?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I believe the Z900 replaces the Z800. But yes, this bike is still mighty close to the big Z.

      • Selecter says:

        One will be keen to notice the lack of 2017 Z1000 on Kawasaki’s site. Looks like the rest of the 2017s have been announced, so I’d guess the Z1000 is dead-in-the-water after this model year.

        • TexinOhio says:

          Well, I guess I need to stop spending so much time on the Kawi EU site…

          • Selecter says:

            It’s conceivable in the EU market that they could have all 3 of them, and fit each into a separate market segment. Here in the US, that would be a pretty tough sell, I would venture.

            Personally, I like the look of the Z900 more than both the Z1000 (which I’ve always been a big fan of) or the Z800.

    • Don says:

      All hail the return of the mythical 900. I’ll have another chance to buy a Kaw 900 after all!

  12. Mick says:

    Odd that, even after a remake, this bike cost and weighs considerably more than the Yamaha in it’s class.

    Did I miss the day that Kawasaki became a premium brand? The extra money could buy some suspension upgrades. Then the Yamaha would still be around half a girlfriend lighter, unless you’re in to full figured women.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The FZ-09 costs a little more, so I’m not sure where the savings for the suspension upgrades you speak of are coming from? The FZ is lighter, but then the Z holds more fuel, something worth more to me than the fewer pounds. The bikes are pretty evenly matched. The shootouts will make for interesting reads.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “the Yamaha would still be around half a girlfriend lighter, unless you’re in to full figured women.”

      “Kawasaki claims a reasonable wet weight (4.5 gallons of fuel) of 459 pounds.”

      “Wet Weight 425 lb” – Yamaha’s FZ09 product page.

      You don’t date 70lb girls, do you? lol

      Seriously, these are very close bikes. The FX is 847cc, the Kawasaki is 949cc. With the FZ’s new styling update, they’re even closer. Two flavors.

    • Stone996e says:

      What’s odd Mick is that you don’t know what you are talking about. The MSRP on the Yamaha is higher, and it’s approx. 35 lbs lighter. Really Mick, 35 lbs is half of an adult female?

      • Mick says:

        Sorry guys. I somehow confused this article with the 650 article. I must have bumped my head on something.

  13. KenHoward says:

    I like these new Kawasakis, but really want to stick this in here: A big Thanks to Dirck for maintaining such an enjoyable website! The internet is getting to be outrageous with advertising plastered all over every page, to the point that the actual article is often sandwiched into a relatively little box (and having to click on page-after-page to get through the article). What we find here is a nice layout with easily readable text and beautiful photos, all combined on one page for each article.
    Thanks for taking pride in producing this fun website, Dirck.

  14. Frank says:

    This and the 650 both great looking bikes. The baby Versys looks like a practical fun ride too. Ok Kawasaki.

  15. Jeremy in TX says:

    Didn’t one of these chase Arnold Schwarzenegger through some Central American jungle back in the late eighties?

    All kidding aside, I personally like the bike. While I’m not enamored with the styling, I’m not put off by it either. It has good specs for the price range and a decently-sized fuel tank. My only concern is that with the rigid-mount engine that it may be a bit buzzy, but that may prove not to be the case at all.

  16. Tim says:

    I’m not normally a fan of angular Japanese designs, but this is a pretty nice looking bike, other than maybe that front fairing sticking out so far. I especially like the look of the down pipes on this bike, and I also like bikes where the motor is completely visible, and this has a muscular looking motor.

    These may not sell, as Ryan Muller suggests, but I must say this is one of the better looking naked bikes that we’ve seen recently from Japan.

  17. PN says:

    I really like it and definitely plan to buy one. So there.

  18. ROXX says:

    Anything called a “Z900” should NOT look like this.
    A retro style ala the CB1100 would have contributed to the legacy far better than this soon to be “forgotten in the dust bin of history” will do.
    Might as well have used a ‘Kotex’ for the back seat. Not acceptable for a standard style motorcycle.

  19. Ryan Muller says:

    I have been selling bikes for over a Decade / And just like the Z800, this new 900 (and the new Z650 & and the new adv 300) will absolutely NOT sell.

    We cannot give these things away

    • Scott says:

      So what does sell?

    • Dave says:

      It’s a large country and every brand is releasing models in these competitive segments. Must just not be what works in your market.

      • billy says:

        That’s funny? My market? I’d have to ride around for weeks before I’d see anything built in the last five years.

        I bet Kawasaki sells 1500 of these in the entire country.

        • Scott says:

          Your market doesn’t sound anything like the majority of the country.

          Kawasaki has been selling motorcycles in the US for about half a century now, so I guess we can go ahead and assume that maybe they know what they’re doing…

          • mickey says:

            Well to be fair, the majority of THIS country are riding cruisers, primarily HD’s. Don’t see that changing anytime soon.

        • Dave says:

          Re: “I bet Kawasaki sells 1500 of these in the entire country.”

          Maybe that’s the case and maybe they’re happy with that, but I suspect it’ll be many more. I’m not privy to the math, but I understand it costs a lot of $$ to get a motorcycle product approved for sale in the US. I don’t think they’d go to the cost / trouble for too little return.

          • mickey says:

            that’s the thing..we don’t know and they won’t tell us how many units they look to sell, or how many units they have sold. It’s a big industry secret for all manufacturers for some reason. They will tell us how many total units sold, but not individual units. So, we really don’t know how large the 600 sport bike market or the 1000 sport bike market, or the touring market or the sport touring market or the ADV market, or the cruiser market actually is.

  20. Wendy says:

    Holy smokes, with that nose, why didn’t they add a beak for total ugly.

  21. Jonny Blaze says:

    Was hoping they come out with a retro Z900 instead of this, so that I can choose between the Z900 and the Street Twin.

    Doesn’t matter now. Already bought the Triumph Street Twin.

    • KenHoward says:

      ‘Haven’t heard about it in a while (maybe a couple of months?), but I believe I read that Kawasaki is planning to build a retro version, as well.

  22. Don says:

    This is one beautiful ride.
    Love those instruments and seat,, tank layout.
    Hope its SMOOTH like my fz09..
    I’m going to buy one in the spring with abs
    Love this thing.
    Don

  23. azi says:

    I like it. It seems like a good roadster package for someone who wants a bit more than a GSX750 but not the full trimmings of a Speed Triple or Z1000. I’d certainly consider it as a daily rider.

  24. peter h says:

    Looks like a handsome lightish weight machine. Wonder if bags will be an option.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Bags are not an option. The engineers determined that cases would be mounted so high in the air that the bike would be in danger of taking flight.

  25. Rocky V says:

    I don’t get this –they had a chance to go air cooled to run against the Honda

    what’s the point with having the 1000 also

    • Randy S. says:

      The point is that this bike is aimed squarely at Yamaha’s wildly popular FZ-09, which is also not a full liter-bike. The FZ-09 is an excellent value, and at several hundred dollars less, and with an extra cylinder, this new Kawasaki may be perceived as an even better value. I wouldn’t be surprised if this Kawasaki has more power than the FZ-09, and better suspension (the latter being not hard to achieve over the FZ-09’s horrible suspension.) The FZ-09 will be about 25 to 30 pounds lighter than this Kawasaki, though.

    • Pacer says:

      My prediction. 2018, the 1000 bagger remains and Kawi shows up with their version of an open class naked.

  26. beasty says:

    I’m trying to imagine what it would be like riding that thing with a passenger aboard. Seems like all the Japanese manufacturers are competing for tallest passenger pillion. Damn! These things just keep getting uglier! I’m sure it’s an engineering marvel, but dang.

  27. VLJ says:

    Wait. So now Kawi offers TWO litre-class I4 Insectoid Nakeds?

    Why?

  28. bmbktmracer says:

    2 variations of gray/black paint. A new class record! After you select your favorite, they’ll be able to say, “See! A majority of riders prefer gray and black.”

  29. VLJ says:

    Nothing wrong with it that a can of Raid wouldn’t fix.