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2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Debuts at Tokyo Motor Show (with video)

Kawasaki chose the Tokyo Motor Show to unveil the much anticipated Z900RS. A beautiful homage to the 1972 Z1 900, the Z900RS actually has a higher component spec than the much more modern looking Z900 already in Kawasaki’s lineup.

Sharing the same 948cc four-cylinder engine with the Z900, the new RS gets a slightly different state of tune to increase mid-range power, but still makes a claimed 110 peak horsepower (and 73 pound/feet of torque). Unlike the Z900, the Z900RS features fully adjustable suspension and radial-mount, four-piston Monobloc front brake calipers.ย  Claimed wet weight is in line with the Z900 … under 475 pounds with the 4.5 gallon gas tank topped off.ย  Not bad.

The unveiling of the Z900RS in Tokyo is independent of an announcement by Kawasaki of the remaining 2018 U.S. models, which will occur in early December at the IMS in New York.ย  We will provide more details as they become available.ย  In the meantime, enjoy these photos and the video below.


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169 Comments

  1. J. T. Anthony says:

    Bought a 1975 z1 new
    Fastest bike on the road at the time
    Road it for 10 years wish I had keep it
    I like the look of the new one , ride on
    I gave $ 2295.00 for my new bike in 1975

  2. Tom says:

    Ok so I am thrilled about this bike. I have owned a kz 650 and kz 750 back in the late 90’s and it was my favorite bike. I bought a gold wing a year ago to get back into riding and to tell the truth I hate it. Might as well have a car. so I had been looking for the next bike and was just disappointed with whats out there. My choices were harley or harley want to bes and as I said cruisers look good ( some of them) but are boring to ride. Bug bikes- wtf is wrong with people? Just one butt ugly want to be race bike after another racing to see who can design the most uncomfortable seat. So my last choice is spending a year rebuilding a 40 year old bike or spending 20k plus for some one to build me a 40 year old bike. THat is why I am so stoked about this bike. finally a good looking bike that is not a “retro” detuned rolling couch like the cb1100 . I was looking to bite the bullet and buy a yahama xsr 900, at least it looks fun to ride and is not completely ugly. Now I can buy a good looking bike with style and performance. I will add a small head light fairing and a belly pan like the

  3. Mr. Smith says:

    As an owner of many Z1’s / KZ’s over the years, one little detail, I think, would greatly help the look of the engine (don’t get me wrong, the bike is stunning as is). Extend the faux fins on the head a little to the front and back. And put faux fins on the cylinder block. And maybe extend the tail piece under the rear of the seat to cut down on the space. Of course, YMMV. Cheers.

  4. Mike says:

    I’m buying one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The original is my favourite bike of all time so it’s a no-brainer for me. And I think Kawasaki have done an awesome job on this… somehow looks modern and retro at the same time. And like the original it should go well and handle well – as well as being incredibly gorgeous.

    I Hope they don’t take too long to release photos of the cafe racer version – could be a tough decision which to buy. However if they look much like the overblown messes at the Tokyo M/C show then I’ll be happy with the standard Z900RS.

  5. pushrod pete says:

    After obsessively googling this bike for the last couple days, a couple thoughts come to mind:

    1) I agree with those who say it’s not really “retro”. I think that’s a good thing — my thought is that it looks like what a Z900 would look like now if it never went out of production but was instead continually updated.

    2) When I first looked over all the photos, it struck me after a while that I hadn’t noticed what the exhaust looked like. Again, that’s GOOD! Most motorcycles (esp Kawasaki) slap you in the face with ugly obnoxious canisters. This one just blends with the overall design.

  6. Dino says:

    Someone else pointed out rumors of a Cafe version already in the works.. Sweet.
    Now we just need the Suzuki GS1100 to round out the market… C’mon now!
    Good job, Kawasaki!

  7. Bluflame - Western Australia says:

    That brought a tear to my eye. I’ve got pics of my kids on bikes as babies and now they have their own bikes.

    A great advert for a great bike.

  8. Cyclemotorist says:

    What a beautiful motorcycle!

  9. richard says:

    judging by the comments it will be a high demand bike and a wait list to get one..this time last year the new Thruxton got the same amount of attention

  10. Artem says:

    Pretty cool. In three ways I think:
    1. Modern
    2. Z1 looks
    3. It can be transformed into 1984 Ninja 900

  11. MacSpoone says:

    Oh yeah. A Kerker 4/1 exhaust would be right at home on this gorgeous throwback.
    I haven’t looked at a new bike purchase in a very long time. This bike has changed my tune, though…

  12. edbob says:

    Thank you Kawasaki. Good suspension, good looking, etc. You should offer some sort of cool bullet fairing in the accessories. Then I will not be able to resist.

  13. Steven says:

    I was considering the 2018 XSR because I love the white and red paint scheme. I was waiting to see what the RS would look like. I’m sold! Bravo to Kawasaki to produce a retro-styled bike with modern modern touches. Can’t wait to swing a leg over it at the Washington DC IMS.

  14. red says:

    Dang it..I’ve been target marketed. I can’t stop looking at it while humming the tune to “kawasaki lets the good times roll”.

    40+ years and dozens of motorcycles, all bought used. Now that I’m old, have a couple bucks and wracked with nostalgia, they might finally get me.. did I mention my first motorcycle was a 72 kv75 trail. during high school, had a Z1 poster on my wall, right next to farrah. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Mark says:

      Just do it Red. I own the new z900 so I’m sure the RS will be just as good. It will out perform all the Z bikes that came before it. This is the new bike you’ve been waiting for all along.

  15. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Its as pretty as the z900 is fugly…wow. Other manufacturers, please take notice and stop cramming pacific rim bug designs down our throats…

  16. todd says:

    This is a great looking – and likely performing – modern motorcycle. I don’t see anything retro. It has similar styling to their bikes from the ’70s but I bought some brand new silverware a while back that looks strikingly similar to the stuff my grandma use to feed us with. They didn’t sell it as “retro”. I’m a Yamah fan but the styling they have been using on their bikes lately is just weird. This makes me really want a Kawasaki now…

  17. SausageCreature says:

    Nice job, Kawasaki!

    Lots of good choices in the retro market these days. Would love to see a shootout with the XSR900, CB1100, Bonneville 120, and R9T.

    One manufacturer is conspicuously absent, though. How cool would a modern GS1000 with a white/blue Wes Cooley replica paint job be? Suzukiiii…come out and plaaaaay!

  18. teelee says:

    Will have to get one, my B-King needs a companion.

  19. falcodoug says:

    How much money?

    • iwc3714 says:

      Price will probably be released around EICMA.
      But I guess it will be more expensive than a Z900
      and less expensive than a Triumph Street Twin. So
      $9 000 to $10 400 usd?

  20. My2cents says:

    I’m a kid again and I like it. For me it is retro and modern at the same time. Kawasaki should really bring back that jingle “LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL”

  21. RyYYZ says:

    I’m seriously tempted to get one of these come spring. Which, considering that my current bike is only 3 years old, is quite a statement for me. Especially considering that this isn’t really the type of bike I was thinking about switching to. But I have to admit, I have a hankering for something that actually looks good, unlike most of the new nakeds or ADV bikes. I was considering a new V-Strom 1000 or FJ-09, but their looks (like all the other ADV bikes) don’t do much for me.

    The last time I felt like this was when I replaced my crashed ’95 Concours with a ZRX1100. Which I only kept for 3 years because ultimately it wasn’t well-suited to touring. Not that I tour a lot, but occasionally I like to go for a week or two, and there’s no way I’m putting enough luggage (hard or soft) on something like this new Z900RS, or my ZRX1100, for that (for my taste).

    Regardless, I’m very tempted. It just looks so good.

    ps it looks like it will be a pain to keep clean, which I would want to, because it’s such a good looking bike.

  22. Geoffrey Hill says:

    Looks great. I wouldn’t call it Retro. Just great looking. Been planning to get a small dual purpose bike, Honda 250, then trading in my 1700 silverado. Test rode a Triumph Bobber, and Bonnie. No leg room on Bobber, and Bonnie didn’t really feel like it had enough Torque. Dealer tried to charge me for shipping and set up and $100 over MSRP for his test bike. Plans have changed, New D/P Kaw 250, then this. Kawasaki been doing well.

  23. RENDELL says:

    My eyes are salivating upon first sight! Its just a cool looking motorcycle. I really want it.

  24. RENDELL says:

    My eyes are salivating upon first sight! I want it. I really do.

  25. slipjoint says:

    Wow! What a blank canvas to start from. Looks great out of the box, and cosmetics should be simple and straightforward. Enough interest to support a huge aftermarket in performance improvements. This is going to be a major player.

  26. 10m3guy says:

    It doesn’t matter what Kawasaki or any other manufacturer does. Trolls on this site would trash and bash it. I like the looks of it. I like the blinkers too. I actually own a new Z900. Fantastic bike. These retro bikes are not really my style but it falls right inline with what Yamaha and some of other manufacturers are doing. I have owned 4 Kawasaki’s. They make nice machines.

  27. Ricardo says:

    I am keeping my 1978 CB550K much longer, everything is going to those looks now.

  28. dt 175 says:

    ’72, huh? those models should then be dressed like noddy holder or at least wearing wiiide flares instead of skinny jeans w/ the cuff turned up…

  29. Alex says:

    Awesome. The only thing it needs is an old style fuel tank cap.

  30. takehikes says:

    Love it until I get to the rear tire/fender Grand F***ing Canyon. Christ can that gap get any bigger? totally ruins the look and feel. I’d never buy it just because of that. About as sensible as the beak on other bikes.

    • mickey says:

      I guess they could have redesigned that rear sub frame to drop that gap a bit, which in turn would have lowered the seat and it wouldn’t have an ADV like 33″ seat height. Guess that’s why they are offering an optional “low” seat

      • takehikes says:

        A bit? How about 6″? LOL
        Its not the seat height its the gap.
        They just look ridiculous.

        • dubbltap says:

          Kinda have to agree. But I’m sure you have extra suspension travel over a early eighties bike. Then there’s the twin rear shocks that aren’t there to fill in some of the canyon.
          Have been looking to buy a naked bike soon to….”get back to basics”.
          First thing that caught my eye on the Yamaha XSR900 was the large gap in back and the fugly rear brake light.
          So far I’m liking my choices……Z900RS, XSR900, CB1100 and MG V7 III.

          Never had a Kawasaki bike before although it was a advertisement in Playboy for the late 70’s KZ LTD lineup that started the itch for streetbikes. Then again, I’m sure the nekkid lassies might have helped too!

      • redbirds says:

        I’ve found a lowering “dog bone” at a UK site that will lower the rear by 30mm. Slip the forks up through their clamps a bit and you’re golden. This will put the seat height close to that of my CB1100 and that will work.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t see any problem with it. What should go there?

    • falcodoug says:

      I guess they could have installed a Harley rear fender.

    • RD350 says:

      Since we are all so full of great ideas (har har) how about one more? Kawasaki should offer a premium version of this bike just as Ducati does with their line. An R version I guess (Z900RS-R!) Ohlins, super light wheels, ti-exhaust and perhaps some higher end Brembo brakes just for good measure. It seems to me that there are sufficient numbers of (probably) older guys who have the means to pay extra to have a lighter, better handling and more exclusive ride. And with Japanese reliability! Kawasaki should look to Bull Dock and AC Sanctuary for inspiration here as should any future owner of this bike.

      • RD350 says:

        Sorry .. this comment was meant to stand alone. Not responsive to this thread.

      • Dino says:

        That WOULD be sweet!

      • Tim says:

        MCN is reporting exactly that – for the UK market, anyway. A standard version and a Cafe version with higher spec brakes and suspenders, a small headlight cowl, spoke wheels and a different exhaust. Not that MCN is never wrong about stuff.

        • RD350 says:

          Cool! Thanks for pointing that out. I look at that site as well. Somehow missed it. That’s exactly what I envision! I’d rather have a reliable, high end Japanese bike such as this then an over-priced, PITA, unreliable Italian any day. Love the way they look, don’t want to live with them. Ask me how I know .. lol

    • Tim says:

      Meh. Maybe they’ll offer some accessory fender skirts for the canyon objectors.
      I think the gap on the Ducati Sport Classics was way worse than this.

    • joe b says:

      Wow, all bikes today have single shocks, and the gap between wheel and seat, are you kidding? take a hike…

    • SausageCreature says:

      I agree, but it’s not as bad as on some others. Maybe just a bit of bodywork beneath the seat to reduce the gap a bit.

      I can live with it though. I’m just happy it has a tail section that extends past the rear axle and a rationally sized pillion seat.

  31. Mick says:

    What’s up with the blinkers? They are easily remedied. But they are so out of place.

    • Tim says:

      Same story as the radiator, USD fork and 4 pot, Monobloc calipers, I’d guess. Better performance. To my eye, at least, the LEDs look okay – certainly better than the giant, yellow tea saucers of the original. Maybe an amber lens would be better.

  32. Neal says:

    This isn’t a market segment that interests me but I know a good bike when I see one. Kawasaki nailed it, assuming its less than a grand more than the Z900.

  33. PN says:

    I bet it’s fun to ride. I hope there’s a cafe version coming. It looks a little too conventional for me though so I’m leaning towards the GSX-S750 or maybe the Aprilia Shiver 900. Unless there’s a cafe SV650 coming or a redone CB400F:)

  34. Gary says:

    The problem with most motorcycle manufacturers today (and the very reason many are struggling) is that they are risk adverse. Success comes from those that can innovate, use technology appropriately, and create market segments. Bravo Kawasaki for nailing this one. While you didn’t create a market segment, you also didn’t dance around the edges as many have done for the last 15 years. The market has been asking for a UJM that wasn’t some watered-down version of a naked sport bike. Kawasaki delivered. Thank you for developing a bike with a workable suspension, proper brakes and an engine that can deliver. Up until today I was sure that my next bike was going to be an FZ-09, but I have to admit that this Z900RS clicks all of buttons. I’ll wait for some comparisons…but I won’t wait long…

  35. tuskerdu says:

    Beautiful.

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