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Kawasaki Z900RS: MD First Ride

A “retro?” An “homage?” What do you call a bike with thoroughly modern performance … from the engine, suspension, wheels and tires … that incorporates (quite successfully) design elements from an iconic model introduced in the 1970s? What about a “beautiful modern motorcycle that makes you want to stare at it in the garage … that you can get on and ride the hell out of with no compromises?” Okay, that title is too long, but it might be the best we can come up with for the new Kawasaki Z900RS.

Yes, we have ridden the new Kawasaki Z900RS for a full day, beginning in West Los Angeles, passing through the canyons above Malibu (at a very quick pace) and ending by splitting traffic (this is California, after all) through rush-hour congestion (this is Los Angeles, after all) on our way back to the hotel. In the process, we sampled everything from straight-line cruising at highway speeds to negotiating some of the tightest, twistiest, well-paved roads available in this part of the state.

But first, let’s describe the technical details. The Z900RS is a bit of a dichotomy. Its chassis incorporates several performance upgrades from the rip-snorting Z900 we fell in love with during our testing of that model, including better brakes and suspension. At the same time, although it shares the same, basic 948cc in-line four cylinder engine, peak horsepower is down a bit compared to the Z900 in exchange for stronger low-mid rpm power in the Z900RS.

The engine (which we found to have strong, satisfying over-rev despite the re-tune from the Z900) gets revised CAM profiles, lower compression and heavier flywheel mass to smooth, and spread power in comparison to the Z900. The exhaust system compliments this with slimmer header pipes.

The transmission has a shorter first gear and taller sixth gear compared to the Z900. Highway rpm levels are low for better fuel economy and lower vibration. The “Assist & Slipper Clutch” found on several other Kawasaki models does its job on the Z900RS to substantially reduce clutch-pull effort, while squeezing the plates together during acceleration. It also proved to seamlessly avoid wheel-hop when hard on the brakes while descending a particularly tight canyon road above Malibu.

Adjustable traction control on the Z900RS includes a default Mode 1 that allows a small amount of wheel slip, but intervenes enough to prevent things from getting out of hand. Mode 2 is for low traction conditions (such as rain).

The frame is a steel trellis design like the Z900, but it was built from scratch to accommodate the beautiful teardrop fuel tank. It allows a much lower passenger seating area, and even incorporates an increased triple-clamp offset for quicker steering. Although rigidly mounted at five points, the engine is remarkably smooth thanks to balancing efforts by Kawasaki (including the incorporation of a secondary balancer driven off the crankshaft).

Light, cast aluminum wheels carry modern, tubeless 17-inch radial tires (including a 180 section rear) and are designed with thin, flat spokes as a bow to the traditional steel spokes found on the original Kawasaki Z1. Combined with a new, 8.5 pound aluminum swingarm, unsprung weight should be substantially lower than some competitors’ tubed-tire retro models.

The fully-adjustable KYB inverted front fork works with the horizontal back-link rear shock (adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping) and holds thoroughly modern disc brakes with ABS. The four-piston, radial-mount monobloc front calipers are a significant upgrade from the Z900, and grip two 300 mm discs.

Styling revolves around that iconic, teardrop tank, and includes plenty of interesting details. Some we have already discussed (such as the wheel design). The round headlight is extremely bright (yes, we could even tell this in daylight) and incorporates six LED chambers. The round mirrors recall the same design introduced on the 1973 Kawasaki Z1. The fully-exposed side view of the engine reveals finning (although liquid cooled), as well as head covers and a clutch cover reminiscent of those on the Z1, as well. The Candytone Brown model looks very similar to the paint job on a  Z1.

The seating position is very upright and relaxed compared to the Z900, with higher, closer bars and footpegs forward and lower in comparison. Looking down at the analog tach and speedo, you could be forgiven for thinking, just for a moment, that you are aboard a 30-year old Japanese standard. Just for a moment …

The engine is smooth and responsive with power that builds in a linear fashion just above idle. Throttle response is relatively smooth, although a bit more abrupt than on the Z900. By comparison, many modern fuel-injected, Euro 4 compliant motorcycles are much less smooth, but Kawasaki set a higher bar with last year’s Z900 in terms of the smooth transitions from closed to open throttle. As our right wrist became accustomed to the throttle response, the issue disappeared completely.

This motor is silky smooth, both in terms of vibration and power delivery. There are essentially no steps in the powerband, and a healthy low-to-mid is joined by a progressively stronger pull on top. All the while, the exhaust and intake noises (specifically engineered by Kawasaki) are intoxicating … particularly at higher rpm levels. For lack of a better, technical description, from the rumble at idle to the full-throated wail near redline, this bike sounds bitchin’!

Suspension tuning is softer than found on the Z900, although damping is quite good. You can cruise on the highway and carry a good pace through the twisties without touching the adjusters, but as the pace quickened in the canyons above Malibu, we dialed in a bit more compression and rebound damping to effectively tighten things up. We were surprised how well the suspension responded to these changes (in a positive way).

The relaxed ergonomics don’t lend themselves to canyon carving quite as well as the more aggressive Z900, but we aren’t sure we could have gone any faster through Malibu canyon on a different motorcycle. The Z900RS is very well balanced and responsive. Steering is light and direction changes relatively easy for such a big motorcycle. The brakes have outstanding power, and resisted fade on one of the most fade-inducing roads available in Southern California (a steep, fast, twisting descent that goes on for miles). Feedback from the front brake is good, but not quite as good as found on some of the latest sport bikes.

Ground clearance is generous, and we never touched a hard part despite big lean angles during the ride (although we did touch our boots on both sides). A good rider can surely run with a sport bike on the street aboard the Z900RS. The clutch is a big contributor to smooth corner entry, and we had no trouble picking up the throttle on corner exit. The Z900RS, once you calibrate yourself to the quick steering, holds its line very well through corners — including fast sweepers.

The gear spacing is excellent. The bike has plenty of torque to pull the taller sixth gear, and the low rpms are appreciated when cruising on the highway. Together with the suspension compliance, the Z900RS will work great for commuters, and riders out for a casual Sunday cruise, but remain ready to boogie when called.

Seat comfort was very good during our relatively short ride. We didn’t get a chance to receive feedback from a passenger, but we will remedy this when we get our long-term test unit.

As usual, we have a few, minor complaints. The shiny, polished instrument surrounds reflect sunlight a bit too much, the throttle response could be a tad smoother (as discussed), and the short muffler end-piece (although highly polished by Kawasaki) looks, to us, a bit out of proportion. None of these niggles, however, changed our overall impression of the Z900RS.

What Kawasaki has created here is a bike with thoroughly modern, exhilarating performance, both from the engine and chassis, together with design elements that faithfully recall the past. Those design elements, in our opinion, also serve to create a very attractive motorcycle of any vintage. They just work.

The 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS is available in either Metallic Flat Spark Black (priced at $10,999) or Candytone Brown/Candytone Orange ($11,199). Take a look at Kawasaki’s web site for additional details and specifications, as well as the accessories available for this model. The 2018 Z900RS is already arriving at U.S. dealers.


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214 Comments

  1. NRHretro says:

    I am one of those “Honda lovers”, in fact, unlike many that comment here, I actually own a CB1100. After 48k miles on this bike, with no issues whatsoever, I can put my money where my mouth is.

    The CB1100 is a true retro, with an air cooled engine, twin rear shocks, first class fit and finish, the brakes are as good as those on the RS, and being a Honda, it is bulletproof. It is designed to be an all around, fun, street bike, not a crotch rocket, if you want 200 hp, buy something else. The bike is a joy to ride, it has enough power and torque to be what it is designed to be, and it handles as well or better than most people can ride. With the CB1100, you either get it or you don’t, if you don’t, it’s not the bike for you. Those of us that do get it, don’t really care if you do or not.

    I am not sad, nor am I disappointed, nor do I care anything whatsoever about a poll on a forum for Adventure bikes. I ride for my personal satisfaction and enjoyment, as most true motorcyclists do.

    Having said that, What do you ride regan? Your remarks show that you don’t know much about the CB1100. Or are you just a troll?

    • Regan says:

      My daily riders are a F800GT and a 1980 Ke175d . My remarks are based on a small persentage of Hondalovers who disrespect other motorcycle manufacturers and don’t understand other brands . And no I’m not a troll nrhretro .

      • VLJ says:

        Where do you get the idea that fans of the CB1100 (“Honda lovers”) disrespect and don’t understand other brands?

    • Regan says:

      nrhretro , The poll was not about adventure bikes but I suspect you know that .

      • Scott says:

        I think Regan just invented “bikesplaining”…

      • VLJ says:

        Regan, do you suppose that maybe…just MAYBE…the results of that ADV poll were at least somewhat influenced by the fact that when it was conducted the Z900RS pictures had only just hit the internet—all new! exciting!—so everyone was still in a froth over it, while the CB1100 has been around for many years?

        Also, in terms of that poll’s statistical significance, such a small sample size effectively means nothing anyway.

        • Regan says:

          No . You need to face facts , as good as the Cb1100 is it not the draw you think it is .

          • VLJ says:

            “I don’t agree with the Honda lovers that the Cb1100 is better looking than the 900RS and based on a thread on ADVRider.com which has a poll on the best Retro/Modern Classic the Honda lovers will be very disappointed.”

            The poll you referenced doesn’t even ask which retro bike looks best. The question posed in the thread is “With all the ‘retro/modern classic bikes’ on the market now, which would you pick?”

            That is a very different question, and, again, this question was posed to people who not only have never ridden the Z900RS, but many of them had yet to read even a single ride review of the bike. They were not yet aware of the snatchy throttle or the bulbous tank.

            Rephrase that poll question to something like “Which modern retro bike is the best-looking?” or “the most authentic-looking?” and you’d see a very different set of results, with the Honda likely leading the way, just ahead of the liquid-cooled Triumphs.

            Lastly, that poll was, presumably, conducted among ADV riders. Last I checked, ADV riders aren’t exactly overly concerned with how a bike looks. They’re all about pure function, and looks be damned. In that spirit, sure, the Z900RS would be their choice over the CB1100, since it’s faster, lighter, better handling, etc.

            Point being, that poll has nothing to do with your contention that the Z900RS looks better than the CB1100. Rather, you’re twisting what it said in an effort to move the goalposts.

    • paul246 says:

      NRHretro…. thanks for your input as an experienced owner. It carries a lot of weight as I am close to deciding which retro themed bike I will purchase. It looks like a 2017/2018 Honda CB1100 EX will be the one for my money. Thanks again.

  2. Regan says:

    Mr Kid , agreed , they are different motorcycles . To bad a few Honda poster continually compared the two machines in an insulting way .

    • 70's Kid says:

      In the end, it’s how you spend your money that counts. Whichever motorcyle you end up with speaks with far more volume than any comment someone else makes.

  3. Mick says:

    Reading here is sort of like a who’s who in brand new obsolete looking motorcycles. What’s next? A clamor for constant loss oiling systems? I don’t get it.

    You can’t buy your youth back.

  4. 70's Kid says:

    Regarding Regan’s numerous comments in this article’s responses: Honda’s CB1100, being a true retro motorcycle (air-cooled vs water-cooled) is really in a different class of machines than the Kawasaki Z900RS. If I were getting ready to buy a new water-cooled standard bike in 2018 and I was considering the Z900RS, I’d be shopping it against the likes of Honda’s upcoming CB100R (not the CB1100).

    • VLJ says:

      Agreed, and I would include the XSR900 there, along with the Thruxton R.

      As for bikes to which I’d compare the CB1100 EX, I think I would only list the Bonneville T120. The BMW R-Nine-T isn’t really a retro, as it hearkens back to…what? No classic BMW ever looked like the R-Nine-T, certainly not to the degree that the CB1100 and T120 resemble classic CBs and Bonnevilles. Also, the BMW doesn’t have dual shocks. Otherwise, in terms of other air-cooled, twin-shock retros, the Motor Guzzi V7 and Royal Enfield are simply too small and underpowered to compare to the big CB and T120.

      I realize that the T120 could technically be excluded from this list, since it’s liquid-cooled, but it’s still partially air-cooled, and absolutely looks the part.

      • 70's Kid says:

        I’d say that the Bonneville used to fit into the retro category. But while Triumph went to a lot of expense and effort to try and maintain the look of a retro, they definitely aren’t retro any more. Once a manufacturer decides to switch a design over to water-cooling, then it’s really no longer truly retro in my book. And it’s doubtful that those bikes will ever return to air-cooling as there are far too many challenges involved.

        In effect Triumph went the same route as Kawasaki did with the Z900RS, but Triumph simply leaned a bit more towards the retro looks and less towards the modern performance side of the equation with most of this line of bikes. While the Thruxtons add a bit more of the modern performance to the mix.

        I’d say that the V7 and the Enfield on the other are also retro like the CB1100. They might be smaller and underpowered compared to the CB1100, but they still offer advantages that come with their size/weight. They are kind of in a class of their own. The R-nineT is a very interesting bike that like the CB1100 seems to stand alone in many ways. That’s fine by me.

        In the end, I guess it’s just nice to have so many choices when it comes to motorcycles without a bunch of plastic covering them up.

  5. Regan says:

    I don’t agree with the Honda lovers that the Cb1100 is better looking than the 900RS and based on a thread on ADVRider.com which has a poll on the best Retro/Modern Classic the Honda lovers will be very disappointed . The 900Rs had 24.8% and the CB1100 had 10.1% of rider approval , a huge loss for the Honda . That coupled with the fact that Honda still has a large amount of leftover CB’s shows that these sad Honda supporters are clearly in the minority .
    Does this mean that the majority of riders in this category don’t care about singular purity, sculpture creative or design ethos ? Yes . So when the majority of riders in this category bob on over to the Kawasaki Shop and check out the 900RS they see badass looks and performance , a machine with great handling , brakes , suspension and motor .

    • James says:

      Very well said. I think people dont understand that it isnt a retro bike but rather a retro styled modern motorcycle

    • Paul says:

      so, according to your argument above…. we should all eat sh*t since billions and billions of flys can’t be wrong. At least the Honda guys can stand and think for themselves and are not swayed by the “crowd”.

  6. MikeG says:

    Too bad Yamaha can’t seem to style their retro bikes as sweetly as this Kawasaki 🙁

    Yamaha made pretty bikes in the 1970s and 1980s. The original XS750 triples come to mind. What about the 1982 650 Seca (the sliver/blue Euro looking one?) Heck, even the first FJ1100 was beautiful.

    Now, we get these gawdawful monstrosities like the FZ07 that look like industrial pumps with radial tires.

    Anyway, good on Kawasaki for hiding all the modern and displaying all the classic on this 900

    • VLJ says:

      What on earth makes you think the FZ-07 is an example of Yamaha’s retro styling?

      That’s like using the Z1000 as an example of Kawasaki’s retro styling.

    • Scott says:

      XS750 was butt ugly.
      FJ1100 was a fat, bloated turd.
      So there.

  7. VLJ says:

    I visited the Kawi shop today to check out the Z900RS, as well as the Ninja 1000 and Z900. I was primarily there to compare the seating positions of the Ninja 1000 and Z900, but since they had a Z900RS on display I went ahead and gave it a thorough looking-over.

    A few observations…

    -Kawasaki has really improved their fit and finish in recent years. They used to be the worst of the Big Four, but they now seem to be right there with Yamaha, above Suzuki, and just below Honda. The Z900RS is a very nice piece.

    -Great exhaust note/intake sound. Very slick, somewhat throaty; refined, yet still plenty mean. Excellent job.

    -My lord, but is that seat height tall! Not only is it much taller than the Z900, it’s also taller than my already-quite-tall XSR900, even with the additional factory “comfort seat” from Yamaha, which is a bit thicker than the stock seat. America gets the tall, thick seat as standard for the Z900RS, which is great for ADV riders. I’d opt for the shorter seat. I think the bike looks better, as well, with the shorter seat. The tall one almost looks like an overfilled air mattress. The shorter seat looks much sportier, and is a better visual match for that elevated tail section.

    -The digital instruments display in the center is rather plain but nicely laid out. It’s quite useful, except that it’s very difficult to read in direct sunlight. At one point, with the sun directly behind me, it was impossible to read.

    -The offset horn just below the headlight looks unbelievable bad. It just looks so unfinished. Why on earth didn’t they give it two horns for symmetry, like the CB1100?

    -My favorite part of the entire bike has to be those cast wheels that look like spokes. Great idea. Just one problem, though. Good luck trying to attach a traditional tire pressure gauge to the stem. There is simply no way to do so, at least not without bending the stem to allow the gauge to clear the spoke. If ever a wheel cries out for a right-angle stem, it’s this one.

    -That Zephyr-replica tank is surprisingly wide. Never mind the unsightly seams at the bottom, which aren’t as noticeable on the black model as they are on the brown and orange one, it’s the sheer width of the thing that blew me away. What with the stupendously tall seat and that bloated tank, I felt like I was on a much larger bike than the Z900RS really is. Again, the shorter seat may help there, as it might just position my knees against a narrower portion of the bodywork, down lower.

    -Gorgeous headlight. On or off, it’s beautiful. Love the larger size, love the LEDs.

    -Ditto, the turnsignals. I know a lot of people in America are pissed that once again we don’t get the cool Euro-spec narrow LEDs, but I think the ones we do get complement the bike very well. They look great. They’re floppy as hell, but they look fantastic.

    -I like the look of the exhaust. Small, tidy, purposeful. The giant cat box at the bottom blows goats, though. Too bad they couldn’t come up with a more elegant design to hide the thing, like Triumph and Honda did with the T120 and CB1100.

    -Not a fan of the fake aluminum support pieces on either side of the front fender. Besides the fact that they don’t belong there in the first place, they’re plastic. Come on, Kawasaki, don’t skimp there. Even Yamaha uses real aluminum for its trim pieces on the XSR900.

    -Love the overall view from the seat. The cockpit is nicely finished. Nice top triple clamp, no mess of exposed wires anywhere, attractive mix of textures. So much more appealing than, say, an old ZRX1200 cockpit.

    -Bungee hooks everywhere! All sorts of room, including mounting attachments, for soft luggage. Excellent.

    Overall, as I said earlier, I found the Z900RS to be a very impressive piece, and probably a bit more nicely finished than the $2400 cheaper Z900. Still, after I bopped on over to the Honda store to check out their ’17 EX again, it was obvious that these two bikes are clearly not in the same league, in terms of fit and finish and attention to detail. From stem to stern, the Honda looks like it ought to cost many thousands more than the Kawasaki. It’s no contest, really. It’s difficult to put my finger on the exact difference, except to say that the Honda looks absolutely of a piece, like a painting or sculpture created by a single artist committed to one, pure design ethos, while the Kawasaki seems to be more of a cobbled together clash between the stylists, the bean counters, and the go-fast millennials in the CAD-CAM room.

    In that sense, the Z900RS is reminiscent of my XSR, which also lacks the singular purity of the Honda. Park either the Z900RS or XSR900 beside a 2017 CB1100 EX, and the Honda immediately stands out as the most beautiful machine, and the best example of timeless, classic design.

    • slipjoint says:

      So Honda best on side stand award. Yamaha and Kawasaki in competition for all the in motion categories.

    • Paul says:

      VLJ, right on. I thought the same about the unity of design, the Honda is the clear winner. I also like its exhaust layout and sound. The bike is more than powerful enough for mature riders like myself. The CB 1100EX just exudes quality and refinement with its classic looks. It is still my first choice.

    • NRHretro says:

      Thank you, VLJ, for your informed assessment, you pointed out a couple of things that don’t stand out in the pictures. This is the difference between looking at the pictures and actually seeing a bike in person. It can make a huge difference, truth is, I did not like the XSR at all until I saw one in person, it is a much better looking bike than the pictures show.

  8. WSHart says:

    If the styling of the bike is retro enough that it pays not only homage but respect to the bike that inspired it then it should do well attracting buyers. And those two factors striking a chord with possible owners is all that matters. Just look at Harley’s newest motorbikes to know this is so. HD pays both of those factors to itself and in doing so strikes pay dirt with customers old and new.

    Kawasaki is doing just that with this bike. Honda’s CB1100 does this too but not quite so well as the Kawi. But that is primarily a subjective point and the one that matters is overall sales – Which will do better? Hopefully both will do just fine.

    The bottom line for each of us is that so long as you enjoy the one that makes you smile enough to spend your own money on, you come out ahead.

    Where so-called “retro” motorcycles are concerned, familiarity breeds comfort, not contempt. To date the Kawasaki’s looks are top of the food chain with the Honda coming up next and Yamaha and Suzuki totally out of the picture. For now.

  9. mickey says:

    Yea I don’t think we pompous Honda riders think the Z900 is really a retro, we are smarter than that.

    Retro inspired maybe, but being water cooled with upside down forks and a monoshock sorta takes it our of the retro category other than in slight appearance. Unless the RS is made in very limited numbers I’m sure there will be left overs of them too once the initial rush of Kaw fanboys get theirs.

    BTW love my overweight, stogie looking and slow CB1100. Great bike ..and as a plus it doesn’t have fueling issues like the Kaw does.

    • Jimmihaffa says:

      I proudly declare myself a Kawi fanboy, but still, I see your point. This category of bike walks a fine line between nostalgia and modern performance upgrades. Personally, I lean more towards the nostalgia end of things. What would be interesting to me is a bike engineered to retain the classic retro look (moreso than the new Z), but with modern adaptations of some of the parts you mentioned…air cooled motor (or perhaps oil cooled with careful disguise), conventional forks (with extra large stanchions and yes, dare I say it Jeremy in Texas…dual shocks, gasp! It doesn’t have to weigh 450lbs and crank out 125hp, but a nice torque monster well under 500lbs should be doable. Some have mentioned here, a Suzuki reincarnation of a 79-80 GS1000 Wes Cooley would be the bomb:

      https://i.pinimg.com/originals/47/92/5d/47925d8ab8b386f8ee7caedecf8cb8ae.jpg

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Say it if you dare, but I’m watching… Always watching! Like Santa. .

        • Jimmihaffa says:

          Ha ha. Well Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the entire motorcycledaily family of board contributors. Thank you Dirck for giving us a forum to share our enthusiasm for motorcycles, and as always the great write-ups on everything motorcycle related!

      • NRHretro says:

        The 1979 GS1000 weighed over 500 lbs wet, (Rider Magazine has it “closer to 550 lbs”), and produced 75 horsepower. The CB1100 is lighter, and produces more horsepower. Cycle guide had it’s E.T. in the quarter mile at 11.7 seconds.

        Ironically, the closest bike you can get to the old Z-1 and Suzuki’s copy of it, (the GS), is the modern day CB-1100, which out performs either of them, handles better, and definitely stops better.

        Interesting.

    • Regan says:

      If the Hondaboys don’t think the 900rs is a retro bike why do continually compare it to retro bikes. Also most riders would rather have a minor 1st gear fuel issue than a slow machine .
      One may also question “your smarter than that” line after you purchased an overweight pouch .

      • Regan says:

        Misprint : that should read “overweight pooch”.

      • mickey says:

        Speed is relative.. Sure the Z900 rs is quicker than a CB1100, but I’m sure the CB1000r Honda which is just as retro as the z900 rs, is much faster than the Kaw.

        I know one thing for sure, the CB1100 is better looking than either one of them. Personally I”d rather have a perfect running bike than one with a dozen more horsepower at redline.

        Merry Christmas.

      • VLJ says:

        Hey, give mickey some credit, he didn’t purchase that pouch. No way. Our mickey earned that pouch the old fashioned way, through sixty-seven years of good eatin’!

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Our mickey earned that pouch the old fashioned way, through sixty-seven years of good eatin’!”

          quit looking at Mickey’s gut, he’s working on it…!!!

          • mickey says:

            LOL Actually it is! Thanks to a recent diagnosis of microscopic colitis and having to give up gluten, lactose and caffeine the gut is gone and I’m down from a high of 192 pounds to 173 (so the CB is getting faster lol). Looking rather slim now. It helps when you can’t eat anything good.

      • slipjoint says:

        They can’t help it, they have to justify to themselves and preach to others that the motor company is still great. It clearly is not.

  10. Regan says:

    For all you pompous Honda riders out there who in there mind think the 900rs is a retro bike . Its not. Its a redesigned modern Z1 . If you don’t like it, the over weight, stogie looking and slow Honda CB1100 is available for purchase . They even have leftovers models available .

    • NRHretro says:

      You, (Regan), are the only “pompous” one around here, none of the other Honda riders here consider the RS a retro, in fact, at least two of us clearly stated that we do not.

      I owned a Z-1, the only thing the RS has in common are the colors, (on one version). The tank, seat, side covers, and “duck bill” tail piece resemble those of the Z-1, the exhaust does not, and the Z-1 was not a mono-shock bike. The RS is not a redesigned Z-1, it is a Z900 with some styling cues that resemble the Z-1. I understand why they used the 4 into 1 exhausts, they saved a lot of weight for one thing, but it’s a shame they didn’t replicate the 4 into 4 system on the actual Z-1, in my opinion, that was the most attractive 4 into 4 exhaust system ever.

      I like Kawasaki’s, always have, I am seriously considering one as my next bike, but I’m not so sure the Z900RS is going to be the sales success that some are predicting. I am considering the Z900, among others, I don’t see the RS as being more of a value, they are both modern standards and the Z900 probably offers better performance and handling. We already know that the Z900 has better fueling. For $2400 more, you can be sure there will be leftovers.

      I will also be taking a close look at the new CB1000R, this is the Honda that is actually in the same class as the RS, and is undoubtedly going to be quicker and faster than the RS, and you can be sure the fit and finish of the new Honda will be first rate, along with Swiss watch reliability.

      I have no doubt that the RS is a heck of a good motorcycle, but it is not a “retro” at all. It is a modern standard with styling cue’s that resemble the Z-1. It is an attractive bike, no doubt, whether it is better looking than the CB is strictly in the eye’s of the beholder. BTW, they are not in local dealerships just yet, I was in one a couple of days ago. I prefer to see a bike in person before passing judgement either way, so much for your poll.