– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

  • March 13, 2017
  • Dirck Edge
  • Drew Ruiz and Chris Rubino

2017 Kawasaki Z900: MD First Ride – Part 2

If you read Part 1 of our report from the press launch of the new Kawasaki Z900, you already know we were thoroughly impressed by this latest member of the Kawasaki naked “Z” family. As the new flagship naked in the U.S. line-up, the Z900 surprises with its pricing, ranging from $8,399 for the non-ABS model to $8,799 for the ABS-equipped version we tested at the launch.

Although called the Z900, the new, 16-valve DOHC inline four-cylinder engine displaces 948cc. With a claimed wet weight of 463 pounds, the Z900 is 43 pounds lighter than last year’s far less powerful Z800. On paper, the performance promise is impressive.

With other “flagship nakeds” offered by competitors priced as much as $14,000, and up, Kawasaki had to leave some features off the Z900. Most notably, it does not have selectable engine maps, traction control or an IMU to adjust parameters based on inertial forces. It does have ABS brakes (the model we tested), as well as a sophisticated, and useful “Assist & Slipper” clutch.

That clutch simultaneously reduces lever pull effort and prevents rear wheel lock-up or hop during aggressive down shifts. The transmission is a six-speed, and Kawasaki left the first five gears relatively low and closely spaced to further enhance acceleration. Sixth gear is an overdrive to improve mileage and calm things down when cruising on the highway.

For an open class bike, the Z900 has a very low seat height that will allow even shorter-than-average riders to place both feet firmly on the ground at stops. The bars are relatively high, but the rider is slightly leaned forward into the wind when holding them. The distance between the seat and the foot pegs is moderately large, about half-way between a tourer and a pure sportbike.

Both the fork and the shock are adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping. They are held by the new lightweight steel trellis frame (only 30 pounds) and aluminum swingarm (8.5 pounds). Lightweight cast aluminum wheels are 17″ in diameter, and the rear tire is a moderately sized (for an open class machine) 180/55 section. With petal disc brakes all around, the dual front discs measure 300 mm each and are squeezed by Nissin four-piston calipers. Nissin provides the ABS units, as well, which only add a few pounds.

The 948cc engine was designed for smooth, linear power delivery with an emphasis on mid-range power with good over-rev further up the tach. Kawasaki worked hard to provide a smooth throttle response and excellent FI tuning. The engine is rigidly mounted to the frame, as a stressed member at five points, and features a light crank for lively throttle response and a secondary balancer to reduce vibration.

Kawasaki carefully crafted the sound produced by the air intake. This included shaping the interior of the airbox and even including a “dividing wall” to further enhance the intake note. The two, central combustion chambers are fed by longer intake funnels to balance sound and broaden power.

The LCD instrument panel allows the rider to select a custom rpm level that will trigger a shift light, and even to select from three separate display patterns. The compact unit includes a comprehensive set of readouts, including all of the usual information plus current and average fuel consumption, remaining fuel range and a gear position indicator.

Styling fits in with the rest of the Z family, i.e., “Sugomi” style. The aggressive profile of lower headlamp and higher tail is supposed to invoke a sense of a crouching predator poised to attack. According to Kawasaki, the Z900 was actually designed to have a more conservative look than the outgoing Z1000, whose styling was “polarizing” to customers. Fit-and-finish are excellent, and several small  styling touches are present, including the Z-shaped taillight and rather complex fuel tank shape.

We rode the Z900 approximately 120 miles at the launch, including a group ride largely hampered by heavy traffic, followed by a solo, more aggressive 2 hour stint. We found the seat, and overall ergonomics very comfortable during this ride, placing the rider in a relaxed position that is still slightly aggressive for performance riding.

Clutch pull is light for such a large engine, and we like the gear ratios selected by Kawasaki, which made the bike very quick on the street, but still relaxed at highway speeds. Vibration levels were remarkably low — pleasant even — considering the fact that the Z900 has a rigidly-mounted inline-four.

The Z900 has a light, athletic feel, and changes directions with very little effort.  The bike seems physically small as you ride it; seemingly in marked contrast to the huge power available through your right wrist. It is a scalpel through city traffic, and a beast at highway speeds where the Z900 can dominate surrounding traffic with its impressive power-to-weight ratio.

The Z900 is all about being smooth and predictable, despite its quickness. The low vibration and seamless throttle response, together with the pleasant, feedback-rich sensations passing to the rider through the steel frame lend a sense of confidence and familiarity to the rider. This is the somewhat intangible part of the Z900 that most impressed us.

The brakes offer plenty of power and feel, although we did sense more ABS-pulsing than we expected (we will explore this more when we get our hands on a test unit). Launching the Z900 from a stop is a piece of cake with smooth clutch engagement and a low first gear coupled with plenty of low-end torque delivered by that smooth throttle.

The low gearing and the engine performance mean the Z900 will take a back seat to almost no other motorcycle at city and canyon speeds. Coming out of corners, several gears seem to do the job equally well, and you can keep the Z900 in a higher gear if you don’t feel like shifting during a canyon ride.

The suspension settings offer a firm, but reasonably supple ride. Plenty of damping for high performance riding — even a track day for most skill levels. We were impressed by the impact just a couple of clicks on the fork rebound adjuster offered.

We will post a separate article on our interview with the Z900 designer a bit later. For now, we note that we couldn’t get Kawasaki to admit a “retro-style” Z900 is in the offing. This doesn’t mean much, as manufacturers never like to show their hand when it comes to future models.

The bottom line is that our first impression of the Z900 is more than positive … we were a bit surprised by the performance/price ratio it offers. We like the trade-offs Kawasaki made to price this bike under $9,000, and didn’t miss the electronic aids found on pricier models during our brief test. This is a simpler, less expensive open class naked that seems to perform up to the standards of some of the best, priciest models in the class.

Indeed, the Z900 has a likeable, easy-to-ride nature that you might even prefer over some of the competition. It is available in two color schemes, including Pearl Mystic Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black and Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black. For additional details and specifications, visit Kawasaki’s web site.


See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. billy says:


    I see a front cowl, windshield, and side cowls. Flagship naked? Who writes this stuff?

    You want an example of a naked bike, look up a 1993 Ducati Monster, or a 1999 Suzuki SV650, or a 1988 Honda Hawk GT.

  2. cbx1260cc says:

    Did I MISS IT??


    What was the result of your discussions with Kawasaki re Design comments from the forum members????

    Would be interesting to hear their rebuttal.

    Thank you

  3. Rapier says:

    It’s sort of big news that they have a whole new engine. No detail here or any reviews I have seen other than it’s smooth and everyone seems to like the power and the way it is delivered. The 1000 that’s in the 1000 Ninja and Versys isn’t all that old and I never heard any complaints about it. It’s odd they went with a 950 and call it a 900. The long serving 1100 was a 1050 and the 1200 an 1150. Useless detail I know. Anyway there must be some reason for another new engine to replace one that was perfectly fine.

  4. cw says:

    Another lightweight steel frame? Hm.

    It seems the motocycle have finally come around to higher-end bicycle frame builders have known for years: quality, well- crafted steel has benefits as a frame material, particularly on street bikes.

    Ask your messenger friends. Steel is real.

    • paul246 says:

      Yep. I can back up that statement with my 1978 Cinelli Super Corsa, a fine ride it is.

  5. skybullet says:

    What is a great looking retro? Honda imported the GB500 in 1989
    I had one for over 20 years with a few mods to make it all day comfortable. Conventional handlebars, lowered the pegs and added a Corbin seat. I got more complements on that bike than any I have owned in decades. Classic has universal appeal.

    • todd says:

      I’ve had mine for 18 years and it is indeed one of the best looking motorcycles to ever been made. However, it is a shame it has such a fragile motor. That, and my XR650L which shares the engine design, have been the two most unreliable bikes I have ever owned (and I own a BSA!). It’s fairly easy to look past the 33hp but having to replace the camshaft twice with all eight rocker arms, valves, frozen head studs, piston and barrel, two sets of piston rings, connecting rod, shift drum, destroyed stator, multiple failed auto-compression release, and now a leaky head, it’s getting a little old…

      Meanwhile, I’ve put hundreds of thousands of trouble free miles on my Yamahas and (older) BMWs that are treated the same way.

      • paul246 says:

        No problems with the engine in my 2005 XR650L. It is a dry sump engine with oil in frame which makes ensuring the correct amount of oil and proper oil flow absolutely essential. Have you ever tried cracking open the banjo bolt on the oil line that feeds the upper cylinder to make sure you have flow?

        These engines are known for their reliability and toughness, not for being “fragile”.

        • todd says:

          Of course, that’s the priming procedure I follow after every oil change and rebuild. I also tend to use a whole bunch of high rpm throttle and feel the engine probably gets pretty hot easily and cooks it’s oil. There is no oil cooler on these things and very little cylinder or head finning and small oil capacity.

          • paul246 says:

            I see. You are right about hot running, especially after I removed the shrouds. Doing “Dave’s mods” helped a lot with the engine not running so lean as from the factory, jetting is critical. I did used oil testing and determined its best to run 15w40 diesel oil (cheap and cheerful) and change it every 800 miles.

  6. Tim says:

    I wish I had space in the garage for just one more motorcycle. This deal would be hard to pass up if I did. I’m not a big fan of the headlights / fairing either, but I like the rest of the bike enough to overlook that.

    (Who am I kidding. I wish I had space in the garage for 4 or 5 more motorcycles.)

  7. Tom says:

    Fantastic specifications, fantastic price, fantastic rider review. When I buy my bike, this is it. That’s way too much performance, ideal balance, and for such a low price. It’s what we’ve all been whining for! Thank you Kawasaki and thank you Dirck.

  8. Yellowduck says:

    Huh. This seems spot on to me. Big displacement engine with more power than needed at every rpm, steel trellis frame, no unnecessary electronic nonsense, adjustable-enough suspension, bargain price and no fairing. Don’t care about passenger accommodations so honestly, I’m not sure what they could have done better from my perspective. After many years of track only riding / racing this might be the bike for my return to the street. Wonder what my insurance agent will say…this is Ontario after all…probably want $1500, which will be like $100 per ride.

    Never mind.

  9. CrazyJoe says:

    I forget who said it, maybe heard it hre, but if get past of the “sagging boob” and instead look at the head light cowl as a racers head. Helmet and all. As you look aft from the light towards the rooster tail you can imagine a prone racer. It bit of abstract art? Now that I understand it more I don’t like any better.

    300 mm front brakes good enough?

  10. Norm G. says:

    mmmmmmn, full sour apple Jolly Rancher trellis… (Homer drools)

  11. skortch says:

    Have any of the styling naysayers paid attention to this class of motorcycles? Which competitor’s looks do you prefer? FZ-10/FZ-09? Street/Speed Triple? Tuono? S1000R? Super Duke? None of the above?

    Or does everything need to be retro like the R nineT and CB1100? Round headlights can be nice but if every bike had one it would be a boring world. I suppose the Suzuki GSX 750/1000 and (ancient) Honda CB1000R bikes are a bit more conservative but I wouldn’t call any of those attractive.

    I kind of like the styling and I bet it is even better in person. And I seriously disliked the previous Z1000 and current FZ-09 and -10. This one I can see owning.

    • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

      the answer is yes. We have seen the other bikes and even the updated FZ-09 (shame about the headlight change) is better looking than this thing..

      • TomG says:

        no it’s not. With the front light assembly it is hideous!! There are certainly things to like about the new FZ-09 but you have to put a bag over her head to love her.

        …….but of course I have not seen the Z900 in the flesh yet so that could change.

      • Mike says:

        MrZZR, What are you riding now? I’ll bet it’s been a decade or more since you purchased a new bike. If the Z900 had a Orange frame and said KTM on the side you would be slobbering all over it. You said that you would buy an Indian made HD. Let’s be honest that Japanese bike are no longer cool, hip or whatever term you would like to use. European bike have a cool factor today, simply because of were their made.

        • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

          I ride an ’08 Vstrom 650 and you are correct, haven’t bought a ‘new’ motorcycle since a ’05 FZ6. Its not that I dont like the streetfighter look, I kinda do. I just thing other makes (KTM being one of them) render it better. I have owned three Kawasakis and would love to go back the the brand if they gave me a good enough reason (maybe the Versys 1K?). Sat on a Z900 (again) and my local Kawi shop yesterday and just could not get over the ugliness. The Z650 is a much more attractive bike…

    • mickey says:

      I think there are more complaints about the seat/tail section here than the headlight, but the headlight is a close second.

    • todd says:

      The SV650 looks every bit of a modern bike and it includes a round headlight. Same for the original Ducati Monsters.

      • skortch says:

        The SV650? The latest model design changes are an attempt to harken back to the original from almost 20 years ago. While it’s a nice enough looking bike it’s also kind of plain, almost retro.

        The original Monster – you mean from 1993? Do you have a problem with the current models? That headlight is getting quite a bit oval and low, eh?

        I like both of those models a lot but wouldn’t want every other option to look the same.

  12. Jeff says:

    I’m a huge Kawasaki fan, being a prior owner of (2) GPZ 550’s, GPZ 750, 1000 Ninja and ZRX1200. I currently own (and love) a Yamaha FZ-09. It’ll be interesting to see how the two compare?

  13. Sportourpa says:

    Seems like a very nice affordable bike.
    I wish they offered an optional half fairing version.

  14. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    I think the discussions about taste is fascinating. I think that I am speaking for many of us that 1) we love the idea of H2 technology trickling down to a more affordable price point 2) For most of our riding lives, we have not been averse to newness, liking many bikes and design trends from all decades. Hell, I even saw a Rune the other day that looked pretty cool. 3) This Z represents something different because its exaggerated streetfighter looks mitigate any practicality this bike might have had (from a pillion and touring perspective). 4) A sense that manufacturers are so desperate in a declining market that they will take the wrong type of design risks. 5) Finally, its not hate that is coming through, rather disappointment. Price point is there. Specs are there. And the design/marketing gurus squander it on polarizing designs…

  15. Vrooom says:

    I’d love to see them make a full line of bikes with this motor. I can’t think of another inline 4 adventure bike, that would be unique. Just change the headlight, please.

  16. proheli says:

    I think its looks are pretty cool, even if i didn’t get one. If I lived on a small island, with a bazillion people, and I was constantly worried that Godzilla or some other monster was going to rise up out of the sea and destroy my country, this is probably the idea I would come up with too. I think understanding the looks of Japanese motorcycles lets you in own a bit of their psyche. Okay, maybe not. 🙂

  17. My2cents says:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The styling isn’t my cup of joe, but it would be foolish to ignore the weight loss program Kawasaki has adopted. I had thoughts the perhaps if it was a rebirth of the original Kawasaki 900 with borrowed cues, but then Honda has had little luck with that so why bother. Motorcycle manufacturers continue to search for sales traction in a ever shrinking market in North America.

  18. dt 175 says:

    it’s certainly better looking than anything Harley has managed to come up with…

    • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

      Not true, . I would buy the street rod over the Z900

      • paul246 says:

        Really? the Kawasaki will dance all over the H-D, its 61 pounds lighter than the HD, has a slipper clutch, more powerful, better handling etc etc and still costs 650 dollars less for the ABS version over the HD with ABS.

        Looks are subjective of course, but in my opinion the Kawasaki looks “the business”, the HD looks “poser”.

        • chuck Smith says:

          Some people buy motorcycles to ride. Others like having on-line circle jerks over spec sheets. To compare the Harley to a true sport bike is beyond retarded.

        • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

          The question was about looks, not performance..

        • Frank says:

          Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

        • Josh says:

          99% of the time- on the street- most riders aren’t using the difference between the new street rod and this barf.

          This coming form a guy that hotrods every car he has ever had(from my first car, a ’73 Bug with 60hp to the 12 cyl sitting in my driveway)…

          When you get to where you are going- even if you 1%’d a bit of accel over some other bike before you got there- walk away from the bike and try to look back at it with pride- this bike and almost every other modern bike is butt ugly.

          Honestly- I am surprised it has taken the manufacturers soo long to realize this.

          I’m not saying they all need to be Harley clones- but the hint that old craigslist bikes are popular enough to make trends in the new bikes says something.

          Start a new trend- make a modern bike with early sportbike looks. It will sell. Think 1990-2000. A few late 80’s style points allowed (most were awkward), a few late 90’s… but mostly early/mid 90s would sell!!!

      • Tim says:

        Just goes to show that we’re all wired differently. While this Kawasaki is far from my favorite bike, I do find it significantly more attractive than the Harley you linked. But I’m sure plenty of people would be in the Harley camp as well.

        I’ve still yet to see any bike that does for my eyes (and ears) what the original MV Agusta Brutale does. But I’m confident this Kawasaki is a better motorcycle for a third of the money.

  19. Gary says:

    I’m concerned that there must be something wrong with me because I don’t find this bike as ugly as some. Even though I learned to ride in the 70’s, I mustn’t be stuck there.

    • Chrisgo says:

      I agree with you Gary. I have been riding since the 80’s and have had many older bikes (my 1977 R100/7 BMW is pretty retro now) and I like this bike. It looks modern and fun. I want one. It can sit next to my Road King and the contrast will make them both more interesting (to me anyway).

  20. Mg3 says:

    Okay I’ll add my two cents. This is obviously a stunningly competent motorcycle. What a shame that this level of refinement and capability is wasted on a bike that is so repulsive looking.

  21. Bardason says:

    Is there no end to these ugly,ugly looking bikes from the land of the “rising sun”. This one truly is horrible looking. What a shame considering it´s great heritage.

  22. Pacer says:

    This is probably a damn good bike, so keep that in mind.

    If this is your flagship you better get back to dry dock.

  23. azi says:

    This is the bike I’d buy if I didn’t already have a bike.

  24. WSHart says:

    “Naked”. “Flagship Naked”.

    What kind of adult with an IQ above their age uses those terms to describe a motorcycle? I showed this to some co-workers between the ages of 25 and 47. They all laughed at the ridiculous use of “naked” and “flagship naked” had them rolling at the sheer stupidity of the writer’s attempt to look “hip” by typing like a juvenile.

    To said writer, do you really tell people you ride a “naked” motorcycle? If you are feeling a tad alpha, do you then tell people you are now piloting a “flagship naked”?

    What a stupid term for a motorcycle, even one as downright fugly as this Kwacker is. Doubtless those the live in their parents basements or above the garage ala “the Fonz” won’t dwell on it because their attention spans are like their vocabulary. Ridiculously feeble.

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber, it did. “Flagship naked”. And Dirck? If you don’t care for the truth, then delete my words. Otherwise ask your typists to learn to write.

    • Scott says:

      …says the guy who uses “fugly” and “Kwacker” in the same sentence.

    • Gary says:

      Didn’t your mother ever tell you if you can’t say something nice, not to say anything at all. Sorry, the term “naked” is the current term for what used to be called UJM’s or standards.

    • edbob says:


    • paul246 says:

      WSHart = pathetic little jerk-off.

      • chuck Smith says:

        A lifetime of being ignored and ineffective can leave a person bitter thought I like your description better.

    • Chris says:

      Obviously, Hart and his co-workers are THE MOTORCYCLE AUTHORITY. Don’t believe that? Just ask him (then stand back). We all need to abandon any opinions we hold, or move into our parents unused space. Thank you, Mr. Hart, for the TRUTH. I promise to try to amend my thought processes to your standard.

      On second thought, my parents have a terrific basement…

    • Vrooom says:

      I’m an old dude, and calling a bike without a fairing a naked goes back a long time, seriously 25 years or so. Calling a bike a flagship (i.e. Kawasaki’s flagship naked along with other nakeds in their lineup) is not unusual or even hip, just factual.
      If you don’t like the word flagship, what is your preferred term for the best in a line of bikes?

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: What kind of adult with an IQ above their age uses those terms to describe a motorcycle?

      A: one with a job we all wish we had.

    • Tom says:

      …starting to feel a little sorry for Mr. Hart and his unfortunate posting…

  25. Provologna says:

    Fantastic review. Except for looks and a flat/semi flat seat, Kawasaki seems to have nailed it. Value seems remarkable.

    Dirck, did you happen to notice the country of origin? The price makes me suspicious it’s not Japan.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Didn’t note where the Z900 was manufactured.

      • Brian Van Zandt says:

        I was at the dealer last week, asking to see one.
        They had one in a crate, it was marked “Product of Thailand” Plain as day…

        • Dave says:

          Helps to explain the competitive price. Is the FZ-07 also made somewhere other than Japan?

          • Scott says:

            Not sure about the 07, but the Yamaha triple 900 engines are made in China, though the bikes (FZ,XSR, FJ) are made in Japan…

  26. Bruce says:

    I am sure it is an awesome machine for the money and am glad to hear them admit that the lizard styling of the bigger brother was a swing and a miss. The ’03 Z750 and later 800 had some of the best styling of the line and I wish they wouldn’t try to be so bleeding edge. The sound of a retro version (ala XSR900) could be awesome.

  27. Frank says:

    Seems to be a great all around basic motorcycle…how refreshing.

  28. Martin B says:

    I think it largely depends on how your nervous system is wired. This is a typical inline four, which in my experience have a propensity to lack a little down low in the rev band, then suddenly scoot through a power boost in the late 5k to early 6k range, which you may or may not want in the middle of a tricky corner. And the light flywheel compounds this effect. For people with a hyper disposition and who are always impatient and just wanting to get things done, an inline four will suit them down to the ground.

    I on the other hand, like to savor the performance of a VTwin powerplant with plenty of flywheel weight, a mid-range lump of torque, and predictable behavior such that riding on the throttle is the way to get around corners. Lots of gear changing can be annoying, and can end up hurting your foot. The ideal motorcycle has yet to be built, but Moto Guzzi comes close. It’s not important to me who gets there first, just who has the most fun. A bike ride should be something you look back on with fondness, not a chore to be coped with despite the limitations of the machinery.

    • peter h says:

      @MArtin B “The ideal motorcycle has yet to be built, but Moto Guzzi comes close.”

      Seriously? What I mean to say is “seriously”? LOL

      • mickey says:

        Got to love the Guzzi faithful.

        I thought the 2014 CB1100 dlx was the perfect motorcycle lol.

        • jimjim says:

          Wrong again Mickey, the 2014 R1200RT is the perfect motorcycle 🙂

          • mickey says:

            lol hey Jim Jim. You get that Beemer out this year yet? Perfect motorcycle only it doesn’t go in cold or snow? Perfect fair weather motorcycle? Perfect blue bird days motorcycle? Bwaahaahaaa

          • jimjim says:

            I’ve had both bikes out some this winter but unfortunately I do still work for a living. Riding around the block just to say I went for a ride is not my thing.

          • todd says:

            The point is to ride TO WORK. Why do people always feel they need to sit in a car to drive to work and that a motorcycle is not a primary form of transportation and should only be ridden on the occasional sunny Sunday?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Only someone who can take advantage of lanesplitting and lives in a moderate climate can speak of such things. Sitting in stop and go traffic on a motorcycle during rush hour when it is 100° or -18° is not my idea of fun.

          • jimjim says:

            Riding to WORK is okay but seeing as how I’m in the construction industry and have to visit muddy construction sites nearly every day that doesn’t WORK.

          • mickey says:

            I was just messing with you JimJim. I couldn’t ride as many days as I do if I lived in northern Ohio like you do..and yes, I am retired, plus I have a pretty big neighborhood lol

          • NRHRetro says:

            The “perfect motorcycle” is the one you ride without thought when you need/want to go somewhere. I’ve had many bikes, most of them inline 4’s, (I have a three cylinder minimum). I’m not knocking twins, they just aren’t for me, if you like’em, ride’em. My current inline 4, a CB1100, has abundant torque throughout the entire RPM range, it’s not a screamer, doesn’t have to be. However, it’s quick enough to annoy any cruiser, most cagers, and I’ve surprised a few boxers , but that’s not the point.

            When I want to go somewhere, anywhere, at anytime, I think nothing of jumping on my trusty CB and going there. I ride it to work in any conditions, I’ve ridden to work in as low as 28 degrees, as hot as 109 degrees. I’ve done courier duty on this bike. I’ve taken many a road trip, been caught in heavy rains, thunderstorms, even a hail storm once. Just this past weekend I made a 2 day trip out of state to my Grand Daughter’s birthday party. Logged right at 1000 miles, (968 miles), in 2 days, with a birthday party in between. I bought this bike new in October 2013, it turned 42000 miles this weekend. I ride, way more than around the block, because I love to ride, and have been riding for most of my 57 years.

            I can honestly say that few motorcycles are as competent as the CB1100 as a pure street bike, just hop on and go for a ride, anywhere, anytime. It looks good doing it as well, more people walk up and admire it than most of the bikes I’ve had, including a couple of Harleys. So for me, it is the perfect bike. We all have our “island”.

      • redbirds says:

        I had a Guzzi 1100 Breva and it was no torque marvel, in fact the motor was only happy at 4K rpm or more. My CB1100 has far better low end response than the Guzzi showing that an L4 can have good torque at low rpm if tuned for it.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “A bike ride should be something you look back on with fondness, not a chore to be coped with despite the limitations of the machinery.”

      I agree, which is probably why I’ll never own a Moto Guzzi. 🙂

      • Bart says:

        Couldn’t agree more! I’ve ridden lawn tractors that corner better than Guzzis!

        • MGNorge says:

          Well, well, well, open season on Guzzi’s is it? While I haven’t ridden all manner of lawn tractors, I can honestly say my Norge is very neutral and very stable in the twisties. It’s a heavy machine, to be sure, but I’m a big guy. It certainly does not require man-handling to make it around a curve but is very much confidence inspiring.
          Not flickable like a lighter weight sportbike but there’s a lot to like about how it goes about its business.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “then suddenly scoot through a power boost in the late 5k to early 6k range, ”

      This is common of many motorcycles, which usually come with a built-in “lean spot” right at 5k/rpm. This is so they score well on emissions tests which take a reading at 5k/rpm. From what I’ve read, many of the newer bikes have figured out ways around this, but the reputation lingers. It has sold many jet-kits and ECU devices (PCII & III, Bazzaz, etc.) to fix it.

      All that said, having ridden some of the modern nakeds (FZ-1, Speed triple) I’d bet my bike that this bike, with it’s weight & power output would surpass your expectations from idle, all the way to redline. They are crazy powerful.

  29. Trent says:

    I know people have been ragging on this bike, but this is actually one of the few bikes I would consider buying new.

    • randy says:

      My thoughts exactly. Nice price, no traction control, engine modes, adjustable suspension, nice powerband, overdrive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, probably looks great from the saddle. Too many bikes now, I kinda wish I was in the market.

    • Chrisgo says:

      Me too, cool bike, good specs. Winner

  30. RENDELL says:

    I will buy the Z900 if I can get rid of my current steed. It is a fantastic deal that is a thrill to ride! Although, I think the Z1000 is a little cooler looking with the headlights, the thrill factor and quick steering in the Z900 is more fun (for me).

  31. Mark says:

    Dirck, once again you may be influential in my decision to buy a bike. The first was my ZRX 1200R that you reviewed. But that was easy. I still have it BTW.
    I’m in my fifties now and I’m not sure if the styling of the Z900 fits my generation. But I’m not hearing a bad word about it so it’s styling seems to matter less and less to me. (If I do get one it’ll be the one with the green frame). I like your type of review and will look forward to something more detailed.

    Now I mentioned I’m in my fifties so one second slower around a race track doesn’t mean a thing to me. So I ask…Did you happen to get an average MPG fuel consumption of what I assume was spirited riding?

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Impossible to get accurate MPG figures at this press launch event. I hope we will soon have a Z900 for testing, including fuel efficiency testing.

  32. Marty O says:

    This looks awesome. Bue, I would love to see a retro in the vain of the original 900 ninja and later gen GPZs. Give it a centerstand and a passenger grab handle and keep the weight roughly the same as this new Z and it would be a great all around bike with that magical mid 80s style:)

  33. TomG says:

    I didn’t mean to post twice. The page just disappeared and I thought I had lost the post.

  34. TomG says:

    Lots of pros and not a lot of cons. I like it. Still somewhat polarizing but not too bad. I will certainly consider one next year if they come out with some other colors. How about a Kawasaki Candy Lime Green with black frame?? Lots of good choices out there if you can stand the looks.

  35. TomG says:

    Sounds like lots of pros and not many cons. I like it. Still a little polarizing to me but not too bad. At least it doesn’t have the dual cannons exhausts the Z1000 had. I will certainly consider buying this bike especially next year if they come out with some other colors. How about a Kawasaki Candy Lime green with black frame? I think you will be able to buy a small windscreen that will mount to existing mount points above the light and get a little wind protection as well. I know many will prefer the new FZ-09 but it just sits too upright for me and the front light assembly is just too much for me. I have a friend that owns one(2015) so I have put several miles on it. Anyway, there are lots of good options out there. I actually prefer the looks of the new (2018) gsx-s750 but the price is basically the same as the Kawi the the Z900 would a lot more motor. Like I said, lots of good choices if you can stand to look at them.

  36. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    That designer better have a thick skin. Probably a lot about ‘keeping the organic shape of the letter Z’,’bold design language’ and ‘Z heritage’ blah, blah. Doesn’t help that the pillion is higher than the bars and its turtlesque maw fails to conjure even transformer-like excitement…

    • peter h says:

      There certainly is a lot of heritage behind the Z line. Much of what you might consider the archetypal high performance motorcycle was shaped by the Zs. It surely wasn’t shaped by BMW , Ducati, Norton et al.

    • Geoffrey Hill says:

      My Buddy had an early ’70s 900 he completely redid. Bored and stroked, hot rodded to max. Could barely get it running, and this bike would kick it’s ass. Sold it to museum in California. It looked great, this bike has it all over his, except Butt Ugly.