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Kawasaki Creates Special Edition of Z900RS for Europe

We thoroughly tested the Kawasaki Z900RS when it was introduced for the 2018 model year. We found the retro styling spot-on, and the performance up to modern standards, including engine, suspension and brakes.

Kawasaki Europe has just revealed the 2022 Z900RS SE with unique “Yellow Ball” paint together with some performance upgrades.

Those upgrades include Brembo M4 radial-mount, four-piston front brake calipers, together with a new radial front brake master cylinder. The SE also features a fully-adjustable front fork (compression, rebound and spring preload), together with an adjustable Öhlins rear shock.

No word yet on whether the Z900RS SE will be made available in other markets outside Europe. For now, you can take a look at the Kawasaki UK website for additional details.

42 Comments

  1. Josh says:

    That is a pretty bike.

  2. Kjazz says:

    Needs a “Kerker” emblem on that tail can.

    Twin shocks would be nice aesthetically. Otherwise, a real beauty!!! I’d buy it, but I need to get rid of a Honda GB500, a Thruxton, a Speed Triple, CB450, 85 Ninja600, Concours, etc etc etc

  3. Anonymous says:

    Kawasaki sells a centerstand for the Z900RS, about $250. The US market normally gets new models announced in the Fall, so fingers crossed this comes here. For those of you who think this bike isn’t selling, Kawasaki has manufactured roughly 50,000 units of the RS since introduced for the 2018 model year. I’ve got a 2001 ZRX1200R, and added a 2021 Candytone Green Z900RS to the stable. My ZRX has been problem free, and I expect the same for the RS at least through 2041.

  4. TBone34 says:

    I love this bike and the z900RS line in general. Still, until I can get one used for $7k or less I’m internet-interested, not I-will-buy-one-this-month interested.

  5. mickey says:

    This is a modern bike in retro clothes, liquid cooling, upside down forks and monoshock rear suspension

    Its a great idea for those who like the retro look but want modern amenities. Plenty of power, good brakes. Yea I don’t understand detuning the engine for this, but I guess Big K had their reasons.

    I looked at them when they came out. Had some personal nit picks. No centerstand, it was really tall, hate the gap between the rear tire and rear fender, didn’t like the urine cup master cylinder, and didn’t like being able to see the radiator cap from the riders seat.

    I’m really happy with my 2014 Honda CB 1100 Deluxe that’s a bit less motorcycle than this on paper, but I’ve put 61,000 trouble free miles on it and it still makes me smile every time I ride it or look at it.

    • paul says:

      As you with your Honda CB1100 is how I feel with my Kawasaki W800 Classic, I just love riding that bike. I think Kawasaki hit the nail dead on with the W800.

      • mickey says:

        Yea the W650/800 and CB 1100 didnt have enough pizazz for most riders, and that is their loss. They are great bikes bikes just for going out and riding.

        Not so much the issue with this one, modern amenities in retro clothes should satisfy those that complained about the horsepower, or weight of those previously mentioned that we ride.

  6. Grover says:

    This is the bike that everyone screams “build it!” but nobody buys.

    • Sean says:

      Was at the Kawi dealer last week. A guy literally bought one while I was there picking up an oil filter. The paint was gorgeous. I don’t know what it was called, but it was a metallic green/gold/brown color that seemed to shift color in the sunlight. Stock exhaust looked and sounded great. The naked retros aren’t my thing, but I can still appreciate the bike.

  7. Trent says:

    I love this bike. If I were able to get one, the only thing I would add to it would be a flyscreen. But one of my bikes is a modified Z750S, so I’m not hurting.

  8. Trash$man says:

    Talk talk complain no this no that, Ever wonder why even your American made Harley Davidson at first planned on not releasing the XR1200X in the USA cause all you do is complain and not buy! Then you promise to buy and not buy then you picked the 600 hundred pounds American sportbike to pieces you confused them so much as to what you want that they built the Sportster-S how you like that with two-inch of travel and big tires to hold you up. The Kawasaki is A Beautiful MODERN RETRO MOTORCYCLE, Doesn’t have a center stand since the modern emissions exhaust would interfere and even if it did you would complain that it was too heavy! The tank is small no built-in GPS that alerts me of fast-food restaurants or when my Bros are at Starbucks

    • Mick says:

      My 2004 Multistrada has a cat in about the same location and a center stand. It probably even weighs less.

      You see a bike that looks like a bike from the past. But it weighs more and is missing some key features. So you don’t buy it.

      The current Multistrada weighs more than mine does, and probably doesn’t have a center stand. Am I interested in it? Nope!

      • mickey says:

        the 1973 Z1 had 82 crank hp and weighed 547 pounds wet and was king of the road

        this bike is a featherweight rocket by comparison

      • Trash$man says:

        Mick, Your 2004 Multi is a totally different platform with under-tail Exhaust a trellis frame that uses the lower sump to bolt your kickstand and footpegs & Controls there was a time I rode a 2004 ST4S with the 996 Superbike engine best sport touring that leaned more to sport gotta love those Italians that used the same method and it had a useful center stand until I set my suspension sag for the bike and my weight and it was then useless. Not really sure I truly understand motorcyclists’ desire for a center stand when spools and a 42 dollar stand can handle tire changes along with cleaning and adjust the chain but I respect it! I was a preteen when the original 900 was released and wow every time I glance at the pictures im reminded of the TV Commercial its not a recreation but a retro and it nailed it. Would be really kool if Suzuki did a retro GS1100E……

        • cw says:

          As a person known to go on trips thousands of miles long, I can tell you that pit stand, regardless of how affordable, does no go when out on the road and it’s at home in the garage. Thus, I prefer bikes with center stands.

          Should I ever own more than one bike at a time, I imagine I’d have one for exclusively local travels without one…certainly the case should I ever et a bike primarily for track days.

          A couple years ago, I was on the bike away from home and decided it was better to get a new set of tires before making the 1700 mile trip home. Being able to put the bike on its center stand (and something under the front) allowed me to take just the wheels to a dealer and pay for just tires and mounting instead of shop time to take them off.

          So, you know, horses for courses and whatnot. Some people prefer having the stand on the bike and are willing to sacrifice a few pounds and clearance millimeters.

          • mickey says:

            the only option I got on my new NC 750X before picking it up.

            not bark busters, not a taller windshield, not heated grips, not saddlebags,… but a centerstand!

            Indispensable for on side of the road flat fixes, and adjusting and lubing the chain while on a trip of some length IMO

  9. Mick says:

    At first I was quite surprised that the gang seems only on the warm side of luke warm on this bike. So I took a closer look.

    OK, the gas tank has the right paint scheme but is of the wrong shape. I’m sure the capacity isn’t high enough, it never is for this crowd.

    The frame is just not traditional, neither was any effort made to put the shock in anything like a traditional location, unless you like old YZs.

    And go ahead and call me picky for mentioning the rear brake rotor. That baby is just plain ugly.

    Then the is the lack of a center stand.

    These bikes aren’t my thing. So I never really looked at it until now, it’s been around the web for a few days. But at first glance I thought the MD guys would go gaga over the thing.

    Go ahead and build it. But there is no guarantee that they will come. Nothing short of an exact replica of what each one of these guys lusted after in their youth is really going to fog the mirror.

    Take heart guys. They won’t even think about building something for me, a premium <325# 80-90hp supermoto/scrambler/street tracker for under $30K.

    • fred says:

      While I’m mildly disappointed that you don’t seem to find any modern bikes to your liking, it’s also becoming clear that you don’t “get” retro, either.

      Kawasaki hit the ball out of the park with this one. The bike is beautiful, with just the right mix of old school and modern tech. The only letdown is the detuned engine. And that is only an issue because we already know how good the regular Z900 engine is. A centerstand would be nice, but modern exhaust constraints make that difficult.No bike is perfect, but this one checks a lot of boxes.

      • Lawrence says:

        Bought one when they first came out in 2018. About my 70th bike since 1968 and I love it. The “detuned” engine is just fine. Heavier crank weights than the insect version, you could own one of these for years and never really have to take it over 6000RPM. And when you do it hauls ass to redline,100HP at the rear wheel is quite sufficient for any vaguely reasonable street riding.

    • todd says:

      I thought there might be a chance you would like the Langen Two Stroke but the classic styling and (admittedly garish) gold detailing probably turns you off. Still, it’s a 75hp, 250-ish pounds, street legal two stroke (in the UK) but only 100 being made. https://langenmotorcycles.co.uk/langen-two-stroke/

      • fred says:

        The Langen Two Stroke looks exactly like the bike Mick has been requesting for some time now. If nothing else, it proves that what he wants is possible.

      • Motoman says:

        That is one sweet ride. Thought it was funny they listed “powerband” as a specification.

      • Mick says:

        I saw that a while ago. For my part, I would rather they used a lower specific output. 300hp per liter is current MotoGP territory. If you are going to make a 75hp two stroke street bike, I think something with at least 350cc would make a nicer power band and a more reliable overall bike. It wouldn’t change the shape or weight of the engine much at all. It would also leave a little overhead for those guys who want to Soup it up a bit.

    • Mick says:

      I don’t know Fred. I think that I do “get” retro from an industrial design standpoint. And I think that this bike is a well executed paint job on a poorly executed overall design. Time will tell.

      I think that Marcus, a few posts down, brought up an interesting point as well. “Tuning for torque” is all well and good as retro bikes didn’t have half as long of fangs as the bikes of today. But, “poor carburetion” is inexcusable on a detuned engine.

      Todd, I really like the general idea of the Langen and I would seriously think about buying one we’re they available here In the colonies. But, to be honest, I would prefer something with higher displacement for the power output. 300hp per liter is a bit high strung for a street bike. That’s around current DieselGP territory. And a little extra displacement wouldn’t bring a whole lot to extra weight along with it.

  10. motomike says:

    Mmm, I like mustard. Just not on my Kawi. Still a great bike. Just don’t look down.

  11. Michael White says:

    “funky details (instrument nacelles”

    Kind of agree with this. If you weren’t there in the 70s, some of these details don’t make much sense. HD has been coming up with impressive contemporary design language. This bike is gorgeous, with better suspension and brakes than most other street bikes, but the styling formula is a little lazy and pimped out. I feel like gold ano might be another of those styling fads on the way out. Not criticizing, I actually love it . . .

  12. Marcus says:

    As an owner of a z900 it makes me wonder why Kawasaki did the dreaded “tuned for torque” engine on the RS model. All they did was lower the horsepower and create some snatchyness in the off idle throttle response. Trust me, the z900 has plenty of torque down low and it’s one of the smoothest four cylinder engines made. More than enough power for the street.
    This SE model is indeed nice but if styling is not the issue, the lower cost z900 is the best bang for the buck.

  13. Michael Walker says:

    That’s pretty. I miss my old ZRX1100. Honda’s CB1000 Black is nice too, but perhaps TOO blacked out. I hope this z900SE makes it to the US.

  14. Lou Green says:

    I own a 2018 model and love the looks and performance. The new upgrades are not biggies and not enough for me to trade up however wish I had them none the less. The one thing I would like to see is dual exhaust pipes. The look is classic and duals are a must.

  15. mark444 says:

    More than a “few” ZRX owners have bought the new 900 to add to their stable……and they LIKE them. The ZRX was an instant hit when it came out in 1999 and still has a very strong owners association, with lots of aftermarket bits and pieces available, but more so the “custom” fabricated pieces that ZRX owners have produced themselves for their bikes. I see the 900 the same way: aftermarket exhausts are showing up, along with custom seats and tail sections, etc. And….comparing the two bikes (ZRX & 900), the 900 is no slouch in acceleration due to it’s lesser weight and nimbleness. I think part of the “love” is the 900’s appearance which reminds everyone of the original Z1…..just like the ZRX resembled the ELR edition of the early 1980’s. Honda tried this with the CB1100 recently and I’m not sure they succeeded as well as Mother Kawi did…….

  16. Fred N says:

    One part that is ‘too’ retro is the running red tail light. It is barely visible.
    I doubt it is an LED, as it looks too much like a filament. Take a bright LED one from a Ninja would be a safety improvement towards the Rider in my opinion.

  17. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    The term retro may have outlived its usefulness.
    Do tell, – could the sufficient number of these ‘retros’ in production now, signal an awareness among most motorcyclist, that conventional designs were more practical than all the boy racer, plastic origami crap for the last 40 years ? Put another way, if a Martin visited our blue orb, and saw the likes of this Kwaker, he (or she) would immediately recognize it as a ‘MOTORCYCLE’ and say so in perfect english. The boy racer plastic origami crap, – not likely .
    The first inline 4 I rode was a Z1 around early 70s. This Z900RS warms the cockels of my heart, and is beautiful, especially the 4 pipes proudly out front. Way to go big K.

  18. fred says:

    I’ve always liked the Z900RS. The upgrades sound terrific. IMHO, it would have been better not to have detuned the engine, but this is one of the few bikes on the market that could make me think that I need to sell off a few bikes from the stable, and park this one in the garage instead.

  19. Brinskee says:

    Wow, that’s a gorgeous retro. Not for me (I’d probably be way too tall for it) but it looks awesome.

  20. TimC says:

    Other than a couple slightly funky details (instrument nacelles, slightly fussy exhaust, the contradiction between modern bits (shock, USD fork) and retro styling), this is the best-looking new retro-modern bike I’ve seen in a LONG time.

  21. jon says:

    Certainly is a fine looking bike. Let’s hope it comes to North America.

  22. Josh B. says:

    I REALLY like it!!! I’ve always liked the Z900 RS, but the suspension and such weren’t up to snuff. This basically fixes all those issues, but now of course they don’t bring it to the U.S….