Kawasaki’s Retro Z900RS

Aug 24, 2018 View Comments by

Kawasaki’s Retro Z900RS

Yogi Berra once said: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Perhaps he was right. With the ‘old is new’ Z900RS, Kawasaki is building one of the most “authentic” retro bikes out there, paying homage to the original Z1, while unobtrusively incorporating modern technology and features.

The 2018 Z900RS features a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve 948cc inline four-cylinder engine. To capture the air-cooled look, fins are cast into the cylinder head. A 4-into-1 header and megaphone-style muffler are throwbacks to how bikes used to be. This is the first time that Kawasaki has used sound research to craft the model’s exhaust note, focused on the initial roar to life, idling, and low-speed riding.

The transmission has a short first gear, making it easier to launch, and a tall sixth gear for improved comfort when touring or cruising at highway speeds. The clutch features assist and back-torque limiting slipper functions.

The all-new steel trellis frame was developed using Kawasaki’s advanced analysis technology. Tubes are made as straight as possible, only utilizing bends when necessary, to create a frame that disperses stress extremely well for smooth, predictable handling. A rigid-mounted engine adds to chassis rigidity. The Z900RS boasts a modern 41-millimeter inverted fork, along with a new upper-triple clamp, which increases steering offset to 34 millimeters, thus reducing trail for light steering. The premium fork features fully adjustable 10-way compression and 12-way rebound damping, enabling riders to find precise settings to suit their riding style.

Ride comfort at the rear comes from Kawasaki’s horizontal back-link rear suspension. The rear shock features fully adjustable rebound damping and preload. This arrangement contributes to mass centralization, while ensuring that the suspension is located far enough from the exhaust that it is not affected by heat.
The cast aluminum wheels are designed to look like wire-spoked wheels. Stopping duties are handled by a full disc brake setup featuring modern ABS. The radial-pump front brake master cylinder commands a pair of four-piston radial-mount monobloc calipers to grip two 300-millimeter brake discs, for plenty of stopping power. The rear brake features a single piston, pin-slide caliper gripping a 250-millimeter disc.

The Z900RS is equipped with Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), which has two performance settings riders can choose from: Mode 1 prioritizes maximum forward acceleration, while Mode 2 provides rider reassurance by facilitating smooth riding on slippery surfaces. When selected, Mode 2 utilizes the same logic and control as Mode 1, but enables riders to better negotiate short patches of slippery terrain, such as train tracks or manhole covers, and extended stretches of other less predictable surfaces. Wheel spin is also limited when starting on a slippery surface. However, when excessive rear wheel spin occurs, Mode 2 switches to three-way control, which governs the ignition timing, fuel delivery and airflow, and engine output is reduced to a level that allows the rear wheel to regain grip. This fine control results in a very natural feeling with smooth engagement and on/off transition. Riders may also elect to turn the system off to enjoy the raw feel of riding.

The Z900RS is available in Metallic Spark Black and Candytone Brown/Orange. Kawasaki also offers a full line of accessories for the Z900RS. MSRP is between $10,999 and $11,199.
Honda to Bring Monkey and Super Cub C125 to U.S.

American Honda has announced that the Monkey and Super Cub C125 ABS models will be made available in the U.S. Both are reminiscent of Honda’s iconic previous models such as the Mini Trail, Z50, and more-recent Grom. Lee Edmunds, American Honda’s Manager of Motorcycle Marketing Communications, said, “We’re continuing the tradition of offering American customers machines that are simultaneously nostalgic and up-to-date, and that beg to be ridden and personalized.”

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