If the Honda CB750 shaped the UJM as we know it, the Kawasaki Z1 was the hardening process that solidified it. The Z1 was Kawasaki’s answer to Honda’s influential bike, as Kawasaki was already making a 750cc inline four-cylinder motorcycle when Honda released the 750. The CB’s debut forced Kawasaki to pivot, and they responded by upping the displacement in their DOHC engine to 903cc and turning out a game-changing 81 hp with a top speed of 132mph. Original Z1’s are being sold for top dollar, and are getting more and more difficult to find.
Today a new rivalry is flooding the market with wonderful machines. The retro inspired bikes from top manufacturers has produced some of my favorite bikes of the past 15 years. Kawasaki was actually one of the first to make a retro bike with the ZRX1200 that was a tribute to their 1982 KZ1000R. In 2018, Kawasaki released the Z900RS, inspired by the Z1. It kept much of what the Z1 was; an inline 4, 900cc, standard motorcycle with styling to match.
The styling of the Z900 is the best of the lot in terms of updated retro styling. The bike hits a perfect balance of new and old. It looks like the original, but it also looks like a modern motorcycle. The engine is a de-tuned version of the Z900’s 948cc mill. While power is down from 125 to 111 horsepower, low-down torque is up for more enjoyable city riding. They also increased the crankshaft flywheel mass by 12% to lower vibrations. Check out Abhi’s thoughts on the Z900RS here.
This 2019 Z900RS is the first that I’ve seen for sale privately, so I decided to jump on the chance to feature it. The seller is claiming it only has 620 miles, as well as a handful of upgrades; an Akrapovic slip on exhaust, Yoshimura tail tidy, and a G2 Throttle Tamer which should help with the on/off throttle response this bike is claimed to have. You know, I have tendency to be a bit indecisive. I go back and forth on which of these retro bikes I’d buy. Right now, though, the Kawi has my vote.
Find this 2019 Kawasaki Z900RS for sale in Cheviot Hills, California for $9,800 here on Craigslist.