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Kawasaki Z900: Your Ultimate Guide to the Iconic Motorcycle

Welcome to the world of the Kawasaki Z900, where you’ll get to explore the ins and outs of this powerful, lightweight and agile handling naked motorcycle. Kawasaki has built a solid reputation for creating high-quality, performance-oriented bikes, and the Z900 is no exception.

In your journey through this article, you’ll learn about the Z900’s distinct features, including its 948cc engine, ultra-lightweight chassis, and Sugomi™ inspired styling.

So buckle up and get ready to dive deep into the world of the Kawasaki Z900….

History and Origin of Kawasaki Z900

Kawasaki's Z900 ABS

The Kawasaki Z900, part of the popular Z series, has an interesting history and origin that traces back to the late 1960s.

Your journey begins in 1968 when the groundbreaking Honda CB750 Four was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. Little did the designers at Kawasaki know that this move by Honda would soon inspire and influence the creation of their own inline-four superbike. The CB750 Four boasted unmatched power and set the stage for Kawasaki to follow suit.

As a response Kawasaki went back to the drawing board, rethinking their approach to creating a high-performance motorcycle. Their vision materialized in the form of the legendary Kawasaki Z1, an impressive 900cc inline-four motorcycle that made its debut in 1972 and at 133 mph it became the fastest production motorcycle in the world.

Known for its power and performance, the Z1 marked the beginning of Kawasaki’s iconic Z series and laid the foundation for todays Z900.

The original Kawasaki Z1
The original Kawasaki Z1 900

Fast forward to 2017, when the Kawasaki Z900 was introduced as a replacement for the preceding Z800. This new standard motorcycle continued the legacy of the Z series, catering to the evolving needs and preferences of motorbike enthusiasts across the globe.

A testament to its impact on the industry, the Z900 remains a favorite among two-wheel aficionados.

In conclusion, the Kawasaki Z900’s history and origin are rooted in the spirit of innovation and competition, shaped by the unexpected move by Honda and the continuous pursuit of excellence by Kawasaki. From the influential Z1 to the modern Z900, the story of this motorcycle tells a tale of power, performance, and passion that endures to this day.

Technical Specifications

Engine and Performance

Superb balance of power and handling awaits thanks to the powerful 948 cc liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder engine. This engine ensures a thrilling ride, providing you with incredible responsiveness and excitement every time you hit the road.

Suspension and Brakes

The Z900 features highly capable suspension settings front and rear for an excellent balance of comfort and control. The strong trellis frame contributes and lightweight aluminum swing arm to the precise handling.

For braking, the motorcycle is equipped with four-piston calipers and 300 mm (11.8 inches) disc brakes at the front, while the rear features a single disc brake with a single-piston caliper and 250 mm (9.8 inches) disc.

These brakes ensure confident and reliable stopping power for all riding conditions. Additionally, the Z900 ABS model comes with an advanced anti-lock brake system (ABS) for increased safety on the road.

Fuel Consumption

One key aspect of the Z900 that stands out is its fuel efficiency. With average fuel consumption a claimed 49 mpg allowing it to make the most of its 4.5-gallon fuel tank, you’ll find yourself enjoying longer rides without frequent stops at gas stations. This makes the Z900 a surprisingly practical option for daily commutes or weekend getaways.

Dimensions and Weight

The Z900 has a seat height of 800 mm (31.5 inches), which accommodates riders of varying heights comfortably. Mounting it for the first time you almost feel like you are sitting inside the motorcycle thanks to the deep seat and high tank.

Design and Aesthetics

Color Options

As a Kawasaki Z900 buyer, you have multiple color options to choose from, reflecting your personal style and taste. For the 2023 model year, you can pick either of the two-tone colorways:

  • Ebony / Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray.

  • Metallic Phantom Silver / Metallic Carbon Gray.

  • Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Graphite Gray.


The Kawasaki Z900 features a distinctive bodywork design, seamlessly integrating modern naked bike styling with signature Kawasaki elements. The muscular fuel tank and sporty tail section grab your attention, while the seamlessly integrated front cowl and sleek headlight design create a sharp, aggressive look.

The bike’s sharp lines and angular design elements converge to create a dynamic appearance that accentuates the Z900’s strong, lightweight trellis frame. This remarkable frame not only contributes to the bike’s overall aesthetics but also enhances its handling and rigidity.


Kawasaki Z900 ergonomics
The commanding riding position means you can see and be seen

The relaxed upright ergonomics play a significant role in the overall enjoyment and comfort of riding the Kawasaki Z900. The motorcycle’s handlebar is designed to provide a natural reach for a wide range of riders, ensuring a confident and relaxed riding experience while their width is ideal for city and confined environments.

At the same time, the tapered seat shape is tapered for comfort and ease of reaching the ground when stopped.

The footpegs, seat and handlebar positioning puts you in a sporty upright riding position typical of a modern day naked bike but with a more relaxed knee bend.

TFT Dash

Color instrumentation dashwhich includes all the usual such as gear position indicator, dual trip meters, odometer, fuel consumption, average speed and fuel gauge. It also features a digital bar style tachometer, smartphone connectivity and the Kawasaki Economical Riding Indicator which tells the rider when he’s riding at optimal fuel economy.

The TFT screen brightness adjusts automatically which is a nice touch.

Rider Comfort and Features

The Kawasaki Z900 is designed with comfort and convenience in mind. As well as the commanding ride position it offers a range of features and technologies to enhance your riding experience, whether you’re commuting, enjoying a weekend ride, or going on a long-distance adventure.

Integrated Riding Modes

One notable feature of the Z900 is its variety of integrated riding modes. These power modes allow you to customize the performance and feel of the bike to suit your preferences and the conditions in which you’re riding. The Z900 has four power modes:

  • Sport Riding: This mode gives you the full power and torque of the engine, with sharp throttle response for an exciting and thrilling ride.

  • Road: This mode offers a balance between performance and fuel efficiency, ideal for everyday riding and commuting.

  • Rain: Rain mode reduces engine power and torque to provide smoother and more predictable throttle response, helping you maintain better control on wet surfaces or if you have to navigate challenging road conditions.

  • Manual: Manual mode allows you to fine-tune the engine power, throttle response, and traction control settings to your personal preferences.

You can easily switch between these modes on the fly using the handlebar-mounted controls, allowing you to adapt to changing conditions or try different riding experiences at your convenience.

Rider Aids

The Z900 is equipped with a host of rider aids and technologies that not only enhance your riding experience but also improve safety on the road. Some of the key rider aids available on the Z900 include:

Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC)

Designed to help you maintain grip and control, Kawasaki traction control keeps an eye on your rear wheel traction and if it detects any unusual slippage, it will adjust the engine power output to stop rear wheel hop.

Adjustable Traction Control

The Z900 ABS features adjustable traction control, which allows you to modify the level of intervention to match your riding confidence and conditions.

  • Mode 1 provides next to no assistance for track days and the very experienced rider

  • Mode 2 offers balanced sport riding support which basically means it kicks in earlier

  • Mode 3 is for wet or icy conditions

In addition to these rider aids, the Z900 also boasts a range of other features that are designed for comfort and convenience. The bike’s seat and footpeg position offers a comfortable knee bend, while its adjustable front and rear suspension settings help to provide a smooth and compliant ride over various road surfaces.

Top Speed and Acceleration

Z900 in white and black

Let’s dive into the top speed and acceleration performance of your Kawasaki Z900. The Z900 boasts an impressive top speed of 155 mph. This speed is achieved thanks to the 125 horsepower produced by its 948 cc inline-four engine at 9,500 rpm. Additionally, the engine has a solid torque of 72 ft/lb at a little under 8,000 rpm.

In an experienced riders hands it can hit 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds, and cover a quarter mile in 10.9 seconds. The 0-100 kph (62 mph) acceleration time is 3.3 seconds, which is noteworthy for a motorcycle in its class.

Kawasaki Z900 Performance Spec’s

  • 113 horsepower at 9,800 rpm

  • 66 lb-ft of torque

  • Top Speed: 155 mph

  • 0-60 mph: 3.1 seconds

  • 0-100 kph: 3.3 seconds

  • Quarter Mile: 10.9 seconds

When you’re maneuvering your Kawasaki Z900 through the gears, the Dyno Curve and Thrust Curve graphs will give you a visual representation of the motorcycle’s acceleration and top speed data. This information will help you better understand your bike’s performance and make the most of your riding experience.

Pricing and Availability

Kawasaki Z900 ABS

2023 Kawasaki Z900 ABS

For the 2023 model year, there are two prominent variants: the Kawasaki Z900 ABS and the Kawasaki Z900 SE.

The 2023 Kawasaki Z900 ABS comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $9,399.

Kawasaki Z900 SE

Kawasaki Z900 SE

The Kawasaki Z900 SE offers a slightly higher price point of $10,899 due to additional features and enhancements. It’s available in a stunning Metallic Spark Black/Candy Lime Green color, commonly known as Kawi Green.

Kawasaki Z900 RS

Kawasaki Z900RS
Kawasaki Z900RS

A 3rd consideration is the retro version, the Kawasaki Z900RS. This was built to pay homage to the original 1972 Z1 and it does a brilliant job. If you prefer your naked bikes to look like the original UJM’s of the 70’s and 80’s then the Z900RS will set you back $11,949

Buying a Used Z900

In addition to new models, you could also explore buying a used Kawasaki Z900. They’ve been around now since 2017 so there should be plenty to choose from.

Check out reputable cycle traders and local Kawasaki dealerships. You might also come across private sellers with competitive prices, making it crucial to shop around for the best deal suited for your budget.

As you explore the pricing and availability of the Kawasaki Z900, take your time to research and compare different offers, ensuring you strike the perfect balance between your preferences and your budget.

Competitors and Comparisons

Triumph Street Triple RS

One of the main competitors to the Kawasaki Z900 is the Triumph Street Triple RS. While the Z900 is known for its value-for-money, the Street Triple RS is known for its high quality parts such as Ohlins suspension, Showa forks, Brembo brakes etc. and amazing handling.

  • Adjustability: The Z900 offers rebound and preload adjustability at both ends, while the Street Triple R provides even more advanced suspension adjustability features.

  • Price: The Z900 is the more affordable option in this comparison, but it’s essential to consider the features and performance you get for the price difference.

Honda CB1000R

honda CB1000R

Another contender in this segment is the Honda CB1000R. As a modern retro superbike, it competes closely with the Z900 in many aspects, such as:

  • Engine: Both bikes feature powerful engines with the CB1000R sporting a 998cc inline-four, whereas the Z900 has a 948cc inline-four motor.

  • Styling: The CB1000R showcases a more retro design, while the Z900 has a more aggressive streetfighter look.

Suzuki Katana

Suzuki Katana

Moving on, the Suzuki Katana is another noteworthy competitor. Derived from the GSX-S1000, the Katana is a modern take on the classic 80s sportbike. Here’s how it fares against the Z900:

  • Performance: Both bikes deliver impressive power, but the Katana borrows its engine from the GSX-R1000, which gives it a slight edge in terms of performance.

  • Design: The Katana pays homage to its 80s origins with a modern twist, while the Z900 opts for a contemporary, aggressive design.

Yamaha MT-09

Yamaha MT-09

Finally, we have the Z900’s main competitor, the Yamaha MT-09. The z900 has a 948cc engine whilst the MT-09 has an 890cc but the Yamaha uses a triple engine and is lighter.

  • Power: The Z900 just has the upper hand in the power department but the 22lb lighter MT-09 and its screaming triple cylinder engine ‘feels’ quicker off the mark.

  • Price: Both standard models are exactly the same price while the Z900 SE is just $100 less than the equivalent MT-09 SP so there’s really nothing in it apart from the top speed difference. Test ride both and take your pick.

By comparing the Kawasaki Z900 with its competitors, you can better understand what sets it apart and make an informed decision about which motorcycle suits your needs and preferences best. Remember to consider aspects like performance, features, design, and, of course, your budget. Happy riding!

Final Thoughts

The Z900 has continually improved over the years, with a new electronics package and subtle refinements enhancing its overall feel. Despite not being designed to compete with the likes of the KTM Duke or MV Agusta Brutale, it has carved out its own place in the naked bike market.

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