Kawasaki has announced a special edition of their retro roadster, the Z900RS. If you have never ridden one of these bikes, let me assure you, Kawasaki has packaged up all your UJM nostalgia and stuffed it, neatly, into the RS.
Lucky folks in the UK will be able to get their mitts on the Z900RS SE in January or February of 2022. Currently the list price for the special edition bike is £12,499. This is a £1550 premium over the standard (2021) model on the Kawasaki website and £850 over the “performance” (2021) model. The 2022 Z900RS stands alone in its model year, so we’ll have to wait a bit for the real comparisons.
Other than a (very) groovy paint job, what does the Special Edition offer ? The rear Öhlins suspension upgrade, retuned gold forks up front, and gold wheels are all part of the SE package. Is that worth the premium? Yes. If you’ve replaced the suspension on your motorcycle you’d agree.
Fans of the marque will recognize the SE paint scheme as reminiscent of the Z1 of old. Those of us who cut our motorcycling teeth on a KZ will probably find the renewed Z900RS to be highly evocative of the early 80s KZ line.
Even on the non-special-edition bike, one demo ride and all those early motorcycling memories come flooding back! You’ll remember the hourglass-shaped dashboard between the speedometer and tach. The corresponding dash lights, the shape of the tank, and the width of the engine, are all the same. It is very Kawasaki UJM. The bike’s responsiveness, however, and its willingness to start, is somewhat less nostalgic and more confidence-inspiring. I don’t know how Kawasaki did it. The bike feels like a new KZ, but it is better in every respect.
If someone in the UK would be so kind as to buy one of these and put it on a boat for me this winter, I would be extremely grateful.
Canadian consumers will have more options than those of us in the US. Unfortunately there’s no sign of the SE yet, on either site.