ROAD TEST: KAWASAKI Z900. I’M FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN!
Can the Z900 be as successful as the Z800, it replaces?
LET’S see, you’ve got a perfect balance between smooth, high revving inline four-cylinder power, and responsive throttle, with a light-weight 948cc package.
Indeed, Kawasaki Z900 is the proof that if you’re looking for a inline-four super-naked trouble, you needn’t spend big bucks because Kawasaki’s asking price of RM49, 150 for the standard ABS model (only +RM188 vs Z800 without ABS) and splash a bit more, RM50, 959 (+RM1801) you get the ABS Special Edition with frame slider, windshield, front fork slider, USB Socket Charger and single seater Z900 SE that makes 125hp and 98.6 NM @ 7700 rpm torque.
The Z900 is a completely new Sugomi style model which houses a detuned Z1000 engine, new trellis frame plus improvements to its suspension, only lacking electronic aids (power modes and traction control) and no quickshifter but that’s not a problem.
But there’s far more to the Z900 than that, the new handling and the weight different so much that it shames the Z800. It replaces and almost like a Z1000 with a huge discount with its premium feel and composed, assures a good ride.
If I didn’t own any bike now, I would run to the nearest Kawasaki dealer and put a booking for Z900 to be in my garage, that’s how fond of me reviewing the Z900.
The Z900 would be my one of my favourite. Unless I had a court appearance, I’d pick the Z900 all day long – it’s easier to ride and handle, more striking, looks bolder and aggressive than Z800, lifts the front up like no body’s business, but we been warned!.
It’s edgy and the throttle response, I like it, for that, with every twist of the throttle is rewarded by crisp, smooth response and exhilarating acceleration.
But although the engine becomes more exciting, the higher the revs climb, its smooth power delivery makes it extremely manageable.
It makes the Z800 looks like dull old, used to be pretty auntie. I don’t think, the Z800 is not a good bike but Z900 just feels sensible and rider friendly weight and handling, just makes the Z900 so striking when you’re gunning it down the road, through a twisty corner, although it’s down on horsepower compared to the Z1000 (136hp), the Z900 blows the Z800 (98hp) away with its torquey, but smooth manageable power deliver, sharp throttle response, making it a more exciting bike on the road. The Z900 punches forward like a hoodlum to whoever riding it. Z900’s engine delivers rampant shove throughout its midrange and up towards 10-11,000rpm. For city riding, screaming away from roundabouts and laying down power on your favourite winding road, the Z900 feels strong in any department and has more character than the Z800, helped by how light it feels – 210kg wet with a full tank.
The Z900 certainly feels a bit more refined RaW as Kawasaki’s tag line for the Z series.
One of the key components to the Z900 is the light weight (noticeable as soon as the bike is lifted off its side-stand), the all-new frame weighs only 13.5kg and contributes significantly to the bike’s light, nimble handling while the extruded aluminium swingarm weighs only 3.9 kg. Adjustable suspension front and rear – the Z900 gets a 41mm upside down fork (with additional adjustment) and an adjustable rear shock. While the handling has a wonder experience and but the standard Dunlop Sportmax D214, lacks the grip to connect to the road and more over need to deals with wet road (just go on any white line when wet and you should get a nice slide) and holes during our test, we know we can ride any tyre but for the less experience rider, my advice is to change it so you can be more confidant negotiating a corner, the Z900 will delivers excellent stability and the confidence to do what you wish.
On the road, the Z900’s standard suspension settings felt more or less OK for me, but if you want to do track day at the circuit means just fiddling with 3 clicks to make it feel a bit harder, for more compression at the front and some more preload in the rear. I’d take it to someone who knows far more than me about suspension and get it set up for me, not because there’s anything wrong with the standard setup, but because the stock bouncers are so good that I expect a static setup to vastly enhance the suspension’s performance and the ride feel.
The Z900 front brakes have the Nissin’s pair of four-piston stoppers. Feel through the lever is excellent, with good bite and bags of power. They were faultless on the road.
Z900 riding positions are comfy and nearly free from ergonomic oddities, although I just hate the large front mirrors. I dully replace it with my own side mirrors during the test.
All the useful, usual information is visible on a monochrome digital display that’s easy to read once you know where the information you’re after is displayed.
Besides the mirror, really, there’s hardly anything wrong with Z900 and compared to the Z800, the Z900 is a more grown up, sensible bike for everyone. I’m tempted to pick one Z900 for my garage because it offers raucous but manageable fun at the twist of the wrist and it stands out.