Kawasaki Z 900 PS driving report

Kawasaki Z 900 in the HP driving report

Driving fun instead of wind protection

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There has been a Kawasaki 900 Z before. But that was in the distant past, and the new Kawasaki Z 900 has little in common with it – except maybe two wheels and an engine.

Much is transfigured over time. And it may well be – especially with those who had one at the time – that the Z 900 in 1972 was a great oven. But folks, that was over 40 (!) Years ago, and the earth has turned gigantically many times since then. Also the development carousel at Kawasaki. In the meantime, the Z 750, which was built in 2004, has become the Z 800 and now the brand new Kawasaki Z 900. The 900 is at least technically not in the tradition of the middle class Naked. In the best sense of the word, because from a sporting point of view, the bread-and-butter-Zett was an air pump after all, as we liked to mockingly judge. No pressure from below, mau in the middle and the very big whirlwind did not break out above either. Then there was the high vehicle weight and a very cheap chassis – with the consequences in terms of driving dynamics.

Kawasaki Z 900 in the HP driving report

Driving fun instead of wind protection

Video on the presentation of the Kawasaki Z 900

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Like a dervish, you rush across the country road

But today everything is different. The new Kawasaki Z 900 has a fat 948 cm³, makes 125 hp and delivers a maximum torque of almost 100 Nm. For this, the engineers did not, as one might expect, drilled out the four-cylinder of the predecessor, but took the fat in-line four of the big Z 1000 sister. They even left the stroke and only reduced the cylinder liners of the pistons to 73.4 millimeters in diameter. In principle, however, a completely new engine was created, which can also be seen in his manners. The engine takes on its work beautifully spontaneously, but without annoying hard throttle response, delivers instant forward thrust and greedily turns further and further up – and that without a noticeable performance gap. In short, with every turn of the throttle you shoot like a dervish across the country road – from almost 4,500 rpm to the five-digit range. That really turns on. In addition, the very cultivated foursome hardly reveals the vibrations that were so annoying on the previous models. The corridors slide perfectly. Mission accomplished!

Kawasaki Z 900 with Dunlop 214

Thankfully, Kawasaki didn’t stop at redesigning the engine. The old, not particularly pretty aluminum bridge frame of the Z 800, which had to be hidden under similarly unsightly plastic covers, is history. Now the engine sits as a load-bearing element in a finely designed tubular space frame. A new aluminum swing arm was also added. With the fine result of a total weight saving of 21 kilos. With a full tank, the narrower Kawasaki Z 900 weighs just 210 kilos.

The chassis was also sporty for such a mid-range motorcycle. The rear shock absorber now planted horizontally with deflection is also on the taut side, as is the 41-millimeter upside-down fork. Of course, the dampers are not of the finest kind in terms of response behavior, for such bikes you have to calculate too tightly, but at least the in-house testers and decision-makers at Kawa have not let themselves be influenced by the fabric softening spirit of the past. The same applies to the choice of tires. Instead of arbitrary tires with special recognition, which in the Z 1000, for example, cause annoying set-up moment and somewhat unwilling steering behavior, the Dunlop 214 on the Kawasaki Z 900 does its job well, behaves completely neutrally and at most tilts a little abruptly inward in very deep leanings.

Higher accessory seat for taller riders

Overall, the Kawasaki Z 900 shines with high agility. She willingly arrows in the corners, but lies stable in the curve and obediently follows the targeted line. Even quick turns are easy on the compact naked bike. The wide, aggressive handlebar lies perfectly in the hand. The only drawback when it comes to ergonomics for tall drivers is the low seat height. What smaller attackers should be happy about, but unfortunately the feeling for the front is lost. However, Kawa offers a seat that is almost 2.5 centimeters higher, with which you will certainly get more pressure on the front wheel and sit more actively over the motorcycle.

There is nothing more to criticize about the Kawasaki Z 900. Not even that it barely offers electronics. Except for the sporty ABS on the really good brakes, there is nothing in terms of modern driver assistance on board. Traction control and Co. are nil! That didn’t bother us on the tightly looped roads of the Spanish Sierra Nevada, which sometimes offer little grip or are in at most mediocre condition, because the very linear power development allows the 125 hp to be controlled wonderfully. And on top of that, the Kawasaki Z 900 has a very good price-performance ratio because of the missing TC. For the sporty, ambitious country road sweeper, you pay just as much as before for the sluggish Z 800. You can wish the 900 every success without any ifs or but!

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