Kawasaki Z900RS gets café racer treatment

Published: 07 November 2017

Following the unveiling of Kawasaki’s new naked retro roadster, the Z900RS, at the Tokyo Motor Show last month, the firm have now revealed the anticipated Café Racer version based on the naked.

Tracing its roots back to the Super Four model Z1 of 1972, it also gets a KR250/500 evocative bold and lairy green and white paintjob to ensure that you really stand out from the crowd. And no - there aren’t other colour options on offer. The big changes, beyond the obvious small headlamp cowl, are a more scalloped lower seat, and drop-bars to create a more canted-forward riding position to help encourage sportier progress. 

So far, so good – but the missing element we’d hoped to see was a set of laced rims to really complete the cafe racer aesthetic. Kawasaki claim the thin-spoked cast rims mimic spokes, but it’s not quite the real deal, and could have helped to really distinguish the CR from its sibling. 

In all other areas, the CR is the same as the RS, with the 948cc engine pilfered from the modern Z900, but re-tuned to give a slightly lower peak power and a swell in the midrange that means the RS actually pulls harder than the Zed below 7000rpm.

It also gets traction control, radial-mount brake calipers, and LED lighting all round, while the dual clocks boast analogue-style speedometer and tachometer dials, bookending a do-it-all LCD screen. It has the presence of Yamaha’s XSR900 Abarth, but without the osteopath-supporting riding position.

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