KAWASAKI Z900 (2017 - 2019) Review

Highlights

  • Kawa ushers in decent improvements to mid-size naked
  • A2 licence friendly version on offer
  • Great base for customisation

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
Power: 123 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.1 in / 790 mm)
Weight: Medium (463 lbs / 210 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £5,500 - £9,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Welcome to the Kawasaki Z900 review - the successor to Z800 ‘intermediate naked’ is now Euro4 compliant and probably 10% better all round – more powerful, lighter and better finished and equipped (although it conspicuously shuns electronic rider aids).

For Kawa power four fans that’ll probably be enough. For the rest of us, this class is now closer than ever to call. A new version of the Kawsaki Z900 was released in 2020.

Kawasaki Z900 can be A2 compliant

In September 2017 Kawasaki announced that they will be making the Z900 available to those who hold an A2 motorcycle licence

The bike was then eligible to receive a reversible update to the ECU that restricted the machine to 35kW – bringing it in line with the maximum required for A2 licence holders.

Riders can get the restriction done at any authorised Kawasaki dealership and the process of having the ECU updated doesn’t take long at all.

“Soon after the Z900 was launched we began work on an A2 compliant version” said Morihiro Ikoma, Director of Kawasaki Motors Europe. “The design brief from potential customers and dealers was a unified voice; keep the look, soul and ethos of the Z900 and create an A2 compliant version to open the world of Refined Raw Z to yet more enthusiastic riders.”

Japan Legends turns Z900 into ZXR900

In July 2019 Spanish firm Japan Legends announced a kit to turn your Z900 into retro-inspired ZXR900.

A nod to the 1989 ZXR750 H1, which celebrated its 30th birthday in 2019, the kit uses a twin headlight fairing, seat unit, belly pan and tank covers to give Kawasaki’s naked 900 a truly retro makeover and arguably looks much cooler than even the factory 'Café' model.

First shown at the Eicma motorcycle trade show, in Milan, last year, the company is now taking reservations on the kit, but there’s no word yet on price yet. Those interested should email: info@japan-legends.com

Kawasaki ZXR900 for the Z900, conversion by Japan Legends

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

New H2R-inspired tubular steel frame helps shed weight dramatically but compared to rivals like the Triumph Street Triple and Yamaha MT-09 the Kawa is still a solid, hefty machine. Steering is lighter and sharper and suspension, with preload/rebound adjustable forks, is reasonable making it nimble enough for most. But pushed hard this remains one of the larger and heavier of ‘intermediate nakeds’.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Euro4 and quest for improvement means old 803cc four is replaced by sleeved-down unit from bigger Z1000. The result is 948cc with a hefty boost in power and torque. It’s a doddle to use, smooth and grunty and, above 6000rpm, thanks to the acoustically tuned airbox, howls like any streetfighter should.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Kawasakis have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years in this respect, most conspicuously with their pleasing use of different finishes and textures – the raised Kawasaki tank badge and crocodile skin effect seat finish are two examples here. As regards reliability, it’s too early to call save that the engine, based on that of the Z1000, is in a fairly soft state of tune and lartely proven, so we’ve little to fear.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Z900 was £8249 – £350 up on the old Z800. We’re not saying it’s not worth that and you do get a lot of improved bike for your money, but this class is hotting up to one of the most competitive of all with most rivals, albeit ones with fewer cylinder and a less quality finish and details, significantly less. 

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

Although the trend for electronics rider aids has, here, been conspicuously shunned by Kawasaki (the Z900 only comes with the compulsory ABS, possible to help differentiateit from its Z1000 bigger brother and keep it cheaper, too), in most other respects it’s well-equipped with decent clocks, adjustable suspension, span adjustable levers and neat detailing.

Specs

Engine size 948cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled transverse four.
Frame type Tubular steel.
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 210kg
Front suspension Inverted 41mm forks, preload and rebound damping adjustable.
Rear suspension Single shock, adjustable spring preload.
Front brake 2x300mm petal discs four-piston calipers, ABS .
Rear brake 250mm petal disc, single-piston caliper. ABS .
Front tyre size 120/70x17.
Rear tyre size 180/55x17.

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £200
New price -
Used price £5,500 - £9,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 123 bhp
Max torque 72.7 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 140 miles

Model history & versions

Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI Z900 (2017 - 2019)

9 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z900 (2017 - 2019) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI Z900 (2017 - 2019)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Engine: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
4 out of 5 zeds are back
16 May 2020 by Howie

Version: ZR 900 BJ

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £125

This is my bike I like it, yes I recommend

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

in the bends the bike easy to throw around and rewarding Never taken a pillion Brakes are great.

Engine 5 out of 5

125 b h p on tap strong engine pulls well (I Like it)

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No corrosion as yet Build quality good No brake down no failed parts

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Running costs average

Equipment 4 out of 5

as standard looks good With tail tidy bar mount mirrors fender extender crash bungs and hot grips it now looks cool

Buying experience: Dealer had a good deal

5 out of 5 Z's are back
04 April 2020 by Howard Wingfield

Year: 2018

I would recommend

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

A decent all-round bike would take a break hourly

Engine 5 out of 5

nice smooth power good performance when needed

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Build quality good nice paint job no corrosion found has not broken down as yet

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Running cost average

Equipment 5 out of 5

Looks ABS Slip assist clutch Recommend bar mirrors seat cowl heated grips crash bungs fender extender

Buying experience: Dealer £8300 £7300

5 out of 5 ZR900 the only bike you’ll ever need...
04 June 2019 by Benny J

Version: ZR

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £200

Can’t fault this bike at all! Solid build, awesome engine, jaw dropping power with super smooth delivery, comfortable, great riding position, sounds beaut, looks like a Decepticon on steroids (gets some looks) excellent brakes and pretty good mpg (unless you thrash it) sticks to the road like it’s on rails and eats the corners like nothing I’ve ever ridden. Love it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Excellent ride! This bike is comfortable all round, city, street and motorway. Seat is a bit hard but don’t really notice it due to the ergonomic riding position. No stress on wrists, arms, back or legs at all. The most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden! Do feel a few more bumps at higher speeds (as do all bikes) but suspension is plush. Brakes (Nissan) are awesome. Smooth and confidence building. Can easily come to a stop from 80mph within 100yds.

Engine 5 out of 5

Awesome engine... nuff said. Torque all throughout the rev range. Can be riding at 40mph in 6th gear, hit that throttle, and it just glides beautifully. 2nd gear, hit the throttle to red line and your in light speed. Brutal power, but totally manageable (perfect amount of scary) :) and yes... it’s very fast.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Solid bike with good build quality, my 2017 ZR900 has only done 1,500 miles so still early days but hasn’t missed a beat yet. Everything is solid where it should be and hardly any play or flexing on the plastics and faring.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Rough guess from what I’ve reaserched. Not had it serviced yet since purchase due to time owned.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Not much equipment to comment on! Digital speedo needle with printed rev range I like, gear indicator (digital) is always welcome, ABS and that’s about it. No traction control, but with a bike this smooth. Don’t need it at all. And the pass switch (to flash your lights) doesn’t click and flash your high beams quick enough. Have to hold the pass switch up to a second for your high beam to flash properly.

Buying experience: Bought my 2017 ZR900 for £6,600. 2 previous owners with only 1,450 miles on the clock. Paid mostly cash so haggled the price from 6,900 to 6,600. But for a pretty much new, hardly used 2nd hand 2yr old bike in great condition. I’m not complaining!

4 out of 5
28 February 2019 by Brans

Year: 2018

Super smooth engine and nice gearbox. Only done 100miles sofar But the Chinese made Dunlop tyres are appalling and spin up too easily even in the dry and sub 5000rpm.I didn't want too risk it so got rid.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Can't fault so far but not been on a long run yet but all seems good.

Engine 4 out of 5

Super smooth with predictable power delivery.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Low quality tyre's!

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Should be good as getting over 50mpg on a run keeping too around 70/80.

Equipment 3 out of 5

As previously said the tyre's fitted need changing in my opinion (too hard) Fitted Michelin Pilot Powers .

Buying experience: Got good deal from Colchester Kawasaki on pre reg 2018 model.

5 out of 5 The best overall bike in its class
15 June 2018 by Damian

Version: Z900 ABS Black

Year: 2018

Brilliant overall bike. Really good value for money. Z900 will give you all of the smiles you want and will wheely easily. As with all bikes in that class you will need to learn some self-restraint with the throttle hand. I have ridden the main competitors before buying the Z900 and chose it because it was the best overall. MT09 pulls a little better from low revs but one revs rise the Z900 would be a little faster but to be honest the overall experience counts and as much as I loved the MT09's engine everything else about it wasn't as good as Z900. The GSXS750 I tested was surprisingly smooth and didn't feel like it would be left behind the MT09 or Z900 but was let down by its seat which, for me, is really uncomfortable and I don't think one can fix that with aftermarket options.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

For me the Z900 has the best suspension in the class but that is because I like it on the softer side for comfort. It's soft at first and firms up quickly on braking. It's still preload adjustable so if you want to ride faster you can set it up harder easily. The standard seat is firm and I felt my bottom after about an hour in it so might opt for a softer option. Also because you're seated more in the bike than on top of it there is a little less wind than on other naked bikes such as the MT09. MT09 and GSXS750 have noticeably harder suspension as stock.

Engine 5 out of 5

This is the best bit about the bike. It's very smooth, economical and at the same time more powerful than all of it's rivals. It does produce some vibrations through foot pegs at 4-5k rpm but to be honest most bikes I rode did have some vibrations at some revs.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The reliability is spot on so far but I have only done a couple of hundred miles on it so far, so no problems expected anyway. The reliability is why I would not even consider the Street Triple, Japanese bikes are better in this area and having an older bike in my garage which sometimes needs some work I wanted a bike that will simply work and not spend much time being fixed.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I am just due for the first service so not sure what will the cost be. In the initial run in period I have averaged 53mpg on the first two tanks and the third tank 55mpg. This is at cruising speeds on A and B roads mostly with occasional blast here and there. 50mpg is easily achievable which means I usually fill up after 160 - 180 miles which is amazing and will be handy when going for longer trips.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Still a fairly new bike but there are plenty of accessories to choose from, a wide choice of exhausts, comfier seat, panniers, screens & other bits. As standard bike there is nothing on it as you would expect, so can't say it's got any equipment. One bit I can say is very useful is the under-seat storage, which isn't huge but fits either my disc lock or a mobile phone nicely. The passenger seat is narrow, firm and without any place for a passenger to grab hold off so you are not likely to ride on this bike with your Mrs unless she's been watching 50 Shades of Grey and is up for a rough ride... I would not recommend it for anyone to actually uses the passenger seat.

Buying experience: Overall brilliant experience from Kawasaki dealer and got a great deal on it. I approached different dealers for different bikes and Honda would offer 0% deals but weren't prepared to drop the RRP much and would not accept any credit card payments, Suzuki Dealer would haggle but finance options are pricey but would accept credit cards. I negotiated a good deal with the Kawasaki dealer and was still given the 0% interest which closed the deal for me.

5 out of 5 Kawasaki Z900 review
14 June 2018 by a2amali

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £220

The Z900 is a great bike overall. I was looking for a bike that will be easy to ride but have tons of power to spare and this bike is it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

This engine is just amazing! It has tons of torque and power is available in every gear. The great thing is that its power delivery is very linear and smooth. Nothing like MT09 where you will be surprised/shocked with sudden surge of power.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

This bike is made to be ridden in all situations. I can commute and it runs very comfortably, then come the weekend I can go on those A road and open the throttle and it roars like a lion. No problems so far, it just works.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

The bike is giving me around 145miles before the range goes down to "---" Its bit annoying because the range counts down to 35miles and then goes blank!

Equipment 5 out of 5

It does not have traction control but this bike is designed so well that you don't ever feel the need for it. It does not have ride modes but I tried MT09 and S1000R and I would never use B modes or A mode because it gets too twitchy so why not have a real bike with real mode!

Buying experience: I bought my bike from DAYTONA Motorcycles in Ruislip. Great people and great service.

5 out of 5
22 May 2018 by azam ali

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £180

Best of both worlds. Street fighter and tourer.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Power to weight ratio is spot on.

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

It really does not need traction control because the bike is designed really well. I tried MT09 and it just wanted the front wheel to go up. Z900 can go faster and I don't have to worry about losing control.

Buying experience: Daytona Motorcycles are very friendly people and helpful guys. Excellent so far.

4 out of 5 Z900 worth the money
18 June 2017 by Pablo

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £400

Rear tail tidy had to be replaced ,the factory fitted version is ugly. I also swapped the front cover for a larger meter cover,my opinion,.. it looks cooler and those pesky suicide insects stay off your visor . These two items have cost an additional £200, when you spend 8k on a new bike, I guess it is irrelevant. Also added a radiator guard ,I just felt that it needed a bit of protection as it will take the brunt of any projectiles flung at it when you are behind those haulage lorries carrying rubble!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I owned a Kawasaki ER6N before purchasing the Z900, four hours riding the ER6N would leave me feeling tired ,.. I could ride the Z900 all day!!

Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is very responsive, treat it with respect or slip that clutch at 70 mph and you will find heaven very quickly!!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

It's a new bike , I'm running it in to the recommended rpm ratio to gearing , not over heating the engine .

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

This is an area that I need to address , I am fortunate to have a cheaper option.

Equipment 4 out of 5

I have mentioned the accessories that I have added to the bike,..like the digital gear indicator,..takes away the embarrassment in town centres ,..no more trying to pull away in fifth gear.

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer , paid the RRP, but got an additional two years warranty on top of the two years standard warranty.

5 out of 5 I love this bike! Z900 for the win!
16 April 2017 by Cervantex

Version: ABS

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £80

Super Fun and easy to ride. Will turn heads wherever you go.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front brake amazing. Rear brake I feel I have to make extra effort for it to really bite.

Engine 5 out of 5

Very smooth and "torquish". Very short gears so you will find your self kicking the gear pedal 6 times to get to 60mph. Remember I am behaving and not going over 4K rpm. I am a novice and I feel I can handle the throttle and power delivery like I am a pro. The sound is amazing, but it does not scream due to all the regulations this motorcycle has to comply with. I will most definitely add a good Exhaust once the time come.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Nothing to point. Everything is as good as the first day. I am doing things right and not going over 5K rpm for the first 1000 miles. Cant wait to discover where the real power is, above 6K rpm. Truth to be said, I have gone to the red line a couple of times red light to red light. Again, very funny.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I have not done any service yet since it is new. 2 weeks only. Leaving 4 stars and the price they gave me in the dealer

Equipment 4 out of 5

I like pretty much everything, but for long rides, I would go with the optional soft sit. I am pretty skinny and my bottom complains after the first hour. My favorite thing is the engine and the looks.

Buying experience: Dealer. I paid 10K for the ABS out of the door (taxes, insurance, etc).

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