MCN Fleet: It’s first service time for the Kawasaki Z900RS

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Well, I have reached my first thousand miles on this stunning looking Kawasaki Z900RS. I am still in that honeymoon period where everything is a joy, and I look forward to every ride. Last week I had my longest day in the saddle when I had to take the Z1 back down to Kawasaki head quarters for its first service. The ride was a 220-mile round trip. Something I was looking forward too, a chance to really get to grips with the bike, and feel I know a bit more about it.

I tried to concoct an interesting route down and add a few bends in to make it more interesting, but I was also aware I only had so much time to do the journey in, as it was booked in to be on the bench for 11 o’clock.

As usual, it ended up A1, a bit of a wiggle to cut across to the M1, then M25 and M40, not really what I was hoping for, but it did teach me that the Z1 is a very good mile muncher, and comfortable with it.

Simon admires the Kawasaki Z900RS
Simon looks on lovingly at the Kawasaki Z900RS

I had also lucked in with the weather too, my first ride of the year in riding jeans and a leather jacket, no great bulky Gore-Tex suit to struggle in and out of! With the bike being completely naked, with not even a bikini screen in sight, it is surprisingly the amount of air that gets deflected up by the head lamp and clocks, making the wind blast at speed tolerable. Not bad, 10.55, five minutes early!

After a few cups of coffee and some biscuits later, my bike was serviced and ready for the ride home. It is always nice to get your bike, refreshed and replenished with fluids, just like myself. My intended route home was more scenic to avoid motorways and to get more enjoyment from the Z1.

Bumbling around smaller A and B roads is so much better on this bike, I think this is helped by the fact the engine is so flexible, I found myself accelerating out of a tight bend at 20mph, it was only when I looked down at the gear indicator I was in forth gear, this bike just gathered up pace without the slightest grumble.

Kawasaki Z900RS right side on the road

The longer I ride, the better this bike feels, and it is more than happy when I push through a few bends, but this also highlights my only little grumble, which is the fuelling at around three thousand revs, if  I roll off, the engine braking is almost instant, but as I accelerate again the pickup response is a little snatchy, so only if I roll off, under straight acceleration, it is silky smooth right through the range, so it would be nice to have someone qualified to look at the fuelling and iron it out this small glitch.

After my 220-mile jaunt, I have found a couple little adjustments to make, just to personalise it for myself. First up the clutch and brake leavers wanted rotating down a bit, as they were making me twist my wrists to get to them. Also, both leavers have adjustable reach, so my big hands it is nice to set them in the perfect position for me.

I also have not ridden the much at night, but when I did, I noticed the round LED lamp casts an amazing beam, albeit a tad too high when on low beam, I could see the beam reaching to high up some of large road signs, another small adjustment and I am no longer dazzling people. This is all coming together nicely!


Previous Updates:

Update One: Riding back into the past on the Kawasaki Z900RS


Update One: Riding back into the past on the Kawasaki Z900RS

Published: 11 May 2022

Relphy and his Z900RS

Every time I look out of my living room window at the Kawasaki Z900 RS, it says to me ‘Get your jacket and helmet, we’re going for a ride’. It looks so good if only I could just step out of the front door and go for a ride I think I would! If it wasn’t for reality of daily life getting in the way…

But the other Saturday morning I got up ready to get stuck into the weekend jobs while my wife took our son to his football match, and as she left she uttered those immortal words: “It’s a lovely morning, why don’t you go for a ride?”

I didn’t need asking twice. By then I’d only had the Zed for a week and hadn’t had much  chance to get out on it.

I’m lucky that I live on the doorstep of the man-made reservoir of Rutland Water and there are lots of good A and B roads that form a perfect loop around it. My plan was to ride this loop with deviations down some smaller roads.

Right, off we go!

I settled into the Z900 quickly. It’s comfortable with a deep, plush saddle. The riding position is nicely upright and, thanks to the massive handlebars which measure a whopping 86cm from bar-end weight to bar-end weight (that could be fun in town traffic when filtering), the steering is nice and light with plenty of leverage.

Sitting pretty on the Z900RS

The Z loves the long sweeping bends which characterise the A606’s smooth tarmac. The suspension feels firm, yet comfortable as my confidence in the Kawasaki’s handling grows. The 948cc engine is very smooth and more than happy just tootling around at low revs. But  wind it on in the same gear and it pull from the lowest of revs without complaint. Before I know it, it’s flying along effortlessly.

Then it was time to turn off and enjoy some of the area’s quieter back roads, of which there are plenty. But these narrower, twistier roads are no problem to the Z where it proves quite nimble.

In fact, everything is working well until I hit some rougher surfaced roads at a quicker pace. The front suspension copes well but the rear shock begins to get out kilter with the resonance of the bumps. It’s something to maybe look at in the future.

But with my first ride under my belt, I’m more than pleased with the Kawasaki, especially the fantastic looks. I just need to find a bit more time and get away properly!

‘I’m more than pleased with the Kawasaki’


Contact: simon.relph@motorcyclenews.com

I remember looking at the original back in 1973 aged eight and thought it was gorgeous then. It has only been a 49-year wait, but I am looking forward to getting out on the country roads!

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in MCN Fleet…

Simon Relph

By Simon Relph

MCN Senior Designer - loves bikes old and new, from building them to riding them on and off road