When you call a bike Z900, and in so doing create the first Kawasaki to carry the name since the original Z1-successor from 1976, it had better be good. What you certainly don’t want it to be is confusing. So, let’s get that bit cleared up straight away: the new Z900, far from some kind of retro reincarnation of a ’70s classic, is simply intended as a bigger, better replacement for its intermediate Zed roadster, the Z800.
As a result, a new three-strong ‘Zed family’ has evolved out of the old ER-6n (entry-level twin), Z800 (intermediate four) and Z1000 (range-topper) into, for 2017, the new Z650 (as we tested before Christmas), new Z900 and the continuing Z1000, all of which is a bit neater and cohesive all round. Got it? In other words, the Z900 name is more coincidence than reinvention.
The new bike, however, remains hugely important to Kawasaki. In fact, on the basis of pre-orders, this newcomer is expected to be one of the firm’s biggest sellers this year. It’s worth noting here that this whole intermediate naked class has become one of the most competitive. Not only is there the Z900 but there’s also Suzuki’s new GSX-S750, Triumph’s imminent Street Triple 765 and Yamaha’s hugely popular MT-09, not to mention niche exotica such as MV’s 800 Brutale and Dragster. No pressure then.
To read the full test, pick up a copy of the February 8 issue of MCN.
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