Kawasaki mark 50 years of the Zed name with four Z50 special models

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Kawasaki are marking 50 years of Zed models with special ‘Z50’ versions of the Z900, Z650, Z900RS and Z650RS nakeds.

Available from March 2022, the bikes will feature distinctive liveries reminiscent of past Kawasaki machinery, with every customer also receiving a ‘Z Chronicles’ book commemorating the history of the family name.

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Starting with the £11,449 Z900RS and £8049 Z650RS, both retro roadsters feature a ‘Fireball’ livery, inspired by the original 1972 Kawasaki Z1.

Applied in layers for a claimed deep and glossy texture, the RS models come finished in a mix of red and brown, with a gloss black frame and new seat leather – complete with different colour stitching.

Kawasaki Z650RS Z50 special

Adding to the look are gold rims, a Z50th logo on the tank, and DOHC emblems on the engine covers. As a nod to the past, a small emblem below the rider’s seat also reads ‘Double Overhead Camshaft’ – a detail previously seen on Zeds of old.

Moving away from the ’70s inspired machines, the £9799 Z900 and £7349 Z650 tribute models also get a fresh lick of paint – sporting the ‘Firecracker Red’ livery first seen on the Z1100GP and GPZ900R.   

Starting with the 900, you still get all the same creature comforts as before including a TFT dash, traction control and power modes, but the fork tubes are now also finished in gold for an added premium touch.

Kawasaki Z900 Z50 special

These golden tubes are not shared by the 650, which uses more basic conventional forks, however both bikes receive subtle dark blue and silver stripes through the paintwork, plus Kawasaki and Zed logos finished in gold.

You’ll also find red rims with silver pinstripes, a new seat and a Z50th logo on the front mudguard.

Happy Kawi-Versary to the Zed: Kawasaki tease 50th birthday special

First published on 15 November 2021 by Dan Sutherland

A 1972 Kawasaki Z1

Kawasaki are poised to reveal an anniversary retro naked model to mark 50 years since the introduction of the Z1.

Although the company will not be drawn on anything concrete at this stage, a 21-second teaser video has appeared on YouTube entitled ‘Z50th Celebration’ complete with a new ‘Z50th’ model logo – draped over the original 900 logo seen below the seat on early Z1 machines.

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Kawasaki Z900RS

A further image has since appeared on social media further claiming a ‘Z50th Celebration’ is coming in 2022, suggesting a special-edition model is on the way.

It’s fairly safe to assume it will be based on the current Z900RS retro model – a 110bhp, 948cc four-cylinder 70s-inspired roadster, which first arrived back in 2017.

We would also expect plenty of nods to the original Zed, such as spoked rims, lashings of chrome and a deep burgundy and red paintjob. 

Kawasaki have already revealed one new Z900RS model for next year – a £12,499 SE model with more advanced brakes, suspension, and fresh paint. Now another arrival seems imminent.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade