Dear MOby,

I really really like the new Kawasaki Z900RS you just reviewed, but I’m slightly disappointed to read it’s less powerful than the cheaper Z900. Why wouldn’t Kawasaki have just left that engine alone? Why spend all the money to make it less powerful, when by all accounts it was a great motor in Z900 form? I think I still want to buy one, but now I’m sad and confused. Am I missing something? Help me.

PTSD since 1973


Dear PT,

This whole thing is really a mountainous molehill. They “detuned” that lovely engine to 1) make it more in the character of the original Kawasaki Z1 (like the rest of the bike), and 2) to keep us from hurting ourselves. Both noble goals in my opinion.

2018 Kawasaki Z900RS First Ride Review

The original Z1, with its longish 66mm stroke, made peak horsepower at 8500 rpm, and max torque at 7000 rpm. On the dyno for a comparison in October, our Z900 made peak horsepower at 9800 rpm and peak torque at 8000 rpm. The Z900 is no slouch in the low- and midrange power department, but it mostly delivers power in the manner of a modern short-stroke 16-valve Four – meaning it likes to rev. The original Z1 and its 8-valve engine wasn’t really like that. Super powerful for its day, its engine redlined at 9000 rpm but was even more impressive for its broadband, midrange-intense power.

Pardon the blurriness of this excellent old ad Kawasaki dug up for the RS’s intro, but you’ll note the last sentence of paragraph two refers to the original Z1 as “maybe the best touring bike ever made.” Maybe it was the best “superbike” at the time, but nobody was yet thinking in superbike terms.

According to Kawasaki Europe’s website, which is happy to traffic in facts and figures, the Z900 makes 125 PS to the Z900RS’s 111 (123.29 to 109.48 of our horsepower), but that’s at 9500 rpm to the RS’s 8500 rpm. More importantly, the RS makes about the identical amount of torque as the Z900 (98.6 Newton-meters Z900; 98.5 Nm RS, or 72.72 pound-feet to 72.65), but the RS does it fully 1200 rpm lower in the powerband – at 6500 rpm instead of 7700. Basically you get the full torque dose at substantially lower speeds.

If you’re planning to go drag racing on your RS, that’s a bad trade-off. For just about any other conceivable real-world usage, it’s no sacrifice at all. In fact, it makes the RS that much easier and more pleasant to ride. And it definitely is more in character with the original Z1’s broad powerband approach.

Do you really want to go 130 mph with that high, wide handlebar and sit-up ergos?

There’s also a definite safety factor involved here. I remember chatting with Eraldo Ferracci about stability problems with early MV Agusta Brutales, MV’s first modern naked bikes. He told me the problem wasn’t with the bike but with inexperienced riders who maintain a death grip at high speeds and feed instability into the bars. All the major manufacturers are all too familiar with this problem and its sometimes disastrous results.

For the Z900RS, Kawasaki mounted a higher, more rearward handlebar and more forward footpegs that place the rider in an even more upright position than the Z900. No way were they going to encourage a youth in a billowy ski jacket to climb on and try to access the Z900’s 9800-rpm horsepower peak, which is probably somewhere around 130 mph in top gear. Most naked bikes, in my experience, stop ceasing to be so fun at triple-digit speeds. Why not pack most of the performance down at lower speeds we use every day in the real world?

My bad for sticking in “I was fine with the full-power Z900 engine” as a Sigh” in last Friday’s review of the new bike. I was in a hurry to finish that thing up and couldn’t think of anything else not to like!


Send your moto-related questions to AskMOAnything@motorcycle.com. If we can’t answer them, we’ll at least do no harm in the time it takes to seek out a believable answer. And we’ll occasionally even admit we were wrong, even if we were right at the time. Depends on what the definition of “is” is.

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Do I Really Need a New Superbike?
What’s a Linkage Suspension and Why Would I Need One?
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  • Alaskan18724

    An article that needed to be written. Still worried about abrupt fueling and related absence of polish.

  • DAVID

    Like someone said detuned and more money big mistake!!!!! I old enough be around when the real one was out awesome machine they should have left the motor alone. Simple fix if you wanted to put a speed limited on it like my ZX 14R call it done.

  • Born to Ride

    Horses for courses. On the highways and in traffic you want more mid and low range power. In the mountains you wanna keep that midrange and carry the torque for longer so you don’t have to shift so much. The Z900 was fine. It has linear torque with some extra oomph up top. Exactly what you want with your street-going I4 engine. Trying to turn an I4 into a twin is just stupid.

    • DickRuble

      Hold on a cotton picking minute.. weren’t you applauding the use of the 270 degree firing order that makes bikes “sound right”? Wasn’t that turning I4s into twins? Not so good now?

      • Born to Ride

        No that was a 270 firing order on a parallel twin to make it sound like a 90 degree v-twin. Close but no cigar sir Ruble.

        • Alaskan18724

          Close, but no guitar.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Can you tune a fish?

        • DickRuble

          Right.. it was the cross-plane BS from Yamaha..

      • Jayy Cee

        Born to Ride is just a magazine commenting warrior. Dude can’t even set proper body position on the street, thinks that dragging knee means “sick” cornering skill (knee focused squid) and has a host of excuses and criticisms for every bike introduced on this website. He needs to just buy a bike he likes, go learn how to ride the thing, and keep his mouth shut a bit more. (Ride more, talk and look less?)
        But he is definitely smarter than Japanese Kawi executives and engineers. He has done the market testing and studies, etc etc. Trust in Born to Ride’s criticisms.

        • Born to Ride

          Clearly you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. I haven’t put a knee down on the street since I was 19 years old and none of the pictures I’ve posted on this site show me doing so. There are hardly any riders that are LESS “knee focused” than I am during sport riding. I had bad things to say about the XSR700 because I think the bike is ugly, I had bad things to say about the unnecessary tweaking of a great engine on this bike, but if you actually were a participant in the discussions on here and not a complete troll, you’d know that I generally love all things motorcycles and ride dirt, street, track, and even own a cruiser. You sir, are a fucking clown and an idiot.

          • Old MOron

            I don’t blame you for getting your hackles up, but it’s best not to feed a troll. Hang in there, Brudda.

          • Born to Ride

            Yeah, I got it out of my system now. Thanks lol.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            ?????????
            Is this your first day on the interwebs (which I invented, by the by)?

          • Old MOron

            Not my first day, but I like to try to keep things fresh.
            Thank you for your invention.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I’m just a simple man of vast wealth and education and intellect, doing what I can for mankind.

            From a gold-plated toilet seat.

            In the Yamaha wing of my stately mansion.

            On my 10 million acre estate.

            Whilst I perfect my cure for cancer. And halitosis.

  • DickRuble

    “My bad for sticking in “I was fine with the full-power Z900 engine” — Yeah, your bad by Kawasaki, fine by me though. Did they call you to complain? It remains that, by all other accounts, fueling stinks so they can’t blame only you if the bike doesn’t sell.

    • Born to Ride

      I kinda got the impression that Kawi might have put in call after seeing the negative vibe in the discussion after Burns pointed out that the detuning was completely unnecessary.

      • john burns

        #1, nobody called me, nobody complained. #2, I never said detuning was completely unnecessary. I said I would’ve been okay with the Z900 engine. What i did say in the test was, “Honda’s revitalized CB1100EX was the last time I had this kind of quality nostalgic motorcycle fun. Like that bike, what you give up in outright power, you get back in near-perfect linear fueling and smooth, broadband power delivery – though the RS does suffer a bit of throttle abruptness occasionally when things get aggressive in the curves. By no means a deal-breaker.”

        • Born to Ride

          In general, Isn’t saying “the engine was fine the way it was” pretty much the same as “changing it was unnecessary”? My intention wasn’t to put words in your mouth if that’s what you’re implying.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          And, #3: Up your nose with a rubber hose!

        • khc

          In the minds of many readers, after using the word, “detuned,” the damage was done. How I hate that word (along with “retro”) and could anticipate the hate to be spewed at Kawasaki from commenters. Sacrificing some hp (i.e., top speed over 120mph, maybe?) for greater thrust at street speeds – especially for a naked bike – makes sense, but why let sensibility get in the way?

          • Born to Ride

            Why couldn’t they just change the gearing to achieve the desired grunt and top speed? The engine character and performance is one of the most praised traits of the Z900. Once again, I understand that the intended demographic for this bike will not remotely care if the engine spins up slower, doesn’t rev as high, or carry its torque as long. But I would want those things in my 11,000$ Japanese roadster. YMMV

          • khc

            From what I’ve read, Kawasaki DID change the transmission gearing: Lower first gear ratio for added grunt, plus higher 6th for lower-rpm at cruising speeds. And yes, I agree that “its intended demographic will not remotely care” to reach speeds exceeding its stock top speed of well-over 100 mph or acceleration quicker by a few tenths of a second.

          • Born to Ride

            Well shorter first to make it easier to pull from a stop, higher top gear to make it an overdrive gear. Those changes don’t give it more grunt for everyday riding.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Dammit, man, this is the interwebs we’re on! And it’s a motosickle site to boot!

            Take yer reasonable propositions and balanced opinions and shove them up yer arse!

      • khc

        How I hate the word “detuning” (along with “retro”) and by the time one reads that JB thought it was “unnecessary,” in many readers’ minds, the damage has been done. “Detuning” sets-off many (who evidently don’t think it through) right there. Basically, it’s: “How dare Kawasaki reduce the top speed from – maybe – 130 mph to 120!!” (for a naked bike, of course, in order to create greater thrust at street speeds). Kawasaki did the right thing: peak hp, at these levels, only produces speeds not appropriate for any road shared with the public.

    • Alaskan18724

      After their hissy with Sean, to be expected. Stick to your guns, JB. Even with your arm twisted up between your shoulder blades, your rotator cuff screaming, your labrum shredding….

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    “Why Did Kawasaki Detune The Z900RS?”

    Because they are history’s greatest monsters.

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    “Do you really want to go 130 mph with that high, wide handlebar and sit-up ergos?”

    I. Always. Want. To. Go. 130 mph 210 km/h.

    • Alaskan18724

      Today’s post of the year..

  • Larry Kahn

    Looking at some dyno charts on the Z900 (113/114 rwhp) seems like the 10-15 “lost” HP would be above 8500 rpm. For 99% of your time on the road you’re under 8000 rpm on any I/4 liter bike. Back in the 70’s it seemed like 50 hp was ample. People have not evolved that much since then that 150 hp is needed. So whining about this “detuned” very fast motorcycle is BS. Used to be referred to as bar bragging rights.

    • Born to Ride

      I’d say 90% of the time it doesn’t matter. I think about 10% of my riding is of the aggressive mountain/canyon carving variety and it certainly matters there. Nobody is complaining that it’s not a S1000r, simply that the engine was already tuned for torque and usability (950cc I4 making 115rwhp is NOT Superbike tuning), so why neuter it even further?

      • Larry Kahn

        To change the rpm range that it’s at it’s best for the street. Here’s what the 1973 Z-1 had, and the Ducati 750 and Norton just for reference. Most of us back then were pretty happy with these numbers.. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b63e65c6c7f11903a933fd757920a2874cf81d175abbb2787914796a998dfbb4.jpg

        • Born to Ride

          Well I can say earnestly that I can use all of the 90ish horsepower that my multistrada offers when riding hard. I think it’d be perfect if it had another 10% up top, which is about what this engine will do. So realistically, does this bike NEED any more power? Probably not, but it’s frustrating that you’re getting less performance for more money from two bikes that share the platform.

          • Jayy Cee

            You cannot fully use 90 HP of any of your bikes except in a straight line.
            Most would be hard pressed to fully use a Ninja 300 to its very utter edge of its ability. With your poor body position, don’t act like you’re Marquez and using any of your bikes to their max limit.

          • RyYYZ

            I think you’re right. You certainly don’t need 150 HP to tear up a tight twisty road (like the Malibu canyons). You don’t need it for cruising, or tooling down the freeway. Maybe if one did a lot of track days, and even there I can tell you that most people can’t make full use of the power of a 600 on a racetrack, far less anything more powerful. So yeah, in a straight line doing drag runs or (briefly, usually) running it up to high speed. I guess a lot of guys, maybe myself included, don’t want to admit that they’re not really up to using all the power they have.

          • GreggJ

            I had a roommate back in the late 80’s in LA. He had a Honda 250 Rebel he rode on the Street. And he had Yamaha TZ 350 that he raced almost every weekend at Willow. No one, and I mean no one no matter what they were on could keep up with him in the canyons on his Rebel. Up or down.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            Uh, I have to call BS on this one. A Honda Rebel? There are straights between those canyon curves and even a mediocre liter-class race-rep pilot could make up enough time in those straights to counteract any advantage your friend’s race-tuned cornering skills might gain.

          • GreggJ

            You could be right as I never could stay close enough to him to see. I did see him embarrass some guys on liter bikes though (downhill). He was damn fast on the track and the street. Later on he got a Ninja (the first 600 i believe), and then it really was game over.

          • Douglas

            So you were roomies with Freddie Spencer? Or Lawson, or…..?

          • GreggJ

            Ha, Freddie Spencer was his idol! My roommates name was Alan Smith. From his online Q and A

            2) Have you had any experience racing 1:1 cars, trucks, or motorcycles?

            I started racing Motorcycles in 1972 after a few brushes with the long arm of the Law!

            A good friend of mine convinced me I could do well and the lack of Speeding Tickets was certainly a bonus.

            I raced 2 stroke GP bikes to a National Level in England till 1982. Then carried on racing in America and Canada.

            I formed my own Endurance Team which won the West Coast Endurance Championship in 1986.

            I won several Championships on the West Coast and competed in Club and National Events.

            I won a fair amount of Club Races but the highlight was winning a Suzuki National Cup Race at Willow Springs taking the lead exiting the last corner on the last lap.

            I also raced Karts in 1995 and 1996.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            It was me.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            After 17 straight years of riding the Angeles Crest I can truthfully say it takes three things to go really fast through the curves: (1) ground clearance, (2) cornering skills/confidence to LEAN (race or at least track experience helps), and (3) a total lack of personal concern about what’s around that next blind corner. (A true death wish helps.)

            More powerful bikes help ‘lap times’ for non-suicidal riders by shortening the straights, but only if their riders are willing to use their power to accelerate and their excellent modern brakes to slow down for those blind corners.

            For me, the main reason for power in the mountains is for passing quickly (especially on short uphill straights). And the best reason for a bike that pulls hard to the rev limit is to avoid the need to change gears for additional thrust mid-pass.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Great for passing on the 401.

          • Jason

            Ontario Highway 401 – Windsor to Toronto? If so, that explains your obsession with straight line speed and horsepower. I grew up in Michigan and taking 401 through Canada cut hours off the trip to New York. Not a proper curvy road to be found in that part of Canada. Southern Michigan where I grew up is the same.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Actually, that is not my obsession. It is my breeding.

            I have owned one (1) uno four-stroke in my life. An Sv1000s, which I found boring due to its power and massive low-end oomph.

            As a life-long rider of two-strokes, I am used to having to wind out the motor to make any forward progress. I even still blip the throttle on downshifts and braking although it probably has not been required on modern dingers since the introduction of oil injection. It’s like learning snooker; I can’t switch to left-handed now.

            But, more importantly, on those times when I do gie ‘er some wellie, the more the merrier.

          • Born to Ride

            So I’m curious, does being a pretentious douchebag come naturally? Or did you have to work at it?

          • BDan75

            What a twit that guy is. Ignore him and maybe he won’t come back.

          • Max Wellian

            Pinning the throttle is not using 110 hp unless you hold it WFO approximately to the redline.
            I usually see that in videos of kids on sportbikes, right before they fly off into a tree.
            I ride pretty quick in the twisties and my 87 hp RWHP bike has never banged off the rev limiter. It provides good power throughout the rev range though. I don’t need to wring its neck to get it motivated.

          • Born to Ride

            Mine does regularly. There is one long right hander in particular that is just too long for second gear, but I’d have to shift immediately into and out of 3rd if I wanted maximum drive into the next corner. There is another short straightaway that connects two hairpins that I wind out second WFO and right as I’m about to hit the limiter(and often do hit it) I roll off and onto the brakes. This bike does make more power than mine though by about 10% I’d guesstimate, can’t tell you for sure if I’d run into the same issue without riding it. You’ll note above I did state that this bike probably has enough power and I am far more interested in seeing the Dyno overlays of the two engines. If the power falls flat up top like it does on my Ducati, I would be disappointed because the base model has been praised for not doing so.

          • Max Wellian

            I suspect it’s tuned a lot like my Versys 1000. Very linear power. Just a slight surge near the top. It’s very 4 valve twin like in that regard.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Spend a life on two-strokes. You’ll soon change your tune.

          • Max Wellian

            Ewe funny.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Well, I’m a baaaaaad boy.

        • therr850

          Back in the day those numbers were the best you could get. That’s why we were happy then. Actually my last two bikes have had around 95 or 100hp and that always makes me smile.

    • Mad4TheCrest

      It’s my impression that people aren’t complaining about outright power figures as much as the prospect of the loss of thrilling top end. It was either Burn’s review or the CW screed about the RS that said there was not much to gain revving past 9000. A sporty 4 should pull hard right up to the limiter. That’s where the thrill comes from, not numbers on the Speedo.

      • Jason

        My thrills come from seamlessly linking a series of corners together not banging a bike of the rev limiter. For most inline 4’s once you are out of 1st gear the rev limiter is only found at go-to-jail speeds.

        • Mad4TheCrest

          No argument that connecting corners doesn’t need big revs, but that’s not the point. One of the defining characteristics of an inline 4 is the wave of increasing thrust as you climb the tach that gets more urgent the farther up you go. It’s fun and doesn’t need to lead to license losing speeds, at least not sustained speeds. If the RS as reported really does plateau out after 9000, how boring would that be after a while? I’d prefer to have a great handling corner -carver that is also a howling missle when I want it to be. Why can’t I have both?

          • Jayy Cee

            You can, and you can get the Z900 if that’s what you want. Its a retro bike, themed to its roots, and it maintaining its original mid range super grunt. Don’t like it? Buy another bike. I don’t think Japanese execs or engineers just decided this on a whim.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            No, they were/are trying to differentiate the RS from the Z900; in this case to preserve a reason for anyone to buy the Z900 when the more attractive RS is available. There really was no other practical reason to change the engine tune. The Z900 was torquey cnough as is.

          • Max Wellian

            I think it’s more that it’s aimed toward mature riders who aren’t apt to be riding around in triple digits a lot of the time.
            I do agree with you on having good passing power, but 110 hp on a 500 lb’ish bike is plenty to make any sane pass.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            “I think it’s more that it’s aimed toward mature riders who aren’t apt to be riding around in triple digits a lot of the time.”

            I’m out …

          • Max Wellian

            ZX-10 and Road America are still available. Leave those of us who enjoy motorcycles that work best on public streets a choice or two.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Whoosh …

          • Max Wellian

            No whoosh. “You’re out” to my statement implies you want a bike for riding around like a newbie kid on public roads whose out to see if they can break the ton. There are better options for that kinda thing. No reason that every bike has to be “that” bike.
            Either that or your just objecting to maturing. Based on the lack of millenialisms in your writing, I’m made the assumption you were beyond the potty pants by now.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Humour is not your strong suit, is it?

          • Max Wellian

            I’ve never liked suits. I like motorsickles what look like motorsickles and not cartoon Japanese machine heros with pointy butts…even if I have to twist the throttle an extra few mm to get the same result. And my year has cometh!!!

          • Jason

            You can’t have both because they require different cam profiles. (among other engine changes)

            Kawasaki chose to lower the horsepower peak 1000 RPM (9500 to 8500) in order move the lower the torque peak 1200 RPM (7700 to 6500 RPM). In doing so they produced an engine that makes more torque in the RPM range that people actually use on the road.

            9000 RPM is boring on a 900cc bike? I guess we have different definitions of boring. It really can depend on where and how a person rides. Where I grew up all the roads were in square mile grids. There were no corners so straight line speed and acceleration was the fun of riding. I escaped the flatlands to the mountains years ago and have no intention of returning.

            The last inline 4 I owned was a ZX-7rr that did an indicated 72 mph in first gear. 2nd was about about 95 mph and 3rd gear topped out about 120 mph. Yes, those are go-to-jail speeds.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            The ZX-7rr was a race-rep with tall gearing to suit; the Z900 from which the RS derived is not a race-rep and you won’t find overly tall gearing on it.

          • RyYYZ

            Ah, but you can have both. Variable valve timing. Only used on a few models so far, though, and high end and race-oriented ones at that. Used in a bike like this, you could maybe even have better bottom end and midrange than the RS, and even better top end that the Z model.

          • Jason

            Sure Kawasaki could do that but at what cost and why?

            The RS looks to be a fantastic road bike as it is and better than the Z900 in pretty much every way except price.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Or, a power valve that was standard on basically any two-stroke after 1982.

    • Jason

      Even more than 100 HP is more about spec racing than riding experience on a public road. Of course we like spec racing and it is a primary tools used by manufacturers to move new models.

      When I was a kid a Porsche 911 Turbo made 280 hp and rolled on 16 inch wheels. Now Dodge sells 290 HP minivans with 20 inch wheels!

      • Dean Hewitt

        Followup, I had a 1986 Porsche Targa with 215 hp and could do 145 mph… It would run like a scalded dog up and around curvy roads. It had a lot to do with set up and weight.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          I had two brand new ’87 Grand Nationals, and a brand new ’87 T-Type. I used to embarrass Porch Targas and Ferrari Blah Blah’s and Vettes and the rest at lights. Plus, those runs to Montreal for a hockey game or a Grand Prix weekend were like scenes out of Smokey and The Bandit. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/654035c808f2d2d72205d433a2f432bab5ad163814246b6c795800132758a5bc.jpg This one got the Hypertech Stage Two chip, catalytic converter removed, NOS stage two nitrous, and the Kenne Bell oversized
          Garrett AiResearch turbo (stage two). And, I tried … the GNX was not available in Canada; seems my dealer even tried the olde ‘preferred customer’ crap! lol

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          I had two brand new ’87 Grand Nationals and a brand new ’87 T-Type that used to destroy Porch Targas, and Ferrari Blah Blahs, and Vettes and so on, at the lights. Plus, those trips to Montreal for a hockey game, or the Grand Prix were like something out of Smokey and The Bandit. I loved flashing the beams at the 911’s and such on the 401.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ace1eae7c3028771605ef08dff169c80eb7b66588ae03ca81b1d7e85d83d7355.jpg The T-type got the Hypertech Stage Two chip, the removal of the catalytic converter, a NOS stage two nitrous kit, and the Kenne Bell rebuilt, oversize, stage two Garrett AiResearch turbo. ‘Go fast with class.’

          • Douglas

            Yeah, but you were still chuffin’ around in a Buick, regardless of all its laughing gas and extra-big air pumps (which it desperately needed to go fast, otherwise it was a 160hp grandpa car, n’cest-pas?) And 3 of ’em?….so you’d always have 1 available when the others were at the repair facility? Whoa…..

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Flipped the two fully loaded, special run GN’s for an extremely tidy profit. Could not get a GNX (they were not available in syrup country).

            Although seldom at the dealership, it was comforting to know there was a qualified repair shop in every village in Canada. Also, “chuffin’ around in a Buick” meant I could bring along three friends. ‘Course, I doubt you had that requirement.

            And, that American made Buick was the fastest accelerating car sold in North America, in 1987. So, stone stock it, it would walk that gutless kraut car you chose. And no allied war criminals made my cars.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        And, the Yanks never bombed my country.

        • Douglas

          We wouldn’t do that…..

  • Gruf Rude

    JB, Isn’t it “begin ceasing” rather than “stop ceasing”?
    As to the bike, how big a deal is the just-off-closed-throttle fueling? Cycle World complained vociferously . . . (110 HP and an extra 1500RPM of torque seems fine to me, FWIW.)

  • asg21

    My BMW S1000R naked bike feels much stronger than the S1000RR I owned a few years ago – the redline and max power are much lower, but it’s much stronger in the rev range I actually use.

    • Jeff S. Wiebe

      “the rev range I actually use” – important real life concept.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Simple solution: create an ‘RSR’ version with ohlins front/rear, an up/down shifter, cornering ABS, adjustable pegs for more clearance when desired, and the engine in full Z900 tune, perhaps with a ‘Tour’ mode that changes the map to replicate the old school low-revving motor when desired.

    • Scott

      Good god YES!

  • john phyyt

    111hp .. No enough for y’all.. What about 100,000 mile reliability? Sheesh Tough crowd.

    • Mad4TheCrest

      Do you think the RS will be more reliable than the z900 version? They should both have that 100,000 mile reliability. And 111 hp is ‘enough’ for most people, objectively speaking, that’s not the issue. The gripe is that Kawasaki didn’t need to take away that extra 14 bhp found on the Z900. The torque was already fine for the weight. If they had meant for the RS to carry bags and a heavy screen for two-up touring then more torque would’ve been a welcome trade off, otherwise why do it?

    • QuestionMark666

      How many will ever get to 100,000 miles? Roughly 0.0001%

      • SteverinoB

        My 07 650 Strom currently sits at about 112k miles and I would expect similar value out of the next platform?

        • Born to Ride

          Better buy another V-strom then. I’d go for the 1000, the valve adjustments are easier. Lol

        • QuestionMark666

          And you know how rare a 112,000 mile Vstrom is?
          It’s an expectation that never enters into 99.99976% of buyers minds

          • StripleStrom

            you might be surprised…

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      • David K

        I had every intention of going 100,000 on my 2008 KLR which I sold last year with 53,000. A few KLR riders have achieved that, but I just got tired of it and needed a change.

      • Eddie

        Compared to 80’s and 90’s, most bikes and cars are very reliable. Look how long people keep cars almost 11 years on the average. If you keep up with the maintenance you should never be suddenly stranded. Obviously, more horsepower means more maintenance and costs go up as the motorcycle or car’s original Msrp take that into account. Lol!

        • QuestionMark666

          Your comment, while true, has nothing to do with my observation that few motorcycles in America will ever get to 100,000 because Americans do not ride their bikes much. I have been in the motorcycle business for four decades, much of it with European brands and I know how rare the 100,000 mile bike really is. Reliability is not the reason bikes get fewer miles. And I hope for a much shorter product life cycle.I hope you want a new bike at least every 3 years!

          • Eddie

            50,000 miles is considered a high mileage bike. Most those miles are spread over a longer time period due to season changes. Whether motorcyclists become bored with the bike sooner or the frequent new models refresh rate could be a factor in bikes not making it to the 100,000 mile mark. With very high rpms, frequent punching it, or general abuse, bikes very rarely make it to 100,000 miles. Millennials are not interested in cars and bikes because of environment concerns, maintenance/insurance and are happy with Uber/ride sharing. Major paradigm shift

  • JMDGT

    It is easy to get caught up in the specification trap. It’s this it’s that not this not that. Exactly what would a bike like this be used for? It looks like a cruising around have fun bike to me. It doesn’t look like a canyon carver track bike or a straight line drag machine. It doesn’t have a fairing. It seems to have a decent engine and components. It has a great look. A lot more to like than not.

    • Born to Ride

      I want cake for eating and looking at.

  • Old MOron

    I don’t care what the spec sheet says. A few BHP here, a little torque there, either way, I think it’s plenty. BUT WAIT! Let’s see what our MOronic editors said.

    Z900RS Engine Score
       • First ride review by JB, 17.5/20 or 87.5%
         http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/kawasaki/2018-kawasaki-z900rs-first-ride-review.html

    Z900 Engine Score
       • First ride review by T-rod, 19/20 or 95%
         http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/kawasaki/2017-kawasaki-z900-review-first-ride.html
       • Shootout by Duke and two FNG’s, 92.5%
         http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs/naked-sports-threeway-aprilia-shiver-900-vs-kawasaki-z900-vs-suzuki-gsx-s750
       • Long term review by FNG Ryan, 18/20 or 90%
         http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/kawasaki/2017-kawasaki-z900-long-term-review.html

    So maybe the RS’s retuned engine is just fine.
    But the original engine outscores it in every test, by an average of 5 percentage points.
    I can conclude only that Kawasaki screwed the pooch. WTF were they thinking?
    Didn’t they learn from Honda’s experience with the CB1100 that people want modern performance with their retro look?

    • BDan75

      I’d probably have left the engine alone, myself, but I also don’t think we’re in for a CB1100 situation here. The RS is up probably 15 RWHP over the CB, weighs around 80 pounds less, and probably has about the same torque. I’ll bet it’s pretty snappy.

    • john burns

      I am a harder grader.

      • Old MOron

        Hmm, I’d previously noted the consistency of our MOronic editors.
        You’ve prompted me to look that up again. http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/honda/2017-honda-cb1100-rs-and-cb1100-ex-preview.html#comment-2943737040

        Looks like I was a little unfair in my most recent analysis.
           • Previously I’d considered scores that
              varied by 5% to be pretty close.
           • Looking at how you and Brassballs scored the CB1100,
              your score was about 5% lower.

        So the scores across different editors remains MOronically consistent, even when looking from 2017 back to 2014.
        And you do seem to consistently grade on a tougher scale.

        Hey, figures don’t lie, and maybe the Z900RS is okay after all. Glad to know it.

        I should send the Duke a bill for all this analysis!

        • john burns

          actually I was just kidding, but thanks for backing me up maybe I am a little harsher grader?

          • Old MOron

            Unless you’re on Harley’s Street Rod.
            Then you’re uncharacteristically generous with your praise.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            You are a cruel man, but fair. And what’s more you know how to treat a female impersonator.

        • John B.

          One can buy a 2017 Z900 out the door for $7,815 at my Kawasaki dealer. That’s about $1,000 more than a Ninja 650 (OTD). The Z900 at that price is an awesome value proposition in my opinion. Is there a better value proposition on the market?

          • Old MOron

            That sounds tough to beat!

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Time for a new bike. Was going to get one this past spring, but health problems meant I wouldn’t be riding it. So, next spring it is.

            During those months I was off work, I had plenty of time to window shop. The Ninja 650 was top of my list, but those three Kawasaki 900’s are doing some swaying, and the asshole hooligan KTMs are appealing.

          • Born to Ride

            I don’t know man. I’ve seen some GSXS1000s going for just under 10 grand ODT, but other than my aesthetic preference for the Suzuki, I don’t see justification.for spending 20% more money on one.

  • John B.

    It’s interesting to ponder what the comments and criticisms would have been if Kawasaki had merely dropped the Z900 motor into the Z900RS.

    • maynard

      How about a head to head shootout, Z900and Z900RS,several riders of differing skill, trading back and forth for a day on real roads. It would be immensely interesting to hear the comments at the end of the day.

    • Mad4TheCrest

      Can’t think of any except that ground clearance observation of Burns’s. Also I guess, if the throttle abruptness was really noticeable. Otherwise zip. The interest for this bike is/was off the charts. All Kawasaki needed to do was not undercut the message by ‘retuning for torque’ or anythimg else that took away from the ‘Z1’ branding. They aren’t as bad as Honda with this, but I think they did screw the pooch enough to lop maybe 20% off potential sales.

      • BDan75

        I’d be surprised if the retuning resulted in a 20% drop. That’d be huge considering you’ve still got a 110hp bike. Triumph sells tons of their 55hp Street Twin/Bonneville, and that thing’s as “tuned for torque” as it gets.

        • Born to Ride

          Well, they lost me as a customer. I thought the bike was going to be a Z900 with better suspension, brakes, and aesthetics. The reports of poorly tuned fueling(or the switch to RBW, hard to know the culprit at this stage), pitiful ground clearance, mushy suspension, major price hike, and finally the detuning have led me to the conclusion that this bike wasn’t built for me. Thankfully for about the same price, there is a bike that gives me everything else perfectly except for that classic beauty.

  • StripleStrom

    Area under the curve is what makes a bike feel responsive, not the height of the horsepower peak. If you’re spending all of your time at redline, you’re on the wrong bike.

    • Mad4TheCrest

      I don’t think anybody spends all of their time at redline. That would be virtually impossible to do on the street and ridiculously expensive if somehow you managed it. People DO enjoy an engine that has the power to pull hard up to redline though, because that feels good to use even when you don’t make it all the way to redline. An engine that begins to loose steam up top can be felt too, but not in a positive way.

      • StripleStrom

        Ok, Mr. literal… take a pill, re-read what I said, and think a little about what I was getting at. This isn’t a bike that is meant to be ridden hard all of the time. I’ve owned a few in my time, and I do understand the benefit of having an engine that will pull at the top end (and the annoyance of one that falls flat). I’m honestly not one that prefers a “tuned for torque” type of a ride. I just don’t see why it’s such a deal-breaker to all the whiners on here. This bike performs better than any other retro that has been released recently. It makes well over a hundred horsepower. I think if peak horsepower is the priority, you’re looking at the wrong motorcycle. There are PLENTY of other options out there. If you must have this specific bike, wait for a crashed 900 and swap the motor and ECU. Or cam it and have it tuned.

        • Mad4TheCrest

          Man, some of you guys don’t get the reason for disappointment. It’s NOT about the absolute numbers on the RS, or about what anyone ‘really needs’ on the street; and it’s not about wanting the RS to be a race-rep. It is simply a matter of dashed expectations. Many of us wanted the Z900 in Z1 livery. Period. And what we are being offered is something not quite Z900. That’s the disappointment.

        • Born to Ride

          Or better yet, pull the head, install ninja 1000 pistons, get it tuned, PROFIT!

      • Max Wellian

        The RS doesn’t necessarily lose power, it just doesn’t make as much of it as the revs rise.
        A linear powerband means the power curve ramps up in a straight line (mathematically, that gives you a flat torque curve at the crank). Engines with hot cams typically don’t make linear power. They start off slow, maybe have a few dips and then make power exponentially up to the peak. That’s fine in a straight line, but sucks if you want to try and control the delivery.
        Engines with great linear power (typically twins) don’t usually make great top end power…though with the newer oversquare, high revving twin engines, that’s probably all out the window.

        • Mad4TheCrest

          From what I read the Z900 does make linear power, not peaky at all. Don’t make it sound like some wild beast that needed detuning to make it everyday rideable.

          • Max Wellian

            There’s a pretty good power surge around 7k rpm, but overall, I agree it looks linear enough. So what’s the big deal about detuning? 3 peak HP? This is what people are getting all weepy eyed over?
            https://i0.wp.com/ridermagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Kawasaki-Z900-and-Yamaha-FZ-09-dyno-run-combined.jpg

          • Born to Ride

            The Z900 is rated for 123hp, loses 10 hp to the dyno gods. This bike should dyno right around 100hp, and likely see its gains in the 4-6k rpm range at the cost of that 7k bump in torque. A sport focused rider will miss that bulge more than the surge in power you get when leaving the stoplight. A heritage and aesthetic focused rider will likely not give two shits because the engine will seldom even see 7-9k rippums.

          • Max Wellian

            Leaving a stoplight, whaddya think it’s a Harley? Lol
            I consider myself both. I buy bikes that can maintain a good pace down a twisty road, but also like them to have a look that makes me smile when I open the garage.
            To me, the sporty part is leaving it in 3rd and riding the midrange power thru the twisty bits. I don’t generally blast down the straights WFO so the top end is of no great concern. Although admittedly it is nice when a large HOG chapter must be dispensed with in a short straight. Still, I’ve always found the ratio of ~100 hp to 500 lb sufficient for such duty.

          • Max Wellian

            Even Harleys are faster eh?
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnvz5yVFlrA

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        Or, put another way, we all have the throbbing python of love. Putting it into action creates great joy.

        But, we don’t whip it out 24/7.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      Or, a two-stroke.

  • Walter

    “Maybe it was the best “superbike” at the time, but nobody was yet thinking in superbike terms.”

    Really, John, you’re old enough to know better lol

    Yeah, the Mach IV won, but the Z was a very close 2nd.

    http://www.kawtriple.com/mraxl/articles/1973%20Superbikes/superbikes1.htm

  • RyYYZ

    On the one hand, I know that most of the time I would not miss that 15 HP on the top end at all. OTOH, it’s still kind of disappointing that it’s not there when you do rev the bike out.

    The ZRX1100 and 1200 used ZX-11 engines heavily retuned for torque. And they were/are torque monsters. My 1100 would snap up into a wheelie on throttle alone at 2,000 rpm. Top end was heavily neutered, though – from about 160 crank HP down to around 100. With cams, valve springs, exhaust and intake modifications, many guys were able to get these things back up to about 140-150 crank HP, but I’ll bet they didn’t pull from idle anymore like they originally did.

    • Mad4TheCrest

      My ZRX1200R is a torque monster like you said, but it still pulls hard all the way to 10,000 rpm in top (5th). It’s true there’s so much torque I don’t need to visit redline for go-power, but I still do at least once on every ride because it sounds and feels so good.

      The ZRX has some lineage with the Z11 motor, but, at least with the 1164cc version it was mostly if not all new. Perhaps a better example is between the ZRX1200 and the ZZR1200 which used a more tuned for horsepower version of the 1164cc four.

      • Max Wellian

        I had one a them too. Nice scoot.

        • Mad4TheCrest

          Why’d you let it go? ZRX’s are keepers!

          • Max Wellian

            I rented an FJR to tour around the PacNW on. It was better at dragging my wife and luggage around, so when I got home I traded the ZRX in for the FJR.
            I think this is a better ZRX as its bound to be lighter. One thing I do miss from the ZRX that is on the Z900 but not the RS is the cam mechanism to adjust the chain. That’s the best method ever developed IMHO. Kaw ought to put it on everything.

          • Born to Ride

            Just another feature on the Ninja 1000 that makes it so desirable as an every day rider.

  • Steve C

    Stick a Windjammer on it and point it west!

    • Born to Ride

      I’d only make it 45 minutes before I needed a paddle tire and pontoons.

  • Nedemeyer Muldoon

    Ride more, worry less. That is all.

  • Scott Craig

    I own a 2017 Z900R. I bought a week before the RS came out and have put 4300 miles on it in two months. I ride it. Hard. I ride with guys on V4 Tounos and hang on tight. I had a 2013 CB1100 retro and tried to ride with those same guys. It was very frustrating to say the least. I love the look of the RS but keeping the Z900R. I love it…

  • Old-Skule

    AS the owner of a modded and maxed out ZRX1200 (a bike putting down about 170HP at the rear tire but getting long in the tooth) and an original lover of the UJM I’m really interested in this bike. Who makes hop up parts for the Z900 and will they fit the RS? I’m thinking that a set of cams and pistons should push this beautiful creation into the 140HP realm at least…. but it doesn’t seem like anyone makes anything for the motor? Was it not based on an old ZX10 or something – will cams from the Ninja line fit?

    • Born to Ride

      You would want to get ninja 1000 pistons and cams. Idk if the valves are different diameters. But the ninja 1000 with the emissions friendly exhaust and tune removed will put down 140rwhp easily. Which is honestly a lot more than this chassis was intended to handle.

      • Old-Skule

        There are a couple of generations of z1000 does anyone know what can this engine is derived from? And which ninja those z1000s came from? Looks like the stroke lines up with the 2nd and 3rd gen z1000.

        A dogbone to raise the rear, an online shock and the forks reworked by my friends at traxxion should solve any chassis ills.

      • Old-Skule

        Er ohlins shock (dang spell check)

        • Born to Ride

          You know you can edit your post right? Lol

  • Eddie

    Totally agree! Almost everyone ranks a bike by horsepower. You must look at its power curve to see where that horsepower is made. Most bike make their final horsepower figures at redline and who rides their bike at constant redline. If most the horsepower is in the midrange area, you have a totally different bike with very useable horsepower!

    • Max Wellian

      Most have no understanding of what you just said and would rather talk gibberish than learn.
      It’s quite possible the RS is actually the more powerful engine. The total power is the area under the curve not the peak value at redline. MIght not be the case too, but one really needs the power curves to compare. Throw the damn torque curves in the garbage. They’re meaningless.

      • Scott Campbell

        One of my bikes is a Super Duke 1290 gt. Most of the torque by 6,500 rpm. Rare engine to have a lot of torque down low and horsepower at the same time. Like my electric car. Full torque almost instantly without waiting for it to rev!

        • Max Wellian

          Forget torque. Engines make power. Torque at the crank is calculated by dividing the RWHP by crank speed. Useless to riders.
          Torque at the rear wheel is a function of gearing. You want more torque, downshift. If engine A makes more power at 3k rpm than engine B then it makes more torque too, but who cares. All you need to do is compare the power over the rev bands your likely to ride them.

          • Scott Campbell

            Ride a super duke 177 horsepower with 106 ft pounds torque. The beast is very unique power plant

          • Mad4TheCrest

            I rode a Ducati 1198 around for 5 years and found that 154 rwhp and 90-odd ft-lbs was more than needed at least 70% of the time. And the 30% I used it I was paranoid LEO was watching. The Z900’s power is gentle and useable by comparison with that 1198, let alone your Super Duke, and there was no need to ‘retune’ it (he repeats, ad nauseum – as if Kawasaki is listening!)

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Oops!

            “… rev bands your likely to …”

          • Max Wellian

            Beer thirty

          • Born to Ride

            Torque curves are useful because they make it easier to ‘see’ the character of an engine’s power delivery. My primitive brain disseminates data from the flatter line more better.

          • Max Wellian

            That is true. For a tuner I can see the relevance as power surges are amplified by calculating the crank torque curve, at lower rpms.
            I posted the Z900’s curve here somewhere and the power surge is more noticeable on the corresponding torque curve.
            Comparison charts just get too damn busy with extraneous crap. As a rider, I want to know how the power band of A compares with B. If one must show torque, compare that on a different graph.
            Where people get confused is marketing depts just shouting out peak torque figures as if they’re something meaningful.
            To make 100 ft lbs of peak crank torque at 3000 rpm only requires the engine to 57 hp @ 3k rpm.
            To make 100 ft lbs of peak crank torque at 6000 rpm requires the engine to make 114 hp @ 6k rpm.

          • Born to Ride

            What bike makes 100 ft-lb at 6000rpm? I want one.

            Edit: actually on second thought, that bike is probably my dads goldwing. Nevermind. Lol

          • Gabriel Owens

            I heard the new ‘Wang is making 105.

          • Born to Ride

            Cmon now, let’s not talk about our wang measurements here.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Patiently waiting for the reviews

          • Born to Ride

            The dealership told my dad if he wanted one this coming year at all, he would have to get on the preorder list with a deposit, and they are not negotiating price on a single bike until they deliver every single preorder. He didn’t like their attitude so I doubt he’s getting one any time soon.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Ive decided to wait a year, still going to be selling the fjr though.

      • Scott Campbell

        Most of the powerful bikes are tamed by electronics. It is pretty hard to grab a handful of throttle. Bikes with 100 horsepower or less can be fun because you can grab a handful of throttle all the time.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        So, it’s a good old calculus-off you have in mind, is it?

        Gentlemen! Draw. Your. Slide rules!

        • Max Wellian

          No need for calculus. It’s so much simpler. If a bike is making power at the rear wheel, per the dyno, the rear tire was accelerating. Power is made over the entire rev range not just at its peak. If you shift at peak torque on a 600, you’ll probably lose about 6k rpm of acceleration.
          Crank torque is calculated from the RWHP and plotted. It means zip to a rider. Wish that measurement would go away. Just confuses people.
          Torque at the rear wheel is a function of gearing. If you need more torque to pull a fat broad up a hill, downshift.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            We use integral calculus to determine the area under a graph. All dealt with in late high school, A-levels or early University old chap.

            Also often mentioned with great effect, in many articles in the late, lamented Grand Prix Engineering. The second finest motorsport magazine that ever existed.

            You see, if we calculate the area under a motor’s horsepower graph, we may have a more accurate means of comparison.

            Then, we should be able to show some forethought and purchase the proper vehicle for ‘fat broad pulling.’

          • Max Wellian

            One could use calculus to calc total power exactly, but even just summing a bunch of rectangles would be close enough. Curve fitting the curve may make the calculus a little more cumbersome.
            Why no one does this to show the total power an engine makes over the rev range is a mystery to me. And how the motorhead world got so infatuated with crank torque is equally confounding.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            “One could use calculus to calc …”
            Everything!

            Now let me interest you in Amway’s logarithms …

          • Max Wellian

            I’m organic. I only use natural logarithms.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            And I only eat Pez™ Lite. Figure and all …

  • porpoisehork

    Ridiculous…. My Monster S2R made 30 less hp and was perfect for having fun. I could rev it out without going insane on the street. The Z900RS has more than enough.

    Buy a race replica.

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    it does seem counter-intuitive-perhaps someone will one day switch engines(or change the tuning) but most people will be glad of the broader power distribution

  • Gary

    Ask yourself if you are buying the bike to actually ride it or to stare adoringly and its printed engine specs.

  • gjw1992

    I don’t mind the power ‘loss’ for the benefits mentioned – as an s1000r owner I’m with it being stronger than the rr on the road. And I suspect despite the cheaper parts the STR R is ‘better’ than the RS. But as you and every review I’ve read/seen reports, it seems in making this change to the z900 engine, the very low speed manners have been harmed – the abruptness. And a bike like this z900rs should be as good around town as it is sweeping along more open roads.

  • spiff

    Everyone said, “it needs 100 horse at the wheel”. Kawasaki did just that and everyone bitches. My bet says it is a blast to ride around on.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      Time I told you something.
      And, I can’t stress this enough.
      So read carefully.
      No matter how much it’s got, we always want more.
      Got it?
      Now, this may seem a wee bit vague.
      That is because it is not just about motorcycles.
      It is about a man’s life!

      I always felt the greatest marketing coup in modern merchandising would be a thirteen pack of beer …

  • Fabian

    Gosh I love this bike. I hope the gods of the stock market will smile to me. Otherwise, I’ll keep working on my Sportster, which I like.

  • ClarkeJohnston

    Keeping my ’02 green ZRX. Looks good, is fast, sounds great (Muzzy slip-on) analog gauges 🙂

  • Tim Kellogg

    The original Z1s broad powerband was, of course, much more narrow, and the dyno numbers from an actual chassis dyno put the Z1s factory-phony dyno graph into the category of fiction: hp peak at 10k. torque peak at 8500. Modern four-valve engines have more bottom-end and way better and easier response and control than the Z1 had. I know. I own one. This is all a bunch of BS to justify dumbing-down an already-dumbed-down engine because pretty bikes aren’t allowed to have horsepower according to some stupid universal agreement somewhere. It’s pure nonsense, and the lies they tell to support it only make it more obvious.

  • Craig Hoffman

    I’d be willing to bet dyno sheets to doughnuts that the Z900 does not make more power at any RPM, even down low, than the original Z. Less is not more, it is less.

    Just say no to retarded ignition timing in the 1st 3 gears, electronically controlled butterflies that open slowly, exhaust valves that plug up the exhaust, and other sanitized for our protection ass gasket engineering “tuning for torque” moves.

    This kind of thing is nothing new. My ’06 FZ1 had 3 corks shoved up it’s ass (slow secondary butterflies, a restrictive valve in the exhaust, retarded ignition timing in the 1st 3 gears. Undid all that crap via ECU flashing, full exhaust and a Power Commander. It is a different animal now with 18 to 25 more horsepower than stock, starting at 5,000 RPM.

    KTM does not buy into this crap, they give us “standard” bikes with bad ass engines in them. What is up with Japan? Come on guys. Don’t be pansies…

    • Max Wellian

      Kaw makes an H2 for you.

      • Craig Hoffman

        Excellent point.

        All the more surprising that a company with the stones to sell a monster like the H2 feels the need to dumb down this one.

  • Jai

    One thing I can think of is a gripe that some folks brought up with the Yamaha XSR900: it is just too darn fast for the riding position and intended use.

    https://www.cycleworld.com/yamaha-xsr900-is-great-but-it-isnt-bike-you-want

    Maybe Kawi was hoping to avoid a similar situation?

    In my opinion, the bigger issue with the Z900RS powertrain is the throttle jerkiness that has been alluded to by multiple sides. To me, one of the greatest things about the Z900 is that it has some of the smoothest fueling and doesn’t even need ride modes. Losing that is a big deal, imo.

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  • c w

    Very simply: because they wanted to cover their perceived bases as to who is buying bikes.

    Very simply and very generally (the nature of all marketing):

    z900 will skew younger/more sport aspirations.

    z900RS will skew older with more style aspirations.

    That’s why they de/re-tuned the motor – to fit the bike they had every intention of building. It sucks we never got th W800 in the US as an option against the Bonneville, but we do get the RS as an option against the New Age Triumphs.

    Kawi probably should have gone with a distinct naming system, though.

  • Eddie

    Reliability issues always seem to be a topic. Bikes and cars are very reliable nowadays. If you want just transportation which usually means lower horsepower/cc buy a Honda. If you want excitement/adrenaline, reliability issues are further down the list as this is an emotional buy which means European or other exotic! Yes, expensive bikes are expensive to repair. Yes, expensive used bikes, even at a bargain 50% off, are still expensive to repair. Paradigm is changing though as you can have an expensive electric bike which now means less maintenance.

  • Chris

    Just buy the ZX10 if you want horsepower. It has the low bars to match so you can hang on at those speeds and not lose the front end. My 96 VFR750 was plenty fast with 100HP. My Honda 919 also had plenty of horsepower at 109 or so. Beyond that the bike is idling all over the place.