+VIDEO Back in 1972, Kawasaki launched the Z1, its first Z-bike and the start of the Japanese manufacturer’s four-cylinder four-stroke range. Before that, Kawasaki had been noted for its two-strokes, especially the wild H1 Mach III 500. But the Z1 was a much more sophisticated, developed motorcycle.

It joined Honda’s CB750 as the new generation superbikes but the Kawasaki was faster, handled better and looked far, far better than the Honda. Apart from dodgy brakes and tyres in the wet, the Z1 was brilliant from the outset, and went on to win the prestigious Motor Cycle News Bike of the Year competition three years running.

Kawasaki Z1
Original Z1 is part of Kawasaki’s advance marketing.

So, with such a model in the background and with the current appetite for retro bikes, it’s no surprise that Kawasaki has just launched the Z900RS. It’s thought ‘RS’ stands for Retro Sport, but we’ve yet to have that confirmed. But, for sure, they’ve captured the look and feel of the original – and packed it full of modern tech.

Here’s the Kawasaki launch video. As with the original marketing (remember Let The Good Times Roll?), the video is packed full of feelgood factors.

Kawasaki Z900RS
So this is the comparison, modern Z900RS above and the original Z1 below.
Kawasaki Z900RS
The 1972 Kawasaki Z1 – made waves when it was launched, and now making a sort of comeback.
‘Let The Good Times Roll” – old and new together.

2018 Kawasaki Z900RS

Engine 948cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke inline four-cyinders
Bore x stroke 73.4 x 56 mm
Compression ratio 10.8:1
DOHC, 16 valves
Forced lubrication, wet sump
Maximum power 82kW {111 PS}@8500rpm
Fuel consumption 5.3 litres/100km
CO2 emissions 136gm/km
Maximum torque 98.5Nm/6500rpm
Transmission 6-speed
Final drive Sealed chain
Clutch Wet multi-disc
Frame type Trellis, high-tensile steel
Wheel travel front 120mm
Wheel travel rear 140mm
Tyre, front 120/70ZR17; rear 180/55ZR17
L x W x H 2100 x 865 x 1150 mm
Wheelbase 1470mm
Ground clearance 130mm
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 835mm

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