Dressing mutton for lamb is a time honoured apply amongst automobile producers, however is the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe at RM72,372 a primary instance of this? It can’t be denied the present development for bike nostalgia is using excessive and producers are properly conscious of this – besides possibly Harley-Davidson since the whole lot they make is two-wheeled nostalgia anyway.
Coming again to the matter at hand, Kawasaki does have a popularity for constructing ferocious inline-fours going all the way in which again to the 1970s with the unique Z-series bikes, adopted by the KZ and GPz machines. With the appearance of the liquid-cooled GPz900R – the unique Ninja – Kawasaki has, in Malaysia at the very least, led the way in which with its street-oriented four-cylinder litre-class machines.
When the Kawasaki Z900 was launched a few years in the past, we had a detailed have a look at the engine and body and thought that individual combo could be foundation for a contemporary bike in retro clothes. Somebody in Kawasaki will need to have been listening as a result of a yr later, the Z900RS got here out, wanting prefer it had rolled out of a list from the 70s.
You understand the one, the shiny four-page catalogue you drooled over as a younger teenager, ready for the day you might personal your first four-cylinder superbike. Then Kawasaki goes and ups the ante with the Z900RS Cafe, giving it that trademark lime inexperienced paint with white stripe and a bikini fairing to finish the look.
However, is the Z900RS Cafe well worth the RM4,472 premium Kawasaki Malaysia is asking over the bottom Z900RS – RM2,472 distinction from the SE version? That’s what we meant to seek out out when Kawasaki handed us the keys to the Z900RS Cafe for overview.
With its dress-up package, the Z900RS does look the a part of a late 70s sports activities machine, meant to go actually quick and impress the women, or males, should you really feel that means inclined. Dressing up generally means corners are reduce, or it’s all seems and no go.
That is undoubtedly not the case with the Z900RS Cafe, coming because it does with the 948 cc inline-four taken from the Z900, however tuned for extra low- and mid-range torque – on this case, 111 PS at eight,500 rpm and 98.5 Nm at 6,500 rpm. This compares in opposition to the 125 PS at 9,500 rpm and 98.6 Nm of torque at 7,700 rpm of the Z900.
The Z900RS Cafe, like its bare retro sports activities sibling, the Z900RS, does include a couple of surprises of its personal although. First up is the fully-adjustable suspension within the upside-down forks, not like the Z900’s rebound and preload adjustment-only forks.
Nonetheless it’s all the identical on the again finish, the place the Z900RS Cafe is fitted with a rebound and and preload adjustment monoshock, just like the Z900. We will say at this level that we discovered so much to love in regards to the Z900RS Cafe’s dealing with, of which extra anon.
Swinging a leg over the 820 mm-tall seat, the rider will discover the Z900RS Cafe comes with a pronounced hump within the pillion space, mimicking the cafe racer styling of 5 a long time in the past. Compared to the notably flatter seat fitted to the Z900RS and the two-piece race-styled affair on the Z900, the Cafe matches a pillion passenger moderately properly regardless of some excessive pace nonsense involving just one wheel being in touch with the tarmac.
Beginning up the Cafe brings the inline-four to life with a really nice rumble. In keeping with Kawasaki, the exhaust word of the Z900RS Cafe has been tuned give the impression of a modded engine, and on this respect we will say they succeeded.
Revving up the engine for the sheer pleasure of it, listening to the exhaust word, was finished as typically as potential. Setting off on the Cafe, the help and slipper clutch retains lever effort on the sunshine facet of issues.
Even when using in heavy site visitors, only a gentle pull on the clutch lever was sufficient to interact and disengage the six-speed gearbox. Shifting by way of the gears, we discovered the gear lever throw brief and exact, with no false neutrals or missed shifts.
We rated the Cafe’s gearbox extremely and certainly, the shifting high quality was close to race ranges of precision. Driving the Z900RS Cafe round, the gearing was match for the engine’s efficiency, capitalising on the massive quantity of torque out there.
Within the mid-range, the pull from the engine was sufficient to induce a smile contained in the creator’s helmet, making freeway overtaking and canyon strafing a breeze. Maintain the Cafe in fourth or fifth gear and letting the bike do the work grew to become our philosophy when the Cafe was in our palms, with sixth getting used primarily on the freeway as overdrive to drop engine revs.
Energy supply was very clean and we preferred the way in which the Z900RS Cafe constructed pace in a linear trend with nothing to shock the unwary rider. This can be a bike for each stage of rider, even newbies, because the engine is docile and tractable beneath 5,000 rpm.
Wind the throttle open above 7,000 rpm although, and the ferocity for which Kawasaki is known involves the fore. From 7,000 to the 10,000 rpm redline, the Z900RS Cafe would pull, and pull onerous, hoisting the entrance wheel off the bottom alongside the way in which.
Pushing the Cafe onerous by way of the corners on the same old mountain trip, the bike did like being handled as a sports activities bike with late nook entry and steep dives for the apex. However dialling issues again a notch, the Cafe was equally at dwelling taking corners at a much less frenetic tempo, following the basic in-apex-out cornering line utilizing the next gear.
Whereas we discovered dealing with to be positive, suggestions from the usual fitment Dunlop tyres was a bit obscure when heeled over and we might strongly advocate a change to appropriate delicate rubber should you’re a tough rider. Make no mistake, regardless of its 216 kg curb weight, the Z900RS does like being hustled across the corners, although some riders would possibly discover steering effort a bit heavy on the outset.
The rider will quickly get used to this as we did.
Out on the freeway, there was greater than sufficient energy and torque for the Z900RS to quickly attain speeds properly above what is perhaps termed prudent. That is once we discovered the little bikini fairing is extra than simply window dressing.
Leaning ahead in a average crouch, wind blast was diverted across the rider’s helmet and shoulders, with simply sufficient drive on the chest to take strain off the wrists. Leaning a bit additional ahead leaves the rider inside a nonetheless air bubble that takes the worst of the wind buffet away from tiring the rider.
Practical physique work does certainly make a distinction on this case, and made the Z900RS Cafe that rather more pleasant to trip in comparison with its bare Z900RS sibling. We didn’t get an opportunity to check the lengthy distance consolation on the Cafe, however a medium size journey didn’t present any shortcomings when it comes to rider butt consolation.
With seating within the conventional method, and toes simply barely set to the again for a barely sporty trip place, the Z900RS Cafe permits most riders to get snug within the saddle. Definitely we discovered the hand-seat-foot triangle relationship match us like a glove and allowed the creator to go quick on the Cafe from the get-go.
The Z900RS Cafe and the bottom mannequin additionally get radial-mount brake callipers, in comparison with the axial-mount gadgets on the Z900 bare sports activities. We discovered braking to be completely sufficient for the character of the the Z900RS as a retro-sports machine, needing solely two fingers to deliver the bike to a halt, letting the brake lever go simply earlier than ABS kicks in.
Really feel and suggestions from the brakes had been good, and confirmed no indicators of fade regardless of a spirited cornering session fully-loaded with pillion. Suspension efficiency was equally good, although when pushed to the sting of the envelope, the rear finish began weaving a bit at excessive lean angles with the entrance finish getting a bit gentle and obscure.
Preserving issues at an inexpensive stage, the Z900RS Cafe did the job as marketed and shall be entertaining sufficient for many riders besides the very hardcore few, for which we would counsel one thing just like the ZX-10RR. Outfitted as it’s with a contemporary mill and up-to-date using conveniences resembling LED lighting, the Z900RS Cafe ticks all the fitting packing containers for a retro-style sports activities bike finished proper.
Contained in the cockpit, a pair of analogue clocks bisected by a monochrome LCD panel shows the whole lot the rider wants, although we did discover ourselves studying the engine and street pace by the place of the needle moderately than the numbers, similar to within the previous days. In any other case, all was nominal, together with getting an inexpensive 6.7-litres per 100 km from the 17-litre tank.
If there have been any shortcomings we discovered on the Z900RS Cafe, properly, we tried very onerous to seek out one thing unhealthy to say about it. And got here up with nothing. Okay, the facet stand is a bit brief. There, readers might now name bullcrap.
Severely, the Z900RS Cafe is a motorbike that appears good, goes properly and can match a large spectrum of riders. It may be pressed into every day service, weekend rides, and light-weight touring.
With that bikini fairing, cross-borders jaunts are usually not out of the query with the addition of appropriate baggage. Okay, positive, the horn seemed like a strangled goose. Throw it away and match a Steibel or Denali.
So, who wants a 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe, priced at RM72,372? Rivals available in the market embody the Triumph T120 at roughly RM72,000 however that comes with a 1,200 parallel-twin.
In case you’re a rider wanting a do-anything bike within the vein of the basic Common Japanese Bike (UJM), and fashionable sports activities bike styling leaves you chilly, take a detailed have a look at the Z900RS Cafe. Even with the value premium Kawasaki is asking over the bottom mannequin Z900RS, that inexperienced paint alone could be well worth the value of admission.
The put up REVIEW: 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe – RM72,372 Auto Reviews & New Cars on Paul Tan’s Automotive Information.