The five coolest features of the new Kawasaki Z900RS
Surely you didn’t think we were done talking about the 2018 Kawasaki City Toast, did you? The bike that finished second in our little one MO survey in November with no less than 17% of the vote? This time last week yours truly was piloting it (and yesterday we added a video to our see again). Now we are still talking about it. In honor of the birth of Baby Jesus, here are some of my favorite things:
5. Locking the helmet!
Weren’t we just complaining about where all the dang had been helmet locks go? This bike has an easy access bike that uses the ignition key. Also elastic hooks for attaching items to the backseat, an optional center stand on which you can lift the bike with your little finger, adjustable brake and clutch levers, bright LED head and tail lights, and a fantastic painting with just enough metal flakes.
4. The controversy aroused by its “revamped” engine
A commentator following this Monday AskMO was absolutely right: the word “out of tune” should be struck from the record whenever a manufacturer promotes a new motorcycle. In fact, Kawasaki never used that word, it was us snobbish motojournalists who stoked the fire. We take a look at things like shorter cam duration, heavier crank, lower compression, and thinner headers and jump to that conclusion. Granted, all of these things cause the Z900RS to develop less peak horsepower than the Z900, but they also allow it to produce as much torque at significantly lower engine speeds. Some people are unhappy with this, others think it’s a smart compromise that makes the RS a modern Z1 more authentic and as fun to drive as the Z900 in its own way. Either way, it’s fun to see everyone’s panties twist into a tight little community knot. What I live for, really. (Check me out on Facebook and we can talk politics!) From now on, I’ll say “retuned”, not detuned.
3. Standard bike ergonomics cruelty-free, no bodily shame
The Z900 was already a bare bike, which mainly means vertical ergonomics. But the RS gets grips that are even higher and closer to its rider, along with lower, slightly more forward footrests and a very mellow old saddle pad. They even turned the whole frame a bit backwards to move the rider into a 70s sit and smile riding position, perfect for riding PCH with your Tom Selleck mustache and mule fluttering in the breeze. You can still lean forward when acceleration is needed, but the RS is ideal for cruising evenings and those classic Sunday morning dates that draw many enthusiasts. To have of them donuts; RS is not an area without a paunch.
2. The sound
As we pointed out in last week’s test, Kawasaki says this is the first time they’ve made a serious engineering effort to get the right sound from a motorcycle’s exhaust (although when Come to think of it, Kawasakis has always had one of the signature gnarliest sounds – and I’m saying it in a good way). At low revs, the exhaust passes through this polished stainless steel four-in-one pipe. At higher levels it’s sort of redirected through another pass to keep things within the Fed’s 80dB limit. At no point is it obnoxious, but you can certainly hear how great you sound when you admire your wonderful reflection in store windows. I feel bad for all the Yoshimuras and Vance & Hineses who want a piece of this bike, especially since this hand polished pipe is as beautiful as it looks.
1. Just like 1973 but much better
I’m not sure what percentage of what’s wrong with me today was caused by heavy mouth breathing around engines burning leaded fuel directly into the atmosphere as I munched on chipping paint chips on the tread stands and listened to my cochlear bones vibrate against my pan brain, but it must be in double digits – and don’t forget all the gas fumes inhaled and absorbed when mishandling carburetors and other components pickled by toxins in moldy garages.
The new Z900RS goes faster and produces better power everywhere than the stock Z1 ever did, using unleaded fuel whose combustion byproducts are more sanitized than Taylor Swift’s methane. It’s also ton lighter, rolls on radial tires instead of wooden hoops, and goes, stops and does everything better than the original, including not wobbling in weeds. Much more comfortably. You just need to press the start button and change the oil once a year. If this. Guess why kids don’t work on their vehicles anymore? They don’t to have at.