• 2017 Kawasaki Z900

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Weaponizing the Middleweight Segment

We all know the prowess of a litrebike-plus class of nakeds with their explosive power and riding tech making them the best adrenaline gods. Their middleweight siblings lack that punch-in-the-face factor, until now.

Meet the new Kawasaki Z900, which is replacing the outgoing Z800 in the ‘Z’ class of Kawasaki’s naked bike in an attempt to bring the most challenging contender to the middleweight segment. Revealed at the Intermot 2016, this bike was finally showcased at 2016 EICMA in Milan.

  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    948 cc
  • Top Speed:
    149 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    INR 900000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • Overall:
    8.7/10

STYLING

Carrying the trademark Sugomi-inspired styling, this naked 900 describes the intense aura or energy given off by a person or an object of greatness felt by the person viewing it. The elegant body work have sharp lines flowing from head to tail and is minimalistic to the core. The slim and close fitting bodywork gives its representation as a light and agile image.

Neon green exposed trellis frame highlights the structural integrity and give the Z900 a unique character. No doubt it stands out from the aluminium beam-frame crowd of high-displacement naked bikes. Twin headlight design is housed in a chiselled cowl on which the meter visor sits to compliment the design. Lines then extend all the way to the elegantly sculpted fuel tank which makes it aggressive in appearance. Under cowls have been styled and positioned to look as part of the engine which is itself exposed due to the minimal overhang. The upswept tail cowl finishes the sporty image and houses the unique “Z” shaped led tail light. Beautifully contoured exhaust pipes flow from the engine housing and are fed into a compact muffler design with stylish stainless steel end caps.

The clocks get a gear position indicator and while there aren’t any riding modes, there are three modes for the instruments, selectable by the rider.

Overall Dimension

Length 2070mm
Width 821mm
Height 1064mm
Wheelbase 1450mm
Seat height 795mm
Wet weight 211kg

POWERTRAIN

Designed from the bottom, the new Euro IV complaint liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve, 948cc inline four-cylinder engine offers impressive power and strong torque. A purposeful choice to provide riders with crisp and smooth response with an exhilarating acceleration. Four 36mm throttle bodies and sub-throttles provide better mid and low power bands and the engine belts an impressive 126 bhp, 12 more than the Z800 and torque peaks at 100 Nm at 7700 rpm.

This new power mill features a lightweight crankshaft and a secondary engine balancer to eliminate vibrations. Weight reduction is also seen in the casting process of the pistons, the same at the mighty H2/H2R. There is all new airbox and air supply system. Transmission is through a 6-speed manual with the 6th gear being an overdrive gear for a relaxed highway cruising. It is supported with the Assist and Slipper clutch for a lighter clutch action. The exhaust system features a four-into-one-pre-chamber-into-silencer layout giving the Z900 an enhanced exhaust note.

Specification

Capacity cc 948
Bore/ Stroke mm 73.4/56
Output 126bhp (Est)
Torque 100Nm@7500rpm
Type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, Transverse In-line 4-cylinder, DOHC
Valves per cylinder 4
Clutch type Wet- Multiplate with Assist and Slipper
Transmission 6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

The Z900 will command an upright and relaxed yet sporty riding position offered by the wide and flat handlebars. The footpeg positions along with the low saddle will give a greater level of confidence to the rider which is still further enhanced due to the scooped fuel tank section where the rider can tuck in and start having fun. A low seat height and slim overall design facilitates riders placing both feet on the ground, for smoother, confident stops. Five-way adjustable brake and clutch levers accommodate a variety of hand sizes for increased comfort.

The bike has shed massively and now weighs just 210 kg. All thanks to the trellis frame and a new swing arm for highlighted agility and handling. Suspension forces are worked by the 41mm inverted front fork featuring stepless rebound damping and spring preload adjustability. An adjustable Horizontal Back-link Rear Suspension that is positioned above the lightweight swingarm contributing mass centralization. Standard ABS works brilliantly on the dual 300mm front petal discs and 250mm rear petal disc that are clamped by dual opposed piston callipers with resin brake pads to deliver ample braking power. Dunlop D214 Sportmax tyres provide both enhanced wet-weather performance and increased tyre life.

PRICE

India launch will happen only towards the end of 2017 with it will be brought in through the CBU frame. Although pricing has not be revealed, it should fall under ₹ 9 lakh.

The Z900 will be available in Pearl Mystic Gray & Metallic Flat Spark Black, Candy Lime Green & Metallic Spark Black as the Z900 ABS models and Metallic Flat Spark Black & Metallic Spark Black and Candy Plasma Blue & Metallic Graphite Gray (Special Edition) as the standard Z900.

There is also an accessories kit that will allow you to choose different seats, seat cowl, frame sliders, tank bag and tail bag.

COMPETITION

The new 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 gets new styling, suspension and rider aids promises an edgy and affordable mid segment street bike.

Yamaha FZ-09

It is powered by 847cc, Liquid Cooled engine that can churn out 115 Bhp @ 10000 rpm and peak torque of 87.5 Nm @ 8500 rpm torque on ride. It gets all new CF aluminium die-cast frame that is special for improves rigidity.

VERDICT

The Z800 was a pretty famous bike amongst the enthusiasts for its pricing and rideability. This Z900 takes it up a notch and does it with zest.

Parked on the street or riding the highways, it will always look stunning with its potent engine shining through the minimal bodywork. Its style reflect its purpose. The aggressive engine gives it truckloads of power at your disposal delivered in a crisp and smooth manner leaving behind a throaty exhaust note. It is designed for maximum riding pleasure around town and its lightweight is felt from the moment you lift the bike off the stand. Exhilarating without being overly intimidating, the combination is simply sublime. It sure does come close in making many litre-class motorcycles go into the shadow. And that is what making a statement is about.

  • Leave it
    • Electronic rider aids
    • Not for touring

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