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2017 Kawasaki Z900
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A flagship above the Z650 twin and Z125 Pro single—also both new for ’17—the Z900 inline-4 takes a different approach to the naked upright near-liter class. Eschewing the electronic aids that are becoming commonplace on high-performance sportbikes, the Z900 is a back-to-basics machine that competes aggressively on price. In ABS-free trim, the Z900 runs $600 less than the Yamaha FZ-09 (upgraded this year) and just $100 more than the upcoming redesigned 2018 Suzuki GSX-S750.
That’s not all—Kawasaki also has tuned the engine in a way that goes against conventional wisdom. Instead of concentrating on low-end and mid-range torque, the Z900 is soft on the bottom and all about revs. Perhaps counter-intuitively, that makes the Z900 incredibly easy to ride around town. It is positively docile below 6000 rpm, so it tools around like a bike that’s much smaller. Weighing in at 459 pounds (wet, claimed), it’s 34 pounds heavier than the FZ-09. Still, the narrow Z900 is agile when splitting lanes and making your way through urban traffic. The lack of hit from the engine means no surprises in tight confines.
Model: Kawasaki Z900
Motorcycle Class: Naked bikes
Engine: 948cc 16 valve liquid-cooled
Fuel System: Direct Fuel Injection with 36mm Keihin throttle bodies
Suspension: 41mm inverted fork with rebound damping and spring preload adjustability in front, Horizontal back-link, stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload for the rear
Brakes: Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with four-piston calipers for the front, Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper for the rear
Dry Weight: 463.1 lb