Kawasaki is ditching the Z800 for a Z900 with a power boost of 9kW while also offering a Z650 which could come in under Australian LAMS rules.
The bikes were launched at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan alongside the new Versys-X 300 small-bore adventure bike.
The Z900 is now a 948cc in-line four based on the Z1000 with the same power output of 94kW, but weighing 1kg less at 210kg.
The bike is a little close to the Z1000 and it remains to be seen if they drop that bike which marked the return of the Z to the brand in 2003. The following year a Z750 was introduced and terminated when the Z800 took over in 2013.
The Z900 will compete against the popular Yamaha MT-09 and XSR900, the new water-cooled Triumph Street Twin, new Suzuki GSX-750 and BMW’s R nineT variants.
It comes with a steel trellis frame, 41mm upside-down forks and rear shock both with adjustable rebound and preload.
Brakes are 300mm front discs with Nissin four-piston calipers and ABS.
It comes in Pearl Mystic Gray / Metallic Flat Spark Black, Candy Lime Green / Metallic Spark Black, Metallic Flat Spark Black / Metallic Spark Black and Candy Plasma Blue / Metallic Graphite Gray (Special Edition)
The bigger seller in Australia would be the Z650 if it comes in under the LAMS requirements of less than 650cc capacity and a power-to-weight ratio not exceeding 150kw/tonne.
It replaces the learner-approved Er-6n, so it should be.
Kawasaki hasn’t released a lot of tech specs, but we know the 649cc parallel-twin engine already comes in under the LAMS capacity limit and it weighs 187kg.
They claim the fuel economy is an impressive 3.5L/100km and the throttle response is smooth with improved low-mid range torque.
It has a seat height of 790mm and
The Z650 uses the same assist and slipper clutch as the Z900, but uses a Bosch ABS unit, rather than the Z900’s Nissin.
It comes in Pearl Flat Stardust White/Metallic Spark Black, Candy Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black, Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black and Metallic Raw Titanium/Metallic Spark Black.
Kawasaki Z1000 R
Kawasaki has also added a Z1000R edition to its 2017 with exotic features, better brakes, improved handling, updated instruments and some bright new colours.
There is no word yet from Kawasaki Motors Australia whether the bike will be imported here.
The current Kawasaki Z1000 SE with ABS sells for $15,499. We are not sure how much extra the R would add.
Power and torque in the Euro IV compliant 1043cc in-line-four engine is unchanged from the Z1000.
However, the Kawasaki engineers have revised the ECU settings to make the power delivery smoother.
Stopping and handling improved
Stopping and handling have also been improved.
It comes with top-spec Brembo M50 monobloc calipers on 310mm diameter Brembo floating front discs as used on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. Brake lines are now stainless steel braided.
The Z1000R also has an Ohlins S46DR1S, fully-adjustable monoshock unit with remote preload adjuster. Up front are 41mm USD forks with changed settings to match the Ohlins rear.
The instruments now include a gear position indicator and an adjustable gear shift-light that illuminates the rev colour.
Styling highlights include a “Z” logo on the saddle, Metallic Spark Black and Metallic Graphite Grey paint scheme and new graphics logo.
Meanwhile, the 2017 Kawasaki Z1000 will also come in two new colour schemes: Metallic Spark Black and Golden Blazed Green, and Candy Burnt Orange and Flat Ebony.