Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe Review (2018)
What Is It?
The Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe is a cafe racer style bike based on the retro Z900RS and is powered by a Euro 4 compliant liquid cooled 948 cc inline four engine, producing 110 bhp at 8,500 rpm and maximum torque at 6,500 rpm.
- Seat Height: Average (820 mm / 32.3 inches)
- Weight: Heavy (216 kg / 476 lbs)
- Economy: Average (50 mpg / 5.6 l/100km / 17.7 km/l)
- Range: High (190 miles / 306 km)
- Power to Weight: High (0.509 bhp/kg / 0.380 kW/kg)
- Top Speed: High (140 mph / 225 km/h)
What Is It Like?
Choosing The Cafe
So I bought the green one. I fell for it's looks, something I think bikers do more than car drivers, without test riding the Cafe or the other RS versions. The standard Z900RS didn't tempt me.
I ordered her in mid November and collected late March. The wife said I was more excited waiting for the Cafe than I was for our wedding.
On the day I collected her it took three hours to sort the insurance. My insurance company's computer said 'no', no data on the system and the same with the Meerkat lot.
Anyway I took the Kawasaki five day free insurance and rode away. Outside the shop after being shown what to do, I fired her up and set off.
The power delivery, feel of the bike, induction and exhaust sounds are gorgeous. I've now covered around 1,000 miles so can play a little harder.
It's a great bike in a great looking package. I also have a 2006 ZRX1200R, in the right green, so I like the retro look.
I just love riding the bike, it fits, the riding position is good and there's a slight lean forward on the lower bars. I do have a 1976 Z900 A4 and had to put lower bars on that to make the position lean a little, it obviously suits my style.
It's very good and inspiring. I've not tweaked the suspension yet but as I'm on the heavy side it probably won't be altered. Some folks say it's a little harsh but I find it just fine.
They are good, with plenty of power but not too much. The rear brake is adequate but we should only need it for slow manoeuvring or wet weather so it's fine.
I've not yet ridden in the wet so can't say much about that, but grip from the OEM tyres in the dry is good.
No much, apart from a fender extender to the front and a radiator guard. Modern bike mudguards are way too short.
A lot seem to be replacing the rear number plate hanger, but personally the standard one suits the Cafe more than the standard bike.
I may put heated grips on as I don't mind the cold but I'm less keen on the wet. The rear hugger may get changed as well. I need to look at other's bikes rather than catalogue pics before major changes.
Well the seat is a little uncomfortable. I'm not skinny so maybe that's something to do with it. I won't be doing any touring or massive long rides on her, well not very often, so it's not really an issue.
Fuel range is probably 150 miles but I reckon you could be filling up at 120 to be safe by which time it's stretch your leg time anyway.
To Sum Up
Love it, love it's looks. I open the garage, I smile and say 'gorgeous'. The rex is sulking in the corner.
- Colm C, 2018
Gear & Accessories
Z900RS - The Cafe without the fairing / screen, low bars or pillion seat hump.
The Second Opinion
Septeganarian, male, 5ft 5in. I've had a licence since 1968 but back into biking for the last 11 years.
Why did you choose it?
It looks like me, grey and old.
What is good about it?
It’s agile, planted on the road and can do almost everything from touring to spirited riding.
What could be improved?
Throttle is a little snatchy but my Ninja 650 was similar and you ride around it.
What's the economy like?
Stupidly good for a near 1 litre bike. The computer says 64 mpg for 3,500 miles.
Any mods or upgrades?
- Frame sliders
- MRA double bubble screen
- Grab rail
How is the engine?
A peach. Pulls from 2,000 revs.
How does it handle?
Great for a bike straight out of the box with standard settings.
What are the brakes like?
Good. Not had to use them in anger yet.
Is it comfortable?
I use the lowered seat and it's good for 3 hours before numb bum strikes.
How reliable have you found it?
Totally reliable. No hitches at first service.
To sum up
It’s a keeper for me. Be prepared to be stopped and asked about it all the time. It’s a real looker.
- David S, 2020
Add Your Review
Do you own this bike? We would love to hear anything good, bad, unexpected or that you have changed plus anything that a prospective new owner might find interesting or useful.
Check out this video review from The Liferider.