Kawasaki updates its Z800 middleweight streetfighter with a larger-displacement replacement in the Z900. The new Z900, which debuts at the the EICMA show in Milan, sports a 948cc 123-horsepower Inline Four housed inside a lighter steel trellis frame and chassis. This all-new Z splits the difference between Kawasaki’s Z1000 and the also-new-for-2017 Z650.
Z900 948cc Inline Four
A liquid-cooled 948cc Inline Four powers the new Z900, giving it a robust 142cc displacement advantage over its predecessor. Kawasaki claims to have based the 900’s engine off the Z1000 powerplant and touts that the lightweight forged pistons use a similar process as those utilized by the Ninja H2/H2R.
The Kwakker’s new Inline Four promises a claimed 123.6 peak horsepower at 9500 rpm and 72.7 lb-ft torque at 7700 rpm. One of the few complaints Riders Domain content boss Adam Waheed had during his Z800 road test is that it signs off a little early, with its 97 peak HP coming in just over 10K, but the 900 figures to have tick past the 800’s best far earlier in the powerband.
Engineers geared the Z900 with short gear ratios 1st-through-5th for everyday riding duties, with sixth an overdrive. The wet multi-disc clutch features an assist and slipper functionality.
Lightweight Trellis Frame
At a claimed 463 pounds the 2017 Z900 drops significant weight from the 509-pound Z800. Again, this was another of Adam’s few complaints regarding the Z800, as it was relatively portly compared to its class competitors. Credit the weight loss on the all-new high-tensile steel trellis frame, which weighs only 30 pounds and uses the engine as a stressed member. Combined with the 8.6 aluminum swingarm and the new lightweight 5-spoke wheels, the Z900 sheds 46 pounds in total, making for a lighter and more powerful ride.
Suspension components appear more or less identical to the outgoing 800, with an inverted 41mm fork and single rear shock both adjustable for rebound and preload. The braking components get some larger 300mm discs up front, pinched by four-piston Nissin calipers. A 250mm rear disc and single-piston caliper handle the rear braking duties.
The Z900’s styling reflects that of its Z series siblings – naked streetfighter with Kawasaki’s familiar aggressive lines contrasting the new tubular frame elements. Team Green’s new tubular chassis trend seeming to stem from its eye-catching H2/H2R – a positive trend, at least to our eyes.
Presumably the Z900 will make it stateside, though it seems mighty close in performance and displacement to the Z1000 (with Kawasaki releasing an Ohlins-suspended R-spec of its largest Z model for 2017). Pricing and availability details are to be determined.