An awesome history with naked sports bikes going back to the beginning of the Universal Japanese Machine (UJM) in the 70s has given Kawasaki the basis of the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS. After the demise of the Kawasaki W800 retro bike due to Euro 4 last year, Kawasaki drew on its history of Z-bikes to give the motorcycle world the Z900RS.

Taking the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 naked sports as a basis, the Z900 RS uses the same 948 cc DOHC inline-four, but tuned differently to give the RS more low end grunt. Power is now rated at 111 hp from 125 hp, while torque drops from 97.8 Nm to 72.5 Nm, but there is more torque available below 7,000 rpm.

The frame on the Z900RS is not interchangeable with the Z900, having been completely redesigned to fit the RS’ classic style fuel tank. This quashes hopes of transferring the RS bodywork over to the standard Z900, but we assume there will be some madmen out there who will try.

New additions to the Z900RS are radial-mounted brake callipers with ABS, as opposed to the axial mount units on the Z900. Also new is two-mode switchable traction control, something omitted from the Z900. However, this might mean the 2018 or 2019 Z900 will have these items as mid-model updates.

In keeping with the retro styling of the RS, the clocks are analogue units with a small LCD screen in the middle, compared to the digital readout of the Z900. Seating on the Z900RS is a single padded unit in keeping with its retro looks, compared to the two-piece stepped unit of the base Z900 while upside-down forms and rear monoshock bring the RS up-to-date, suspension-wise.

The 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS comes in a choice of five colours – Candytone Brown, Candytone Orange, Metallic Spark Black, Metallic Matte Covert Green and Flat Ebony. In Malaysia, the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 comes in two versions, the base model and the SE, which are priced at RM49,158 and RM50,959, respectively.