As a current styling trend in motorcycles, retro bikes are very much in vogue, and Minato, Japan, based Kawasaki has resurrected the most famous of their older models, the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS. Due to hit the market next year, the Z900RS takes the classic ‘Z’ bike look, and puts it on a modern chassis.

Not a new trick, of course, and lots of bike makers have tried this, to varying degrees of success. In this case, paultan.org was invited to the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori (EICMA) show in Milan, courtesy of the Italian Trade Commission, where we had a close look at this four-cylinder throwback to the seventies.

There were two versions on display at EICMA, the naked sports Z900RS, and the sportier looking Z900RS Cafe, which was clad in a very attractive shade of Kawasaki Racing Green. Those readers who remember Eddie Lawson and the fire-breathing KZ1000 in AMA Superbikes will immediately see the resemblance.

Taking the inline four-cylinder power plant from the Z900 naked sports, the 948 cc liquid-cooled engine is detuned from 125 hp in Z900 form to 111 hp at 8,500 rpm and 98.5 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm, with power now concentrated in the mid-range. A slipper clutch, ABS and in the RS variant, traction control, is standard equipment.

While some might say that the RS is merely a dressed up Z900, Kawasaki detailed in the EICMA press release that the RS in standard and Cafe version come with a re-worked frame to accommodate the fuel tank. The upper frame rails are now closer together, and the frame now tilts foward slightly.

The steering angle on the Z900RS has also been revised, now coming with the slightly steeper angle and sharpening the steering response. Aside from the paintwork, the major difference between the Z900RS and RS Cafe is the addition of a bubble fairing, closely resembling what sports riders of the seventies would have used on their steeds.

More interesting is the inclusion of radial-mounted brake callipers on the RS, installed on 41 mm upside-down forks, versus the axial-mount units on the Z900. This might mean that the Z900, somewhere along the way, will get these brakes, along with traction control, something that is currently omitted.

Inside the cockpit, the single monochrome LCD panel of the Z900 is gone, replaced with twin analogue clocks in keeping with the Z900 RS’ retro styling. A small LCD bisects the instruments, displaying other necessary information.

LCD lighting is found throughout the Z900RS, in keeping with current design trends, and making the Z900 RS an interesting combination of the old and new. The rest of the RS’ styling follows the design language of the era, with a longish tail section covering the tail light, and separate left and ride side covers.

No word from Kawasaki Malaysia if the Z900RS and RS Cafe will be coming to Malaysia, but we have a suspicison, based on the interest shown by paultan.org readers, that this retro bike might just have a strong fan base here, going by the RM50,000 price point of the current model Z900.

What do you think? Would you like Kawasaki Malaysia to bring this one in? More importantly, would you buy a 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS or RS Cafe? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.