Freshly launched in Malaysia is the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS, its retro take on the Z900 naked sports, at a price of RM67,900 for the standard and RM69,900 for the special edition, including GST but excluding road tax, insurance and registration. Taking the inline four-cylinder from the Z900, first had a look at the Z900RS and its sportier Z900RS Cafe sibling, at the EICMA show in Italy, last year.

As a specialised marketing direction from Kawasaki in the retro segment, the Z900RS’ 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 Z900RS, traction control, is standard equipment.

Handling on the Z900RS has also been revised, the preload and rebound adjustable forks now coming with a slightly steeper angle and sharpening the steering response. The RS sports radial-mounted brake callipers, installed on the 41 mm upside-down forks, versus the axial-mount units on the Z900, clamping 300 mm discs in front.

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 panel bisects the instruments, displaying other necessary information and lighting on the Z900RS is LED.

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. The Z900RS comes in two colour options – Matte Black for the standard, and Orange for the special edition.

Under the seat can be found a 12-volt socket, useful for charging electronics. ABS is standard equipment, as is traction control and a slip and assist clutch that lowers lever effort and eliminates rear wheel spin under heavy downshifting.

Fuel for the Z900RS is carried in a 17-litre tank very reminiscent of the teardrop units from Kawasaki’s 70s sports bikes. Weight for the Z900RS is claimed to be 214 kg, wet, and the seat height is set at 800 mm.

Availability of the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS at authorised Kawasaki dealers is froml; March. 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.

Meanwhile, during his speech, Ahmad Faez Yahya, executive chairman of Kawasaki Motors Malaysia, mentioned 496,000 motorcycles were registered in Malaysia in 2017. In January 2018, 50,000 motorcycles were registered, representing a 5% increase over the same period last year.