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2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS | First Look Review

Rider Magazine StaffNovember 13, 2016

Replacing the outgoing Z800 in Kawasaki’s naked “Z” bike lineup is the 2017 Z900. The new Z900 carries Kawasaki’s trademark Sugomi-inspired styling, and is built around a new 948cc inline four-cylinder engine and new steel twin-spar trellis frame, for an ideal blend of power, handling and comfort.

Read our 2016 Kawasaki Z800 ABS first ride review

2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS in Pearl Mystic Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black. (Photos: Kawasaki)

2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS in Pearl Mystic Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black. (Photos: Kawasaki)

The new liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve 948cc inline four-cylinder engine was designed to provide smooth power from the mid-range up, with the fun really happening above 6,000 rpm. Four 36mm throttle bodies and sub-throttles ensure mid-range power and smooth throttle response. A downdraft throttle body layout creates the shortest distance possible for the fuel-air mixture.

Read our comparison review of the 2016 Kawasaki Z800 ABS, 2016 Suzuki GSX-S750 & 2016 Yamaha FZ-09

2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS.

2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS.

The Z900’s pistons are cast with a special process that enables a lightweight piston on par with forged pistons. Kawasaki promises that all the rider’s senses will be activated when twisting the Z900’s throttle, with an intake designed for enhanced noise and a four-into-one exhaust tuned for mid-range pull and a throaty note.

The 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS (left) and its smaller sibling, the Z650 ABS (right).

The 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS (left) and its smaller sibling, the 2017 Z650 ABS (right).

The Z900’s gearbox features short ratios for first through fifth gears for strong acceleration, with a sixth gear functioning as a true overdrive for high speed cruising. The assist-and-slipper clutch borrows from knowledge gained on the racetrack and used on the Ninja H2R and Ninja ZX-10R, and creates a light clutch pull while also smoothing downshifts.

The 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS in Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black.

The 2017 Kawasaki Z900 ABS in Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black.

A new high-tensile steel, twin-spar trellis frame uses the engine, which is mounted at five points, as a structural part for increased strength and reduced weight. Upside-down 41mm forks have stepless rebound damping and preload adjustability. The horizontal-backed rear shock and linkage are positioned above the aluminum swingarm for mass centralization and to keep the shock away from the heat of the exhaust. Like the front forks, the shock is adjustable for both rebound damping and spring preload.

Stopping the mighty Z900 are dual 300mm petal discs with 4-piston calipers up front, and a single 250mm petal disc at the rear. ABS is available.

The 2017 Z900 will be available in two colors: Pearl Mystic Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black and Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black, for $8,399. An ABS version is also available at a retail price of $8,799.

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