Kawasaki has been building the retro-flavored upright sports machine known as the Z900RS for a number of years, which comes with an impressive 109 horsepower and 72 ft-lb of torque. It’s extremely cool and fun, but it’s hardly a beginner’s package. As it turns out, beginners often want an old school bike and don’t want to deal with the headaches of carburetors and tired parts, but the 900 was just too tough for many of those riders. Step into the Z650RS, which is still beautifully retro-styled but comes with the more manageable 67 horsepower and 47 ft-lb of torque 649 cc parallel twin of the Ninja 650 and Z650.
Oh yeah, that’s the sweet spot right there. Available in gray with green stripes or beautiful green with gold wheels, the Z650RS is an instant classic. In all fairness, if you don’t go for the golden wheels, you are instantly wrong. It is among the best looking motorcycles to hit the market in the past decade. Clean up the transom under the stern, screw in a couple of chrome mirrors, and find a nice terracotta leather jacket and Bass Boat Flake three-quarter helmet, and you’ll look like you rose straight out of the ground in the mid-1970s.
That’s reasonable, as this bike clearly harks back to Kawasaki’s original Z650, which debuted in the same color green over gold in 1976. If you can not only ride a retro bike but also fall back on an earlier design from the same company, you know you are in for a real bang.
And to make things even better, this bike doesn’t even ride like it did in the 1970s. It is based on the same high-strength lattice frame and suspension as the Ninja 650 and Z650! You still have the whole modeThe handling and convenience of these mid-range, snappy machines, including the dual front rotor and ABS, and all the fuel injection technology to give you a stick at. The performance is also roughly the same as it was in the 1970s, but with lower fuel consumption.
Kawasaki has not yet announced this bike for the American market, as the company will be bringing nine new bikes (!!!!) onto the market by the end of November. The cover, however, was blown when the British marketing team dropped the new materials a week or so early. There is no news on exactly what the price will be when it gets here, but a brand new Ninja 650 is $ 7,699 so do the math 8 grand. The Z900RS costs about $ 1500 more than the Z900 it is based on, so the retro look is expensive. But from what I see here, it’s probably worth it.