This review is written in the English language.
The Kawasaki Z900 Performance
The Kawasaki Z900 has been a great success in the Netherlands since its introduction. The Z900 has had quite a few updates from 2020. Kawasaki has completely overhauled the Z900 with a new design, a renewed frame, adjusted injection and spring settings and a number of additional points to the equipment package. According to Kawasaki, the Z900 is the best in its class. It has been my honor to extensively test the 2021 model of the Z900 Performance for two weeks.
Various Kawasaki models have been developed in the so-called Sugomi styling for years. Personally, I think this styling is a real eye catcher. It looks aggressive and dominant at the same time. In any case, you get the feeling that you are on a motorcycle with "body".
From Kawasaki I got the Z900 Performance in the Metallic Flat Spark Black-Red color scheme. This color scheme in combination with the Sugomi styling looks wonderful. You can see that this design has really been thought through. The rims, frame and stickers in beautiful dark red, the rest of the bodywork in matte black. I don't think I need to explain to anyone the combination of matte black with red contrasts looks beautifull. Not everyone is happy with this color scheme. For example, I received messages from several Kawasaki fanatics who think a Kawasaki should only have one color: Green.
The Z900 Performance has a beautiful black windshield and an Akrapovic Carbon exhaust specially developed for the Z900. This Akrapovic exhaust looks very nice! The Z900 Performance is also equipped with a high-quality tank pad.
All lighting on the motorcycle is fully LED. I think the headlight of the Z900 worked out very well. The two LED pulls down make the headlight aggressive. Despite the fact the indicators are LED, I find the design a bit clumsy and simple. In my opinion, this detracts from the rest of the bike, which looks slick. The rear light of the motorcycle looks good. If you look closely you will see the "Z" coming back in the LED lighting.
The display of the Z900 is a 10.9 cm wide multifunctional TFT color display. You can read all kinds of essential information on this display. But it goes further than this: you can also read an e-mail or telephone notification.
An integrated Bluetooth chip allows the rider to connect to the bike via the unique Kawasaki Rideology App. Via the app, information about the vehicle can be viewed such as remaining fuel, distance traveled and maintenance schedule. That’s a fun option in my opinion.
For the Z900, four different riding modes are available, which link KTRC and Power Modes with each other. So you can select the right riding modes for different driving situations. You can choose from three settings (Sport, Road, Rain) or a manual setting (Rider). In Rider mode, the assistance systems can be set independently of each other. The traction control can also be turned off separately.
I think good tires under a motorcycle are really necessary. I have riddin many different types and brands of tires and can say that each tire is different. When I picked up the Z900 at Kawasaki Netherlands, I immediately noticed one thing: This bike is equipped with the great Bridgestone S22 tires! At the moment I also have these tires under my own bike, and that’s for a reason. These tires give you a lot of self-confidence because they stick well to the road! So there was nothing to complain about.
What is useful to know is that the Z900 comes standard with Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires. I have never ridden these types of tires myself, so I cannot comment on them. If you are considering buying this bike, try out these tires first. If you are ok with them you leave them, if not you change them.
But how does the Z900 ride?
Well…. Perhaps the most important question. How does the Kawasaki Z900 Performance ride? Is the Z900 really that good? You read a lot of praising reports about this bike in other press reports. Time to ride this great bike!
From the moment I took a seat on the Z900, this immediately felt familiar. The sitting position is semi-sporty. I turned the contact and life came into the TFT screen. The TFT screen starts up very quickly and the data is easy to read. I find that the colors in the TFT screen are also nice and clear.
Shortly afterwards a small disappointment followed. I started the engine and heard a little noise coming from the optically beautiful Akrapovic exhaust. The engine sound of the Z900 is very nice, but whether that Akrapovic exhaust has an added value compared to a standard exhaust in terms of noise level, I wonder. Of course, this exhaust has an "E-mark" and has been specially developed for the new Euro-5 standard. The exhaust certainly adds something to the whole in terms of looks and weight savings.
Although the Akrapovic exhaust does not make too much noise, the intake noise sounds amazing. From the moment you get above 6000 rpm you notice that the engine really comes to life. The intake sound of this engine is unbelievably beautiful! It's a deep, dark sound. Kawasaki also told me that the intake sound has been tuned on the 2021 model. You have to experience this yourself to understand it, I'm afraid ...
The Z900 has 125 hp and a maximum of 98.6 Nm of torque. For me this was more than enough. The bike moves very well and you never have the feeling your are missing power. The four cylinder engine ensures that the power is neatly dosed, without any shocks. The motor effortlessly reaches a top speed of 245 km / h and reaches 100 km / h within 3 seconds.
You can also shift gears on this bike without any worries. Shifting is very smooth, you are actually always in the right gear. Like a hot knife through the butter… The bike is not equipped with a a quick-shifter. Kawasaki itself does not supply this for the Z900. However, there are companies that provide this after-market for the Z900. Do you really miss it on this bike? I don't think most bikers will miss it, especially because the Z900 shifts very nicely. Anyway, I'm spoiled and maybe a bit lazy.
Then the brakes of the bike… The Nissin brakes of the Z900 work very well. They intervene well and firmly and do not cause an imbalance during braking. The brakes also work well in wet weather.
If you open the throttle to the max, you will notice the front wheelie’s in first and second gear from 8000 rpm. It really concerns a few millimeters. I really liked this aggressive riding style! However, this only happens if you really go riding like me, a maniac. So the calm rider does not have to worry about the front wheel coming up unexpectedly.
Riding some curvy roads is what this bike loves to do. You can easily turn the bike into a bend without getting an insecure feeling. The suspensions of the z900 are well adjusted and filter out unevenness in the road surface for a naked bike.
The Z900 also performed very well on the highway! The Z900 feels very stable on the highway and what I mentioned earlier, you do not have the idea that your missing power. The windshield caused most of the wind to pass me. However, I had some problems with vibrations around my helmet. Anyway, it is and will remain a naked bike. And that means windy rides!
After 800 kilometers on various roads, I achieved an average consumption of 1: 17.9 km. Not bad for my riding style.
Is the Kawasaki Z900 best in class?
Kawasaki claims that the Z900 is the best in its class, but is that also the case? If you look at the price, the Kawasaki Z900 Performance costs 10,699 euros. And yes people, to be honest, for that money you get a great bike. I cannot think of a bike of the same price category that can match this bike with the same specifications.
The Kawasaki Z900 performance is a very good naked bike. Because this motorcycle rides very familiar, it is suitable for new and advanced motorcyclists. The motorcycle is worth the money. The engine, brakes and gearbox are in perfect order! The bike is easy to ride on both curvy roads and on the highway. The different riding modes on this bike are easily adjustable and work well. The Akrapovic exhaust does not impress in terms of decibels, but is optically very beautiful. The tuned intake sound is phenomenal. Wish I had this on my bike. In short, a very complete and tough bike for that 10,699 euros! The best bike in its price category!
Thanks to Ton Heeren for the translation.