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2022 Kawasaki Z900RS SE | First Look Review

The 2022 Kawasaki Z900RS SE takes its styling cues from Kawasaki’s original naked 900, the Z1.

Kawasaki has announced a new “SE” version of its retro-styled Z900RS for 2022, which features upgraded suspension and brakes. Up front are new radial-mount monoblock Brembo M4.32 calipers and new settings for the fully adjustable inverted fork, which now sports gold legs. Out back is a new fully adjustable Öhlins S46 rear shock with a remote preload adjuster.

Also new on the 2022 Kawasaki Z900RS is a new “Yellow Ball” color scheme, with Metallic Diablo Black paint, yellow highlights on the teardrop tank and rear fender, and fetching gold wheels.

Read our Kawasaki Z900RS vs Honda CB1000R vs Suzuki Katana comparison review

At the heart of the Z900RS SE is a liquid-cooled, 948cc, 16-valve, inline-Four, which made 100 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 67.5 lb-ft of torque at 6,700 rpm at the rear wheel in our 2020 comparison test. This lightweight and compact engine spools up quickly and delivers solid and smooth performance when pushed but is versatile enough to be ridden in traffic with ease. The high-tensile steel trellis frame has received revisions at the swingarm pivot point, which is now stronger.

A fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork offers 10 clicks of compression adjustment, 12 clicks of rebound adjustment, and a stepless preload adjuster. At the rear, the RS is fitted with a horizontal backlink Öhlins S46 shock with a remote preload adjuster. The shock is linked to an extruded lightweight aluminum swingarm to maximize handling, with the linkage placed atop the swingarm helps to centralize the weight.

Braking is provided by a pair of radial-mount monoblock Brembo 4-piston M4.32 front calipers squeezing 300mm petal discs with a Nissin radial-pump master cylinder. Out back, a 2-piston caliper squeezes a 250mm petal disc. ABS and stainless-steel braided lines are standard.

In keeping with the classic styling, the Z900RS SE is equipped with cast flat spoke wheels, finished in gold, to resemble traditional wire-spoked wheels. Dunlop GPR-300 tires further add to the retro credentials.

The Z900RS SE features a large-diameter round LED headlight with a convex lens and chrome ring, adding to the retro look without compromising on lighting. LEDs have replaced all the lights except for the turnsignals. A dual-dial analog instrument cluster is coupled with a multi-function LCD screen for retro-style with modern functionality. The LCD features white letters on a black background and includes a gear position indicator.

Much like the sporty bikes of the ’70s, the Z900RS SE has a relaxed, upright riding position. A wide flat handlebar means the grips are 30mm wider, 65mm higher, and 35mm closer to the rider compared to the sportier Z900, partly thanks to the raised upper-triple clamp. The footpegs are also 20mm lower and 20mm farther forward, enhancing the relaxed riding position. Rubber-mounted bar ends help dampen vibrations in the bars, and both the clutch and brake levers are 5-way adjustable to help accommodate a wide variety of hand sizes.

The slim fuel tank is narrow at the rear, which allows for easy knee gripping. A low seat height, combined with a slim design, adds to the rider’s ability to place both feet on the ground when stopped.

A full range of Kawasaki accessories is available to give owners the option to add to the motorcycle’s iconic, old-school feel, including a tank emblem set, black, gold, or silver oil filler caps, front axle slider, tank pad, frame slider set, center stand, passenger grab bar and more.

2022 Kawasaki Z900RS SE Specs

Base Price: $13,449
Website: kawasaki.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-Four, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 948cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 56.0 mm
Horsepower: 100 @ 8,500 rpm (2020 Z900, rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 67.5 lb-ft @ 6,700 rpm (2020 Z900, rear-wheel dyno)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 57.9 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/3.9 in.
Seat Height: 32.9 in.
Wet Weight: 474 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gals.

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