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Kawasaki celebrates 50 years of “Z” with new special editions



Fifty years ago, Kawasaki debuted the Z1 for 1972—a birthday worth remembering. To celebrate five decades of horsepower and fun, we’re getting special-edition models of the Z650, Z650 RS, Z900 and Z900 RS.

In the beginning was the Z

Why party hearty over a model that came out in 1972? Simple: The Z1 knocked the motorcycle industry on its ear. Before this, the Honda CB750 was the world’s dominant superbike, with a smooth, powerful four-cylinder engine (including electric start) standard disc brake. It was superior to any other stock motorcycle on the market, and it surprised Kawasaki, which had been working on a similar project.

Realizing its thunder had been stolen, Kawi went back to the drawing board and decided to come out with a bike that didn’t just blow away the Euro/Brit competition. Team Green wanted to eclipse the CB750 as well, and that’s what the 903 cc Z1 did. This massive four-cylinder was the foundation for years of Kawasaki dominance atop the big-bore four-cylinder market. From the Z1 we got the KZ900, KZ900 LTD (which kickstarted the Japanese cruiser market), KZ1000, and really, that quest for powerful four-cylinder bikes continues right through to the supercharged H2 series today.

2022 Kawasaki Z900RS 50th Anniversary. Photo: Kawasaki
2022 Kawasaki Z900 50th Anniversary. Photo: Kawasaki
2022 Kawasaki Z650 50th Anniversary. Photo: Kawasaki

The Z today

Today, Kawasaki still sells Z-series machines, but now they aren’t halo bikes (except for the Z H2, arguably). Now, there are two parallel Z lineups: A modern-styled series of naked bikes, and the RS series, which combine the same mechanical underpinnings with retro-styled bodywork and paint.

Both the standard-styled Z650 and Z900 get a 50-year commemorative paint job, along with the Z650 RS and Z900 RS. The standard models get Firecracker Red; the RS models get a two-tone Fireball paint scheme in the US (Candy Diamond Brown paint in Canada). There’s other special trim/badging, but mechanically, these bikes are the same as the standard models, with no trick suspension or power added to the motors. Pricing in the US: $9,499 for the Z900 50th Anniversary, $8,299 for the Z650 50th Anniversary (Canadians will pay $9,599 for the 650, $11,499 for the 900). For the retro-tastic RS series, Americans will pay $12,049 for the Z900RS 50th Anniversary, and $9,249 for the Z650RS 50th Anniversary (Canucks will pay $14,299 and $10,499 respectively).

You can find out more info at Kawasaki.com (Kawasaki.ca for Canadians). If you want one of these bikes, get your order in soon, as they’re only available in limited numbers.

Vezi sursa


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