Kawasaki has placed their Z800 into the tomb/museum of past Kawasaki motorbikes and in steps the new Z900 in its place. So why not test ‘that’ against ‘that’ then, I hear you shout? Well two big reasons dudes and dudesses: One, the Z800 is even heavier than the Z1000 so why bother, and two, the Z900’s engine is a sleeved down version of the Z1000, not a big-bore version of the Z800, so there.
Oh yes, the Z650 is back after its first appearance in the mid 70s, well sort of. I say that because we all know, or should, that the original Z650 sported an in-line, four-cylinder engine and, well, this one doesn’t. Actually it’s the rebirth of Kawasaki’s ER-6n, which was always a pleasant little fellow to play with and this one is even more so.
It all began with an early telephone call from good friend and competitor Rory Nesbitt. He was enquiring whether Kenny Roberts would be prepared to sell one of his Proton KR3 500cc Grand Prix bikes.
Rory had been trying to obtain a factory spec Grand Prix bike from the golden era of GP racing. Some might say that we are ‘now’ immersed in the golden era with the immense rivalry we are witnessing between Rossi, Marquez and Vinales et al.