After years of teasing, it seems Kawasaki’s Z1 tribute bike might be nearing release.
This week, a teaser video featuring a new Kawi, called the Z900RS, hit the Interwebz. And hey, look—there’s a Z1 in the video, implying some sort of connection to the new machine, which seems to be a big standard with a round headlight, just like that Z1 tribute bike concept that has been vigorously flogged around the show circuit in recent years.
If Kawasaki really does release a tribute to the Z1, it’s a master stroke that’s been years overdue. Kawasaki hasn’t had a decent throwback bike on the North American market since the ZRX1200. Team Green is perfectly capable of building excellent retro machines (see the W650/W800 model, that hasn’t come here for years). However, for some reason, Kawi just hasn’t had much interest in bringing those bikes to North America, possibly because it figures they might dilute the brand’s image of speed.
But a Z1 tribute bike shouldn’t do that. When the Z1 came out, it was the biggest, baddest street bike from Japan, and that’s the sort of heritage the Big Four seem to constantly be forgetting to push these days. Maybe we’re starting to see a change in the market? We’ll see.