Kawasaki working on new retro naked?

Classic styling? Check. Cool chrome mufflers? Check. Retro Kawi tank badges? Check. Production ready? We're not sure ... Photo: VL

According to some documents unearthed by Motorcycle.com, Kawasaki looks like they’re planning to make use of the Z900 RS name again, which raises some interesting questions.

Motorcycle.com found a trademark application filed by Kawasaki for the Z900 RS name, but none of the other names from the original Z1 series, which is a bit curious. As they point out, why not register them all, if you’re trying to protect brand identity? Could Kawasaki be formulating plans for a new retro musclebike, likely built around an inline-four motor?

It’s certainly possible. Team Green had such a model in the lineup for many years (the lovely ZRX1200R and before it the ZRX1100, both homages to the Eddie Lawson Replica KZ1000). Kawasaki has been hauling a stylish four-cylindered concept bike around the show circuit for a few years now (see title image), and maybe we’ll see that built. If Suzuki can resurrect the Bandit 1200 in some markets, surely people would also consider buying a similar machine from Kawi. In an age where everyone is jumping on the retro bandwagon, the time might be perfect to remind people what the original Z1 series stood for.


  1. I like it! Japs don’t do retro here well at all – always had my eye on the CB1100 but they so neutered it. Also liked the ZRX12 but the output was also very…meh! Japs gotta wake up – gimme a retro Z1, retro katana, proper CB, etc. that can go proper, and I’ll buy it.

    Way more “authentic” than the Bonnevilles everyone’s so hot for.

    • To be clear, that photo is a concept that may or may not be the bike they’re thinking about making.

      The Honda CB1100 retro was pretty cool and authentic looking, but as you say, somewhat mild when compared to the originals. I never rode a ZRX12. However, we’re getting to the point where the Japanese can really start riffing on their own history, not on Brit bike or American history (cough cough, Kawi Drifter, W650.800). Those bikes were cool, but never did well in this market. I suspect a true throwback to the Z1 or the Katana (one’s supposed to be in the works) would be very well-received here.

      • That pic is from a bike show a couple of years ago based on a ZX10. Another web site used a photo of an original 900 as click bait.

        • Yeah, as the article notes, it’s a concept bike they’ve been flogging around the circuit for a while. Suzuki did the same thing with the B-King.

Join the conversation!