REVIEW RIDE: 2023 Kawasaki Z900 Streetfighter 

It has been 6 long years since the last time I rode Kawasaki’s Z900 Streetfighter. Back then, it was still a Model Year 2018 variant as the country’s official importer/distributor had no plans to bring in the 2019 model as the following year’s edition would be better. 

Alas, the Covid-19 virus broke in early 2020 and became a global pandemic, throwing everything at risk. During the 2.5 years of the pandemic, there were no new Kawasaki motorcycles being introduced into the Malaysian market. While the rest of the world get to have the supply of new variants uninterrupted, a lot of eagerly awaited Kawasaki models like Z H2, revised Ninja ZX-10R, Ninja ZX-25R and the updated Z900/Z900 SE didn’t enter the local market until the 3rdquarter of 2022! 

The supply of Kawasaki models has now returned to normal hence the review of the updated Z900 is made possible. So, what’s new in terms of features and updates from the Model Year 2023 of the popular Streetfighter? 

The new TFT screen is easy on the eyes, and settings can be seen clearly

There’s plenty. For starters, the new Z900 now comes with an improved, full color TFT speedometer screen. Next is the KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control) which gives 3-step of intervention; Riding Modes and LED lighting is used for the headlights, taillights and indicators. 

How about performance and handling

Well, the 2017-19 bikes were of Euro4 specs; the latest 2023 Z900 comes equipped with Euro5 emission standard. Not that it matters for local buyers/owners as the majority would replace the bike’s stock exhaust system without catalytic converter, adding additional boost to Z900’s performance! 

The latest Z900 ABS still retained its 125hp despite Euro5 emission mainly because the engine design is capable of higher maximum power, with the figure achieved being a modest amount in its predecessor. Remember, the Z900’s inline four DOHC engine is a detuned variant used for Kawasaki’s other 1,000-series, among them being the Ninja 1000 and Versys 1000 LT. 

With Kawasaki’s distribution now under EMOS (Edaran Motosikal Nasional) as the new Kawasaki Malaysia, they have made available the SE variant with added features not not found in the Standard model. However, this review only focuses on the Standard bike, the SE model will have another review soon in a separate article. 

With a maximum power of 125bhp, the Z900 is fast, and does it quite well in this segment. The exhaust muffler emits a pleasant note – if rider wears a full-face helmet, may not hear the smooth sound. However, with an open face helmet, the crisper note can be heard more clearly. 

Of course, there are some limitations to the Z900 as there’s no such thing as a perfect motorcycle! Anyway, there’s just a few – I find them irritating but others are probably okay with it. The Z900 being a naked sports Streetfighter, it’s natural to have a wider handlebar, as opposed to the narrower, clip-on type used on full fairing sportsbikes, which limits the bike’s ability to lane filtering (or cilok-ing) during rush hour traffic congestion. Oh, there’s no Quickshifter installed as standard item – yes, it’s available for the SE variant but not offered on the Standard Z900. 

Nevertheless, even without a Quickshifter, the Slipper-Assist Clutch of the Z900 is super smooth to operate and doesn’t slow the bike when upshifting/downshifting. 

What’s really new, as mentioned earlier, are the Traction Control and Riding Modes. Both features have 3 settings each. Traction Control has 4 settings, namely 1, 2, 3 and Off while Ride mode has Sport, Ride and Rain. Both KTRC and Riding Modes are stepless and can be set independently from one another, as in using Sport in any TC choices, and the same applies for Ride and Rain modes. 

Sport is the ideal choice for a track day; Ride is for normal city & twisty roads while Rain is slippery surfaces. And KRTC can be set at one’s discretion regardless of the Ride modes. 

Acceleration and midrange torque of the Z900 are superb – since its engine is a detuned variant of Kawasaki’s 1043cc inline four, coupled with its curb weight of mere 212kg, the handling and performance when cruising along twisty S-Curves roads are enjoyable and fun. It’s pretty exciting too if there’s not much traffic slowing the Z900 along such winding segment. 

The fuel tank capacity remains unchanged at 17-litre, with the electronic sensor giving a range of some 265km mileage if the tank is filled to the brim. Like every Kawasaki motorcycle that incorporates a 17-litre capacity, the Z900’s Low Fuel Gauge blinks once 13-litre has been used, leaving 4-litre in reserve for the rider to find a petrol station to top up. No worries though as the remaining 4-litre is enough to last another 72km mileage provided the cruising speed is not more than 120km/h. 

The selling prices of the Z900 are available in 2 colour options: 

RRP of RM43,900 for the gray version, and RM44,900 for Black option.

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