By John Burns
Lately, it’s like time travel around here. A couple years ago we put the then-new Kawasaki Z900RS up against the Suzuki GSX-S1000 in a slightly apples-to-oranges comparo, Retro or Not(ro), which the Kawi won by a hair. Now that Suzuki has their own retro based upon the GSX-S in the Katana, we felt like we had to do it again. Our duty.
It’s kind of a generational thing, and a Boomer bonanza, though more enlightened youngsters also appreciate these bikes’ looks. So does Ryan Adams:
I guess I should say somewhere in here that I’ve never been a huge fan of the Z900RS. Looking at last year’s model, all I could think was that it looked like a more mass-produced cheaper version of what Triumph does so well with its modern classic line of motorcycles. It wasn’t until I saw the 2020 model at EICMA, in Candytone Green, that I gave it more than a passing glance. The rich green paint chock-full of gold flake stuns in sun and still manages to look show-stopping in low light. The yellow stripe reaching back to the ducktail fender accents the color superbly.
The original Z1 Kawasaki got here in 1972, but the first one I remember seeing was the striped version of year two production – just like the second-year Z900RS we’ve got here, which caused the eyeballs to fall out of my still-loose 13-year-old head in 1973. In that year, the Beatles might still get back together, flower power was still in full swing, and my long-haired bell-bottomed cohort might be actually changing the world for the better.
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By the time the Katana appeared in 1981, we’d got straight: Nancy Reagan just said no, John Lennon had …read more