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Kawasaki is Mean and Green for 2018 logo 2018-03-13 Rob Beintema
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe: Kawasaki 2018-Z900RS Cafe© Rob Beintema Kawasaki 2018-Z900RS Cafe

With spring on the horizon and new bike debuts across the country, here’s a quick look at three of the new 2018 model lines unveiled by Kawasaki Canada at the recent Motorcycle Show-Toronto.

Note that prices may vary.


a man riding a motorcycle down a street: 2018 KAWASAKI Z900RS© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited 2018 KAWASAKI Z900RS

The Z900RS, a retro sport tribute to the original 1971 Kawasaki Z1, debuts with a synthesis blend of traditional cues and modern engineering.

A lightweight trellis frame mounts a liquid-cooled 948 cc in-line four-cylinder tuned for low-to-middle-range torque but without the instantaneous twitchiness of supersport response.

The minimalist engine design is uncluttered, fitting for a naked bike and features engine fins built into the cylinder head for an air-cooled resemblance, along with other Z1-inspired cues.

A carefully thought-out exhaust system features buff-finished stainless steel, a short megaphone silencer and Kawasaki’s first-ever tuned exhaust note.

And performance is backed by a 41 Inverted front fork, Horizontal Back-Link Rear Suspension, large 300 mm front brakes, ABS and two-mode KRTC (Kawasaki TRaction Control).

Styling cues include an iconic teardrop tank, large 170 mm LED headlamp in round retro style, cast wheels designed with flat spokes to resemble wire-spoked wheels and throw-back bullet-shaped dial cases containing analogue-style speedo and tach bracketing a multi-function LCD readout.

The Z900RS Cafe-Racer model (the only one in North America at the time of the show) takes the tribute to the max with the bulbous front cowl, black drop handlebars, a unique seat and original colour and graphics.

Prices are: Z000RS Metallic Spark Black $12,999; Z000RS SE Candytone Brown/Candytone Orange $13,199; Z000RS CAFE Vintage Lime Green $13,599.


a person riding a motorcycle down a street: 2018 Kawasaki© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited 2018 Kawasaki

Offering a step up from entry-level 300 cc bikes, the new Ninja 400 was “inspired by the track and born for the street”, as Kawasaki Canada puts it.

Clad in the newest Ninja styling, the 400 lineup enters a increasingly competitive lightweight full-fairing niche equipped with a new 399 cc parallel-twin engine offering abundant low-rev torque and smooth linear acceleration while maintaining almost the same size and mass as the 300.

Some features include a new assist & slipper clutch for reduced clutch pull, new radiator fan cover to divert engine heat, new trellis chassis, a more rigid 41 mm front fork and the largest brake disk in its class (310 mm, same size as on Ninja ZX-14R).

The Ninja 400 also offers a relaxed riding position with elevated handlebars, slightly foot-forward pegs and an easy reach to the ground (785 mm seat height, 30 mm narrower seat).

Trading in on design elements from the rest of the Ninja lineup, the Ninja 400 cockpit mounts the same instrument cluster as the Ninja 650 and takes its large-volume bodywork cues from the futuristic styling of the Ninja H2 with the look of the chin spoilers below the front cowl and the tail cowl.

Prices are: Ninja 400 Metallic Spark Black $5,799; Ninja 400 KRT Lime Green/Ebony $5,999; Ninja 400 ABS Metallic Spark Black, Passion Red, Candy Plasma Blue $6,199; Ninja 400 ABS KRT Lime Green/Ebony $6,399.


a green motorcycle parked on the side of a building: 2018 Kawasaki© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited 2018 Kawasaki

Taking its cues from the ultimate supercharged Ninja H2, the new 2018 H2 SX offers a more “street-able” version with hyper sport-touring ability.

It’s still edgy, still fast but the 998 cc Balanced Supercharged Engine (3 kg lighter) offers fuel efficiency and low-to-midrange tuning for everyday riding.

How do you make a sport machine more touring-friendly?

Full fairing wind protection balancing comfort and aerodynamics, a slightly more upright seating position, a longer wheelbase and rigid chassis to smooth the ride, varying seat choices, a redesigned trellis frame that increases payload capacity to 195 kg (comparable to the Ninja 1000), and, yes, not forgetting its H2 roots, Clean-Mount panniers capable up to 300 km/h. Sheesh, supercharged sport touring at its best.

And the slightly more loaded SX SE model adds a taller windscreen, Kawasaki’s first TFT LCD display on screen, lean angle-sensitive LED cornering lights and a quick shifter.

Prices are: Ninja H2 SX Metallic Carbon Gray/Metallic Matte Carbon Gray $21,899;  Ninja H2 SX SE Emerald Blazed Green/Metallic Diablo Black $25,299.

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