Kawasaki Z1 Turns 50, Anniversary Z650 and Z900 Models Released


Somewhat less visible than in the car industry, the competition between bike makers is just as fierce, if not more so. This is why every time a model comes along to challenge the norms, it is bound to be remembered. Back in 1972, at the end of a development project called New York Steak, Japanese bike maker Kawasaki launched into this world the Z1, a model that was to become essential, alongside other models from Honda, in cementing the term Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) for certain types of four-cylinder bikes. First launched with a 903cc inline-four engine, the Z1 “not only became the most powerful Japanese bike of its era, but also created a new standard for the brand’s future performance models,” as Kawasaki says. The Z1 has grown since into a full family of bikes called Z, and some of them are getting the festive, limited edition clothes on to properly mark their predecessor’s 50th anniversary. Were talking about the Z650 and Z900, as well as their RS versions. In normal configurations, the two motorcycles will be offered in a color scheme called Firecracker Red with matching red cast wheels and a glossy black frame. A special seat design and 50th Anniversary commemorative badging are also featured. Pricing has been set at $9,599 for the Z650 and $11,499 for the Z900. The RS variants of the two machines come in two-tone Candy Diamond Brown livery and ride on gold cast wheels. The side covers wear the DOHC emblem inspired by the Z1, and there’s a 50th Anniversary commemorative badging on the grab bar. These two are a tad more expensive, with Kawasaki expected to charge $10,499 for the Z650RS, and $14,299 for the Z900RS. Deliveries of the special edition bikes should start in February, and not that many of them will be made. In Canada, for instance, where the details of the bikes surfaced, there will be just 50 units of each model.