2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS First Look: Frame, Suspension, and Tech Updates
The 2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS returns with a handful of mechanical and electronic updates that have raised the performance bar and sophistication of the largest displacement Z family motorcycle sold in the United States.First launched in 2017, the Z900 was positioned as a bike for the purist, leaving electronic aids such as selectable ride modes and traction control off the spec sheet. Now, the 2020 Kawasaki Z900 is getting a dose of the 21st century with those features on tap.
The Kawasaki Z900 impressed us when we first threw a leg over it two years ago, and we can’t wait to see what the Japanese firm has in store. Until then, here are the Fast Facts.1. A stiffer steel twin-spar frame is part of the 2020 package. This year, the Z900 touts a revised chassis, with added strength in crucial areas, such as the swingarm pivot point. Geometry figures are the same as last year’s model, so we don’t anticipate any significant changes to the Z900’s sporty handling.2. Suspension settings are revised. Featuring the same fork and shock with spring pre-load and rebound-damping adjustments as previous iterations of the Z900, Kawasaki engineers saw it fit to change settings to match the updated frame.3. The Z900’s tires get upgraded to the Dunlop Sportmax RoadSport 2. The aging Dunlop Sportmax D214 tires are gone, and replaced by fresh RoadSport 2 rubber.4. Selectable ride and power modes will be available on the 2020 Kawasaki Z900. Falling in line with many other top-tier offerings from the Kawasaki, the Z900 now allows riders to choose from two power modes—full- and half-power. The full-power mode gives access to all the 948cc engine’s might, while low-power reduces it to roughly 55 percent output to tame the throttle response. Also, three selectable riding modes are available—Sport, Road, and Rain. The ride modes alter the levels of traction control and ABS intervention, with Sport being the least restrictive and Rain being the most. Riding modes are adjustable on the fly.5. The tech doesn’t stop there—Bluetooth connectivity supports Kawasaki’s Rideology app. Kawasaki has riders covered who happen to enjoy staying in constant contact, even when behind the handlebars, thanks to the new Bluetooth connectivity. To utilize that feature, owners must rely on Rideology. The app enables users to answer incoming calls, view ride logs (route, distance, time traveled), and tuning settings.6. Refreshed, sharper styling is applied 2020 Z900. Updated graphics and plastics have given the Z900 a spit-shine, angling for an even more aggressive appearance and pointed look. According to Kawasaki’s official press release, the new styling may elicit this emotional response: “A longing flows through you and moves you with its Sugomi-inspired design. You can feel the machine alive.” Longing, indeed!7. A new LED headlight shines much brighter than before. LED lighting is a noticeable improvement and one welcome for riders who get out when the sun goes down. All other lighting is LED, as well.
2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Specs
Bore x stroke: 73.4 x 56.0mm
Compression ratio: 11.8:1
Valvetrain: DOHC, 4vpc
Fueling: EFI w/ 36mm Keihin throttle bodies
Final drive: Sealed chain
Frame: High-tensile steel trellis
Front suspension; travel: Rebound-damping and spring-preload adjustable 41mm inverted fork; 4.7 inches
Our first segment introduces you to the new Arch 1s. This latest, slightly more sporting American V-twin, adds to the original KRGT1 coming from the boutique manufacturer based in Hawthorne, Southern California. Senior Editor Nic de Sena rode through Malibu with Gard Hollinger, who co-founded Arch Motorcycle with his friend, Keanu Reeves. The 1s is a unique ride for sure, and Nic explains what makes the bike really stand out.
For the entertaining story behind Arch Motorcycle from Gard Hollinger himself, you must listen to his podcast episode on Motos & Friends HERE
The guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—visit your local dealer or suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In our second segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with multiple Emmy award-winning writer, Producer, Director, and actor, Thom Beers. the former Chairman & CEO of Fremantle Media North America, responsible for American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
Thom’s fertile imagination led to most of the really big reality TV shows such as ‘Deadliest Catch’ (now in its 17th season!), and many others. Of course for us in the motorcycle world, you’ll be interested to hear the genesis and story of how he started the first real fabrication reality show ‘Monster Garage’, that showcased Jesse James, and then how that led to ‘Biker Build Off’ and the ‘Zombie Choppers’ movie.
You’d imagine that most of Thom’s time is spent sitting behind a desk and on his phone. Not so. His intense stories of capturing much of the content for these shows make for some hair-raising listening.