One of our unanswered questions from Kawasaki’s announcement last May that the appropriately green, lower-bars-and-little-fairing “Cafe” version of the kickass Z900RS would be available in the US was just how limited the “limited production model” would be. We asked, of course, and were only told that production volume would be “relatively small.”
If that relatively small volume meant you weren’t able to pick up your own Z900RS Cafe because the one unit your local Team Green shop got was already spoken for by that smugly conspicuous collector guy, the one that immediately puts a deposit on every low-volume bike, just because, well, your time has come, my friend. Kawasaki has just announced that the Cafe will be back for 2019, and they’re not saying “limited” this time.
Which of course means that if you did buy one, you’re now in the enviable position of having bought an RS Cafe (pronounced like Nescafé) before they were mainstream, man, and when you’re selling it on Craigslist next year to fund your next “cool bike” purchase, like to acquire one of whatever style of motorcycle supplants the current annoying everything’s a scrambler trend, which is almost as vexatious as the previous everything’s a cafe racer nonsense, you can proclaim “first year!” in your ad, bump the price up accordingly and talk about how buying your bike is an investment, because it’s destined to be a classic. Hell, you can even mention how the numbers match for extra-authentic classic gearhead cred.
All that nonsense aside, the Z900RS remains one of our most beloved motorcycles of the last year, so good that we even used the word authentic sort of correctly—unheard of in modern motorcycling—calling the no-fairing RS “authentically awesome.” For me, the RS offers an extraordinary blend of usefulness and style, with a willing, engaging engine bolted into a chassis that just works in a way that had me riding the RS much faster than I’d expected.
Want more? Check out Max and Fish’s review of the standard Z900RS in root beer candy-cool, which isn’t as right proper Kawi as green, but then, if we’re being real—and we always are here at CityBike—the ergos on the standard version might be more functional anyway. Here’s what the difference between the two versions looks like, thanks to Kawasaki.
Although it woulda been cool if Kawasaki had dropped the price of the Cafe since it’s not a supposedly limited production model any more, Team Green at least did us the favor of not raising the price, or perhaps not raising it by much: the “back for ’19!” press release has the 2019 MSRP for the Cafe at $11,499, same as last year, but the Kawasaki website has the MSRP at $11,699 for next year—$200 more! That’s a serious dent in a new Cafe owner’s authentic apparel budget, and it’s not like you can ride such a bike in your ‘Stich—unless like the CityBike Wrecking Crew you are unconcerned with the foolishness of “period correct” riding gear.
I’ve asked for clarification, but all we’ve gotten so far is a bunch of out-of-office auto-replies. I’ll update with correct pricing when I hear back from our Kawntacts (contacts at Kawasaki).
Update: we’ve just heard some sad news back from Kawasaki—the pricing on the website is correct. The Cafe is $200 more for 2019, so you’ll have to save a little longer for that perfectly distressed brown leather jacket to match your new retro rock ‘n’ roller.
But far as we can tell, that maybe price change is the only one—the 2019 Z900RS Cafe will be just like the 2018 model, but there’ll be more of ’em.
We haven’t heard any news on 2019 pricing for the standard version, but we’re hoping that pricing will stay the same, with the black RS going for $10,999 and the candytone version bumping up to $11,199.
The best news here, though, is that since the Cafe isn’t limited any more, you can thrash it vigorously, free of concern for whether you’re risking turning a future classic into a mangled pile of used-to-be-cool scrap metal for your own Tree of Shame. And with that in mind, here’s Fish, Founder and President of the CityBike Foundation for the Preservation of Front Tires, showing you how it’s done on our RS test bike.