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Top 5 new Retro Classics/Standards coming in 2020

Top 5 new Retro Classics/Standards coming in 2020

Chrome, laced wheels, round headlamp, upright bars – bring on the retro

Timeless designs that take you back to the pre-’60s era heightened the feeling of riding free-spirited machines and the sense of freedom. This is what a modern-day classic motorcycle offers without that knuckle bending fixes and ghastly scenes of oil dripping everywhere. Here are our top five standards/classic motorcycles coming in 2020 that takes us back to the time from the ’60s.

Recalling the past glories, these neo-classic motorcycles have still managed to retain the charm and posterity of minimalistic elegance along with providing modern day mechanicals and the bits. They run on efficient high output engines that are both reliable and powerful and are equipped with state of the art suspension and brake setups that will bring the bike to a halt not far from their point of application, unlike the yesteryears.

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Which motorcycles on sale today give the best mpg?

Which motorcycles on sale today give the best mpg?

And a guide to help you extract maximum mileage off a tank of fuel from your motorcycle

The beginning of this century saw the world views changing gradually towards climate change and the need to preserve the environment. This, along with stringent policies, has forced the manufacturers to develop motorcycles that can run cleaner fuel and extract the maximum economy from it, sometimes even at the cost of performance.

Bad news for people who seek the element of thrill, but a pretty good one for someone living in urban jungles where folks prefer commuting on a motorcycle rather thank a car for its practicality and frugal fuel-efficiency. Then there are us few who love the idea of putting serious miles on two-wheels and living the adventure.

We here have compiled a list to give you the best available tools for such situations and save some money on gas while at it.

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2019 - 2020 Kawasaki W800 Café

2019 - 2020 Kawasaki W800 Café

It’s One Of The More Authentic Tribute Bikes Out There

Classic looks and modern performance come together with a 773 cc parallel-twin to push this homegrown-looking bike, the new Kawasaki W800 Café. Unveiled at 2018 EICMA, the factory pulled out all the stops to give it a custom appeal.

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2016 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S / S Cafe / S SE

2016 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S / S Cafe / S SE

Ninja-Derived Power In A Mid-Displacement Cruiser

As the lightest bike in the Kawasaki cruiser lineup, the Vulcan S appeals to a variety of riders with adjustable footpegs and options for seat height and handlebar position. Carrying the same low and lean profile of the bigger Vulcan cruisers, the S stable combines Ninja-derived power and handling with the comfort and personalization capabilities of Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit components

Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan S, Vulcan S Café and Vulcan S SE.

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Top 10 Cafe-Racers of 2018

Top 10 Cafe-Racers of 2018

Lightweight, lightly powered motorcycle optimized for speed and handling. And all about the ’70s

Racing on bikes from café to café before a song could finish was the most therapeutic thing to have happened for motorcyclists in the ‘70s. Inspired by this culture, people and manufacturers started building motorcycles with minimal components to take them the distance in the shortest time. It embodied the classic café-racer cues taking us back in time with modern design bits and sophisticated packaging.

Here is our list of the best ten motorcycles of 2018 that remind us of that ‘70s. Round headlights, debonair half-shell fairing, humped seat, rear seat cowl, extended wheelbase, and the low-slung handlebar, it’s all in each one of these machines:

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2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE

2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE

More Than Just A Z900RS With A Bullet Fairing

Kawasaki looks to maintain the momentum it garnered last year by rolling its popular Z900RS CAFE straight over into MY2019. And, why not? It’s hard to argue with success, and the retro-tastic looks and modern performance make excellent bedfellows, especially with the Seventies-fabulous graphics as the icing on the proverbial cake. The “CAFE” falls at the Southern edge of liter-bike territory, which could potentially be dangerous for a new rider, but it carries all the requisite safety equipment needed to keep the noobs dirty-side down. Today I want to get into the nuts-and-bolts of the thing and see what else Kawi has crammed under the hood of this charming little tribute piece.

Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE.

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2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe

2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe

Bringing back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 with a paintjob that sticks it out from the crowd

Kawasaki had already brought back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 at the Tokyo International Motor Show with the Z900RS retro motorcycle. With almost every brand entering the neo-classic craze, Kawasaki brought one of its own classics back. Although it has the W800, the Z900RS depicts a much more modern take with thoroughly done modish mechanical features, fit and finish.

Now, the same guys have gone ahead and given it a headlamp cowl and dropped bars to get it running on the cafe-racer beeline.

Unwrapped at the 2017 EICMA show, the wardrobe change has made the standard RS the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe. And Kawasaki has decided that we deserve to drive them on our roads and are bringing it to the North American showroom floors as the 2018 model.

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 Kawasaki could have an Endurance model in the Z900RS class

Kawasaki could have an Endurance model in the Z900RS class

OBIBOI gives us this rendering tickling our brains

Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, manufacturers are spinning motorcycles that exuberate the classic appeal and character that goes on to showcase their point of arrival into the world of two wheels. With almost every brand entering the neo-classic craze, Kawasaki also brought one of its own classics back, the Z900RS. Although it has the W800, the Z900RS will depict a much more modern take with thoroughly done modish mechanical features, fit and finish.

OBIBOI, our favorite Italian artist has reasons to believe that the Japanese Green Team have another model back in their head that might see the light sometime in the near future. To be called the Z900 RSR Endurance, Oberdan Bezzi sketched a ‘70s replica of the brand’s Endurance feats taking cues from the KR250/500 and the present Z900RS Café.

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Deus Ex Machina has come out with the Mad Max tribute on a Z900RS

Deus Ex Machina has come out with the Mad Max tribute on a Z900RS

Called the ’Goose’, this modern-retro makes you wet yourself

Kawasaki had already brought back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 at the Tokyo International Motor Show with the Z900RS retro motorcycle. The same guys then gave it a headlamp cowl and dropped bars to get it running on the cafe-racer beeline.

When the Z900RS met the fans of the 1979 MadMax original movie, who also happen to be the top custom builders from the land down under, a tribute to Jim ‘Goose’ aka best friend of ‘Max’ was in order. Goose rode on his modded 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000 having a huge fairing upfront supplied by the now-defunct Melbourne-based company La Parisienne.

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Kawasaki's top dogs are US bound

Kawasaki’s top dogs are US bound

The Ninja ZX-10R SE, the H2 SX and the Z900RS

The 2017 EICMA gave us a glimpse of what we can expect on our roads the next decade, and it sure looks exciting. Crazy looking concepts and technologically advanced machines filled the floor spaces in Milan, and the Japanese makers stole the show with Yamaha’s three-wheeled Niken and Honda’s tech-powerhouse, the Gold Wing traveler.

Kawasaki was not far behind. The Green Team put up a spectacular show with their gut-wrenching supercharged sports-tourer, the H2 SX, a fancy new superbike with a semi-active electronic suspension, the ZX-10R SE and the retro-classic Z900 RS.

Luckily for us, Kawasaki has decided that we deserve to drive them on our roads and are bringing all of them to the North American showroom floors.

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Images: 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe - in the details

Images: 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe - in the details

High resolution images for your eyes and your wall

Unwrapped at the ongoing EICMA show, Kawasaki had a wardrobe makeover for the Z900RS retro motorcycle to give us the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe.

The Cafe is not much different. Its underpinned by the same mechanicals as the standard RS but gets the obvious headlamp cowl, scalloped lower seat that is ribbed and lowered bars to give it a sportier progress and feel.

And that beautiful looking lairy green and white paintjob, a reminiscent of the KR250/500 of the late ’70s. It compliments the blacked out frame, forks, footpegs wheels and engine to give out a bold appearance. Enough for it to stand out amidst the rest of the Cafe-Racers flooded in the market.

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Kawasaki gives the Z900RS a café racer treatment

Kawasaki gives the Z900RS a café racer treatment

With a paintjob that sticks it out from the crowd

Kawasaki had already brought back the ethos of the famed Z1 of 1972 at the Tokyo International Motor Show with the Z900RS retro motorcycle. Now, the same guys have gone ahead and given it a headlamp cowl and dropped bars to get it running on the cafe-racer beeline.

Unwrapped at the ongoing EICMA show, the wardrobe change has made the standard RS the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe.

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2012 Kawasaki W800

2012 Kawasaki W800

The Kawasaki W800 offers a perfect mix between a retro style and modern technologies.

The bike features a tasty, old schools design which consists of smooth curves and long, straight lines. The retro style is also enhanced by the well polished, air cooled engine which has a Vertical Twin configuration. We also need to send a shout at the rounded fuel tank which is combined with a long, comfortable seat with thick, ribbed padding.

To increase the classic look of the bike, Kawasaki equipped it with a traditional instrumentation which includes individual speedometer and tachometer and a multi-function LCD screen which incorporates odometer, tripmeter and clock. There is also a full range of indicator lamps which includes an FI warning lamp, dual turn signal indicators, low fuel level indicator, high beam indicator, neutral indicator, and oil pressure warning lamp.

The ride quality is assured by dual rear shock absorbers, adjustable for spring preload.

Hit the jump for mor einformaiton on the 2013 Kawasaki W800.

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1977 Billetproof Customs KZ 400 Café Racer

1977 Billetproof Customs KZ 400 Café Racer

1977 Billetproof Customs KZ 400 Café Racer

Take a look at this 1977 Kawasaki KZ400 in the small photo and at the veritable café racer above only to find that there are little similarities, enough to have you say we’re talking about two different bikes. But it is precisely the ease of transforming an old Japanese bike into a café racer what impresses us the most about this project.

Billetproof Customs bought the bike for $300. The reliable engine still ran good, so it was worth stripping everything off of it in order to see what can be done from a fresh start. Said and done. They started with the frame, which was seriously modified and then they built the wheels and brought in lowered front shocks and custom shortened rear shocks. The old Kawi was now 2 inches lower and got itself a much more aggressive stance also thanks to the shortened clubman bars.

The bodywork was next. A refurbished 1979 Suzuki GT 500 fuel tank found its place on top of the frame together with the one-piece seat and rear tail section, which were custom made out of fiberglass by the builder. The reconditioned engine was now ready to go back on and it was fed through a single carb instead of its original dual ones. Also, it now features custom made and wrapped exhaust pipes and so they obtained a retro look instead of the classy one that chrome would have given the bike.

After adding a disc front brake and custom drilling the rear drum as well as hiding the battery under the tail section, the bike was ready for painting. Like all the above mentioned, this was done by the manufacturer and olive drab was the color of choice. Other nice details worth mentioning are the headlight, bar end mirrors and speedo, taillight as well as the custom stitched seat in between. Hit the jump for a multitude of photos.

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Kawasaki Z1000 A café racer by WrenchMonkees

Kawasaki Z1000 A café racer by WrenchMonkees

Copenhagen-based custom motorcycle builder WrenchMonkees brings Japanese power to the world of café racers with their Monkee number 2. Although it started life as a Kawasaki Z1000 A, there’s little left of the original bike, not even the engine. This was replaced with that of a Z1000 J model, which was upgraded to around 110-115 hp by fitting a 1075cc Wiseco piston kit.

The café racer image was achieved with the use of a Norton fuel tank and a Ducati Monster headlight while the rest of the body parts, but also the mufflers, LED rear light and even the custom paint wear the WM fingerprint.

We can’t help but think about the uncomfortable riding position, read the specs again and appreciate the fact that it has a big engine as well as a retro look until finally reaching to the conclusion that this may very well be something that our favorite Hollywood star would ride to the studios everyday.

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Kawasaki Z 1000 J by WrenchMonkees

Kawasaki Z 1000 J by WrenchMonkees

Turning a 1980s Kawasaki Z 1000 J into a café racer doesn’t sound like the easiest task for custom bike builders and while you’ll normally get only visual changes, in this case we’re talking about a whole different bike. Forget about the classic roadster look of the Kawi Z 1000 J, which came as a response to Honda’s CB900, and let yourself be introduced to this low, aggressive and most likely pretty uncomfortable ride signed by WrenchMonkees.

First and foremost, the original 998cc air-cooled, four-stroke, transverse four-cylinder, DOHC with two valves per cylinder engine now displaces 1170cc thanks to a Wiseco piston kit, which raises the standard engine’s 102 hp to an impressive 140 hp. So that’s what the aggressive looks and Brembo brakes are there to cope with.

No doubt about it, this is a ride meant to stand out. It rolls on 17-inch Excel wheels, features custom paint and a whole bunch of WM components among which the fairing, aluminum tank, seat and tailunit are the most important. For more details, read the specs after the break.

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