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2022 Kawasaki Z900SE

It’s a happy medium between sportbikes proper and road-centric adventure bikes with just enough “Kawi” in the look to set it apart from the pack

LISTEN 11:48

Kawasaki expands its Z900 supernaked family with the new-for-’22 Z900 SE. New suspension hardware joins with new brake goodies to set this model apart from its siblings, though the engine and sugomi design philosophy are direct carryovers. The factory also claims better handling and improved performance over previous Z900 units.

  • 2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
  • Year:
    2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    948 cc
  • Price:
    10699
  • Price:

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE Design

  • Aggressive sugomi design
  • 4.3-inch color TFT display w/ Smartphone connectivity
  • LED lighting
  • Upright rider posture
2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062765
2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062766
Aggressive yet elegant, the Z900 SE is the latest road weapon to come from the rollers of the good times over at Kawasaki.

Aggressive yet elegant, the Z900 SE is the latest road weapon to come from the rollers of the good times over at Kawasaki. The factory kept to the minimalist approach associated with its super-naked “Z” line of machines, and spared very little weight on superfluous vanity items. Notable exceptions include the little cheek fairings that hide the steering head along with the top of the radiator, and the belly pan that dresses up the bottom of the engine area so nicely.

In keeping with the sugomi styling concept, the “SE” runs with a low headlight, high tail, and crouched posture like a predator ready to pounce. LED headlights and position lamps lead the way ensconced in the compact front fairing for maximum two-way visibility. Kawi’s signature angular look shines through at the front end, and it flows into the cheek fairings to tie the look together across what little bodywork it carries. Even the front fender is reduced to a minimum though it pulls double duty as a spoiler for the front forks.

Short risers mount a short-rise handlebar to push the rider into a more upright, relaxed riding position for better comfort than you would get from a comparable sportbike proper, for instance. A narrow waist pulls the pilot into the sides of the bike for improved integration with plenty of room for some body English if you want to get jiggy with it.

The upswept tail section completes the Sugomi yummygoodness by emphasizing the nose-down/tail-up stance. A lofted P-pad joins with fold-up footpegs that will let you share the fun with a friend, but the lack of J.C. handles means that the pilot is the only thing to hang on to — maybe you’ll be closer friends after the ride?

An LED taillight rides recessed under the tip of the tail, which is really clean looking, while the blinkers, taglight, and plateholder are all integrated with the rear fender. Plus, the taillight rocks a “Z” in the design in a nod to the family name. The front blinkers are mounted up high and well out of harm’s way, but the rear ones may be vulnerable in a drop or low-speed slide. All are LED for maximum lumen output for the weight investment.

As for the instrumentation, a high-contrast TFT screen takes care of business with smartphone connectivity and functionality through Kawi’s RIDEOLOGY THE APP. This instrument package includes bike info, ride control electronics settings, navigation support, and communication notifications.

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE Chassis

  • Adjustable front suspension
  • Plush ride
  • New Öhlins S46 rear shock
  • Improved suspension settings
2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062773
2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062760
Steering geometry lands in decidedly nimble territory, so it still handles very much like a sportbike in spite of the concessions made for comfort's sake.

The engine in the Z900SE plays a large role in the overall structure by displacing a large chunk of the Trellis frame. It connects up to the rest of the machine through five points of contact to help the assembly reach its final rigidity. New, large-diameter forks add a compression-damping adjuster to the mix to give the front end the full trinity of tweaks, while out back, a coil-over Öhlins S46 shock delivers only a remote adjustable-preload feature. The shock comes oriented almost fully horizontal to reduce heat transfer from the exhaust system to combat shock fade.

Symmetrical, 17-inch cast wheels round out the rolling chassis and come lined with “Z” rated rubber that will take everything this engine can muster. The front hoop is a 120/70, followed by a 180/55 to make contact with the tarmac, and suspension strokes are 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, respectively, which is plenty for even the grittiest urban jungle.

Brembo supplies the anchors with dual, M4.32 Monobloc calipers that bite 300 mm front discs ahead of a 250 mm disc and stock ABS protection all around. Steering geometry lands in decidedly nimble territory with a 24.9-degree rake angle and 4.3 inches of trail, so it still handles very much like a sportbike in spite of the concessions made for comfort’s sake.

Frame: Trellis, high tensile steel
Front Suspension / Travel: 41mm Inverted Fork with Adjustable Preload, Compression and Rebound Damping / 4.7 in
Rear Suspension / Travel: Horizontal back-link, Ohlins S46 gas-charged shock with adjustable rebound damping, remote adjustable spring preload / 5.5 in
Rake/Trail: 24.9°/4.3 in
Front Brakes: Dual semi-floating 300 mm Brembo discs with dual radial-mount, Brembo M4.32 monobloc, four-piston calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250mm petal-style disc with single-piston caliper, ABS
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: 180/55 ZR17

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE Drivetrain

  • Liquid-cooled 948 cc transverse inline-four cylinder engine
  • Ride Modes
  • Traction control
  • Integrated ride modes
2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062772
2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062769
Kawasaki powers the Z900 SE with a liquid-cooled 948 cc, transverse-mount, four-banger with a quick-revving nature and short spool-up times, along with smooth, tractable power.

Kawasaki powers the Z900 SE with a 948 cc, transverse-mount, four-banger plant. It’s liquid-cooled for thermal stability and emissions control, and the 16-valve head is timed by dual over-head cams to limit reciprocating mass in the top end. Reduced rotational mass at the crankshaft gives the engine a quick-revving nature with short spool-up times and lower vibration, plus the counterweights offset even more of the vibration to deliver smooth, tractable power.

There’s more. The pistons come with voids engineered in to reduce weight, just like the H2/H2R, and the crankcase comes with vents between the partitions to reduce pumping losses and further spice up the throttle response.

A set of 36 mm Keihin throttle bodies and downdraft intake pipes deliver the air-fuel mixture via the shortest possible route through efficient, 29 mm intake valves. Intake lengths vary with two of the pipes at 150 mm long with the other two shortened down to only 50 mm for a bit of spread in the powerband. The exhaust valves measure 24 mm at the outside diameter of the poppet to carry off the waste gasses and help turn out punchy performance in the mid- and top-end of the rev range.

Bore and stroke measure at 73.4 mm and 56 mm for a medium-hot 11.8-to-1 compression ratio that should probably tolerate mid-grade pusholine well enough. The official torque numbers shows 73.1 pound-feet of grunt at 7,700 rpm, and the UN-official horsepower figures sits at around 113 ponies at 9,800 rpm. While the lower five gears are rather short for sporty acceleration and explosive roll-ons, the sixth gear at the top runs with an overdrive ratio for a less frenetic engine pace on the superslab. A slipper-type clutch acts as a buffer for the backtorque to prevent rear-wheel hop on hard downshifts.

The factory didn’t neglect the electronics, oh no. A pair of Power Modes let you choose between full power and a low power mode that cuts output roughly in half. Stock traction control protects the rear patch on accelerations with three levels of intervention and an “Off” setting if you prefer. Riding modes mix and match the above with a quartet of factory profiles and a single, pilot-programmable profile that lets you dial in exactly the personality you are looking for.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4 Valve Cylinder Head, Transverse In-Line, 4-Stroke, 4-Cylinder
Displacement: 948 cc
Bore & Stroke: 73.4 mm x 56.0 mm
Maximum Torque: 73.0 lb-ft @ 7,700 rpm
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel Injection: DFI with (4) Mikuni 36 mm Throttle Bodies
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Transmission: 6-Speed
Final Drive: Sealed Chain

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE Price

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062775
2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062768
MSRP starts at $10,699 and comes in a two-tone Metallic Spark Black and Candy Lime Green.

The factory never explicitly states it anywhere I’ve seen, but the “SE” seems to stand for Special Edition. No matter what you call it, you can plan on shelling out at least $10,699 MSRP to start out, and I hope you like Metallic Spark Black/Candy Lime Green (Kawi Green) ’cause that’s the only livery for the MY22 SE.

Model ID: ZR900MNFNL
Engine Management Technology: Assist & Slipper Clutch, Dual Throttle Valves, Economical Riding Indicator, KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control), Power Modes, Smartphone Connectivity, Sound Tuning
Chassis Management Technology: ABS (Anti-lock Brake System), Horizontal Back-link Rear Suspension
Special Features: Rideology the App Smartphone Connectivity, TFT Instrumentation
Electronic Rider Aids: Integrated Riding Modes, Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), Power Modes (2)
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Color: Metallic Spark Black/Candy Lime Green
Price: $10,699

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE Competitors

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE
- image 1062764
2021 Ducati Monster
- image 958729

The liter-ish naked sportbike field is fairly crowded, especially amongst Kawi’s domestic competitors, but I wanted a different perspective so I looked to Ducati for its Monster naked-sport model.

Ducati Monster

2021 Ducati Monster
- image 958735
The Monster is a skosh pricier with an $12k sticker, but it comes with a trio of paint packages on the palette, so at least you get a choice in that respect.

Credit where it’s due, Ducati takes the minimalist approach to the Nth degree with ((no bellypan or cheek fairings, and a headlight housing that’s just big enough to justify the name. Sure, it rocks a compact LED DRL ring so it’s fully functional, but even with that it’s way smaller than what the Z900 pushes around. Minimal fenders are a constant across the board, in keeping with the naked-streetfighter look, along with minimal passenger amenities, but if you’re looking for a cushy passenger perch, you’re looking at the wrong kind of bike.

More to the point of the design, the Italian ride carries a 937 cc engine, but it crams it all into an L-twin rather than a four-banger like the Kawi packs. The power is there with 111 ponies and 69 pounds o’ grunt, which isn’t surprising given the torquey nature of V-twins.

Desmodromic valve timing trades in the valve springs for a pull-closed cam that delivers positive closure and prevents the onset of harmonic valve float at high revs. Slipper clutches abound on both sides, and the electronics are more or less similar with the notable exception of the Quick Shifter that comes stock on the Monster and lets you bang your way both up and down the range without ever touching the clutch lever.

Overkill for a streetbike? Depends on the street, it seems. The Monster is a skosh pricier with an $11,995 sticker, but it comes with a trio of paint packages on the palette, so at least you get a choice in that respect.

He Said

“Looks like a nice little stoplight burner and well suited for high-speed travel on the interstate. This bike is built for folks who want that sporty performance and electronic support associated with more race-tastic machines, but prefer to push off a bit with a more relaxed upright riding position. Sort of a happy medium between sportbikes proper and road-centric adventure bikes, with just enough “Kawi” in the look to set it apart from the pack.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I am happy to see the revisions in the chassis and suspension on the new Z900 SE since that seemed to be a shortfall in the Z900. It could be a little divey under hard braking and the ride could be more plush. All that changed with the improved suspension settings and upgraded components on the “SE”. Likewise with the brakes. Out with the previous Nissin brakes and in with the fancy Brembos and steel brake cables so the brakes are better than previously. As much as I liked the Z900, this new Z900 SE is a better version. Overall, it’s a nice middleweight bike, more sportbike-esque than sportbike, but a solid ride.”

2022 Kawasaki Z900SE Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4 Valve Cylinder Head, 4-Stroke, Transverse In-Line, 4-Cylinder
Displacement: 948 cc
Bore & Stroke: 73.4 mm x 56.0 mm
Maximum Torque: 73.0 lb-ft @ 7,700 rpm
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel Injection: DFI with (4) Mikuni 36 mm Throttle Bodies
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Transmission: 6-Speed
Final Drive: Sealed Chain
Chassis:
Frame: Trellis, high tensile steel
Front Suspension / Travel: 41mm Inverted Fork with Adjustable Preload, Compression and Rebound Damping / 4.7 in
Rear Suspension / Travel: Horizontal back-link, Ohlins S46 gas-charged shock with adjustable rebound damping, remote adjustable spring preload / 5.5 in
Rake/Trail: 24.9°/4.3 in
Front Brakes: Dual semi-floating 300 mm Brembo discs with dual radial-mount, Brembo M4.32 monobloc, four-piston calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250mm petal-style disc with single-piston caliper, ABS
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: 180/55 ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 81.5 in
Overall Width: 32.5 in
Overall Height: 43.9 in
Ground Clearance: 5.7 in
Seat Height: 31.5 in
Wheelbase: 57.3 in
Curb Weight: 469.7 lb (50-State Model)
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Details:
Model ID: ZR900MNFNL
Engine Management Technology: Assist & Slipper Clutch, Dual Throttle Valves, Economical Riding Indicator, KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control), Power Modes, Smartphone Connectivity, Sound Tuning
Chassis Management Technology: ABS (Anti-lock Brake System), Horizontal Back-link Rear Suspension
Special Features: Rideology the App Smartphone Connectivity, TFT Instrumentation
Electronic Rider Aids: Integrated Riding Modes, Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), Power Modes (2)
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Color: Metallic Spark Black/Candy Lime Green
Price: $10,699

Further Reading

Kawasaki

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- image 795478

Read more Kawasaki news.

Source: The New 2022 Z900 SE | Dominate | Official Video

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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