On November 2, 2021, Kawasaki released an intriguing teaser across its social media channels. The short, 21-second video showed a loving closeup of the badge on the rear flank of an original Z1 in that iconic Fireball Candy Brown paint scheme. The camera sweeps from left to right over the “900 Double Overhead Camshaft” badge.
Then a stylized profile drawing of a naked motorcycle in profile appears superimposed over the video. Underneath it, a logo drawing that says “Z 50th" boldly proclaims and intrigues us about what’s to come. A second or so later, the hashtag #Z50thCelebration appears, with more text below that reads “Coming in 2022” in a slightly bigger font.
Naturally, Young Machine wasted no time in speculating that a new Z900RS SE could be on its way, only this time, in a a Fireball Candy Brown-derived paint scheme instead of the Yellow Ball introduced in Europe. While that’s a fairly logical extrapolation from what little factual information we have at this point, there’s also a genuinely good reason for it. Apparently, YM said, when the SE was unveiled, the publication asked if it was meant as the 50th anniversary bike. At that time, Kawasaki emphatically said that it was not.
Now, Kawasaki previously unveiled five new bikes in its 2022 lineup at the beginning of October. Shortly afterward, it posted another image on social media, highlighting the covers on three more bikes that had yet to be revealed. Text on that image told us to expect the new bikes on November 23, which is also the first day of EICMA 2021.
A 50th anniversary is a pretty big deal, so it makes total sense if Kawasaki wants to celebrate the Z1’s 50th anniversary with all its friends at EICMA. It’s unclear at this point how much (if any) resemblance it will bear to the Z900 RS SE, but if it’s a Fireball Candy Brown-painted bike with gold accents, upgraded Öhlins suspension, and Brembo brakes, that hardly seems like a reason to complain.
To be clear, the teaser said that we should expect the Z50th Celebration to come in 2022. However, that could be when Kawasaki intends to roll the bike out into showrooms, and not necessarily when it plans to pull the covers off and introduce it to the world. With under a month to go before November 23, we’ll know pretty soon whether that special Z1 50th Anniversary bike will opt to keep us in suspense until the New Year.