2022 marked a monumental year for Kawasaki’s retro-leaning RS range. The flagship Z900RS celebrated the Z1’s 50th anniversary with a stunning, throwback “Fireball” colorway. The special-edition livery wasn’t the only addition to the Z900RS lineup, though, with Team Green introducing the up-spec 2022 Z900RS SE variant as well. Still, the RS series lacked a true entry point and the 2022 Z650RS filled the void.
After such an eventful 2022, we can’t fault Kawasaki for taking it easy in 2023, and the RS lineup returns largely unchanged for the new model year. Starting with the Z650RS, the classically-styled standard retains its iconic Candy Emerald Green paint scheme but adds a new Metallic Spark Black to the repertoire. Under the surface, the Z650RS still champions Kawi’s liquid-cooled, 649cc parallel-twin that's good for 67 horsepower and 47 ft-lb of torque.
Gallery: 2023 Kawasaki RS Range
Up the ladder, the Z900RS follows the same tactic as its smaller sibling, bringing the 1975 Z1-inspired Candy Tone Blue paint job from 2022 back for another go-around. Kawasaki’s design team pairs that returning paint option with the new Metallic Diablo Black/Metallic Imperial Red in 2023, however. Of course, the 948cc inline-four engine still produces 109.5 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 72.3 foot-pounds of torque at 6,500 rpm, marrying the model’s vintage-styled aesthetics with modern performance.
While the 2023 Z900RS SE carries over that same street-tuned four-banger, it stands apart from the pack with an Öhlins S46 rear shock and revised front suspension. Brembo M4.32 front brake calipers, Brembo disc rotors, and steel-braided front brake lines encourage riders to push the pace.
Unlike the base Z900RS and Z650RS, the SE doesn’t earn a new graphic in 2023, but the Metallic Diablo Black is just as eye-catching as last year, especially with the matching gold wheels. Kawasaki’s Z range may arrive short on updates and upgrades, but the charming, retro colorways keep the Z650RS, Z900RS, and Z900RS SE attractive propositions in 2023.