In the Asian market, big bikes are considered luxuries instead simple means of mobility. While in the U.S., "big bikes" are the norm, they're usually a rather rare sight in the Asian market, and will have two-wheeled enthusiasts eagerly looking to see what bike has just passed them by. As such, when a manufacturer launches a new model in the market, it generates quite a lot of buzz.
For example, over in Malaysia, Kawasaki has just released the 2023 Z900 naked sportbike in partnership with its Malaysian partner Edaran Modenas Sdn Bhd (EMOS). A lot of us are very much familiar in the Z900 and Z900 SE, Kawasaki's middleweight naked bikes that pack a punch at quite a bargain price. In the U.S., they retail for $9,199 USD and $10,699 USD respectively, and present themselves with some of the best power-to-dollar ratios on any brand-new motorbike.
In the case of the Malaysian launch, the two bikes are made even more special as they're being produced locally in Modenas' manufacturing plant in Gurun Kedah. This is also a significant milestone for the Malaysian motorcycle industry, as the Z900 and Z900 SE are biggest bikes in Kawasaki's lineup in terms of displacement to be locally assembled. For reference, outside of Japan, Kawasaki also has a range of production facilities in neighboring Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. These factories contribute significantly in Kawasaki's ability to price its products very competitively.
Speaking of pricing, the base Z900 carries a price tag of RM43,900, or about $9,520 USD, in Malaysia. The more premium Z900 SE, which boasts upmarket components such as Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes, is priced at RM 55,900, or about $12,121 USD.
Just to recap, the Kawasaki Z900 and Z900 SE boast some pretty impressive performance and tech features. They're powered by Kawi's tried and tested 948cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, inline-four cylinder engine. It pumps out 125 horsepower and 73 pound-feet of torque, and sends this power to the rear wheel via a six-speed manual transmission with a slipper clutch. To complement the impressive power output, Kawasaki has thrown in a slew of electronic rider aids such as multiple ride modes, traction control, and ABS; all of which can be controlled via the bike's full-color TFT display.
The Z900 SE meanwhile, sets itself apart with some fancy, performance-oriented hardware. For example, it's equipped with an eye-catching gold Öhlins front fork with a full suite of adjustability. The rear suspension consists of an Öhlins S46 monoshock, while the bike comes to a stop with upgraded Brembo four-piston calipers.