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We should probably be more excited about the upcoming Kawasaki Z900RS

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It’s another case of modern technology in a retro-styled package.

We’ve slept on the teasers of the Kawasaki Z900RS over the past couple of weeks for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we’ve been busy working on secret things for secret people and it slipped our minds almost the instant after we first saw it, and secondly we’re not as excited about the release of a reworking of the Z900 naked as we probably should be.

This probably isn’t Kawasaki’s fault and it’s almost entirely ours, but after seeing the teaser videos, at this point of time it almost feels as if another launch of a purposefully, retro-vibed motorcycle is a little late.

But what about the Triumph Bobber and that-other-one-they-launched-just-the-other-week [It’s called the Speedmaster , Ed.] we hear you say?

Well, yes. That’s true. We were excited about the Bobber when we rode it; in fact we still are. And we were also keen to see the new baby cruiser that is the new Speedmaster; although that interest just wain a little the day after it was announced.

But with the new Kawasaki Z900RS we’re just ‘whelmed’.

And we’re not sure why exactly it is that we feel this way.

The tease images we’ve seen from various places make it look like it’s going to be okay to look at; just look at these renders from IndianAutosblog for an example.

Plus the Z900 that it’s based-upon is a more than capable motorcycle… It’s just… Oh we don’t know. Like we said, it’s probably just us.

Anyway, with lowered expectations going into EICMA and the Milan show, it just means that we can act all pleasantly surprised when it’s announced and we’re all happy with it, right?!

 

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Custom of the Week: Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl

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FOR WALT SIEGL, performance and beauty go hand-in-hand. The bikes in his Ducati Leggero series are drop dead gorgeous, but they’re also light, quick and handle well. And that puts them in high demand.

This newest build was commissioned by Jamie Waters, one of the leading lights behind the REV’IT! and Rizoma brands in the USA. Jamie owns a significant collection of race bikes, European sports cars and American muscle cars, but they’re more than just show pieces: he regularly pilots his rare factory racers at AHRMA events.

That makes him the perfect client for Walt. “I’m thrilled that I could build this bike for Jamie,” says Walt from his New Hampshire workshop, “because I know he will ride it and enjoy it.”

Each Leggero is hand made to order with room for customization, but the building blocks are always the same. It starts with a Walt Siegl Motorcycles 4130 chromoly steel frame, created in-house and weighing just 15 pounds.

Walt slots in a two-valve Ducati motor, rebuilt and blueprinted by Bruce Meyers Performance. It’s then finished with top-shelf components, and custom Kevlar bodywork.

On this build, the donor motor came from a Monster 1100. It’s been blueprinted and bumped to 1125 cc with Mahle pistons, warmer cams, ported and flowed heads, and titanium valves. The carbs have been ditched in favour of the fuel injection system from a Hypermotard, and the bottom end has been lightened too.

Since Jamie’s pretty serious about actually riding the Leggero, he wanted top spec chassis and suspension components too. The lightweight chromoly Leggero frame is matched up to an aluminum subframe, and a Ducati S2R swing arm.

It would take days of careful study to spot all the details on this Ducati, so we’ll just run through the highlights. The custom-built, ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust is stunning, right down to its carefully placed heat shields.

The cockpit’s pretty slick too, and includes a racy Motogadget tacho bearing the WSM logo. And there’s a sprinkling of carbon fiber and Rizoma bits, to drive the performance ethos home.

When it came to the final livery, Jamie’s hobby provided all the inspiration needed. “Jamie wanted to incorporate elements from the early muscle car era in my Leggero design,” says Walt, “which is decidedly European, if you will.”

So the white ceramic coating on the exhaust system references early Shelby Cobras, and the frame’s been nickel plated, as a nod to the 1960s and 70s.

The primary paint color was sampled from a car in Jamie’s collection. “Jamie has a 1968 Corvette in Laguna Blue,” says Walt. “For that series Corvette, it was a one-year color only—painted by Peach Pit Racing.”

Now we’re really jealous.


This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on Bike Exif. It is republished here with permission.

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Idiot thieves steal electric manufacturers’ bike whilst they were on ‘theft tracking’ test!

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Motorcycle manufacturer Zero had their own bikes, actually stolen – for real – during security testing.

Bike thieves are the worst.

Not literally – we’re pretty certain that there are some certain individuals on the world stage that could put a petty motorcycle thief into perspective – but they’re ‘up there’ on our list alongside people who use their mobile phones on speaker whilst sat on public transport and most of the contestants from TV’s Love Island.

Bike thieves are also pretty stupid. None more so than the ones who tried to make off with a couple of Zero electric motorcycles recently in London.

What made these thieves particularly stupid we here you cry? Well, how about trying to nick a couple of electric bike maker Zero’s actual bikes whilst they were undergoing actual theft-tracking device testing with British bike security firm Datatool?

“I have been testing the product for several months now”, said Zero UK’s manager Dale Robinson, “but the ultimate test came last week, when two of our bikes were stolen from the back of a van in the London area.

Ironically we had just been introducing the partnership with Datatool to our dealers at a conference the day before, but I hadn’t expected that we would have to put it to the test when I got up the next morning.”

Yep, you read that right. Literally the same night that Zero and Datatool had introduced their partnership at a dealer shindig, somebody thought it would be a good idea to take the battery-driven machines.

But did the freshly installed system actually work?

“I reported the theft at 8.00am and the data confirmed that the bike was stolen at 3.37am. Datatool collaborated with the Met Police’s stolen vehicle squad, and the bikes were tracked to within a metre of their actual location, under a tarpaulin in a timber yard.

The police extraction team commented that the information given to them, in the form of a pinpointed Google map and exact coordinates, was the most accurate they had received and I got a call to come and pick the bikes up a few hours later.”

Some people pay thousands for that kind of PR. All Zero and Datatool had to do was get drunk and leave a couple of bikes in a van on a London street overnight.

Amazing.

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