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  • 1 Post By kilosierra
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Thread: Bumblebee comes home - my new 2019 Kawasaki Z900

  1. #1
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    Default Bumblebee comes home - my new 2019 Kawasaki Z900

    Preamble

    From a very tender age, it was my dream to have a superbike. However, even when I turned 18 and I asked my father for a bike, it was a definite NO for anything on two wheels. Nevertheless, I did learn to ride my grandfather's 1957 Royal Enfield Bullet 350 which in those days, had the speedo calibrated in MPH. From there, I moved on to riding an assorted group of the 100cc bikes which were the rage at that point - namely, the Ind-Suzuki AX100, the Escorts Yamaha RX100, the Kawasaki Bajaj KB100 and the Hero Honda CD100.


    Post that, I was mostly into cars and worked my way through a few Contessa Classics, a few Hyundai models, a few Honda models and finally settled down with two very capable SUVs - the Scorpio 4x4 AT and the Ford Endeavour 3.2 Titanium. Through all these years, any talk of a bike was very quickly consigned to the grave by both my father as well as my better half. All I could do was drool at the various superbikes. But deep down inside, there was always the dream of owning a Suzuki Hayabusa one day.

    Jump cut to now - the decision making process

    Through all this time, I had not done anything to take care of my physical fitness and there came a situation where I needed to do something drastically or face the consequences long term. I started seriously working on my diet as well as my workouts. During one of my gym session, my better half threw me a bone stating that if I could bring my weight down, she would not mind me getting a bike - and that got me into gear again.

    Again, I have always been a great fan of the idling burble of an inline 4 and I wanted to check out the inline 4 options available to me. Many of my friends were into Triumphs and Yahamas, but another childhood dream of mine was to get one of the "Ninja" bikes - i.e. Kawasaki. I first started off with the Kawasaki India website and with the Ninja series since I wanted something which would be more of a daily driver than a weekend speed machine. Traffic in Coimbatore has been going from bad to worse and I was by then, seriously considering a two wheeler for my travels within the town. Driving either the Scorpio or the Endeavour was a task - especially when it came to finding parking slots.

    My first impression of the Ninjas were that they were Super-sport bikes where the rider stance would not suit itself to long hours or jaunts at the saddle. Also, my point was that I also wanted something that was very raw and made no bones about the fact that it was an inline 4. With nothing in the Ninja series setting the spark, I then moved to the Z series. One look at the Z900 - both the picture and the price and I was hooked - hook, line and sinker.

    That evening, I took the risk of showing my better half the website of the Z900 and she said - go for it if you like it. Need I say more. I was at the Kawasaki showroom in Coimbatore the next day and they had 1 Z900 in stock. My first "meeting" if you might, with the bike too my breath away. This is what I saw.

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    It was the metallic flat spark black/metallic spark black with the green frame. I simply had to have the bike. There was no turning back now. Got a quote from the dealer and sent it off to my bank to get the loan processed. I bank with HDFC and the process was over in a few days.

    With great power, comes great(er) responsibility. True to that, now that I had gotten the ball rolling, I dropped into Adventure Shoppe, Coimbatore, and got myself a matte black Bell Qualifier DLX helmet, a K2K riding Jacket, Full gloves, city gloves, knee guards and some other odds and ends. Now I was all set (or so I thought).

    Post this, I also did some searching online for a good Bluetooth kit for the helmet and picked up a Sena SMH10 kit for the Bell Qualifier DLX. Had it shipped to my sister in the States and my brother-in-law, who was travelling to India shortly, transported it to me.

    Now - the speedbumps

    The dealer for Kawasaki motorcycles in TamilNadu is JMB Motors - they have branches in both Chennai and Coimbatore. During my first visit, both the SA and the Manager were very helpful and gave me a very good price ex-showroom.

    However, where things started to go south was when it came to the Insurance. I mentioned to them that I will do my own insurance. However, for the first time, they mentioned to me that it was Company Policy that Insurance will be done only by their Insurance partner. This was totally un-acceptable to me since in principle, Insurance is a contract between the Insurance Company and the buyer of the vehicle. Neither the manufacturer nor the dealer has any say in this. Why I was very keen on doing my own insurance was that I have been getting extremely good rates from United India - who are the insurers for all my vehicles - and the rate differential was pretty high.
    The insurance quote given to me by the dealer was 36k bumper to bumper zero depreciation for 1 year and 5 years 3rd party. The quote given by United India was 25k for 3 years bumper to bumper with zero depreciation and 5 years 3rd party cover. The math says it all. No amount of convincing and even threatening to cancel the order would work. However, in this case, I must clarify that both the SA and the Manager did their best to speak to the GM of JMB Motors, but for some nonsensical reason, they did not relent.

    Now it was a toss up internally between my head and my emotions - my head told me "Dude, you are being held to ransom - screw the bike" while my emotions were "Damn it - I WANT THAT BIKE!!!!!". To make matters more complicated, checked the prices with other dealers in other states and first off, the ex-showroom price quoted was higher. Secondly, neither of them had the colour I wanted and there was no more stock in the factory either - since this is a CBU. The next delivery they could give me was only after the BS6 engine variants got launched in March 2020 or thereabouts.

    The long story short, the odds were stacked against me on all sides and I had to go with what I had in the hand. Finished all payments and the next issue started - Registration. My house falls under the Coimbatore North RTO. Apparently, TN is the only state that has not adopted the latest VAHAN centralized back-end for vehicle registration. This means that they still circumvent the system and there are enough loopholes to be exploited by un-scrupulous parts of the government machinery. They took another 4 days to register the bike with 3 visits being made by the bike to the RTO. (The whole story is too long to type and I don't want to bore you with the details).

    Finally the big day - Taking Delivery

    Registration finally got done on the 16th of October and I had fixed a time of 11 am on the 17th of October. Over the years, I have gone from somebody who had to check for auspicious times and dates to one who believes that what has to happen has to happen - and time and date are only numbers.

    I got to the dealership a shade after 11am since I had a client meeting at 9am on that date. A quick run through the paperwork and the time for un-veiling had finally come!

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    There it was - waiting under the black silk

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    Then it happened.

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    Sitting on "My Bike" for the first time

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    After a quick run-through of all the features and essentials, off I went - took the most circuitous road possible back home.

    At the time of delivery, the bike had just a few litres of fuel in the tank. The folks at Kawasaki Coimbatore recommended Essar and there was also a pump right next to the showroom. So off I went and tanked up - it took in about 13 litres of petrol. The ride back home was a good time for me to do my initial acclimatization. It took a short while for me to get used to the free revving in-line 4 and the very sensitive throttle. What I learnt the bit of the "hard" way was that speed-breakers were to always be treated with care.

    The cat-box on this bike reduces the ground clearance by at least 10mm and this makes all the difference when crossing a speed breaker at little more than walking pace. Of course, in defence of the bike, the speed breakers in India are not the most scientifically designed.

    Had a good ride home and as I reached home, I had a hard time keeping the silly grin off my face. This bike is a looker and I could see everybody taking a few seconds off whatever they were doing to have a look.

    Now for the Accessories

    The next logical step was the accessories. A few biker friends of mine had advised me on certain essential accessories and these were what I finalized:

    1. Front Fork Sliders
    2. Engine Protector Guard with sliders
    3. Paddock Stand with swing-arm spools
    4. Tank Guard & Tank Grips (for the thigh area)
    5. Radiator Guard
    6. Mobile phone holder with charger


    I got a good Radiator Guard as well as Front Fork Sliders from Biker's Billet. The Engine Protector Guard with sliders were sourced from Zana. The paddock stand was made to order from a local FNG called Bikers Paradise, who also did a superb job of fixing up all these accessories. The mobile phone holder, specifically, was fixed to the left mirror rod. It is wired directly to the batter since I was given to understand that in the 2019 Z900, any taps on the cabling plays havoc with the immobilizer and the fix is expensive. The good part is that it has a switch to turn off power. Some pictures of the accessories are below.

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    First Impressions

    These are my initial impressions

    What I like


    • Excellent riding position
    • Rev Happy Engine
    • An induction roar to die for upwards of 6k rpm
    • Styling - head on, if I paint two eyeballs on the lights, it will look just like a transformer
    • Minimal electronics - only ABS. No riding modes, traction control etc.
    • Excellent overall build quality - both the vehicle as well as switch-gear and plastics


    What I don't so much like


    • Twitchy throttle at low speeds in lower gears
    • Omission of some essential clamps - the number plate holder clamp for the front


    Barring the days when it has been raining, its been my daily driver and so far, I have put in about 600+ kms. It had its first chain cleaning and lubing at around 460 kms. I make it a point to top up the tank every time and I have seen a gradual increase in the average mileage within the city - from 12.xx kms on my first tank to 15kms in my 3rd tankful. I could attribute it either to the fact that the engine is running in well - or I am getting more comfortable with its operating characteristics - or both.
    Another interesting observation is with respect to fuel. I decided to use this bike on regular petrol since firstly, it was going to be my daily driver and secondly, I did not want to put myself in a situation where I put it on a diet on either 97 or 99 octane and all of a sudden, I have to fill up regular petrol since I do not have access to higher octane petrol. My first tank was with Essar and I did notice the occasional miss in idle. After some research and posts on some like minded Telegram groups, I switched to HP Petrol and the result was almost instant and very obvious. The engine runs much smoother and the idle thrum has changed into a steady purr. Some of my fellow riders had warned me about engine heat, but I personally do not find it to be an issue.

    At the time of delivery, the bike had mineral oil. The dealer has informed me that the first check-up will be at 1000kms or 1 month from delivery date wherein, they will drain all oils and replace with synthetic oil, clean and sync the throttle bodies and do all bolt and nut torqueing, besides other cosmetic cleanups and minor control adjustment.

    Once this is done, they have assured me that the bike will run smooth and will be more enjoyable to ride. This is currently scheduled for the weekend after next - when it will complete one month from the date of delivery. I will update this thread with what and how much has changed and also more pictures - after the bike is washed and clean.

    Technical Statistics

    Here are the technical details

    • Engine - 948cc DOHC in-line 4 cylinder, water-cooled
    • Power/Torque numbers - 123 bhp @9500 rpm and 98.6 Nm of Torque at 7700 rpm
    • Gearbox - 6 speed (1 down and 5 up - neutral is between 1st and 2nd gears) with slipper clutch
    • Weight at the kerb - 210 kgs
    • Fuel Tank Capacity - 17L
    • Fuel Type - Petrol (I use 93 Octane, but recommended is 95 RON or above)
    • Brakes - Front - 2 x 300mm petaled discs with dual opposed 4 pot calipers; Rear - 1 x 250mm petaled disc with single piston calipers
    • Chassis - Trellis frame made from high tensile steel
    • Suspension - Front - dual inverted shocks with rebound damping and pre-load adjustment on the left shock
    • Suspension - Rear - monoshock with rebound damping
    • Tyres - Front - 120/70ZR17; Rear - 180/55ZR18 - currently shod with Dunlop Street Sport tyres


    Riding experience so far

    Since taking delivery, I have so far ridden about 800+ kms. Out of these 800 kms, about a 100kms are on open/twisty roads while the rest are all within city limits. Below is my initial feel of the various aspects of the bike.

    Engine
    Perhaps the sweetest of them all, it produces a lovely but unmistakable burble at idle. The stock exhaust system is fairly silent until 4000 rpm but the note gets noticeable thereafter. Cross 6000 rpm and there is a lovely induction note as well. I had read it many reviews that Kawasaki has a team to specially tune induction noise. But then, once has to hear it to experience it. Overall, the engine is very torquey. It pulls from right down the rev band and post 6000 rpm, the pull only gets harder. My only complaint is that the throttle is extremely twitchy at low speeds and it take a while to get used to the response. A side effect of this is that if you are a bit careless with the throttle in lower gears, you will definitely have the bike rotating skywards without your intending it to happen. The clutch is very light and is very effortless to use. The gearbox takes a little bit of getting used to a low speeds - so, for the first few rides, forget about smooth shifting either ways. But once you get used to its feel, it is possible to achieve smooth shifts at low speeds. Open the throttle and the entire combination comes together beautifully. Upshifts are instant and the bike is always in the powerband.

    Brakes
    The bike is pretty well equipped in the stopping department. The front setup sports dual 300mm ventilated discs with opposing dual 4 piston calipers. The rear sports a single 250mm ventilated disc with a single pot caliper. The brakes are aided by ABS, which tends to kick in a bit aggressively when it engages. For the first few days, I had this feeling that the fronts were better modulated than the rear brakes - i.e the rear brakes had a wooden feel to them. A few hundreds of kms later, they have bedded in and are pretty up to the job of stopping the beast without any un-necessary drama.

    Suspension & Ground clearance
    So far, I have found the suspension to be quite adequate for the various types of roads that I have ridden on. But one gripe I have is with the ground clearance. One has to be extremely careful with speed breakers - else the result is a sickening "crunch" when the exhaust box meets the pavement. Over the time, I have learned to either slow down and find the widest part of the speed breaker and cross there - so that the rear starts climbing before the fronts are down - thereby lifting the exhaust and avoiding scraping.

    On the seats side - while adequate, I found them a wee bit hard for me. Have ordered after market cushioned covers to fit on top. Yet to receive them. I shall post my reviews once I receive them and get them installed. This is predominantly a single user bike. The pillion is good for either short rides or small made people. Hopefully, my after-market seat cushions should make their life a little better.

    Tyres
    The bike comes shod with Dunlop Road Sport tyres both front and rear. While they are adequate in the dry, they do get very nervous in the wet. Since we are just out of the wet season, I believe I should be able to use them until the time comes to change them out. At that point, I will decide on what my choices are.

    Lights
    The bike comes with two lights, positioned side by side. Of these, the light on the right hand side is the low beam and turns on when you start the bike. It also functions like a DRL (literally). The left hand light is for "flash to pass" which is triggered by a button on the back of the left handlebar. It also functions as the high beam. Both lights are on when the high beam is turned on.

    From the showroom, the lights are aimed a bit high. This becomes worse when you are accelerating the nose points up since the road ahead is dark. An un-intended consequence is that you also end up blinding the driver of the vehicle that is in the opposite lane.

    For the performance this bike is capable of, I feel that the on-board lighting it totally inadequate given the variables of Indian roads. I plan to either change the bulbs to LEDs and add some additional lighting. I am still contemplating between the Baja Designs Squadron Pro or the Clearwater Darla 2

    Riding Impressions
    Overall, the bike is a joy to ride. Riding it within the city requires a bit of getting used to. The torquey nature of the engine does not require one to downshift too often and one can putter around in 4th gear for most part. But come open road, the bike becomes a different beast altogether. Give it the beans and its hard to wipe the grin off your face.

    Being a naked bike, the wind blast at high speeds is a bit of a downer. I have ordered an after-market windscreen and I shall update this section once I receive it and have it installed.

    On-Going Routine Maintenance
    Kawasaki recommends a chain cleaning and lube routine post every long ride or, once every 500 kms to ensure that all the running gear, especially the chain and the sprockets, are in good nick.

    I picked up a Chain Cleaning Brush as well as a Motul Chain Clearner and Chain Lube. Also picked up a paddock stand to help me with the routine maintenance chores.

    In Conclusion

    Overall, I am enjoying this bike and I use it as my daily driver. In the last month - since I took delivery, I have crossed 900 kms and as of last Saturday, the 16th, completed the first service which needs to get done either 1 month/1000kms post delivery, whichever comes earlier.

    This service involves checking all critical equipment, adjusting clearances and most importantly, replacing mineral engine oil with high performance synthetic oils.
    The service was done at the Kawasaki dealer in Coimbatore and cost me Rs. 6,551/- The bike feels much smoother post the service. The next service comes up at 6000kms or 6 months and the next oil change happens at 12000kms.

    The bike is quite dirty given that its been raining on and off here. Will give it a good wash one of these days and do a proper photoshoot and post the pictures on this thread. Please bear with me until then.
    bharatheshk likes this.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bumblebee comes home - my new 2019 Kawasaki Z900

    Thread approved.

    Many congratulations on your purchase. Keep us posted on the mannerisms of the motorcycle as you bond with it.

    Wish you many happy miles. Keep riding and ride safe.
    kilosierra likes this.

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    Default Re: Bumblebee comes home - my new 2019 Kawasaki Z900

    Many congratulations bro.
    Can u share your first service bill.
    Mine came @ ₹8200

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    Default Re: Bumblebee comes home - my new 2019 Kawasaki Z900

    Quote Originally Posted by kunal2800 View Post
    Many congratulations bro.Can u share your first service bill.Mine came @ ₹8200
    Have just done about 2k kms - did a 1k checkup wherein mineral oil was replaced with synthetic oil. The bill for the checkup and oil replacement came to roughly under Rs. 3,200.

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