In the early 1970s, Japanese manufacturers flooded the US market with a new generation of do-it-yourself motorbikes. Honda’s CB750, Suzuki’s GT750, Yamaha’s XS750, and Kawasaki’s Z1 were the Big Four’s superbikes. This high quality will eventually become known as Universal Japanese Motorcycles or UJMs. Motorcycles are comfortable enough to ride through traffic daily, strong enough to fill with a passenger and some luggage for a light weekend trip, and fast enough to unload for a severe sports ride.
Motorcycles have evolved, and new categories and subcategories have been created with special applications and minimal aesthetic resemblance to these original vehicles. Still, the demand for fashionable and flexible motorcycles remains. As a result, the UJM is launching a campaign.
2020 Yamaha XSR900 vs 2020 Kawasaki Z900RS Café vs 2019 Honda CB1000R – Comparison Review
The 2020 Yamaha XSR900, the 2019 Honda CB1000R, and the 2020 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe are three different perspectives on the glorious days of Japanese quality. Each has its personality, and each manufacturer adds its taste to the current ride experience.
For this test, we used each motorbike as intended: in general. We rode our bikes for days and hundreds of miles, used them for regular travel, traffic, and rides around the city, then left town for a walk in the jungle valley. We operated them through our in-house Dynojet 250i dynamometer and obtained objective performance data from our testing facility before real-world testing.
Street testing was conducted in Los Angeles, a challenging environment for large motorcycles. The DTLA riding experience is defined by dense traffic, giant skyscrapers, and continuous development.
Under such circumstances, the XSR’s small weight, small wheelbase, and legendary CP3 engine shine. Yamaha’s 847cc triple spins at the fastest of three tests, almost to the point of twisting. When mounted in A or STD modes, the powerful, fast power delivery can disturb the chassis with minor throttle modification. Switching to BK mode if required delays throttle response. Yet, as Dawes puts it, “riding the least aggressive map shouldn’t be the way to behave properly on a modern motorbike.”
On the XSR, I show up at 6-foot-4 and feel great. But, apart from looking at the pictures, I was shocked that I didn’t feel any pain. I had no complaints in densely populated metropolitan areas, where I was either speeding with the light or slow for the next one.
The Honda CB1000R is smooth at low rpm, not as fast as the Yamaha, but quite fast when pressed. 998cc inline-four sets ring at higher rpm. But in the city, everything is straight, smooth, and permanent. It has the most aggressive ergonomics of all three motorcycles, with high footpegs and a seat that propels the rider forward, and it seems to demand high speeds as we move around the city.
Despite being the heaviest and longest bike in the group, the Z900RS Cafe was the most balanced of the three. It is agile and can overcome low speeds, with considerable power, uninterrupted transmission, and peak torque reaching more than 2,000 rpm earlier than the other two motorcycles. Foot pieces are shorter than others, and the handlebars are about the same height. This bike, with its soft seat, holds every tester in a comfortable riding posture, regardless of size. It was the only model with built-in strap points around the tail section or wind control. They seem to be quite comprehensive.
Style and spirit are the primary considerations in this market, and the classic lines and color schemes affect the memories. We parked in the Arts District and ate some over-dressed health dishes while listening to the remarks on our COVID-safe curbside table.
Passersby were unconcerned about Honda. It is astonishing considering that Honda has done an excellent job of upgrading the visual lines of the old CB while still developing a brand new motorbike. The line from the seat to the gas tank is straight. The bright red paint is a contemporary competition with Honda’s famous motif. But here’s the problem: it’s not fashionable to be modern. It is just a logical development of Honda’s design language.
The same spectators expected speed from Yamaha, and they were right. “Can it whale?” He discovered. Yes, it certainly does. However, it does not look like an XS750. It seems like an MT-09 with a circular headlamp, redesigned gas tank, and a strange 1970s color scheme. What is the benefit of this? In almost every respect, the XSR900 works like the MT-09. Yamaha, more than Honda, adds something, even if it’s far from the old XS.
But the silent inquiry we were hoping for was, “Wow!” “What year is it?” And that only appeared when everyone was watching Kawasaki. XSR and CB each show the shape of their brand in their way, yet no image is formed. The tail section, Cafe Cowl, and the Vintage Color Scheme set Kavi apart in this category.
It is not a carbon copy of an old Z, but it retains the essence of the original in a modern way. It is the only motorcycle that sparked the debate, which everyone around us enjoyed, and which all three testers agreed on.
We finished our meal and rode north along the coast to Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway. The bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean are lined with long, clear arcs. There are miles of well-laid asphalt in the hills near the country’s interior, broken by traffic signals. A rider’s view of the West Coast.
Honda’s aggressive currency seemed to be enough at home, even though a neutral ride met it. “The engine is smooth and has the highest power output on the dinosaur charts,” Gilbert explained, “but it lacks the pop and fun aspect.” The CB1000R is easy to operate. It builds trust.
However, there is no real connection or role in making this journey special, and the position in this class is essential. Despite being the fastest in the lot, with a quarter-time of 10.71 seconds at 128 miles per hour, it lacks the intangibles needed to thrive in this category.
The Yamaha, which weighs 433 pounds wet, shimmers and feels like a weapon on these mountain roads unless it does. It’s the least expensive of the 2,000 lots, and the suspension reflects that as the speed increases. The gently raised 41mm inverted fork cannot handle the weight change when it comes in contact with the hard initial brake cut.
Kawasaki Z is once again the group’s Gold Locks. It looks taller and shorter than others, making it feel more stable. However, it is available at the cost of an earlier scratch point. Tip-ins require some more work, but the chassis alternately tracks reliably. The suspension is smooth on the roads but strong enough to compete with our aggressive mountain racing.
The 479-pound Z is stopped at 132.1 feet, 2 feet smaller than the competition. And the little bikini firing proved to be more than just a fashion statement, which successfully stopped chest buffing on the highway and provided a decent shelter when coming for a sprint.
Kawasaki performs on the level of today’s more athletic bikes, maintaining the shape of the early 1980s UJM. From the beautiful seat to the tuned exhaust tone, it goes back to the past while allowing you to ride as if you were on the current Z. It is a well-rounded bike that can be used for traveling, steep valley walks, or light walks. The Z900RS Cafe offers everything we expect from today’s comparison article of 2020 Yamaha XSR900 vs 2020 Kawasaki Z900RS Café vs 2019 Honda CB1000R.
2020 Yamaha XSR900 vs 2020 Kawasaki Z900RS Café vs 2019 Honda CB1000R – Technical Specification Comparison
|Specs \ Bikes||2020 Yamaha XSR900||2020 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe||2019 Honda CB1000R|
|Type:||847cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, inline three-cylinder; 12 valves||948cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder; 16 valves||998cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke:||78.0 x 59.1mm||73.4 x 56.0mm||75.0 x 56.5mm|
|Fuel System:||Fuel injection||Fuel-injected with 36mm throttle bodies||PGM-FI fuel injection has an automatic enrichment circuit and 44mm throttle bodies|
|Clutch:||Wet, multi-plate assist, and slipper||Assist and slipper||Slipper/assist|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||Transistor-controlled ignition||TCBI w/ electronic advance||Computer-controlled digital transistorized w/ electronic advance|
|Frame:||Cast aluminum||Tubular steel diamond frame||Steel backbone w/ aluminum pivot plates|
|Front Suspension:||41mm inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload & rebound damping; 5.4-inch travel||Fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork; 4.7-inch travel||Fully adjustable 43mm Showa SFF-BP; 4.3-inch travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Solo shock, adjustable for spring preload & rebound damping; 5.1-inch travel||Monoshock, adjustable for rebound damping & spring preload; 5.5-inch travel||Showa, adjustable for spring preload & rebound damping; 5.2-inch travel|
|Front Brake:||Radial-mounted 4-piston caliper, floating 298mm discs w/ ABS||4-piston monoblock calipers, 300mm discs w/ ABS||Dual radial-mounted 4-piston calipers, full-floating 310mm discs w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||245mm disc w/ ABS||1-piston pin-slide caliper, 250mm disc w/ ABS||Single caliper, 256mm disc w/ ABS|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Bridgestone Battlax S20; 120/70ZR-17 front / 180/55ZR-17||120/70ZR-17 / 180/55ZR-17||120/70-17 / 190/55-17|
Dimension and Weight
|Rake/Trail:||25.0°/4.1 in.||25.0°/3.9 in.||24.7°/3.8 in.|
|Wheelbase:||56.7 in.||57.9 in.||57.3 in.|
|Seat Height:||32.7 in.||32.3 in.||32.7 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.7 gal.||4.5 gal.||4.3 gal.|