Kawasaki GPZ900R

The Kawasaki GPZ900R (also known as the ZX900A or Ninja 900) is a motorcycle that was manufactured by Kawasaki from 1984 to 2003. It is the earliest member of the Ninja family of sport bikes. The 1984 GPZ900R (or ZX900A-1) was a revolutionary design[1][3] that became the immediate predecessor of the modern-day sport bike.[5] Developed in secret over six years, it was Kawasaki's and the world's first 16-valve liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder motorcycle engine.[3][7][8]

Kawasaki GPZ900R
Kawasaki GPZ900R Ninja 01.jpg
ManufacturerKawasaki Motorcycle & Engine Company
Also calledKawasaki Ninja 900[1]
Parent companyKawasaki Heavy Industries
SuccessorKawasaki GPZ1000RX
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-9R
ClassSport bike
Engine908 cc (55.4 cu in), 4-stroke, transverse 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve-per-cylinder[3][4][5]
Bore / stroke72.5 mm × 55 mm (2.85 in × 2.17 in)
Top speed151 mph (243 km/h)[3] 158 mph (254 km/h)[5]
Power115 bhp (86 kW) @ 9,500 rpm (1986)[3][4] 108 bhp (81 kW) @ 9,500 rpm (1990 Europe)[4] 100 bhp (75 kW) @ 9,500 rpm (1990 Europe)[6] 89 bhp (66 kW) @ 9,000 rpm (1986 Japan)[4]
Torque85 N⋅m (63 lb⋅ft) @ 8,500 rpm[4]
83 N⋅m (61 lb⋅ft) @ 8,500 rpm (Europe)[4]
72 N⋅m (53 lb⋅ft) @ 6,500 rpm (Japan)[4]
Transmission6-speed constant mesh, return shift. Wet multi-disc clutch. Chain drive.
SuspensionFront: telescopic fork, air
Rear: Uni-Trak, air shock
BrakesFront: dual disc
Rear: single disc
120/80-16 (front) (A1 - A6)
130/80-18 (rear) (A1 - A6)
120/70-17 (front) (A7-A8)
150/70-18 (rear) (A7 - A8)[4]
Rake, trail29°, 114 mm (4.5 in)
Wheelbase1,495 mm (58.9 in)
DimensionsL: 2,200 mm (87 in)
W: 750 mm (30 in)
H: 1,215 mm (47.8 in)
Seat height780 mm (31 in)
Weight228 kg (503 lb)[4]
249 kg (549 lb) (Europe)[clarification needed][6] 234 kg (516 lb) (Europe)[clarification needed][4] (dry)
Fuel capacity22 L (4.8 imp gal; 5.8 US gal)
Reserve: 4 L (0.88 imp gal; 1.1 US gal)[4]
RelatedKawasaki GPZ1000RX
Kawasaki GPZ750R

The 908 cc four-cylinder engine delivered 115 bhp (86 kW), allowing the bike to reach speeds of 151 mph (243 km/h), making it the first stock road bike to exceed 150 mph (240 km/h).[3]

Prior to its design, Kawasaki envisioned producing a sub-liter engine that would be the successor to the Z1.[3] Although its steel frame, 16-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, air suspension, and anti-dive forks were fairly standard at that time, the narrow, compact engine[5] was mounted lower in the frame, allowing it to take Japanese superbike performance to a new level.[3] Six months after being unveiled to the press in December 1983, dealers entered three works GPZ900R bikes in the Isle of Man Production TT finishing in first and second places.[3][5][9][10]


Technical advances included water cooling and 16 valves, allowing additional power, and a frame that used the engine as a stressed member for improved handling and reduced weight,[1] as a result of testing that showed that the standard downtubes carried virtually no weight and could be eliminated.[5] Its top speed gave it the title of the fastest production bike at the time,[1][3][11][12] and standing quarter mile times of 10.976 seconds,[1][11] or 10.55 seconds recorded by specialist rider Jay "Pee Wee" Gleason. The 1984 GPZ900R was the first Kawasaki bike to be officially marketed (in North America) under the Ninja brand name.[1]

In spite of its performance, the GPZ900R was smooth and rideable in urban traffic,[3] owing to the new suspension and a crankshaft counter-balancer that nearly eliminated secondary vibration.[5] The fairing's aerodynamics combined with good overall ergonomics enabled comfortable long-distance riding.[12]

The GPZ1000RX was to be the replacement for the GPZ900R in 1986, but the Ninja 900 continued alongside the GPZ 1000RX. In 1988 the GPZ 1000RX was replaced by the ZX-10, yet still the GPZ900R remained. With the release of the ZZ-R1100 in 1990, the GPZ900R lost its status as Kawasaki's flagship model,[13][14] but continued, with some revisions of the fork, wheels, brakes and airbox, until 1993 in Europe, until 1986 in the US and until 2003 in Japan.[2][15]

The GPZ900R was featured in the movie Top Gun,[16] becoming a cultural icon.[17][18][19]

GPZ900 in Montreal in 1987
2003 GPz900R Final Edition


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kawasaki Museum GPZ900R History, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, 2008, archived from the original on 2007-06-25
  2. ^ a b Walker, Mick (2001), Performance Motorcycles, Amber Books, Ltd. and Chartwell Books (Book Sales, Inc.), pp. 152–153, ISBN 0-7858-1380-2
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Krens (2001) p. 356
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kawasaki Museum GPZ900R Specifications, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, 2008, archived from the original on 2009-06-19
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Walker (2006) pp. 174-5
  6. ^ a b Workshop Manual[clarification needed]
  7. ^ Walker (2006) p. 172
  8. ^ Siegal, Margie (January–February 2007). "Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Isle of Man TT Official Site . TT 1984 Production 751-1500cc Results, IOM Government Department of Tourism and Leisure by Duke Marketing Ltd., 2009
  10. ^ Walker (2003) p. 140
  11. ^ a b De Cet (2005) p. 141-2
  12. ^ a b Brown (2000) p. 185
  13. ^ Ker, Rod (2007), Classic Japanese Motorcycle Guide, Sparkford, UK: Haynes Publishing, p. 209, ISBN 978-1-84425-335-7
  14. ^ Dowds, Alan (2007), Superbikes: Street Racers: Design and Technology, Thunder Bay Press, p. 246, ISBN 978-1-59223-777-7
  15. ^ Brown, Roland (2005), The Ultimate History of Fast Motorcycles, Bath, England: Parragon, pp. 184–185, ISBN 1-4054-5466-0
  16. ^ Trivia for Top Gun, IMDb.com, 2009
  17. ^ Christian Science Monitor (2005) p. 11
  18. ^ Brandweek (2008) p. 18
  19. ^ Gingerelli (2011) p. 93


Preceded by Fastest production motorcycle
Succeeded by