RCM-632, Unveiled: Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

Z900RS built to AC Sanctuary’s tastes…   

In 2017, Kawasaki introduced the Z900RS, a 109-hp naked retro that recalls the storied air-cooled inline-four Zeds of the 1970s.

“You remember the 1970s, when things were simple, like frames that flexed, disc brakes that didn’t work in the wet, suspension that didn’t work in the dry, and tyres that didn’t work in either. Life was so much better then.” –Bennetts

While the Z900RS screams 70s classic on the outside, it’s actually a thoroughly modern machine beneath the retro guise. The running gear comes straight from the regular Z900 and includes a 948cc liquid-cooled 16-valve inline four tuned for better midrange and low end power, 41mm fully adjustable forks, 2x300mm front discs, traction control, ABS, and more.

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

In comparison to retro offerings from Triumph and BMW, the Z900RS is more performance-oriented — as it should be, given the original Z1 ethos — and the fit and finish is superb.

“A big Zed is as bulletproof as a tank and the attention to detail here borders on the obsessive. The Z900RS is more like a one-off special than a high volume production bike…with an apocalyptic exhaust raw on the throttle and a blood-spitting gurgle on the overrun.” –MCN

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

The modern master of Zed modification has to be Hiroyuki Nakamura of AC Sanctuary, whose RCM (Radical Custom Manufacture) builds transform aging warhorses into modernized restomods that channel their big-bore analog fury into weapons that can strike fear into modern sports bikes…and look absolutely incredible while doing so.

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

Nakamura’s restomods seek to address and overcome those well-known 70s shortcomings from as flexy frames, insufficient brakes, and primitive suspension and tire technology. Almost always, AC Sanctuary RCM projects are tailored to a specific client…but what if Nakamura-san built a modern Zed to his own tastes?

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

That’s the very special Z900RS you see here, unveiled just last week at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show. Says Nakamura-san:

“Since the machine doesn’t have an owner, I guess the concept is: ‘it was built for Nakamura’s hobby’ (lol).”

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

This is RCM-632, and it’s the second Z900RS to roll out of the Japanese master’s workshop after the RCM-534 build of 2023. Nakamura took inspiration from World Superbike and MotoGP to create a machine boasting the very best in suspension and braking technology from companies around the world.

“As I always say, we focus on items from top racing manufacturers that are popular around the world, rather than aftermarket manufacturer parts that are unique to Japan. We only use top brand manufacturers that combine performance and reliability, including OZ Racing wheels, Öhlins suspension, and Brembo brakes.”

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

But this Z900RS is much more than an assemblage of bolt-on top-spec parts. Nakamura has been honing his expertise for years, and many of the parts are designed, developed, and manufactured in-house:

“Planning → Measuring → 2D CAD → 3D Modeling → Prototype → Depending on the product, it’s a really long process from test drive to mass production…”

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

Highlights include the Sculpture swingarm CNC-cut from solid aluminum, the billet rearsets, and the 300mm Nitro Racing titanium silencer.  Nakamura says he chose a shorter exhaust to accentuate the length of the suspension and wheels in relation to the bike’s bodywork.

“This is a sense of balance that is often seen on custom motorcycles in Europe and America, where other parts such as the body are made to look as short as possible from front to back relative to the suspension.”

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

Even more interesting, you may have noticed the billet subframe that encases the engine. These are part of a Nitro Racing aluminum subframe kit developed in-house.

“The lower side of the engine is equipped with a Nitro Racing aluminum downtube, and a reinforced member for the upper side of the engine can be added there. The subframe kit strengthens the rigidity of the engine hanger at the rear of the cylinder head and connects it to the front engine mount.”

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

 

Another unique addition to the build includes the oversized Sunstar front discs developed to attach directly to the hubs of OZ Racing Wheels.

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

This eliminates the three-piece attachment typically required for mounting discs on aftermarket forged wheels. Nakamura finished out the brakes with the Sholto stainless line system from Italian company Allegri.

Kawasaki Z900RS Restomod

The result is one incredible modern Zed built to the tastes and desires of one of the great modern masters of the Japanese superbike. We can’t wait to see what rolls out of the AC Sanctuary workshop next.

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Website: www.ac-sanctuary.co.jp
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ac.sanctuary

More AC Sanctuary Restomods…


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3 Comments

  1. I laughed out loud when I read this! “You remember the 1970s, when things were simple, like frames that flexed, disc brakes that didn’t work in the wet, suspension that didn’t work in the dry, and tyres that didn’t work in either.” So true, and yet so many bikes back then were iconic. I started riding at the end of the 70s, and you just factored in the ‘oh #**’ element when cornering and braking, slippery tires in the wet and other general shenanigans. Great read.

  2. Norman, I agree with you completely. I was there too ! Great times !

    And as is to be expected, AC Sanctuary builds “Art On Wheels.”

  3. 100% agree with both you guys – I started riding in ‘79 and, after a CBX550 – the one with those covered disc brakes, coz – as you both refer to – everyone was trying to improve wet weather braking. I guess my first real ‘superbike’ was a Honda CB900 – all 80 something BHP of it!!! 😅😅 First change was some Metzeler rubber, so I went for the ‘hot choice’ of the day, ME33 front, ME99 rear. But, compared to now, they took no effort to slide in the wet – even pulling away from the lights with a bit of enthusiasm would spin the rear!! Happy days 😊😊

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