Stone Tracker: Kawasaki lets Deus loose on the Z900RS

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
Some new bikes are dropped into the market and left to fend for themselves, but not the Z900RS. The moto press hasn’t even tested the new Zed yet, but a couple of pre-production models have been hiding in Deus’ Sydney workshop for a few weeks now.

Right here is the first factory sanctioned Z900RS from outside Japan: an edgy, muscular custom called ‘Stone Tracker,’ revealed a few hours ago in Australia.

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
Kawasaki reached out to Deus about three months ago, several weeks before the Z900RS was made public. It’s the first time Deus’ star builder Jeremy Tagand has worked with Team Green, but it’s a neat loop in his career: 20 years ago, Jeremy was an apprentice at the famous French Kawasaki dealer Technic Moto.

His bosses were Pierre Briane and Patrick Long, who cut their teeth running the workshop of Godier Genoud, the legendary endurance racing team of the 1970s.

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
“The brief was pretty vague at the start,” Jeremy recalls. “They wanted two very different builds based on the Z900RS. Then the discussions became real, and we were given guidelines. A tracker version was on the cards.”

A pre-production Z900RS arrived at Deus, and Jeremy and designer Saxon Shing started researching possibilities. “I gave Saxon lots of ideas and photos of what I wanted to build, what was in my mind. Saxon produced a perfect render that I could work with.”

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
When manufacturers give new bikes to builders to modify, they usually prefer the bones of the bike to stay standard. Kawasaki was no different. “They wanted a strong ‘Deus’ feel to the build, but retaining a lot of the stock features.”

So Jeremy concentrated on the bodywork—fashioning a new tail and seat unit, plus a headlight nacelle, using 2-millimeter aluminum alloy. “Lots of drawing, cutting to size, welding and cleaning up the welds to get a perfect, clean edge.”

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
The trick was to get the proportion and size of those parts just right—enough to stand out and look clearly ‘custom,’ but also blend in with the build. The tank is unchanged, but the side panels are tweaked to fit the new seat and tail unit, which is upholstered with black Alcantara.

Up front, there’s a high-mounted one-off fender, with ample clearance for the Metzeler Karoo 3 tires.

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
Many of the alloy parts on the Z900RS have been sandblasted, to give a ‘raw’ look—including the 17” wheels. “Something a little brutal, with texture,” says Jeremy.

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
Deus had carte blanche with the exhaust system, so they’ve installed a stunning 4-into-2-into-1 system from MotoGP suppliers SC Project. Kawasaki did a good job to keep the bulk of the standard system down, but this one’s even peachier.

The cockpit has been slimmed down too, with street necessities gone and a set of lovely old Tommaselli wide bars installed. This is going to be a promo bike, so despite the angular headlight surround and twin LED lamps, the street legal gear isn’t required.

Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS
It’s a cracking start to what we’re guessing will be a long line of Z900RS customs in the years to come. But there’s one big question that needs answering—what’s the Zed like to ride?

Although Jeremy was working with precious pre-production models of the Z900RS, he couldn’t resist taking the bike out for a discreet spin. “I was very impressed,” he says. “It has the heritage of the inline-4 engine, and the suspension and ‘feel’ of the bike was great. It has a very sweet power delivery too—it felt very light, even though it’s a decent-sized motorcycle.”

Time to form an orderly queue…

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Deus reveals the first factory sanctioned custom Kawasaki Z900RS