I ride the snot out of my Kawasaki Z900 RS. It’s a sweet bike with great performance and rad 70’s muscle bike style. Unfortunately, that style means it could use an upgrade in the wind protection department. Sadly, being a new model, I was not spoiled for choices; my options consisted of the $350 Kawasaki screen or nothing at all. Both of those choices kind of suck. National Cycle came to the rescue quickly and updated the fitment for their flyscreens to include the Z900 RS. Coming in at less than half the price of the Kawasaki part, it’s an easier purchase for anyone to justify. With the fit guaranteed, I placed my order. Naturally, to complement the blacked out looks of my bike, I ordered the dark smoke with black hardware.
Kawasaki Z900 RS Flyscreen: First Impressions
After a quick installation (which we’ll cover separately), I was ready to hit the road and put the small as a fly flyscreen to the test on my commute home. Unsurprisingly, at lower speeds, it does little more than add style points. It does add a sharp and subtle retro race look to my motorcycle’s mean 70’s muscle bike inspired styling, though. Can’t complain about that. It’s a winner in the looks department.
Once up to freeway speeds, I found that impressive wind-blocking performance is hiding behind its small size. By performing some (totally scientific) testing (by moving my hand around in front of my body until I felt wind resistance), it seemed the screen deflected the majority of the wind away from my chest. It actually exceeded my expectations, and gets a checkmark in the “doesn’t suck” column as it seems to punch above its weight class.
Kawasaki Z900 RS Flyscreen: The Good
So, the first impression of the Kawasaki Z900 RS Flyscreen passed the “I didn’t immediately remove it and put it on a shelf to gather dust” test (I’m working on a better name for that). Now it was time to run the screen through its paces on a longer trip to Austin, TX for MotoGP the following weekend. Over the course of three days and about 750 miles of riding, I got to truly see what this little guy was made of.
It did not let me down. It deflected wind effectively, improved comfort, and reduced fatigue. Most of the wind is channeled away from my torso and to the top of my helmet. Not in a fashion that caused buffeting, either. Instead, it pushed the air into the vents of my helmet, improving cooling. That’s a good thing since it’s pretty much always a bazillion degrees here in Texas.
While the weekend in Austin was mostly warm and sunny, the weather brought a bit of rain with it. The flyscreen was up to the task and blocked a fair amount of the rain and road spray. The end result was that my torso was more dry and my helmet’s face shield more clear.
It’s also no small thing to note that the hardware that attached it to my bike remained tight, and everything stayed in place. Nothing worked itself loose, so there was no rattling, shaking, or worse yet, failure of the mounting bolts or brackets. I’ve had other aftermarket screens on other motorcycles I’ve owned, and have experienced screws and bolts backing out or mounting brackets failing altogether. Having that happen while in motion is a good way to have a messed up day. Big nod to National Cycle for having hardware and brackets that are well designed and stay tight and in place.
Kawasaki Z900 RS Flyscreen: The Not As Good
The only significant issue I encountered is that the hardware corroded after exposure to a single rainstorm. I came out the morning following the rain to perform a pre-ride check and spotted specks of rust on the hardware. Both the larger bolts which attach the unit to the headlight bracket and the smaller screws which hold the screen itself to its mounting hardware were affected. The black painted mounting hardware was, fortunately, corrosion free. My motorcycle is stored in my garage and had not previously been exposed to inclement weather. Since it rained the day before, the only conclusion I could make was that the coating on the bolts was done in after a single rainstorm.
It would be great if the bolts and screws bore a higher grade coating, or were a more corrosion resistant metal (stainless steel, aluminum, titanium). Disappointing, but it doesn’t detract from the screen’s functionality. I’ll likely either paint them or replace them with some Pro Bolt aluminum hardware I have. Easy fix.
Kawasaki Z900 RS Flyscreen: The Verdict
All said, National Cycle’s flyscreen makes for a solid addition to any motorcycle. It’s easy to install, looks sharp, and keeps a fair amount of wind, rain, bugs, and other debris from reaching the rider. Paint or replace the included screws and bolts (or spend your time cleaning and/or ignoring the inevitable corrosion), and you’ve got a winner. Since it comes in chrome or black finishes on the mounting brackets, and clear, light smoke, or dark smoke tints on the screen, it’s easy to find one that has the look you want for your ride. Highly recommended.