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Kawasaki has filed a trademark application for Z900RS, a name that echoes back to one of the company’s most storied bikes: the Z1.

Retro Rider: 1973 Kawasaki Z1

The trademark application itself reveals very little, except to say the Z900RS name is intended for use for “motorcycles; parts and fittings for motorcycles.” What’s beyond doubt is the importance of the name for Kawasaki. The original Z900 was one of several names used to market the Z1, a 903cc four-stroke double overhead cam inline-Four introduced in 1972 that helped define the term “superbike.” The Z1 was also marketed under the name 900 S4 and KZ900 before it was succeeded in 1977 by the Z1000 (a.k.a. KZ1000).

030116-1973-kawasaki-z1-z900-2

While it’s possible Kawasaki may be trademarking the name to maintain control over a big part of its heritage, that doesn’t explain why the company chose to file for the name Z900RS and not any of its other names.

One theory is the name will be used for a new retro-styled roadster (hence the letters “RS” to differentiate it from the more aggressive and modern-looking Z1000 and Z800) along the lines of Honda‘s CB1100. Kawasaki already has a similar model in the W800, offered in Europe and Japan. The W800 is a Twin however, and a new Z900RS would likely stay true to its heritage and be an inline-Four.

As with all trademark filings, there’s no telling if or when we will see an actual product. Given the importance of the name, a new Z900RS will carry some hefty expectations.