As I write this, Top Gun: Maverick is just a few weeks away from its theater release. And that means a new motorcycle rider generation will see Tom Cruise blast down a runway on a Kawasaki Ninja. Since it’s the sequel, Cruise’s ride is the latest supercharged Ninja H2. But this tradition only exists because of the original Top Gun’s iconic motorcycle, the Kawasaki GPZ900R. And though the OG Ninja is almost 30 years old now, it hasn’t slowed down much.

The 1984-1986 Kawasaki Ninja GPZ900R didn’t need Top Gun to be a groundbreaking motorcycle

A black-and-red Kawasaki GPZ900R aka Ninja 900 similar to the one in Top Gun in front of an airplane

A Kawasaki GPZ900R or Ninja 900 like the one in Top Gun | Ondrej Trnak via Unsplash
1984-1986 Kawasaki GPZ900R/Ninja 900/Ninja ZX900
Engine 908cc liquid-cooled carbureted inline-four
Horsepower 113 hp/115 bhp
Torque 63 lb-ft
Transmission Six-speed manual
Front suspension and travel 39mm anti-dive air-assisted telescopic forks; 5.5”
Rear suspension and travel Preload-adjustable air-assisted monoshock; 4.5”
Seat height 30.7″
Curb weight 529 lbs (dry weight)
546 lbs (curb weight)
Top speed 151 mph

The silver screen has etched several scenes into motorcycling culture over the years. Moments like the Terminator 2’s Harley jump, Trinity’s Matrix Reloaded Ducati freeway blitz, and for anime fans, the Akira slide. And then there’s Tom Cruise as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell racing the F14 Tomcat on a Kawasaki motorcycle in 1986’s Top Gun. Specifically, a Kawasaki GPZ900R, or as it’s called in the U.S., the Ninja ZX900/900.



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