1995-1997 Kawasaki 900 ZXi Review and Specs [Video]

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The Kawasaki 900 ZXi was the first 3-cylinder Kawasaki Jet Ski and it was manufactured from 1995 through 1997. It featured a 2-stroke, 891cc, crankcase reed valve, triple-carb, triple-cylinder engine rated at 100 HP. The 2-seater 900 ZXi was marketed as the mid-range model between the base 750 ZXi and the high-end 1100 ZXi.

Thanks to its innovative features, the 900 ZXi won the prestigious “Watercraft of the Year” award.

If you want to find out more about this popular 3-cylinder 2-stroke Kawasaki Jet Ski, this post is for you.

1995-1997 Kawasaki 900 ZXi Review

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Hull and Top Deck

Kawasaki released the ZXi line in 1995 as a high-performance, 2-seater family runabout, which included the entry-level 750 ZXi and the more powerful 900 ZXi. This line was completed in 1996 with the flagship 1100 ZXi.

These skis shared the same ZXi platform, measuring 108.7 inches in length, 42.1 inches in width, and 39.3 inches in height. Compared to the 3-seater STS, this body was 4.4 inches narrower and 13.3 inches shorter.

It housed a comfortable 2-rider seat, and a lot of storage space, including a roomy bow storage, a small storage pocket (glovebox), and an under-seat storage pocket.

The 900 ZXi shared a 3.5-quart oil tank and an 11.4-gallon fuel tank with the 750 ZXi. The latter was enlarged to 13.7 gallons for its final (’97) season.

The dry weight of the 900 ZXi was 558 pounds, which was significantly less than the dry weight of the 3-seater STS.

The ’95-’96 models shared the same color scheme, a painted purple hull and white top deck with green and purple accents.

In 1997, the ZXi 900 got an all-new red/white/purple dress with a painted red hull.

Sadly, the painted hull of the ZXi scratched very easily and even peeled off over time.

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Engine and Propulsion

The engine of the Kawasaki 900 ZXi was a 2-stroke, 891cc, vertical triple rated at 100 HP. This power source was the first 3-cylinder Jet Ski engine manufactured by Kawasaki.

The key features of this triple-carb Kawasaki 900 ZXi engine were as follows:

  • 2-stroke, vertical triple architecture
  • Crankcase reed valve configuration
  • 3 x Keihin CDK 38-29 carburetors
  • NGK BR9ES spark plugs
  • Oil injection system
  • Magneto CDI (Digital) ignition system
  • Open-loop cooling system
  • Electric starter

The main advantage of this power mill was its remarkable engine power since it delivered 100 HP but the 750 ZXi was only rated at 83 HP.

Engine power was delivered to an axial-flow, single-stage jet pump rated at a maximum thrust of 732 pounds.

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Features

The 900 ZXi came standard with many advanced features, including:

  • Innovative dashboard
  • Choke knob
  • Fuel knob
  • Adjustable trim
  • Handlebar-mounted start/stop buttons
  • Engine shut-off lanyard
  • Front storage compartment
  • Fire extinguisher compartment
  • Under-seat storage pocket
  • Front storage pocket (glovebox)
  • 3-rider seat
  • Seat latch
  • Tool kit
  • Drain plugs
  • Finger throttle lever
  • Throttle limiter
  • Adjustable rear-view mirrors
  • Tow hook
  • Mooring cleats
  • Rear grab handle
  • Sponsons
  • Underwater exhaust outlet
  • Deck mats

The ZXi also came with rich instrumentation, including:

  • Analog speedometer
  • Analog tachometer
  • Fuel gauge
  • Trim indicator
  • Cooling water temperature warning light
  • Oil level warning light

While the 750 ZXi lacked a speedometer, the 900 ZXi came standard with this key feature.

Aside from this small difference and the engine options, these skis were basically identical.

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Performance

Thanks to its lively 100 HP engine and small, 2-seater hull, the ZXi got on plane fairly easily and topped out at 54-55 mph.

Its claimed fuel consumption was 9.8 GPH at WOT, so its 11.4-gallon fuel tank offered a cruising range of 62.8  miles or 1 hour and 10 minutes of fun.

It could handle the weight of two riders but offered less stability than the bulkier 3-seaters.

Therefore, the 900 ZXi was primarily recommended for solo rides.

Sadly, its hull was quite unpredictable and prone to porpoising, so it got a lot of criticism from riders.

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Problems

It is safe to say that the biggest problems of the Kawasaki 900 ZXi were as follows:

  • Lack of a reverse system
  • Complex, high-maintenance engine
  • Poor electrical box and trim box sealing
  • Wear ring was prone to swelling up
  • Poor hull painting
  • Wrong hull design

One of one the biggest flaws of the 900 ZXi was arguably the lack of a reverse system.

While the 3-seater STS and STX families came standard with a mechanical reverse, the entire ZXi line was marketed without this important system.

Another problem of the 900 ZXi was its 3-cylinder, triple-carb engine configuration, which added a lot of complexity to the ski.

Compared to the twins, the tiple 900 ZXi required more maintenance plus it was harder to rebuild after an engine seizure. It also required a lot of “carb work” since rebuilding and tuning its carburetors required more expertise (and patience).

The sealing of the trim box and electrical box was also prone to getting brittle over time. Once the water got into these boxes it caused corrosion and various other issues.

Another very common problem of the 900 ZXi was its “swelling” wear ring. The manufacturer used a non-replaceable wear ring in these models, which was basically a sleeve inside the pump housing.

When salt water found its way between the wear ring and the pump housing, the corrosion caused the ring to “swell.”

Since the clearance between the impeller and this ring was very tight, the blades often cut into the surface of the ring. In the worst-case scenario, the wear ring blocked the impeller, causing the entire jet pump to lock up.

The hull of the 900 ZXi had a tendency to porpoising in stock condition, which could be easily fixed by installing aftermarket sponsons or a longer ride plate.

It was also quite unpredictable especially at higher speeds, which caused many headaches for riders.

On top of that, the hull of the 900 ZXi was painted and this was prone to scratching or “shedding” over time, making the white Gelcoat visible.

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Specs Charts

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the 1997 Kawasaki 900 ZXi into these charts:

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Engine Specs

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Engine Specs
Engine type2-stroke, 3-cylinder, crankcase reed valve, water-cooled
Displacement891 mL (54.4 cu in.)
Bore and stroke73.0 x 71.0 mm (2.87 x 2.80 in.)
Compression ratio5.5 : 1
Ignition systemMagneto CDI (digital)
Lubrication systemOil injection (break-in period: oil injection and gas/oil mixture 50:1)
CarburetorKeihin CDK 38-29 x 3
Starting systemElectric
Battery12 V 18 Ah
Engine oil type2-stroke, NMMA Certified for Service TC-W II or TC-W 3
Engine oil tank capacity3.3 L, 3.5 qt (US)

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Tuning Specifications

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Tuning Specifications
Spark Plug Type NGK BR9ES
Spark Plug Gap0.7 ∼ 0.8 mm (0.028 ∼ 0.032 in.)
Ignition Timing 15° BTDC @1250 r/min (rpm) - 25° BTDC @3000 r/min (rpm)
Carburetor Idle Speed - in water1 250 ±100 r/min (rpm)
Carburetor Idle Speed - out of water1 800 ±100 r/min (rpm)
Compression Pressure834 kPa (8.5 kg/cm2) @ 408 r/min (rpm) - 121psi

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Drive System

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Drive System
Coupling Direct drive from engine
Jet Pump TypeAxial flow, single stage
Jet Pump Static Thrust332 kg (732 lb)
Steering Steerable nozzle
Braking Water drag

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Performance

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Performance
Minimum Turning Radius 4.8 m (15.7 ft)
Fuel Consumption37 L/hr (9.8 US gal/hr) @full throttle
Cruising Range (1)101 km (62.8mi) @full throttle
Cruising Range (2)1 hour and 24 minutes

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Dimensions

Kawasaki 900 ZXi Dimensions
Overall length108.7 in (2 760 mm)
Overall width42.1 in (1 070 mm)
Overall height39.3 in (999 mm)
Dry Weight253 kg (558 lbs)
Fuel tank capacity13.7 US gal (52 L) including 1.8 US gal (7 L) reserve

These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.

Takeaways

As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the 1995-1997 Kawasaki 900 ZXi:

What is a Kawasaki 900 ZXi?

The 900 ZXi was the first three-cylinder Kawasaki Jet Ski, built on a 2-seater platform.

When did the Kawasaki 900 ZXi Come Out?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi debuted in 1995.

What Years Did Kawasaki Make the 900 ZXi?

Kawasaki marketed the 900 ZXi from 1995 through 1997.

What Size was a Kawasaki 900 ZXi?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi measured 108.7 inches in length, 42.1 inches in width, and 39.3 inches in height.

How Much Did a Kawasaki 900 ZXi Weigh?

The dry weight of the Kawasaki 900 ZXi was 558 pounds.

How Many People Could Ride on a Kawasaki 900 ZXi?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi was rated for two riders.

What Kind of Engine was in the Kawasaki 900 ZXi?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi was powered by a 2-stroke, 891cc, triple-carb, three-cylinder Kawasaki marine engine.

Was the Kawasaki 900 ZXi Supercharged?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi utilized a naturally-aspirated engine configuration.

Was the Kawasaki 900 ZXi a 2-stroke?

Yes, the Kawasaki 900 ZXi was powered by a 2-stroke engine.

How Much Horsepower Did a Kawasaki 900 ZXi Have?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi produced 100 HP out of the box.

How Much Oil Did a Kawasaki 900 ZXi Hold?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi had an oil injection system featuring a 3.5-quart oil tank.

How Much Fuel Did a Kawasaki 900 ZXi Hold?

The Kawasaki 900 ZXi was equipped with an 11.4/13.7-gallon fuel tank, including a 1.8-gallon reserve. year (‘95-’96: 11.4 gal., ’97: 13.7 gal.)

How Much Fuel Did a Kawasaki 900 ZXi Use?

The claimed fuel consumption of the Kawasaki 900 ZXi was 9.8 GPH at full throttle.

What was the Fuel Range of the Kawasaki 900 ZXi?

With the 11.4-gallon tank, the claimed fuel range of the ’95 – ‘96 Kawasaki 900 ZXi was 63 miles or 1 hour and 10 minutes at WOT.

In contrast, the range of the ‘97 900 ZXi was 67 miles or 1 hour and 24 minutes (WOT).

How Fast Did a Kawasaki 900 ZXi Go?

The claimed top speed of a Kawasaki 900 ZXi was about 54-55 mph under ideal conditions.

Could the Kawasaki 900 ZXi Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?

Due to its two-seater configuration, the Kawasaki 900 ZXi couldn’t legally tow a wakeboarder or skier in states where a spotter is required.

Did the Kawasaki 900 ZXi Have a Reverse?         

No, the Kawasaki 900 ZXi came without a reverse system.

Did the Kawasaki 900 ZXi Have a Brake?             

No, the Kawasaki 900 ZXi was manufactured without a brake system.

How Much Does a Kawasaki 900 ZXi Cost?

The asking price of a used Kawasaki 900 ZXi varies between $750 and $3,000 depending on the year and its condition.

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