The Sporty New Kawasaki Z650
Back in the Seventies, the Kawasaki KZ650 attracted a legion of riders as an all-round sport and/or utility bike. Good power and quick handling were the keys, and those characteristics were retained in the eventual transition from four cylinders to two.
The latest Z650 parallel twin is what Kawasaki calls a “performance bike made for everyday riding. While influences from the generations of KZ and Z models have made this Z650 what it is today, it’s still very much its own model, a new-school performance motorcycle for the all-around rider. This motorcycle suits a range of motorcyclists, whether they’re looking for a real performance motorcycle that’s comfortable and capable of lightweight handling, or a smooth, lightweight streetfighter, that’s fun and easy to ride.”
The Z650 shares its engine with the Ninja 650, and is a stressed member of the new trellis frame. Rated at 67 horsepower, with six-speed transmission, the Parallel Twin is tuned for a wider torque band, with new intakes, throttle bodies and cam profiles. The lighter chassis and new swingarm and shock linkage tighten the package overall, and bring curb weight down to a claimed 412 pounds.
“Kawasaki engineers developed a new gull-arm swingarm with a pivot width similar to the wheel axle, creating a straight line from pivot point to axle, increasing leverage and strength of the rear suspension. Utilizing a horizontal back-linked rear shock with linkage makes for easy tuning, improved comfort and a progressive character.“
While the Z650’s form presents a more sporty and aggressive profile, attention was given to more comfortable positioning of the controls and a lower seat height. The instrument panel features an LCD display, a major plus for performance-conscious riders is the tachometer/shift light that flashes when reaching a user-selected rpm. The display includes an LCD tachometer, and gear position indicator.
Riders can pick their favorite rpm display from a selection. A carbon-fiber appearance panel wraps the complete look of the instrumentation, for a clean and tight package. The 5-spoke wheel design adds to the lightweight handling characteristics. The wheels are wrapped in Dunlop Sportmax D214 tires that are constructed with improved wet weather performance. ABS is optional. The MSRP for 2017 is $7,399.
2017 Kawasaki Z650