Motorcycle Review

Gallery and Video: 2017 Kawasaki Z650 First Look

Kawasaki has introduced a new middleweight addition to its revamped naked line of Z models, the Z650. Based on the Ninja 650 platform, the Z650 features the 650cc parallel twin engine in a new trellis frame with minimal bodywork. Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about the Z650, and to see a video from Kawasaki featuring the new bike in action.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The Z650 is available in ABS ($7,399) and non-ABS ($7,399) versions, in this Metallic Flat Spark Black scheme or Pearl Flat Stardust White. Kawasaki says the Z650 is “the performance bike made for everyday riding,” and that the bike suits a range of motorcyclists looking for a motorcycle that’s comfortable with lightweight handling that’s fun and easy to ride.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The Z650 features a trellis frame with a twin-spar rear subframe. The engine is a structural member of the frame, and a new horizontal back-linked rear suspension is used.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The LCD panel has an adjustable shift light and a digital sweeping tachometer needle; riders can pick their favorite rpm display from a selection.

Video: Kawasaki introduces the 2017 Z650

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The streetfighter ergonomics incorporate a forward-placed handlebar for an aggressive riding position, but a low seat height and foot placement that is low and forward.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The Z650’s five-spoke wheels are wrapped in Dunlop Sportmax D214 tires; the ABS version of the bike utilizes the Bosch 9.1M unit.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The grips are placed in a natural position for the rider’s wrists, and Kawasaki says the narrow handlebar increases confidence and ease of use in slow-speed corners.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The Pearl Flat Stardust White color scheme. The bike carries on the sugomi styling of the other bikes in the company’s Z series, which “describes the intense aura or energy given off by a person or object of greatness and felt by the viewer.”

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The seat is narrow at the front for comfort and an easy reach to the ground.

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2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The 650cc parallel-twin engine is based on similar to the powerplant used in the Versys and Ninja 650 models, but has been purposely tuned for a “more even and steady torque curve,” with slim intake and throttle body ports, and camshafts with reduced overlap and less duration.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Minimized bends in the frame cut down on stress points and help to make a lighter chassis. The rear section of the frame is a twin-tube design for added rigidity and improved carrying capacity.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Kawasaki claims the changes to the engine for use in the Z650 result in a smooth off-throttle power delivery and a steady climb to maximum output.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The Z650 features a slip/assist clutch for reduced lever effort.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The new gull-wing swingarm has a pivot width similar to the rear axle width, creating a straight line from pivot to axle and increasing leverage and strength of the rear suspension. The new horizontal back-linked shock with linkage improves comfort and gives a progressive character.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The gull-wing swingarm and new suspension linkage help make clearance to keep the muffler tucked in, contributing to the bike’s light, natural handling.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Wall thicknesses in the frame have been optimized to reduce weight as much as possible. The engine and footpeg stays use three-point rigid mounts so they also act as stressed members and contribute to weight reduction.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The handlebar is rubber mounted to reduce vibration, and the brake and clutch levers have five-way adjustment to accommodate a variety of hand sizes.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The distinctive Z shape of the LED taillight.

2017 Kawasaki Z650

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The 2017 Kawasaki Z650.