Kawasaki has a lot of enthusiasts the world over, but one of their key USPs happen to be the styling. For the last couple of years, Kawasaki’s motorcycles have looked otherworldly in the same way Lamborghinis have to car enthusiasts. The new Z650 seems like a perfect middle-weight street-naked bike for our market. Let’s take a closer look.
The ‘Z’ appeal
The new Kawasaki Z650 has a sharper look; gone are the softer curves of the previous-generation motorcycle, and there’s a new colour theme that gives the Kawasaki Z650 a sportier, more aggressive look. There is function in the new design language of the bike too. At the front, it features a new LED headlamp that looks on-point and lights up the road ahead well. Kawasaki Bikes have also equipped the Z650 with a compact TFT instrument cluster that appears crisp to the rider. Riders can also sync the Rideology app to the screen; however, the new Kawasaki Z650 does not feature navigation and mobile notifications but shows ride statistics.
A Kawasaki at heart
Know the engine
Now let’s come to the engine. Kawasaki Bikes have equipped the Z650 with a rather familiar 649cc, liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine, producing 67bhp and 64Nm of torque. These figures give you nothing to complain about since this is one very fast machine. All you’ve got to do is simply shift your way through the 6-speed transmission and the bike simply crosses the 100kph mark in a jiffy. And very quickly, you will realise that you’ve reached three-digit speeds. What adds to the performance is that savage exhaust note.
At low revs, the exhaust is loud and this is a motor that loves to be revved, which results in a raspy and throaty sound that further adds to the aggression this bike reflects. Performance isn’t scary; the tractable gearing and the ample amount of low-end torque lets you hold a higher gear, meaning you can amble around within urban conditions. Show the Z650 a set of corners, and it will shine. The strong mid-range makes it a hoot to dart in and out of corners with such ease.
The new Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tyres provide sufficient grip but get a little squirmy in wet conditions. It’s around the curvy roads where the bike excels, but this isn’t to say it isn’t perfect for the city. It comes with great ergonomics; you sit with your back in an upright position on a low saddle, along with a flat, and reasonably wide handlebar making it a perfect combination for everyday riding. However, at times, the handlebar is found to be too close to the rider, resulting in a cramped feeling. The seat offers good comfort and support, but long rides can get a bit tedious.
A budget Kwacker
The new Z650 also features a wider and thicker pillion seat. A few areas of improvement could be considered since the ABS tends to come in the way quite aggressively. Also, the ground clearance isn’t enough and this means the Z650 scrapes its underbelly on most speed bumps without the added heft of a pillion. Having been priced under ₹ 6 lakh, this is a motorcycle that offers great value for what is essentially a lovely middle-weight street-naked motorcycle in our market. It is in fact the brand’s entry-level model and also means it’s the most affordable. In our kind of riding environment, a motorcycle of this type makes a lot of sense, for it looks the part, comes packed with a punchy engine whilst being rider-friendly as well. A perfect first step into the performance biking scene, we think.