KAWASAKI Z650 (2017-on) Review

Published: 16 December 2016

Lighter, sleeker, more manageable and more fun than the Er-6n

KAWASAKI Z650  (2017-on)

Lighter, sleeker, more manageable and more fun than the Er-6n

  • At a glance
  • 649cc  -  68 bhp
  • 50 mpg  -  165 miles range
  • Medium seat height (790mm)
  • New: £6,099

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The all new Z650 builds on the success story of the now old ER-6n. The all-new bike uses a similar parallel 649cc 8v twin, which now meets Euro4 guidelines. However, that is where the similarities end. The 10kg lighter trellis frame is all new, as is the swing-arm which has a further weight saving of 2.7kg: overall the Zed is 17kg lighter. The reduction in weight and improved low to mid-range power makes the Z650 more enjoyable and easier to ride than its predecessor. A lower, thinner seat, lighter clutch with slipper action and dramatic styling make it more appealing than ever. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 0 out of 5

The old side-mounted rear shock has been discarded in favour of a conventional central mounted horizontal shock with linkage. This reduces the load on the spring and improves the ride quality at both high and low speeds. The rear shock has preload adjustment, but you have to remove the shock to adjust. The front 41mm forks are non-adjustable, but are more than adequate out of the box. The Z650 is light, flickable and fun once you’ve managed to build some heat in the aging Dunlop Sportmax tyres which come as standard.

Engine 4 out of 5

The 649cc DOHC engine is based on the old ER-6n but now meets tight Euro4 regulations. Kawasaki have actually lost a few peak BHP compared to the old model - 67.3bhp compared to the 71bhp of the previous model. However, the new engine has a greater spread of torque in the low to mid-range. Peak torque is now 48.5ftlb at 6500rpm.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The new trellis frame is made using similar technology to that of Kawasaki’s flagship H2. The finish is really impressive considering the price. The new clocks are neater as is the overall styling. There are also a whole host of accessories if you wish to personalise your Zed from an Akrapovic exhaust to soft panniers for touring. Vibrations from the parallel twin are only just noticeable at high speeds unlike the vibey original ER-6n in 2005.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

At £6099 the Zed is excellent value for money priced similarly to Suzuki’s new in 2016 SV650 and Yamaha’s award winning MT-07. 

Equipment 4 out of 5

As expected and in accordance with Euro4 regulations ABS comes as standard. Kawasaki has also fitted an assisted and slipper clutch for the first time. The new digital clocks are an added bonus.

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Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £6,099
Used price -
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 68 bhp
Max torque 48.5 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Tank range 165 miles
Specification
Engine size 649cc
Engine type 8v DOHC parallel-twin four-cylinder, 6 gears
Frame type Trellis
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 187kg
Front suspension 41mm conventional forks, no adjustment
Rear suspension horizontally mounted rear shock, adjustable for preload
Front brake 2x300mm petal discs. Nissin twin-piston calipers
Rear brake 240mm petal disc, Nissin single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70ZR17
Rear tyre size 160/55ZR17

History & Versions

Model history

2017: Z650 replaces ER-6n

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • KAWASAKI Z650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z650  (2017-on)
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