MCN Senior Road Tester Adam Child is currently out in sunny (well, sunnier than the UK right now) Spain, to ride the new 2017 Kawasaki Z650 naked middleweight, which replaces the firm's ever-popular ER-6n.
The Z650 was unveiled at Eicma last month and is the naked version of the more sporty-looking Ninja 650 (which replaces the ER-6f). Considerably lighter than the ER-6n, it tips the scales at 187kg (kerb), while punting out a claimed 67.3bhp. It's one of two new naked Zeds in the 2017 range, the other being the Z900 – which replaces the Z800.
Take a closer look at the Z650...
The new Zed boasts a seat height of 790mm – the same as the Ninja version – which is a whole 15mm lower than the outgoing ER-6n. Meanwhile the quirky side-mounted shock of the ER has also vanished in favour of a more conventional centrally-mounted monoshock.
If you want a slightly more sporty look, there's an official accessory seat cowl, and for those seeking more comfort and practicality there's also a set of 14 litre panniers, and a 30 litre topbox available from the genuine accessories range.
The new Z650 uses a 649cc parallel-twin engine derived from the ER, but which is now fully Euro4 compliant. Kawasaki's focus was to keep low to mid-range torque rather than top-end power, while the firm have also added an 'Assist and Slipper' clutch as standard, which reduces lever pressure for effortless in-town riding, and allows more aggressive downshifts without locking up the rear wheel once you've broken free of the city.
Check back tomorrow for our Z650 first ride impressions – and keep yourself in the know with all our 2017 launches in our 'MCN First Rides' section.
The SV is back to its best, re-introduced this year, using a smooth 645cc V-Twin that creates more power than the new Z650 – but don't forget that the SV is heavier than the Zed.
The highly acclaimed MT-07 is the current king of this naked middleweight class: Fun, punchy and great looking. Will the new Z650 be able to topple the Yamaha? Full test to follow.
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