KAWASAKI NINJA 650 (2017-on) Review

Published: 30 January 2017

More than a name change, Kawasaki’s middleweight twin is now more user-friendly, versatile and stylish than ever

KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)

More than a name change, Kawasaki’s middleweight twin is now more user-friendly, versatile and stylish than ever

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Much more than just a name change, the Ninja 650, which replaces the old, popular ER-6f, also gets added Ninja style, a lighter, more nimble chassis, a more flexible and friendly engine, added versatility and extra clas, too.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Posh bits and name-change aside, the Ninja is still budget-orientated and this shows most with slightly basic, under-damped suspension. It’s not really a problem though, a touch extra preload on the rear (the only thing that’s adjustable) improves its tautness and most buyers are unlikely to be demanding enough to notice. That apart, the Ninja’s lovely and light, slim, nimble and fun to throw around.

Engine 4 out of 5

The familiar, 649cc parallel twin has proved hugely successful and popular – not least with Minitwins racers! Now reworked with new cams and revised inlets to be slightly less revvy the chief benefit is a fatter, more flexible midrange with the added bonus of improved fuel economy. It’s a doddle to use, with decent drive anywhere from 4000rpm up to the gearchange light kicking in at eight-five, reasonably smooth and glitch-free, too.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Considering all the revisions and how new it is as we write, it’s probably a little early to say with any certainty. That said, the ER-6f on which it’s based has been mechanically solid with no major scare stories while Kawasaki really seems to have upped the quality, particularly in terms of finishes and detailing, with this newcomer.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Base bike is £6349, or £300 more than the naked Z650, which isn’t that bad. That said, it can’t match the outrageous cheapness of possibly its closest rival, Yamaha’s (albeit naked) MT-07 while it’s also easy to bump that price up. The KRT green/black colourscheme costs £200 more while various accessory packs can bump that price up to nearly £7500.

Equipment 4 out of 5

As we said, it’s a budget bike so you shouldn’t expect much. That said, the new Ninja is a far nicer thing than the outgoing ER-6f it replaces. In come with ABS and a slipper clutch, attractive new clocks which now feature a gear indicator, decent mirrors, span-adjustable levers on both sides and even a three-way height adjustable screen, although to alter it you’ll need the Allen key from the toolkit!

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI NINJA 650 (2017-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI NINJA 650 (2017-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Ninja does good

31 May 2017 by Geoff

For the money, this bike looks great, goes very well and if you like me and been out of biking for 15 years, a perfect way to get back into it. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Overall the ride quality is very good. When pressing on the back does feel a bit soft, but then I’m still on setting 3 at the moment. The brakes are very progressive with bite. Not had to try them in angry yet though. I find this bike confidence inspiring and easy to flick around which I assume is down to the weight saving over the previous model.
Engine
4 out of 5
Feels strong and starts to pull hard after 4000 rpm. There is a huge amount of engine braking. It takes a bit of getting used to as the bike will duck down if you accelerate and then ease off too much. It has made me concentrate on my throttling more than I thought it would. Just did the BikeSafe course and was told to keep in the appropriate rev range due to me normally changing up too quickly. After 50 minutes constantly up and down between 4000-6000 rpm, had tingles in my right hand. So obviously some vibrations which isn’t great. Didn’t notice it on the way home also at about 6000-7000 rpm on the motorway though.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Bike looks FanBloodyTastic in “Candy Burnt Orange” and I’ve not noticed any marks or markings after 1000 miles. I’ve purchased the seat cowl which looks great and really finishes the rear off. Only had lots of position comments. However, it does not come fully put together and has the worse instructions I’ve seen. Should take 10 minutes, but takes 45 minutes.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Massive value for money and so much better looking in my book than the previous ER-6F. Up to 500 miles & 4000 rpm = 72 mpg. Up to 1000 miles & 6000 rpm = 65 mpg. So cheap to run and takes about £11 to fill up. Insurance is relative, but I thought very reasonable.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The display is very easy to read and although stated as basic, I’m not sure what else you actually need or would use apart from saying you have it.
Buying experience

Great service from Laguna Performance Ashford

4 out of 5

What more do you need

23 May 2017 by Geoff

For the money, this bike looks great, goes very well and if you like me and been out of biking for 15 years, a perfect way to get back into it. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Overall the ride quality is very good. When pressing on the back does feel a bit soft, but then I’m still on setting 3 at the moment. The brakes are very progressive with bite. Not had to try them in angry yet though. I find this bike confidence inspiring and easy to flick around which I assume is down to the weight saving over the previous model.
Engine
5 out of 5
Only at a maximum of 6000 rpm at the moment, but it feels very strong and really starts to pull after 4000 rpm. There is a huge amount of engine braking. It takes a bit of getting used to as the bike will duck down if you accelerate and then ease off too much. It has made me concentrate of my throttle which wasn’t great to start with. Been up to 7000 rpm on a couple of occasions and it really starts to pull nicely.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Overall the ride quality is very good. When pressing on the back does feel a bit soft, but then I’m still on setting 3 at the moment. The brakes are very progressive with bite. Not had to try them in angry yet though. I find this bike confidence inspiring and easy to flick around which I assume is doen to the weight saving over the previos model.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Massive value for money and so much better looking in my book than the previous ER-6F. I’ve purchased the seat cowl which looks fantastic. However, it does not come fully put together and has the worse instructions I’ve seen. Should take 10 minutes but takes 45 minutes. Up to 4000 rpm = 72 mpg. Now up to 6000 rpm = 65 mpg. So cheap to run and takes about £11 to fill up.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The display is very easy to read and although stated as basic, I’m not sure what else you actually need or would use apart from saying you have it.
Buying experience

Laguna Performance at Ashford, Kent was very good.

Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £6,349
Used price £5,300 to £7,500
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £140
Performance
Max power 67 bhp
Max torque 48.5 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 55 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 649cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 193kg
Front suspension Conventioanl forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock, adjustable spring preload
Front brake 2x300mm discs two-piston calipers, ABS
Rear brake 220mm disc, single-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 160/60x17

History & Versions

Model history

2017: Model introduced to replace Er-6f

Other versions

Kawasaki Z650: Naked roadster version

Photo Gallery

  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
  • KAWASAKI NINJA 650  (2017-on)
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