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KAWASAKI Z650 (2017-on) Review

Published: 16 December 2016

Updated: 05 November 2019

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

Kawasaki Z650 static side profile

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

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki Z650 naked 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 swingarm, which has a further weight-saving of 2.7kg: overall the Zed is 17kg lighter. This significant reduction in weight and improved low to mid-range power makes the Z650 more enjoyable and easier to ride than its predecessor. It's also another reason the 'lost' four bhp is not noticeable as the power to weight ration of the latest Z650 is much better than the bike it replaced. A lower, thinner seat, lighter clutch with slipper action and dramatic styling make it more appealing than ever. 

Kawasaki Z650 can be ridden on A2 licence

In 2018 the company launched a restricted A2 licence-compliant version for those who aren't old enough to have passed the full A UK motorbike licence.

The naked Z650 also got Metallic Matte Cover Green, Candy Lime Green and also Metallic Spark Black options as new colourways for 2018.

The old side-mounted rear shock has been discarded in favour of a conventional centrally- 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 the front 41mm forks are non-adjustable. Both the front and rear suspension are more than adequate out of the box. The Z650 is light, flickable and fun once you’ve managed to build some heat into the aging Dunlop Sportmax tyres which come as standard.

While there is provision for a pillion passenger, the rear seat is pretty small and the pegs quite high. so anyone riding on the back needs to be brave or very small, or both!

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; this is probably due to having to meet new emissions and noise levels which has seen certain exhuast restrictions effect peak power, although the truth is, few will notice the missing four bhp. 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 sports-tourer. The finish is really impressive considering how competitively-priced priced the bike is. 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 that first appeared in 2005.

Get Kawasaki Z650 owners' reviews here

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

At £6349 the Zed was excellent value for money and was priced similarly to Suzuki’s new SV650 and Yamaha’s award winning and hugely capable MT-07

The MT-07 has certainly proved a firm favourite over the last few years, but the Z650 has a certain style to it and it's more of an all-rounder than the lively Yamaha. The SV650 has had a recent makeover, but is a little straight-laced in the looks department.

Kawasaki offered some very reasonable finance offers on the Z650.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

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 which makes for light lever action when changing gears. The Slip and Assist clutch also prevents the rear wheel locking up if you stamp down through the gears. The new digital clocks are an added bonus.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £6,349
Used price £4,000 to £7,400
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £90
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

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z650 (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 Z650 (2017-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.7 out of 5
Engine 4.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Well done to Kawasaki, great redesign

07 May 2019 by Grant John Neville

Very easy to ride, great looking bike, great fun and excellent value for money. One of the easiest riders ever and extremely comfortable, has all you need in a bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Was the fastest purchase ever. After handing over the cash was on the road in less than one hour.

5 out of 5

New Z650

12 May 2018 by Phil

Swapped a GSXR for the new Z650. I have little legs so the low seat is confidence inspiring. It's comfy and I like the streetfighter styling. The handling is good. I'm still running it in, so I'm missing the power of my previous bike. I bought it for commuting and trips to a caravan 70 miles away. You either get power or economy, and it has good mpg. I like the comprehensive digital dash, small but easy read and has all usual features (clock, fuel gauge etc.).

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I've only covered 100 miles on mixed roads, however, the bike coped with everything well. It's comfy and I had no scares. It's predictable and reassuring.
Engine
5 out of 5
Small physically (as is the bike), smooth, torquey and economical. It beats cars from traffic lights.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
None yet as the bike is new, but my daughter's has had no problems in 2 years. Seems well built and painted nicely.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
DIY usually and can get fully synth oil and filter for £30. If it needs plugs and air filter, brakes etc. the all-in cost is less than £150.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Not used to having no screen at all (could have bought a faired version). I've ordered a taller screen but haven't fitted it yet. It should help on the motorway.
Buying experience

I was disappointed with the trade-in price, but the new bike was discounted so I'm happy with the amount paid overall to get a new one.

4 out of 5

Perfect learner or weekend motorcycle

11 July 2017 by Gavin Murphy

Good little bike

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Is a little spongy but stops very quickly even at high speeds.
Engine
4 out of 5
Very good has some weird vibration in the mid range comes threw the handlebars and foot pegs occasionally.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
No issues installed Scottoiler and needs led upgrade kit as standard bulbs are very poor
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap to service and most parts are cheap. Mines a 66 plate and works perfectly easy to do most yourself.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Comes with abs. Standard clocks and a gear indicator.
Buying experience

Orwell ipswich easy bought for £580₩ pre reg new

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki Z650 static side profile
  • Kawasaki Z650 front riding action shot
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