2017 Z650 Trip around British Columbia - 2017+ Kawasaki Z650 Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-09-2017, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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2017 Z650 Trip around British Columbia

I took some time off work in August to take advantage of some great weather to head out on a motorcycle trip. I've been doing trips like this for the last 4 years and won't be stopping any time soon. I wasn't too worried about packing up stuff on the Z650 and heading out because people have been doing this sort of thing for decades on machines with a lot less power and worse handling. It was 2500km (1550 mi) of riding on pavement...no offroading was done. I was actually quite excited to see the strengths and the weaknesses I could find for this style of riding with this bike so that I could plan what upgrades I will want to do over the winter for next years trip.

Here are some of my takeaways from taking the Z650 on this type of a trip:


Awesome

Handling - The bike handled so amazingly well with an additional 60lbs of pack on the back as well as 15lb bag on the fuel tank. It was very nimble going into the corners and the front end was very steady at high speeds (170km/h or 105mph)

Power - The range of power in this motor is unbelievable. It is always right where I wanted it whether we were riding in bumper to bumper traffic in Vancouver, or banging gears around twisties and passing the odd camper as well.

Comfort - My last bike was a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R which was terrible for comfort on long trips. In contrast, the Z650 is a very comfortable machine for long periods of travel. On my ZX6R I would experience extreme amounts of pain in my lower back after an hour on the road. With the Z650 I found that I could ride for around for hours and had no problems hopping back on after filling up the tank with more fuel. By no means is it as comfortable as a larger touring bike, but as far as a naked sport bike goes, I was very surprised how long I could stay in the saddle day after day.

Economy - Unbelievable fuel economy. Even riding hard through the twisties with the added weight of my luggage, the bike had amazing fuel economy. I was riding with a 1997 Yamaha YZF750 and a 2014 Victory 8Ball, and when we would stop to fuel up, everytime I was just blown away by how little fuel I would have to put in the tank. I was averaging 4.5L/100km (52 mpg US or 63 mpg Imperial).


Not so awesome

Wind - Without a proper windscreen I was getting beat up by a lot of wind. This will be my first purchase this winter. Looking at the MRA windscreen right now, but I have to wait until the Canadian importer can bring it in.

Power - I know I had power in the "Awesome" section, but this is my one thing against the power. Not a huge thing, but I feel it should be mentioned. I used to ride a ZX6R 636 and between the YZF750 and Victory 8Ball I ride with, I used to have no problem passing multiple vehicles at the same time with those bikes. The Z650 doesn't have the power that my old bike did so I found I couldn't catch the other bikes right away. They would lose me for 5-10 seconds, but I would catch up once I got up to the same speeds they were doing. This seemed to be only a problem when riding with other larger bikes while attempting to pass multiple vehicles on the highway at the same time. Every other circumstance the Z650 held its own against the larger bikes.

Luggage - Now this one is tough because I know the Z650 isn't meant for touring. I made it work, but I had to scramble at the last minute to make something for the bike because there are just no accessories available for this bike in Canada right now. I'm really hoping that changes next year. I couldn't even order the awesome OEM luggage brackets. Those are currently only available in the UK from the looks of it. As you can see in the photos I went to Home Depot and picked up some materials to build a luggage holder that actually worked quite well.


Photos from the road








































The years trip was really amazing, and after a few upgrades to the Z650 I am looking forward to planning the trips I would like to go on next year.
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Last edited by HandsomeHooligan; 09-09-2017 at 06:21 PM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-09-2017, 10:10 PM
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Awesome, tq for the update. Z650 all rounder bike. 1st she a fun city bike and can do light touring too
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 02:46 AM
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Wow! Just a great write up to a nice trip. British Columbia is simply stunning! It would be nice to map out your exact route or the places you stopped to visit. How long did it take you to cover 2500km? Personaly, I could not see myself doing a 2500km road trip on the Z650 ever. Sure I could ride the Z for an afternoon and rack up about 200km but that's about it for me. I almost feel like I am putting the engine under a lot of stress cruising on the big open highways at 115km/h hovering around 5.5Krpm.
I do understand what you mean about the great torque when you want it. But compared to any 4 cylinder bike, you can easily recognize the huge power difference.

Great mock up of a the saddle bag rack! Very creative!

Did you do any of the travels during the night?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 01:28 PM
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Amazing write up and your trip looks like a ton of fun! Not sure what you can do about the slow acceleration, maybe a tune, but I'm generally not a fan of those.

And how the heck did you mount that luggage rack? You sir, are resourceful if nothing else.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 12:19 AM
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That looks like it was an awesomely good time... jealous!

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 11:45 AM
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Excellent write up and amazing pics! I'm sure pics don't do the actual beauty any justice. Sounds like you had an amazing time. Every time I get on the bike, I can't believe how comfortable it is compared to everything else I've owned.

Thank you for sharing the story and pics. It's unbelievable how you were able to create a mount and pack everything you'll need for the trip on a bike.

I have the same question as some of the others, how did you mount the rack? Did you just use it as support and tie it all around?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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@Limited Edition
Quote:
It would be nice to map out your exact route or the places you stopped to visit. How long did it take you to cover 2500km?
Quote:
Did you do any of the travels during the night?
I've attached a map of the trip in the two parts we split it up into. Overall the trip was 10 days. We only traveled during the day. Once the sun started to set we would find somewhere to camp for the night.


@Cowasaki
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And how the heck did you mount that luggage rack? You sir, are resourceful if nothing else.
@S2K_MoZo
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I have the same question as some of the others, how did you mount the rack? Did you just use it as support and tie it all around?
Thank you, I scratched my head for quite a while before coming up up with that design. I was talking to one of the other guys on the phone a couple nights before the trip about what I could make for this bike and this design came out of that conversation. Basically all I needed was something to keep my soft saddle bags from swaying around in the back and also to keep it off the tire. Picked up some flat bar and square stock aluminium from Home Depot as well as some foam to protect the plastics. There are 4 bolts holding it together and all I do is slip my soft bags into the bars that stick down, (There are slots in my bags where the straps are attached) and then I just set it on the back seat of the bike. When I strap down my sleeping bag/tent to the top of it, that is enough to keep it in place. It worked out a lot better than I thought it would to be honest. One change I would make though would be to use 1/4" flat bar instead of 1/8" because the 1/8" is a bit flexy once the bags are attached and loaded up. I think going to 1/4" would help make that part more rigid.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar with MotoGeo or not, but last year they made a video riding the roads from Part B of my trip this year. You can check out the video to see the roads and campsite I stayed at in this video:

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