Replacing the hole that the ER-6N left when its production ended in 2010, the 2017 Kawasaki Z650 is a middleweight naked that’s fun to ride both on and off the track. In their latest video review, PowerDrift puts the Z650 through its paces on track and pushed it hard enough to drag those knee pads around each corner.
Tucked inside its frame is a liquid-cooled, 649cc parallel-twin engine with 67bhp and 65Nm torque on tap. Delivering that power to its wheels is a 6-speed transmission, combined with an easy on/off throttle transition and you have a gearbox with a user-friendly feel.
On city streets, the suspension give it a very plush ride and the gear ratios have been matched to the torque curve, meaning all you really need for the city is third gear and sixth on highways. That’s all you really need as there’s plenty of torque to be had at low RPMs. The Z650 has plenty of great features going for it including comfortable seats and a radiator duct that diverts hot air away from the rider.
But how does it perform on track?
The Z650 comes with a light trellis frame, adjustable levers, light 5 spoke alloys, slipper clutch, standard ABS and more. These weight saving parts combined with the lack of fairing makes it lighter than the Ninja 650. A reduction in weight positively affects a bike’s performance, braking and handling, making it even better than the 650.
Kawasaki seems to have hit a home run in their books.