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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple weeks ago, I took a 400 mile road trip on my 2019 Z650 from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles. I split the trip into two days and stuck to the coastal route, mainly Highway 1 and auxiliary freeways (Highway 101, etc). For those who don’t know, Highway 1 is one of those iconic coastal roads you see in a lot of commercials, films, and other media. It’s famous for its twisty roads for which much of it is sandwiched between misty mountain sides and beautiful blue ocean sometimes with a side of forestry and lush green scape.

A lot of people would probably say a proper touring bike with a windshield would be the way to go for this type of trip. After riding the full 400 miles, I’m inclined to say the Z650 is actually perfectly well-suited for the job. During the two day trip, I took breaks every 1 or 2 hours so my back/butt was fresh for the day-long rides. It helps that the Z650 has a very natural upright seating position. I shudder to think what the ride would be like on a Ninja!

In terms of power, I thought the 650 was more than fine. I was able to cruise fast and pass with ease on the highway sections. The size of the Z650, as opposed to larger touring bikes, was also perfect as I was able to filter and weave through traffic like magic.

I would say the only aspect that a full touring bike would have helped was in the windshield department. Now, I didn’t have an issue for most of the ride but whenever I rode at speeds higher than 75 was when the wind buffeting became a bit annoying. For most the way, it wasn’t an issue but for the long boring sections of straight highway where you kind of want to just get it over with, a touring bike could’ve helped. I’ve dealt with this plenty over the course of the 5000 miles I’ve put on this bike though so I’m used to it.

Overall, I’d recommend the ride for anyone who has the opportunity. All I had with me was a backpack with some road repair kits and a fresh tune-up before the ride. It’s an amazing experience being able to ride freely with the ocean breeze in your face, surrounded by 360 degrees of pure natural beauty.

For anyone that’s interested, here is a POV video of my favorite section of the ride:
 

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No such curvy roads like that here in E Florida on the coast, but A1A is very scenic right on the Atlantic. Primarily why I'm interested in this bike is to do 1-2 day trips like you did here. Numerous other 55-65mph back roads that I can take in and around Central Florida that will provide the curvy part though.
 

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A couple weeks ago, I took a 400 mile road trip on my 2019 Z650 from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles. I split the trip into two days and stuck to the coastal route, mainly Highway 1 and auxiliary freeways (Highway 101, etc). For those who don’t know, Highway 1 is one of those iconic coastal roads you see in a lot of commercials, films, and other media. It’s famous for its twisty roads for which much of it is sandwiched between misty mountain sides and beautiful blue ocean sometimes with a side of forestry and lush green scape.

A lot of people would probably say a proper touring bike with a windshield would be the way to go for this type of trip. After riding the full 400 miles, I’m inclined to say the Z650 is actually perfectly well-suited for the job. During the two day trip, I took breaks every 1 or 2 hours so my back/butt was fresh for the day-long rides. It helps that the Z650 has a very natural upright seating position. I shudder to think what the ride would be like on a Ninja!

In terms of power, I thought the 650 was more than fine. I was able to cruise fast and pass with ease on the highway sections. The size of the Z650, as opposed to larger touring bikes, was also perfect as I was able to filter and weave through traffic like magic.

I would say the only aspect that a full touring bike would have helped was in the windshield department. Now, I didn’t have an issue for most of the ride but whenever I rode at speeds higher than 75 was when the wind buffeting became a bit annoying. For most the way, it wasn’t an issue but for the long boring sections of straight highway where you kind of want to just get it over with, a touring bike could’ve helped. I’ve dealt with this plenty over the course of the 5000 miles I’ve put on this bike though so I’m used to it.

Overall, I’d recommend the ride for anyone who has the opportunity. All I had with me was a backpack with some road repair kits and a fresh tune-up before the ride. It’s an amazing experience being able to ride freely with the ocean breeze in your face, surrounded by 360 degrees of pure natural beauty.

For anyone that’s interested, here is a POV video of my favorite section of the ride:
Great commentary!! I totally agree on your comments regarding the touring capability. It's a brilliant allrounder. I use a Puig Touring screen for anything more than than a half day ride to provide a bit of pressure relief on the body. The Ninja 650 by the way is actually very good for this too. the seating position is still quite upright, and the screen and farings does a decent job of wind deflection. I've owned 2 of them, but I prefer the Z!
 

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I applaud you for your courage to such a ride! That's great!(y)
I've ridden several times by the Pacific Coast Way from Santa Monica to Malibu Beach in my Suzuki GSXS1000. I love the sea breeze.
I'll ride my Z650 this weekend to see how it behaves. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No such curvy roads like that here in E Florida on the coast, but A1A is very scenic right on the Atlantic. Primarily why I'm interested in this bike is to do 1-2 day trips like you did here. Numerous other 55-65mph back roads that I can take in and around Central Florida that will provide the curvy part though.
I've seen some really nice footage of roads in Florida online. First time hearing of A1A but I'm adding that to my notes if I make it over there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great commentary!! I totally agree on your comments regarding the touring capability. It's a brilliant allrounder. I use a Puig Touring screen for anything more than than a half day ride to provide a bit of pressure relief on the body. The Ninja 650 by the way is actually very good for this too. the seating position is still quite upright, and the screen and farings does a decent job of wind deflection. I've owned 2 of them, but I prefer the Z!
Thanks! That Puig screen looks pretty nice. Does it cut down the wind pretty substantially? I've considered it before but wasn't sure how effective they were based on the size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I applaud you for your courage to such a ride! That's great!(y)
I've ridden several times by the Pacific Coast Way from Santa Monica to Malibu Beach in my Suzuki GSXS1000. I love the sea breeze.
I'll ride my Z650 this weekend to see how it behaves. :D
Yep, I passed by Malibu as well and it was really nice and sunny during that stretch. A bit of traffic as well since it was the July 4th weekend. I had actually planned on going further down on the coast but Google Maps routed me the wrong way and I ended up on a bunch of freeways and missing PCH. Hope your ride went well!
 

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I have had my Z650 for two years now, and once I got my luggage sorted out I have found it to be quite a nice light touring bike. My longest trips have been around 300 miles a day, so no record-setters, but the fact that I can still feel comfortable after 5 or 6 hours saddle time is saying something. I added a short Givi windscreen, a rear luggage rack, lowered the foot pegs about an inch, and invested in an Air Hawk seat pad. Added a USB charging port -- well, it's really all I need. Twisties don't faze it, and 80 MPH for hours on the slab works, too. And at age 68, if I drop 'er in a rest stop parking lot, I can pick 'er up unassisted. Don't ask how I know...
 

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Thanks! That Puig screen looks pretty nice. Does it cut down the wind pretty substantially? I've considered it before but wasn't sure how effective they were based on the size.
My Puig screen is not the highest but does the job nicely. I do get a bit of additional wind noise as the air is directed onto the helmet. I think the benefits of screens are very much dependent on the individual in body shape and height. I'm only 5'8, but for taller guys the screen may not work so well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have had my Z650 for two years now, and once I got my luggage sorted out I have found it to be quite a nice light touring bike. My longest trips have been around 300 miles a day, so no record-setters, but the fact that I can still feel comfortable after 5 or 6 hours saddle time is saying something. I added a short Givi windscreen, a rear luggage rack, lowered the foot pegs about an inch, and invested in an Air Hawk seat pad. Added a USB charging port -- well, it's really all I need. Twisties don't faze it, and 80 MPH for hours on the slab works, too. And at age 68, if I drop 'er in a rest stop parking lot, I can pick 'er up unassisted. Don't ask how I know...
That's awesome. Next add-ons for me are luggage racks and the USB port!
 

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I have had my Z650 for two years now, and once I got my luggage sorted out I have found it to be quite a nice light touring bike. My longest trips have been around 300 miles a day, so no record-setters, but the fact that I can still feel comfortable after 5 or 6 hours saddle time is saying something. I added a short Givi windscreen, a rear luggage rack, lowered the foot pegs about an inch, and invested in an Air Hawk seat pad. Added a USB charging port -- well, it's really all I need. Twisties don't faze it, and 80 MPH for hours on the slab works, too. And at age 68, if I drop 'er in a rest stop parking lot, I can pick 'er up unassisted. Don't ask how I know...
Hi, Where did you locate the usb port? Many thanks, Paul
 

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Hi, Where did you locate the usb port? Many thanks, Paul
I put an Eklipses USB/lighter port on the left handlebar as close to the center as I could get it. Out of the way of any operating controls, well-located to handle anything in my tank bag or being carried in a jacket pocket.
 
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