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2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS | First Look Review

Rider Magazine StaffNovember 13, 2016

Kawasaki briefly offered a naked Ninja 650 derivative called the ER-6n in the United States (2009-2010), and since then the smallest-displacement naked “Z” bike an American rider could find has been the Z800, which was introduced for 2016. With the rollout of an updated Ninja 650, Kawasaki has decided to give it another go, with a new Z650 coming to U.S. shores for the 2017 model year.

Read our comparison review of the 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 650, 2017 Suzuki SV650 & 2016 Yamaha FZ-07

2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS. (Photos: Kawasaki)

2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS. (Photos: Kawasaki)

The new 2017 Z650 ABS is based on the 2017 Ninja 650. It’s built on the new Ninja’s high-tensile steel trellis frame with the engine as a stressed member, and uses the same twin-spar rear subframe. It also uses the same reworked 649cc parallel twin, featuring a slimmer intake and throttle body ports for finer atomization of fuel and improved airflow, and camshafts with reduced overlap and less duration. The result is smoother power delivery at low rpm, better low-to-midrange power output, a more consistent torque curve and better fuel economy.

A new high-tensile steel frame offers strength and light weight.

A new high-tensile steel frame offers strength and light weight.

The 5-spoke wheels are shod with Dunlop Sportmax D214 tires that provide a balance of sporty grip and good wet weather performance. The Z650 will come standard with Bosch 9.1M ABS.

A distinctive "Z" LED taillight will stand out in a crowd.

A distinctive “Z” LED taillight will stand out in a crowd.

A fully LCD display includes a hybrid analog/digital tachometer, a large speedometer and a gear position indicator, a new programmable shift light flashes when the rider reaches a specific rpm and the instrument cluster housing has a sporty, carbon fiber look.

LCD display includes a digital tachometer, gear position indicator and a user-adjustable shift light.

LCD display includes a digital tachometer, gear position indicator and a user-adjustable shift light.

The Z650 ABS looks the part of its Z family brethren, with its angular headlight and tank. The seating position and footpeg placement are low and forward, but upright, narrow handlebars allow a comfortable riding position and easy slow-speed maneuvering.

The 2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS in Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black.

The 2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS in Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black.

The 2017 Z650 ABS will be available in Pearl Flat Stardust White/Metallic Spark Black or Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black, for $7,399. A non-ABS version is available for $6,999.

One comment

  1. Can’t wait for the first RIDE update, along with the update review on the YZ-07, SV650 and now this model from Kawi…

    This stealthy announcement might just shorten the time I was planning on spending with my new “baby Z” 125 …which is a total blast to ride…

    Decisions, decisions…

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