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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.