It’s no secret that supersports aren’t selling particularly well right now, at least here in the States. What are selling well, however, are bikes like the Ninja 650, which offer decent performance in a sporty, comfortable, affordable package. Manufacturers have figured this out, over the past several years endowing their smaller displacement and middleweight sport machines with aggressive styling and fit-and-finish details lifted directly from higher-end supersport models, and in the process continuing to attract new riders to our two-wheeled lifestyle.
Kawasaki’s Ninja 650, which received a complete redesign in 2017 that saw it shed 42 pounds and get a sportier facelift (read our First Ride Review here), is one of those well-balanced sport bikes that promises fun and easy handling at a very attractive price.
For 2020, it’s been updated further with a more aggressive restyle that brings it inline with its Ninja 400 and Ninja ZX-6R/10R cousins, a full-color TFT display with smartphone connectivity, Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires fitted as standard and a redesigned upper cowl, windshield and passenger seat.
The new upper cowl is wider than before, with the taller windscreen now flush-fit for a streamlined look. It also now features twin LED headlamps, each with a high and low beam (meaning both are on at any given time, addressing a major pet peeve of mine). A thicker, wider passenger seat should make for a happier ride if you carry a pillion, and an easier time fitting a tailbag if you don’t, and fairing bolts have been replaced by hooks for a more streamlined, high-value appearance.
Another high-value add for the 2020 Ninja 650 is a full-color 4.3-inch TFT display, with a selectable background color (black or white) and automatic screen brightness that adjusts for ambient light. Display functions include a speedometer, bar-style tachometer, gear position indicator, shift lamp, fuel gauge, odometer, dual trip meters, current and average fuel consumption, remaining range, average speed, total riding time, coolant temperature, clock, battery voltage, Kawasaki service reminder, oil change reminder and Economical Riding Indicator.
Bluetooth connectivity is becoming more and more common, and now the Ninja 650 is no exception, as owners can connect to their bikes via Kawasaki’s Rideology The App to view vehicle info; a riding log that includes route, distance and time traveled, riding conditions, max lean angles and a playback function to relive the ride; telephone notifications on the TFT display; and changes to the TFT display settings.
The 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650 is available in Pearl Blizzard White or Metallic Spark Black for $7,399 (non-ABS) or $7,799 (ABS), or in KRT livery for $7,599 (non-ABS) or $7,999 (ABS). For more information, visit kawasaki.com.
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