We are working on a full review of Kawasaki’s all new 2017 Z650, but we had to convey some preliminary thoughts as we finish the full article. This is an extremely impressive motorcycle on several levels.
Our report from the press launch is hard to fault. With a new frame, re-tuned engine and suspension, and all new looks, Kawasaki could have easily dropped the ball in at least one area, but we don’t see it.
Competing against excellent bikes like the Suzuki SV650 and Yamaha FZ-07, and, let’s face it, having to build to a bargain price point (in this case starting at $6,999), the new Z650 stepped into the teeth of it. Nevertheless, from handling to engine performance, we think Kawasaki may offer the best, most balanced package, yet.
This category has traditionally suffered from poor braking performance, and we have really been impressed with both the power and feel offered by the Z650 brake package.
The engine changes made by Kawasaki are also a step forward, in our opinion, despite the fact that peak horsepower may be down slightly. Although still possessing good top end, Kawasaki concentrated on improving low-end and mid-range power and torque, to very good effect. As we noted earlier, this almost makes the Z650 feel like it carries a larger displacement motor.
Finally, we will have a lot to say about the new steel trellis frame, which we find to be an extremely interesting development by Kawasaki for both this bike and the upcoming Z900. Increasingly unique at gatherings of motorcyclists, steel trellis frames have certain qualities that we like, and will explore in greater depth in our final report. Stay tuned for our full report.
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