Kawasaki has miniaturised its Z900RS and halved the cylinder count, the result being the Z650RS. It’s another retro sport model with looks inspired by the Z1 of the 70s.
Like its bigger bro, this is designed to be an easy comfortable all-rounder that just also happens to be LAMS legal. Unlike the 900, the Z650RS has a slim tank and a short, compact tail, further differentiating the pair. With a powertrain borrowed from the LAMS Z650, the 649cc parallel twin offers solid low-end pull, combined with a lightweight chassis (186kg kerb weight), and upright riding position for an easy daily commute.
The slimline tank carries 12 litres of fuel and with a relatively low seat height of 800mm the Z650RS is said to be appropriate for riders of various sizes. Analogue-style speedometer and tachometer dials are complemented by a multi-functional LCD screen and LED headlight, for a blend of retro and modern design cues. The rear light, also an LED unit, is oval like the Z bikes of old.
Lightweight cast wheels with flat spokes evoke that wire-spoked look and are finished with Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tyres. The rims are finished in a gold colour.
At its heart is a 50kW/66Nm twin-cam eight-valve fuel-injected 649cc parallel twin that is Euro5 emissions ready and is optimised for a strong low-end focus. This is meant to inspire confidence in new riders while also lending itself to sporty riding. Below 3000rpm it gets off the line easily while strong torque in the 3000-6000rpm range makes for easy everyday operation. Mean fuel use is rated at 4.3L/100km. An assist and slipper clutch comes standard.
An under-engine exhaust aids mass centralisation while a short wheelbase and upright forks contribute to agile handling. As has been the trend lately, Kawasaki uses a trellis frame for rigidity and light weight, the engine being a stressed member. Telescopic front forks measuring 41mm handle front suspension duties while a linked low-lying horizontal monoshock deals to the rear, also aiding with mass centralisation.
Stopping duties are dealt to by a pair of 300mm front disc brakes using dual-piston calipers and a 220mm rear, all under ABS control.
Relative to the Z650, the handgrips are 50mm higher and set 30mm further back, while a 35° steering angle and strong low down torque make turnarounds easier. The handlebars are rubber mounted and a stepped seat and low set pegs add to ride comfort. Moreover, levers are five-way adjustable.
A range of accessories will be available when the Z650RS arrives towards the end of the year. Pricing will also be announced closer to its late Nov/early Dec arrival.
Two colours will be on offer in New Zealand, basic black and Candy Emerald Green which will be slightly more expensive.