As you probably know by now I ride a Kawasaki Z900 so when I was offered the chance to have a Z650 on loan for a couple of weeks I jumped at the chance. I thought it would be interesting to see what, if any, difference there is between the two bikes.
I picked the bike up from Kawasaki UK in Bourne End which is not too far from me and the chap went through the tft screen with me and showed me how to change the settings (my Z is an older model so does not have this). I hopped on and rode off. It is a parallel twin engine bike and sounds so different (good different) to my Z (which has an in-line four engine).
I was riding home in heavy Friday afternoon traffic so did not get a chance to open the bike up properly and see what it can really offer but the bike was happy and easily handled the traffic well.
The following morning, I had a ride planned to The Classic Motor Hub in the Cotswolds so I was looking forward to seeing what the bike was like on a good run.
Well, I have to say, I am very surprised by how impressed I am with the Z650. I thought my Z was a light bike until I got the Z650! It is such an easy bike to move about and get in and out of the garage which, for me, is a huge plus point.
The Z650 is a 650cc 68bhp bike with a liquid cooled twin engine which you may look at and think that it is going to be low on power and speed. I can tell you it most definitely is not lacking either of those attributes and to say it goes extremely well is probably an understatement. When you drop it a gear or two to overtake, the thing goes like a rocket …… 🙂
If you’ve been to the Cotswolds you will know that the roads are brilliant for riding on and as the bike is light, it is really flickable in the corners and I was loving the twisties. The bike handles really well and feels really stable.
The bike comes with Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tyres which, according to Dunlop’s website, give an enhanced sport performance and are ideal for riders who want performance and value and are described as nimble, predictable handling, quick turn in and quick to warm up. I like these tyres very much 🙂
Changes have been made to the intake and exhaust system components to ensure that Euro4 emissions regs are met leading to an increase in mid-range torque whist maintaining the power of the previous model.
The TFT screen is really easy to navigate and when glancing down to look at your speed, gear, time etc. when riding, it is clear to see and gather the information you are seeking in a quick and timely manner. What I think is really useful is that you can connect your phone to the screen using the ‘rideology the app’ giving you additional features.
When parked up, the bike was being admired as to the styling and the green frame and wheels against the black really does set the bike off nicely.
Over the two week period I had the bike, I pretty much got out every day on the bike either for a ride out, to commute to/from work or just because I had some errands to do and it was a good excuse to take the bike out. I found riding the bike very easy, it is so comfortable to ride and very economical too.
It has a 15 litre tank and, according to the screen, I was averaging 57.5 mpg which, by my maths – and please do check, I reckon you could get 170 miles to a tank which is pretty impressive.
The Z650 is A2 compliant making this bike a great first ‘big bike’. At just under £7,000 you are truly getting a lot of bike for your money. It is easy to ride, fills you with confidence in the handling and agility the bike has to offer and is a quick fun bike to ride.
Please don’t think that this bike is just an A2 licence bike, it is way more than that. Do yourself a favour and take one out for a test ride, I think you will be as pleasantly surprised as I am.
In comparison to my Z900, obviously the Z650 is less powerful. In the real world this is only really noticeable in that you have to keep the revs up, for example, when overtaking it is necessary to drop it a couple of gears rather than just rolling it on in whatever gear you’re in.
Handling wise, I would say both bikes are extremely nimble, while the Z650 does not have upside down forks, for example, I would assume due to it’s lighter weight, I cannot say I noticed the lack of these even on some quite bumpy twisty bends.
There a couple of things I would change on the bike:
- A tail tidy – I know it is a legal requirement that the number plate is the rearmost part of the bike and some people might like the back end of the bike as it is, but personally I would have to change it;
- A louder exhaust. Again, that is purely personal choice as I like a loud exhaust 🙂 🙂 🙂
- Heated grips. This one is just for my own benefit as I fit heated grips to all my bikes as I ride all year round.
Other than those three, which let’s be honest are not major and are really personal choices, I wouldn’t change anything on the bike, I really do love it as it is and I was really sad when I had to take the bike back, I was really hoping that I would get lost en route ……
Thank you Kawasaki for the loan of the Z650, it was a privilege to ride 🙂