Built on a history and heritage the brand has gained world recognition from, Kawasaki are leading their ‘Retrovolution’ with the introduction of an all-new Neo-Retro, the Z650RS.

Delicately balancing old and new, the Z650RS is set to open the mid-capacity class for a wide range of riders and, in this blog, I’m seeing if it has the minerals for it.

Styling

I’m starting off with the styling today because, really, how could I not? This is a bike that’s very easy on the eye!

Available in three colourways – ‘Metallic Spark Black’, ‘Candy Emerald Green’ and ‘Metallic Moondust Grey/Ebony’ – all three help to make the Z650RS’s styling distinct. ‘Candy Emerald Green’ is definitely the one for me though, it’s a bright, confident, stand-out colour that gives the bike personality and character – and just look at those gold rims and tank pinstripes! 

I’m also really enjoying the ‘Metallic Moondust Grey/Ebony’s orange tank and wheel detailing, it’s sleek, subtle, reserved and extremely modern!

The attention to detail is impressive. Through the use of a classic round headlamp, ‘duck tail’ styled seat cowl, side panels, 70s inspired bodywork and, as already discussed, those colours, it pays homage to a bike remembered by many and takes inspiration from a style that will never not be on-trend. It’s this styling that opens up a whole new ball game and sets it apart from its competition.

Alongside those timeless good looks, it’s also nice to see a few modern touches such as the front LED headlight and multi-functional LED screen.

Overall, it’s an extremely fashionable machine that looks old but performs just like new!

Engine and performance

Building on that character, at the heart, lays a 649cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, parallel-twin engine that’s tuned for low and mid rev response, high rev performance and features an assist and slipper clutch. Fun fact, the same engine can also be found in the Z650 and Ninja 650.

Numbers-wise, the Z650RS is set to produce 50.2 kW (AKA 67.3 hp) @ 8,000 rpm and 64 Nm of torque @ 6,700 rpm. A restrictor kit will also be available to bring that power down to 35kW and make it accessible for you A2 licence holders.

Frame

The narrow tubular trellis frame is extremely rider-friendly as it helps to provide a light and agile response,  reassure handling capabilities and allow riders to manoeuvre with ease.  On top of that, the wide, flat handlebar and relaxed riding position not only boosts its easy-riding nature but also helps to inspire confidence.

The seat height comes in at 820mm, but you’ll have the option of an 800mm low seat as an accessory.

Brakes and suspension

Performing the braking duties, on the front-line expect to see dual semi-floating Ø300mm discs with a dual-piston caliper, then a single Ø220mm disc and single-piston caliper on the rear –all are assisted by BOSCH ABS.

In terms of suspension, up front will be 41mm telescopic forks and on the rear a horizontal back-link with preload adjustment.

Appeal

With this one, Kawasaki are hoping to attract a wide range of riders. The 70s’ styling, especially that bright and shiny green colourway, resonates with those who “fondly recall the launch of the iconic “son of Z1” Z650-B1 in 1977” and the mid-capacity performance targets “younger riders and those in the early stages of their riding career”.

It’s a bike with an infectious spirit and I can only think how fun it will be for all to ride!

Price and release

This retro looker will be available from November 2021, so there isn’t long to wait! And with the prices starting at just over £7.5k, varying depending on your choice of colourway – £7,549 for ‘Metallic Spark Black’, £7,699 for ‘Candy Emerald Green’ and ‘Metallic Moondust Grey/Ebony’ – it’ll be hard to wait patiently! 

The last stop

The retro sport scene is expanding fast so it’s no wonder Kawasaki are beginning their ‘Retrovolution’, with an all-new Z650RS for 2022. They’ve armed this weapon with the ammunition needed to fight to the top of the Neo-Sport Retro segment.

As you can tell, we’re pretty impressed with the latest offering from Kawasaki but I want to know what you think. Are you joining the green giants ‘Retrovolution’? Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

Spec

Engine 649cc, 67.3 hp, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, parallel-twin (35kW version available)
Fuel tank 12L
Brakes Front: Dual semi-floating Ø300mm discs. Caliper: Dual-piston
Rear: Single Ø220mm disc. Caliper: Single-piston
Suspension Front: 41 mm telescopic fork
Rear: Horizontal back-link with preload adjustment
Seat height 820mm
Weight 187kg
Price £7,549 (Metallic Spark Black) or £7,699 (Candy Emerald Green & Metallic Moondust Grey’/Ebony)

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