Faced with increasingly aggressive and sharp competition, the ER6-n was acting as a safe bet but was starting to suffer from an aging image. It must be said that the machine had not evolved since its small overhaul in 2012 and had thus left the field open to the arrival of the thunderous Yamaha MT-07, the sharpening of the CB650F and the resurrection of the Suzuki SV650. It was therefore urgent for Kawa to react to put its best-selling model (in 2015, 3278 units) back on the front of the stage..
2017 was therefore the year of renewal for Kawasaki’s entry-level roadster, which took the opportunity to give it a new identity in order to reposition it completely in its range since it now joins the Z series alongside the Z1000 and the Z900.
So don’t call it ER6-n anymore, but Z650. A new name also applied to the ER6-f which becomes the Ninja 650. Older people will appreciate the nod to the 1976 Z 650. the lieutenant of a certain and emblematic Z 900; history repeats itself with the same ardor as before.
Rest assured, this model is not just a name change. A much more current design and a revised cycle part reboost the sex appeal of the Kawa which wants to be infiltrated by the Sugomi spirit.
It all started with the arrival of a more attractive, more inspired design, and completely corresponding to the segment which now prefers incisive and tortuous lines to more consensual designs.
The fork crown, without exactly taking up the tapered lines of the current Zs, is intended to be more complex and the nose screen is gaining in scope. The ER6-n’s large radiator scoops disappear in favor of smaller, more discreet covers while the fork tubes are no longer hidden behind black plastic guards.
The new tubular frame is adorned in a pretty green tint that visually takes precedence over the rear shock absorber, until then highlighted on the right and in color, and which is now refocused and much less visible. The taillight adopts the sugomi signature with its Z-shaped design.
The machine is shorter (-4.5 cm), less high (-3cm) and barely wider (+ 0.5cm) confirming the desire of the Akashi firm to give it a more stocky silhouette than the ER6-n. Its seat height lowered, its nose plunging its rear shell raised and its side decidedly more ‘dark ‘gives its predecessor a serious facelift, which with its school motorcycle look would almost pass for an altar boy motorcycle.
While the Z650’s engine block is inherited from the ER6-n, its switch to the Euro 4 standard castrator cost it 5 horsepower. Not enough to make the Kawette tremble in the face of the competition, as its 68-horsepower mill will certainly retain its small temper, as it has also undergone a few welcome modifications. It was especially on the torque side that the engineers worked to provide more recovery at low and mid-range. It is therefore by adjusting the timing angle, the airbox, the intake vents and the exhaust that Kawasaki has been able to lower the torque curve. We therefore announce 6.7 mkg at 6500rpm when the ER6-n offered 6.5mkg at 7000rpm. At the same time, we are promised a very flexible engine. And that’s good because it was a bit the weak point of the ER6-n, which was a bit rough at low revs. This corrected version of the 649cm3 twin promises to be just as sparkling and playful past 7000 rpm..
The switch to the sugomi sauce also saw the arrival of an anti-dribble clutch with two types of cam: an assist cam and an anti-ditch cam, thus offering two new functions not found in conventional clutches.
When the engine is running at normal speed, the assist cam acts as a torque damper, reducing the total load on the clutch spring and thus smoothing the operation of the lever..
The anti-slipping cam will act in the event of excessive engine braking (abrupt or involuntary downshifting) by relieving the pressure exerted on the clutch discs in order to reduce the counter torque and the risk of the rear wheel locking up..
This low-revving potato supplement isn’t the only lever Kawasaki has used to optimize the performance of this Z650. The power to weight ratio is also optimized since the little kawa loses a good fifteen kilos. 19kg to be precise and the Z650 will display a full weight of 187kg. A dry regime due in large part to the arrival of a new tubular steel trellis frame that is unique and lightweight, weighing only 15 kg. The latter benefits from the latest technologies in its design in order to offer optimal lateral and torsional rigidity while allowing the center of gravity to be lowered..
As for the swing arm, exit the tubular for a new arm also benefiting from new techniques and contributing to the lightness of the machine.
The front suspension is entrusted to a telescopic fork with tubes of φ41mm and 125mm of travel. Back-link type rear suspension and it re-centers and places the shock absorber and links above the swingarm. In addition to its contribution to weight centering, this configuration allows the suspension to be moved far enough from the exhaust so that the heat does not affect its operation..
On the braking side, the two 300mm petal discs of the front brake and the 220mm rear disc of the ER6-n are retained. This pair having proven its worth, we understand the re-edition. The standard ABS is entrusted to the Bosch 9.1M module.
The tires with similar dimensions are mounted on new 17-inch 5-spoke star rims.
The Z650 also inherits a brand new multifunction on-board computer consisting of an analog tachometer, a multifunction LCD screen and a gear indicator. The tachometer offers three display modes to choose from, adaptable to the driver’s preferences. It also acts as a gear change indicator, flashing when the engine speed reaches the preset threshold. The LCD screen adopts a negative display (in white letters on a black background), a detail that adds to the modernity and sporty look of the instrumentation. An economy driving indicator appears on the LCD screen to indicate low fuel consumption which will correspond to zen driving and below 6000 rpm.
Of course, a wide range of accessories (passenger seat cowl, saddlebag, top case, high speedometer cover, rim edging and various covers) will be available to personalize this Z650 and give it an even more radical look.
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Z 650 2018
Model marketed in
medium: 4.30 l
about 200 km / h
The technical aspect
Kawasaki Z 650 2019
- Tank: 15 liters
- Width: 775 mm
- Height: 1,080 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,410 mm
- Weight in running order: 187 kg
- Train before
- secondary by chain
- Rear axle
(83 x 60 mm)
at 8000 rpm
at 6500 rpm