Though there’s no dearth of choices in the super-sport and super-naked segment in the motorcycling market today, a niche segment of enthusiasts is very much alive and captivated by the old-world charm of retro motorcycles.
Motorcycle manufacturers have been trying to cash on the situation by launching motorcycles fusing old school looks with modern technology and riding dynamics- the Bonneville series from Triumph and the Royal Enfield 650 twins are two such successes.
On similar lines, Kawasaki launched the Z900RS back in 2018 with regular updates making the neo-retro venture a successful one. In a bid to replicate the success story of the Z900RS with added variety and reduced budget, Kawasaki has launched the Z650RS- a truncated variant of its elderly cousin. While the design element stands emulated from the Z900, the mechanicals have been swapped from the Ninja 650.
The Ninja 650 source parallel-twin motor packs in a decent 67 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 64 nm of twisting force at 6700 rpm enough to propel the Z650RS to a top speed of 191 kph. All the power and torque are transferred to the rear wheel via a six-speed gearbox mated to a slipper clutch mitigating lockups under aggressive downshifts. Kawasaki would also be offering a detuned 47 bhp variant to cater to A2 licensed riders.
Chassis, suspension and brakes
The 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS also retains the tubular trellis type chassis from the Ninja 650 found to be serving the Z650, Versys 650, and the Vulcan S. Kawasaki is offering an optional 800mm low seat height option for the European markets. Suspension is again borrowed from the Ninja 650 with 41mm conventional front forks and a horizontal back-link mono-shock. Dual two-piston calipers grabbing a pair of 300mm rotors and a single pot caliper mounted over a 200mm single disc ensure quick shedding of momentum and breezy stops on the new Z650RS. ABS comes standard.
Tradition beckoning, the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS sports a classic round headlight with LED illumination. The “artillery shell” meters offer both analog and digital read-outs. The Candy Emerald Green shade instantly reminisces of the 1976 Z650 with Kawasaki also offering a golden set of alloy wheels that augment the retro quotient of the new Z60RS.
With the competition set in sight, Kawasaki would be looking forward to an onslaught with the Royal Enfield 650 twins and neo-retro offerings from the Triumph stable. Kawasaki has played their cards right with the design striking bulls-eye. But with pricing north of the Royal Enfields’ offering- it’s the ride experience and the reliability of Japanese engineering which “might” shift the balance in favor of Kawasaki. Prices are as follows:
Candy Emerald Green: £7,699
Metallic Moondust Gray / Ebony: £7,699
Metallic Spark Black: £7,549