Kawasaki has announced an updated Ninja 650 at Intermot, bringing its own sensible sportbike to the forefront.
Of course, the Ninja 650 has been in Kawi’s lineup for some time; however, an update was required to bring the bike in line with emissions standards updates, so while they were working on the bike, Kawasaki tweaked some other things. Like weight (it’s down 19 kg, allegedly). And bodywork. And the gauges (the machine now has a gear indicator).
But the biggest change for the bike is what seems to be a push towards an emphasis on practical motorcycling. Despite allusions to styling in the edgy Kawasaki Ninja tradition, the marketing video above also talks about sensible matters: A low seat height, improved fuel economy, comfortable ergonomics, upright riding position, etc. The message is clear: This crotch rocket is actually a smart choice for the rider wanting a real-world motorcycle.
In that respect, the updated Ninja 650 appears to be aimed at a similar niche as Honda’s CBR650 lineup: Motorcyclists who want fast-looking bikes, but without the cramped cockpits and other comforts sacrificed in the pursuit of speed.
In fact, the greatest indication that speed isn’t the only goal here is the fact that horsepower is actually down (three horses less, reportedly), making the Ninja 650 one of few bikes which actually lost power this year due to emissions standards.
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Finally, a modern version of the 1994-2003 ZZR600, which was an excellent street bike. Will be trying one out in the spring if at all possible.