Kawasaki Ninja 650 getting modest upgrades for 2020


The Kawasaki Ninja 650 i some small upgrades for 2020.

The Ninja 650 is based on Kawasaki’s 649 cc parallel twin, a solid engine that’s been mostly unchanged for many years. It doesn’t sound like the 2020 bike is getting more horsepower (although a re-tuning for emissions standards wouldn’t be surprising).

Instead, Kawasaki’sadding a TFT screen, Bluetooth connectivity, LED lights, and (as always) new paint. There’s new upper bodywork, but most of the fairing remains the same.

While some riders might be disappointed the changes aren’t more impressive, these are all minor tweaks that should bring the Ninja 650 in line with the competition. KTM even has a TFT screen on the entry-level 390 Duke, so there’s no reason Kawasaki shouldn’t have it on the Ninja. And, once you’ve got a TFT screen, it makes sense to include some sort of Bluetooth compatibility; it will make navigation easier (it will likely connect with the TFT screen), and will also provide information on your bike to your phone (stuff like fuel range, maintenance intervals, etc.).

The LED lighting is another no-brainer. With the advantages and continually lowering cost of LED lights, and the problems of standard incandescent bulbs, it’s baffling why every single motorcycle doesn’t have all-round LEDs.

As for the paint, well, Bold New Graphics are a cheap way to spruce up a machine. You can bet there’ll be a version in Kawasaki’s lime green, no matter what.

The Ninja 650 gets Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires for 2020, another easy upgrade, and the rear seat gets some changes to the padding.


  1. I loved my Versys 650 when I had one. Great all around bike. The motor is a gem. Just the right amount of power and never burned a drop of oil. I needed something bigger for 2 up touring (2010 BMW R1200Rt), otherwise I bet that bike would last forever if looked after. The passenger seat was awful, does not look like that has changed much. Ok for around town, but it was even too narrow for my tiny 95 lb daughter. No 2 up trips more that 15 minutes. I think that is a stupid place to save a few dollars, both for rider and passenger. Great bike but too uncomfortable to ride, we spent the money so you could go faster than 200 kph!! I have always found that unfathomable, and yes I have a skinny butt as well. Why are we skinny people treated so poorly? I am going to complain to the CBC. Maybe CMG will take up my cause. Mark? Zac? Cam

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