It didn’t take long after we put up our story about the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 before a commenter mused about how a naked model using the same platform could look. Well funny you should ask, because here it is.
At Intermot, Kawasaki announced it will be producing two new naked standards, a Z650 and a Z900 – but we’d have to wait until EICMA for the official presentation. Still, despite giving us just the one photo and a promotional image, Kawasaki has released details about the two bikes (with an asterisk saying some things might change between now and the Milan show).
We know the Z650 shares the same 649cc Twin as the Ninja 650 as well as the same new steel trellis frame that Kawasaki says weighs only 33 pounds. The Z650 also gets the Ninja’s assist and slipper clutch, 41mm telescopic fork and horizontal back-link rear shock.
The main differences between the two models naked styling in the vein of the larger Z800 and Z1000, and the wide, flat handlebar that gives the Z650 a more upright riding posture. Without the full fairing, the Z650 weighs about 13 pounds less than the Ninja, with Kawasaki claiming a curb weight of 412 pounds for the Z (or 408 pounds without ABS).
As for U.S. availability, Kawasaki didn’t officially confirm it, though buried in the press information is the Z650’s helmet lock will be available as an optional accessory… in the U.S.A. While its predecessor, the ER-6n, hasn’t been in Kawasaki’s U.S. catalog since 2010, it looks like we’ll be seeing the Z650 in American showrooms – unless things change (remember the asterisk!)