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!)

Follow the rest of our 2016 Intermot Show coverage for more information on new motorcycle announcements.

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  • Old MOron

    Hmm, not bad. I was hoping for something more svelte, but it probably looks better in 3D.

  • HazardtoMyself

    I like that Kawasaki is expanding the Z lineup. The Ninja 650 is a solid dependable platform to build off. Still wish I had my old 650 sometimes.

    A little surprised a Z900 is on the way when they already have the Z800 and the Z1000? I think I would rather see them bring the Z300 to the U.S., but maybe that is upcoming as well???????

    • denchung

      I’m not sure if the Z900 is coming to North America. It took Kawasaki a while to even bring the Z800 and unlike the information that came with the Z650, the Z900 info had no mention at all about the US.

      • Kevin Duke

        Or maybe the Z900 will push out both the 800 and 1000…?

  • SRMark

    Front end is a bit of a cluttered mess. But you can still see the engine and I do like that. Sure hope motorcycling soon loses the stepped racing-like seat design standard. Who likes to wear a passenger for a back pack (for an extended period of time anyway)?

    • Kenneth

      I like this Z650’s looks, but I keep coming back to the Street Twin as the benchmark for a beautifully-uncluttered, comfortable standard bike.

  • spiff

    I am getting a flash back to the mid 80s.

    Yamaha 1987: VMax//Fazer
    Yamaha 2017: FZ10/FZ09/FZ07

    Kawasaki 1987: Eliminator/Mini Eliminator
    Kawasaki 2017: Z900/Z650 (Kawi best come up with a ZX based Z10)

    Not a perfect comparison, but the feel is similar. Power Cruisers to Nakeds. Back then I was a kid reading Motorcyclist and Cycle World (along with Dirt Rider and Dirt Wheels). I still enjoy this crap.

    Difference this time is other manufacturers are on board. Nakeds are fun, handle pretty good, their comfortable, and today’s engines are making as much power as asked. No longer a need for race bikes. KTM, Aprilia, And BMW are serious. Yamaha appears to be as serious from a different angle. Triumph and Ducati are working on their line as they see fit. Heck MV is there. Suzook and Honda are the only also rans as far as I can see.

    If it were my way I would have a 400ish/700ish/1000ish then the heavyweights.

    • spiff

      I may be hard on Suzuki, just don’t think they are trying their hardest. I know Honda isn’t.

  • Ingolf Stern

    I ride a Ninja 650R and I can tell you all this: SUnday morning me and a few other guys went for a ride in the northwest corner of Washington. That’s the NW of the NW. Went from Seattle to Lake Ozette. Look at a map. The roads are rollercoasters. They go up and down as much as left and right. And in the off season they are covered in a layer of wet pine needles and leaves, and I think some squirrel fur. The guy in front of me was riding a Ducati 848 Evo. I was right on his exhaust the whole time and I could not have gone any faster no matter what bike I had been riding. We were at the limit of sanity and traction. I was rolling a brand new set of PR4’s. The Ninja 650R is super comfortable. We spent almost ten hours on the trip, probably eight of them actually rolling. My bike has a “sport touring” Double Bubble wind screen and the bubble it makes is perfect. I rode in a comfy stillness. The guy on the Duc – not so much. Neither for the guy on the ER6. A new R1M may have been cooler than my Ninja, but it would not have been faster. Oh, BTW, I got an average of about 55 mpg (almost 60 on the highway at around 50 mph, and right around 50 at 70-100 mph while we were hot-footing it). I don’t think they need a “new” 650. Every time I take that bike out I love it. It is a real 90% bike. If I need to be Superman I take out my old 97 CBR900RR. Different deal altogether.

  • c w

    It appears as this it might be the case, but I hope this Z feels a bit bigger than the ER-6. I tried one recently and it sat too far over the head stock for my taste.

    Lots of great bikes out now…enjoy before we the market ove-rsaturates wait ten years again and we have to wait ten years for new models.