2022 Kawasaki Z650RS First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung
Fast Facts

Inspired by the 1977 Z650-B1
Third “Retro Sport” model after Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe
Same engine and frame as Z650
412.3 lb. claimed curb weight

Retro Sport model styled after 1977 Z650-B1

After a brief teaser campaign, Kawasaki has revealed the new Z650RS, its third “retro sport” model following the Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe. The 2022 Z650RS is based on the Z650 model but is styled to resemble the 1977 Z650-B1, a.k.a. the “Son of Z1”. At the moment, the Z650RS has not been confirmed for the U.S. market, but we expect it will be part of a larger launch event planned by Kawasaki Motor Corp. U.S.A. for Oct. 5.

The Z650RS makes use of Kawasaki’s tried and tested 650 Parallel-Twin engine that has powered a diverse range of models including the Z650, Ninja 650, Versys 650 and Vulcan S. Its claimed maximum output of 67.3 hp at 8000 rpm and 47.2 lb-ft. at 6700 rpm are identical to the Z650, as are the assist and slipper clutch and six-speed transmission.

The steel trellis frame and swingarm are also similar to the Z650’s, but the RS has a less upswept rear subframe, which translates to a flatter seat and more horizontal profile, especially with the new, smaller fuel tank (3.2 gallons compared to 4.0 gallons on the Z650). The tail is shorter than on the Z900RS but offers a similar duck bill cowl. Despite the differences in styling and the smaller tank, Kawasaki claims the Z650RS has a curb weight of 412.3 pounds, the same as the regular Z650.

The Z650RS’ tail has a similar look as the Z900RS but it uses a new oval LED taillight design.

The flat saddle results in a 31.5 inch seat height, which is slightly higher than the Z650’s 31.1 inches, but it also means the Z650RS offers more leg room as the footpegs are in the same location for both models. For European markets, the Z650RS comes with the high seat which is 32.3 inches from the ground. Kawasaki will also offer other seat heights as optional accessories, but the selection and thickness may vary by market.

The Z650RS’ flat handlebar is 2.0 inches higher and 1.2 inches farther back compared to the Z650, producing a more relaxed, upright riding position. The fuel tank has a slim shape for a better ergonomic fit when gripping it with your knees, but it does comes at the expense of fuel capacity, with the Z650RS’ 3.2-gallon tank holding less gas than the Z650’s 4.0 gallons.

Suspension duties are handled by a non-adjustable 41mm telescopic fork and a preload-adjustable horizontal back-link rear shock, which are similar to the Z650. The brakes are likewise similar, with dual two-piston calipers and a 300mm disc up front and a single-piston caliper with a 320mm disc for the back wheel. ABS comes standard on European models.

The 17-inch cast wheels are in the same flat spoke design as the Z900RS. The wheels are designed to offer a balance of light weight and retro styling, and provide the illusion of wire spokes when viewed from the side.

The circular LED headlight offers a blend of modern and retro designs. The outer ring is a position lamp while the inner lamp has two chambers for low and high beams. Above the headlight is an instrument panel with a small LCD screen bracketed by bullet-shaped analog speedometer and tachometer dials

The 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS will be offered in three color options, a standard Metallic Sparkle Black paint scheme and two special edition paint jobs: the Candy Emerald Green with gold-colored wheels in most of the supplied images, and a Metallic Moondust Gray with copper highlights and blacked-out parts.

Metallic Sparkle Black
Special edition Metallic Moondust Gray.

We expect Kawasaki will announce the Z650RS for the U.S. next week. In the U.K., the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS is priced at £7,549 for the standard color and £7,699 for either special edition paint options. By comparison, British pricing for the Z650 is £6,949 for the base color and £7,049 for the premium paint schemes. That means we can expect U.S. pricing for the Z650RS to come in higher than the Z650’s MSRP of $7,349 ($7,849 with ABS).

2022 Kawasaki Z650RS Specifications

Engine TypeLiquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin, DOHC, 8 valves
Displacement649 cc
Bore x Stroke83.0 x 60.0 mm
Compression Ratio10.8:1
Fuel systemFuel injection: Ø 36 mm x 2 with dual throttle valves
Starting SystemElectric
LubricationForced lubrication, semi‑dry sump
Maximum power67.3 hp at 8,000 rpm (claimed)
Maximum torque47.2 lb-ft. 6,700 rpm (claimed)
Fuel consumption57.7 mpg (claimed)
Transmission6-speed, return
ClutchWet multi-disc, manual
Final driveSealed chain
Frame typeTrellis, high-tensile steel
Front BrakesDual semi-floating Ø 300 mm discs. Caliper: Dual piston
Rear BrakesSingle Ø 220 mm disc. Caliper: Single-piston
Front Tire120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
Rear Tire160/60ZR17M/C (69W)
Front Suspension41 mm telescopic fork, 4.9 inches of travel
Rear SuspensionHorizontal Back-link with preload adjustment, 5.1 inches of travel
Rake / Trail24.0° / 3.9 inches
Length81.3 inches
Width31.5 inches
Height43.9 inches
Wheelbase55.3 inches
Ground clearance4.9 inches
Fuel capacity3.2 gallons
Seat height32.3 inches (European market)
Curb mass412.3 pounds (claimed)

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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6 of 40 comments
  • Bill Pollack Bill Pollack on Oct 06, 2021

    Kawasaki’s US site — https://www.kawasaki.com/en... — states that the Z650RS has a 4.0-gallon capacity. Did Kawi make a mistake there?

    • See 3 previous
    • Denchung Denchung on Oct 07, 2021

      Good job! I figured it was just a clerical error. Kawasaki USA probably used the Z650's spec sheet as a starting point and made a few changes and missed the difference in fuel capacity.

  • T L T L on Oct 08, 2021

    As much as I like the looks of this bike, It would be hard to choose the $8999 Z650RS over the $9199 Z900, or even the $8195 Triumph Trident. The 650 is certainly the best looking, but the others offer a lot more for the money.