Kawasaki claim to have started a retro revolution – or a ‘retrovolution’ – with the introduction of this, the Z650RS. They reckon it’ll open up the mid-capacity class to ‘a wide range of riders’; although you’d probably have to say that it’s already open to most. Nevertheless, if you’re at the early stages of your riding career, or you get a kick out of reminiscing over the original Z650-B1, back in 1977, the new Kawasaki Z650RS might be worth a look.
As you might have guessed, Kawasaki have given the Z650RS the same engine as the Z650 and Ninja 650. It’s a 649cc parallel twin, with a slipper clutch and 67bhp. It might not sound like the most engaging motor, on paper, but in it’s Z650 and Ninja 650 guise, it’s got enough poke to put a smile on your face… at least some of the time anyway.
It’s also worth pointing out that it is available in a 35kw (45bhp) version, so you can ride one on your A2 license if you need to. Maybe that’s who Kawasaki are opening up the mid-capacity class to – A2 license holders. Although I’m sure Kawasaki aren’t the first to offer 35kw versions of mid-capacity bikes. Anyway, I digress.
The 820mm-high seat is nice and narrow, so you don’t have to be built like Lurch to get your feet flat on the floor. The conventional-way-up forks (that look upside-down, these days) aren’t adjustable, but the shock is (although only for preload). They’ve gone for the more traditional round brake disc, rather than the wavy jobs on most contemporary Kwackas; the Bosch ABS should bring you back to the 21st century with a bump though.
They’ve gone for full retro styling with the round headlight, round analogue dials, classic paint job and duck-tail cowling behind the seat. And with ‘modern-retro’ bikes continuing to sell like hot cakes, who can blame them?
Prices start from £7,549 for the black one (the green one is £7,699) and they’ll be available from November. Will you be part of the ‘retrovolution’? If so, try not to actually use the word ‘retrovolution’ in public, unless you want someone to vomit on you.