Kawasaki’s 2017 Z650 & Z900!

Introducing Kawasaki’s New Street Fighters: The 2017 Z650 & Z900!

Updated August 15, 2018

After a rather hurried reveal at Cologne’s INTERMOT show, Kawasaki have now officially pulled the covers of their new breed of streetfighters at Milan’s EICMA festival: introducing the 2017 Z650 and the Z900. Thanks to the latest batch of rules and regulations from Europe, it’s time for us to say goodbye to the ER-6n and the mighty Z800. But after a quick look at their replacements, we’re happy to welcome these feisty new alternatives. Middle-weight nakeds have never looked so good…But which one do we prefer? Let’s look at the Kawasaki Z650 Vs Z900!

The 2017 Kawasaki Z650

2017 Z650 & Z900 1

As in all things, it’s best to start small, so we’ll kick off with the all-new 2017 Kawasaki Z650. Name-wise, the Z650 is a bit of a blast from the past, but physically, it’s nothing like its classic predecessors. In fact, the 2017 Z650 is more like a naked Kawasaki Ninja 650, and that is no bad thing. Kawasaki have boasted that this new platform will be nimble on the roads, carry improved handling and should appeal to a wider audience than ever before.

2017 Z650 & Z900 2

Weighing in at a mere 185 kg (407 lbs) and equipped with an accessible seat height of 790mm, the new Z650 has been aimed at a very broad target market. Couple the easy ergonomics with the modest 649cc twin-cylinder engine and you’ve got a very versatile platform on your hands. The output is rated at 68 hp, which is a little less than the ER-6 used to push out, but the ER-6 was a much heavier bike. So it’s all relative…

Other boons on the new Z650 include: the Kawasaki Assist & Slipper clutch, a repositioned rear shock for a more balanced chassis, and optional extras including 14 liter panniers, and a 30 liter top box…

The 2017 Kawasaki Z900

2017 Z650 & Z900 3

While the Z650 is rather impressive, it’s got nothing on the all-new Z900. This aggressive looking streetfighter is the direct descendent from Kawasaki’s late Z800. The body is angular and intimidating, the new Trellis frame ticks all the right boxes, and the engine is something rather special. The Z900 borrows the engine from the Z1000, rather than being a tarted up version of the Z800. The superb inline four 948cc engine produces a very respectable 126 hp, which is around 12 more than the Z800 used to. It weighs a little more than we expected, weighing 210.5 kg (464 lbs) – but the added weight is a small price to pay for the unprecedented power increase.

2017 Z650 & Z900 4

The Z900 comes equipped with USD-style 41mm forks, with stepless rebound damping, and adjustable preload, and a rear monoshock with adjustable preload too. Braking duties are handled by 300mm front discs and Nissin four pistoned brake calipers. The Z900 also boasts the Kawasaki Assist & Slipper clutch, a 525 chain to reduce drive issues, and ABS as standard.

While both models aren’t exactly the most show stopping bikes for the 2017 range, they definitely serve their purpose, and will serve their customers very well. Who has ever complained about the quality of Kawasaki’s more vanilla models? No one. That’s who.


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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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