Remember the last naked twin from Kawasaki? No? That’s because there hasn’t been one since the ER-6n, last seen in 2010. Well, Kawi is back in the lightweight naked-bike game with the Z650, and it’s a sweet little package of fun for just seven grand.
The Z650 is essentially a stripped-down version of the Ninja 650, which underwent a huge redesign for 2017. Less weight, new styling, new features, and a few engine tweaks help bring Kawasaki’s iconic parallel twin up to date. Engine mods include new cam profiles, narrower intake ports, plus a new airbox and exhaust. What’s that translate to in the real world? A nice, steady stream of thrust maxing out at about 58 hp at 7,900 rpm and approximately 42 pound-feet of torque at 6,600 rpm. That’s about 10 hp and a handful of pound-feet of torque down on Suzuki’s SV650 and the Yamaha FZ-07, but the Z650 is still a fun and exciting way to get around town.