Kawasaki Ninja 650
649cc | 193kg | 68bhp | 790mm Cash price £6489 Deposit £803.88 Mileage 4000pa Rate 5.9% APR Optional final payment £2886
New name, new start – that’s the thinking with 2017 new Ninja 650. The perky, 649cc parallel twin has been lightened by 2kg and retuned with new cams and inlets to boost midrange at the slight expense of top end.
The tubular steel frame is also new, primarily to shed an impressive 15kg, and has a few shades of H2R about it as well. The gull swingarm is new, too, and saves a further 2.7kg; the rear suspension’s more sophisticated with the addition of a rising
rate linkage; there are lighter wheels, too.
The new fairing, from certain angles, is the spit of the ZX-10R. From the rider’s eye, though, it’s better still. Kawasaki were keen to maintain a novice-friendly, upright riding position so although peg position is unchanged from the Er-6f’s the Ninja has stylish, raised, new clip-on bars which give a natural, upright, slightly canted gait.
But it’s how the new Ninja goes that’s best of all. Upright, slim, conspicuously lighter and with a more flexible engine that pulls willingly anywhere between 4000 and 8000rpm. Novices will love it.
At speed that lightness and balance add up to a bike that’s phenomenally nimble yet secure. With the screen also adjusted to its highest setting it’s a decent tourer, too.