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2017 Kawasaki Z650

Kawasaki’s ER-6 has come a long way from its commuter roots. The original ER-5 was a properly basic budget roadster, but the larger 650 version has carved out a proper little niche for itself - as well as becoming the basis for the thriving Minitwin and Supertwin race series. In many ways it’s replacing the 600 supersports class for a lot of folk.

And now the green guys have re-invented the ER as an aggressive, smart-looking Z-style roadster. The same basic parallel twin motor is housed in a sweet trellis tube type frame, with decent-if-budget running gear, and just enough neat touches to lift it up a notch in terms of appeal. There’s a natty gullarm swingarm, the underslung exhaust could show several manufacturers a thing or two in terms of styling, and the nosecone and bodywork all works really well.

Specs? Well the motor puts out 68bhp, which is what you’d expect, and the wet weight is 187 kg - pleasantly low. Kawasaki reckons the trellis frame is reponsible for most of the weight reduction.


The Z650 tucks in below the new Z900 and Z1000R, making a tidy little family of Z roadsters. All we need now is a 250bhp supercharged version at the top end, and we’ll be happy(ish)...

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