Aims to strike a balance between sportbike and comfortable commuter.
The new 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 features a few redesigned features for the street rider who wants the performance of the Ninja family, but with more street-focused ergonomics and control. Available with or without ABS, the middleweight sporty cycle gets a new trellis frame with central rear shock and new front bodywork, headlight and X-shape LED taillight.
The engine has been retuned for more low- and mid-range grunt, with new throttle bodies and cam profiles. Also new are the clutch assist and slipper to reduce wheel hop, and more-compact under-engine exhaust plumbing. Kawasaki says the overall effect improves fuel consumption.
The new trellis frame fits the engine as a stressed member, and a redesigned swingarm accommodates the new exhaust and shock position. The new horizontal back-link suspension design features a linkage with progressive ratio, creating better suspension action and improves compliance feedback to the rider. All told, the revised design and layout accounts for a 40-pound weight loss.
A slightly lower seat, more upright riding position and adjustable windscreen contribute to the comfort and control factors, and the more visible instrument display adds a gear position indicator. The Ninja 650 aims to strike a balance between sportbike and comfortable commuter.
New top-mount clip-on handlebars further showcase its sportbike heritage, but the slightly higher positioning, combined with the 15mm lower seat height, allows the rider to sit upright with relaxed hand positioning. The Nissin calipers and five-spoke wheels are lighter by nearly four pounds.
The 650 is available in black, white, burnt orange and lime green. Base price is $7,399 and another $400 for ABS.