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Kawasaki Z650 Video Review

Visordown gives the definitive verdict on Kawasaki’s latest mid-weight naked, the Z650

Launched in 1976, the original Z650 was a four-cylinder version of the iconic Z900 of the same era. The bike is almost a mini-me of the larger, more powerful and now more valuable Z900.

Designed as a steppingstone bike, the idea was to get less experienced riders onto the nimbler middleweight, hopeful that after a few years they would be able to graduate onto the bigger machine.

Fast forward to 44 years and I’m whizzing along the twisting coast road that links the holiday resorts of Lloret De Mar and Tossa De Mar in northern Spain, wondering how anything, regardless of capacity, could be this much fun on a road like this?

Dragging every last ounce of performance from the engine, brakes and suspension had me grinning like a Cheshire cat inside my lid. It wasn’t my first time along this road either, we were here on the Z900 launch just a few weeks before. Given it was my second helping to this smorgasbord of tarmac loveliness, I was probably still carrying with me some memories of which way it goes. Helpful info when it comes to knowing when to push and when to hold back. And after an hour of relentless switchbacks and sweepers, I was (and still am) sure I would have been no quicker along that stretch had I been riding the Z900, with more power, higher-spec chassis and riding modes.

So, what is the Z650? Looking at the original from the mid-70s, you’d imagine there is some of that original design ethos of the steppingstone motorcycle in here somewhere. But I’m struggling to find it and not because it’s not and ideal bike for riders who are moving through the ranks, far from it! It’s because it’s too bloody good to only hold onto for a short time and then ditch in favour of something bigger and ‘faster.’

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