Kawasaki Kawasaki Ninja 650 [2020] | First Impressions Review

Kawasaki ninja 650 first ride.jpg

We’ve stolen the updated Kawasaki Ninja 650 for a couple of weeks, but has it stolen our hearts? Find out here…

ON the face of it, the sporty-looking Kawasaki Ninja 650 is a bit of a confusing bike – it’s even managed to catch out a few of my mates who ride.

The question is always ‘why would Kawasaki release another 600cc (ish) sports bike when they have the ZX-6R Ninja already in the range…?’. And the answer is actually really simple, it’s because this bike is nothing like a ZX-6R, in some ways, it’s actually quite a bit better.

So, a quick history lesson, the Ninja 650 around 2012, and it is closely related to the best learner motorcycle, the ER6. In some regions still, this bike is called the ER6f and as a result it’s powered by Kawasaki’s super-versatile twin-pot 650cc engine.

Now the ER6 is no more, succeed by the Z650 a bike that we rode way back in January and absolutely bloody loved it! And that is the bike the Ninja 650 is based upon. The changes over the Z650 are pretty straight forward, new handlebar arrangement (kind of semi-clip-ons), sports bike fairing and bodywork that’s about your lot.

For 2020 the bike’s been tweaked slightly, the PR man claimed it to be more ‘evolution rather than revolution’. The styling is more grown-up (looking like a Ninja 1000 SX to me) and the bike now gets a TFT, Bluetooth connectivity, improved rider, and passenger comfort and of course, a Euro5 compliant engine.

As I said at the top, we’ve got this bike for a little while yet so there will be a full review and video going up in the coming days. For now, here are my thoughts after the first couple of hundred miles…