In the Middle Ages of motorcycling, British 650cc parallel twins used to be the hot setup. You found them everywhere, ruling the street, racing at Ascot and Daytona, and even in the desert. That is, until Japanese bikes grew up; then it was game over. But this likable twin-cylinder formula has risen from the ashes with the Kawasaki Z650. The heart of a motorcycle is naturally its motor, and the Z650’s displaces 649cc with a short-stroke design that contributes to high-revving, energetic performance that the 1960s and ’70s street twins could only dream about.
Other advancements include fuel injection, liquid-cooling, and a six-speed gearbox with clutch assist and slipper clutch features for easier, smoother operation for learners. Triple disc brakes with optional ABS, modern 17-inch sport radials, and super-quick steering geometry make the Z650 an especially responsive mount. Regardless of the paint (two color combos are available), the Lime Green steel trellis frame imparts “Kawasaki” at a glance.
Likes: Quick-handling, light weight, triple disc brakes
Dislikes: Not a totally mellow motor; requires high revs and lots of shifting to go
Verdict: A modern version of the classic 650cc parallel twin