2021 Kawasaki Z650
Everything you need to know about the 2021 Kawasaki Z400 with specs, pricing, good and bad points, reviews, competition, and more.
- Dialed-in suspension rates
- Good handling, smooth power
- TFT dash display, Rideology app
- Engine power and exhaust note lackluster
- Ergos a little cramped for tall riders
When it made its debut in 2017, the Z650 was an excellent option in the middleweight naked bike class. But sales have exploded in this category, and with more manufacturers now getting into the fray, the basically unchanged Kawasaki is at risk of getting left behind.
Based on the Ninja 650R, the Z650 is Kawasaki’s middleweight naked bike designed to bring that same economical performance to a more practical platform. Three years after its debut, the midsize Kawasaki Z received some updates in 2020 that included sharper bodywork styling (based upon the “sugomi” theme that now characterizes all of the Z models), LED headlights, color TFT dash display, Bluetooth connectivity with Kawasaki’s Rideology app (showing vehicle info and call notification), a thicker and wider passenger seat, and Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires.
Updates for 2021
There were no updates to the Kawasaki Z650 for 2021.
Pricing and Variants
The 2021 Kawasaki Z650 will be available in a non-ABS version for $7,249, and an ABS version for $7,749. Available colorways are Pearl Blizzard White/Metallic Spark Black and Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black.
With sales in this category skyrocketing over the past decade, the Kawasaki Z650 is now facing some pretty serious competition. Besides the Suzuki SV650, Yamaha MT-07, and Honda CB650R, there are two new European entries into the class: the Aprilia Tuono 660 and the Triumph Trident 660.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Some minor tweaks were done to the 649cc parallel-twin engine from the Ninja 650 in order to boost low-end and midrange power, resulting in a peak of approximately 58 hp at 7,800 rpm and 42 pound-feet of torque at 6,600 rpm when CW ran a 2018 Z650 on the dyno, which has remained mechanically unchanged since. The power feels nice and punchy in the midrange, with a good hit of power at around 4,000–5,000 rpm. Fuel delivery and throttle response are butter-smooth, allowing you to make use of that midrange when accelerating off of a tighter corner. The six-speed transmission shifts flawlessly, though the clutch can be a little grabby when leaving from a stop.
Even though the nonadjustable (except rear spring preload) suspension rates are slightly softer than the Ninja 650, the Z650 remains very planted and stable when pushed hard through corners, with a surprisingly taut and balanced feel to the chassis. The OEM-spec Dunlop D214 tires were a bit of a weak point with the first-gen model, but the upgrade in 2020 to Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires fixed that issue.
Nissin two-piston brake calipers and 300mm discs up front provide strong but not overwhelming stopping power. An adjustable front brake lever is a nice touch for a class that is price-conscious.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
There is no Cycle World recorded fuel economy data.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
A low 31.1-inch seat height (that feels even lower than that due to the narrow midsection) helps shorter riders feel more confident at a stop, but taller riders will find their legs getting pretzeled. There is an accessory taller seat available from Kawasaki that can help here. Passenger seat has been made more comfortable with the 2020 upgrades.
Other than antilock brakes standard on the ABS model, there are no electronic rider aids with the Z650. The TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity for the Rideology app that appeared with the 2020 models are welcome updates.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Z650 comes with Kawasaki’s usual 12-month limited warranty. Extended warranty options available for 12, 24, 36, and 48 months.
Fit and finish are on par with current machinery. The TFT dash display with Bluetooth connectivity and other components such as the Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires as standard equipment provide a quality feel.
2021 Kawasaki Z650 Claimed Specifications
|MSRP:||$7,249 (non-ABS)/$7,749 (ABS model)|
|Engine:||649cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 8 valves|
|Bore x Stroke:||83.0 x 60.0mm|
|Fuel Delivery:||Electronic fuel injection w/ 36mm throttle body|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiple disc; cable operation|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||TCBI w/ electronic advance|
|Frame:||Trellis high-tensile steel tube chassis|
|Front Suspension:||41mm KYB conventional fork, nonadjustable; 4.9 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||KYB shock, adjustable spring preload; 5.1 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Dual Nissin 2-piston calipers, dual 300mm petal-style discs|
|Rear Brake:||Nissin 1-piston slide-pin caliper, 220mm disc|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Cast aluminum, 3.50 x 17 in. / 4.50 x 17 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||120/70ZR-17 / 160/60ZR-17|
|Ground Clearance:||5.1 in.|
|Seat Height:||31.1 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.0 gal.|
|Wet Weight:||412 lb.|