Hey everybody, it's Peter. This is the Kawasaki Z650RS. Z, because I'm Canadian. We're filming in Canada, we'll talk about that in a second. But this bike is really cool because it's retro styling and very, very modern in all the spots that matter. So in this video we're going to talk about why those spots matter, what's modern about it, what's retro, what it's like to ride, what it's like to sit on. We're going to go through the full vehicle in detail, but there's no way I can possibly answer all of your questions and that's why I've got to thank Jim Gilbert's PowerSports here in Fredericton, New Brunswick, who gives me access to their full Kawasaki line of vehicles. So if you have a question that I didn't answer in this video, you can come back to me, ask in the comments, and I can answer that question both in the comments and in future videos because we'll keep coming back to this bike until you get all the answers that you need.

From here you can watch Peters Video or Read What he says the choice is your enjoy... this is a great review ether way...

So let's start. All right, retro styling. First of all, they talk about this being styled like a bike from the '70s. Now I didn't live very long at all in the '70s. I grew up with bikes in the '80s and to me that's what this bike looks like. This looks like a motorcycle should look like to a lot of people and I really appreciate this styling because it's the kind of thing that just doesn't go out of style. It's always kind of that classic look. If you look at pictograms of motorcycles where they show a thing, they don't show a sport bike, they show bikes like these and this bike back in the day was a sport bike and the Ninja 650 This one happens to be the 50th anniversary version and we're going to show you the cool paint color when we get closer to it..

But that retro sport idea is really skewed over time because a sport bike from the '70s or '80s doesn't even come close to a sport bike today. So what's cool about this bike is those modern components really bring that handling and fun factor up, along with reliability, easy start, a whole bunch of other things, but they also make it that cool style and you get some of the things that you used to have on the older bikes, which, frankly, for some of us, we might feel maybe that was better. So let's take a closer look and see what this bike's all about.

Let's start with the seating position. First of all, you have a very slight forward lean. You have a very good angle to the pegs here, and this is just, frankly, a very comfortable motorcycle. Back in the day, we used to refer to this style of motorcycle as a standard and that was exactly that, a standard bike that fit everybody, but it did make for a very good sporty feel. Now you'll notice that there is a little bit of a tight area here. The foot peg is high enough, it's not way down here. So you do have the ability to really lean this bike over and we're going to talk about some other features that help you do that as well. But that foot peg is very comfortable for me. This Z650 has a nice, relatively narrow tank size. A lot of the current modern bikes, they carve out knee space there to make it more comfortable. This one you want to go with the retro styling, which means you need to shape the tank correctly to have a very comfortable position and this bike has exactly that.

You'll also notice the mirrors up here on the handlebars, they are big and wide. They come off the handlebars and out. Being close to you, they give you a fairly wide angle view behind you, which I like on something like a motorcycle or something with the same engine as this, they're going to be a little further away, which gives you a nice view behind you. But these kind of give you a little bit wider view and the Ninja has the more pointed mirrors that are longer to give you the same effect, whereas these round ones give you that retro styling and all the same safety features. Overall, the seating position, the one thing you're going to notice is just the shape of this seat. It's a very comfortable seat. Bikes back in the day, they all had comfortable seats. They were very simple, but this one, modern foam, which the old foam was never very good, but you've got that modern foam so it's comfortable. And like I said, seating position is good.

We'll take a look at some other features that are comfortable like adjustable levers here as we get closer into the controls. In fact, let's do that right now. So when we talk controls, we got to start with the gauge cluster here. And this is of course mounted to the handle bars here. So it turns with your handlebar when you turn. It's the way bikes used to be, but there's a lot of classic and modern in here. And one of the modern things I want you to notice is this screen, although it's just the screen in there, that glass for the screen, which is probably just plastic, is all one piece. So it has a very clean modern look when you turn on the signals and when you turn it on, even in the bright sunlight, which is what I'm filming in right now, you can easily read everything.

There is a bit of a flicker. That's the way the shutter reacts to the screen there, but you can clearly see, again, maybe less so on video, but clearly see the fuel gauge over here, temperature gauge over there, gear indicator dead smack in the center. I really like that gear indicator there. Odometer down here, we're going to cycle through the odometer and then I'm going to show you how we do it later. So you've got regular odometer, trip A, trip B, you've got the kilometers per liter, which I think could be set for liters per 100 kilometers. I'll have to double check that for you. And then you've got the average kilometers per liter. Again, this bike hasn't gone anywhere, it's got about a kilometer on it and there's your range to empty. Which, again, has to be calculated once you drive. Right now you've just got the ABS light on there and the engine light because it's not running and you've got the neutral light over here.

So even though you have a gear indicator there, you still have the green light you can glance down to for neutral. One thing I love about gauges is when you're riding a Kawasaki, a lot of the time you don't care exactly how fast you're going, but when you used to ride the retro bikes, you just could glance at the needle and know, "Yep, I'm right by the speed limit. Yep, I'm by this and that." And you could tell between your tack and your speedometer what gear you were in without the gear indicator. But of course it's super helpful to have that as well. Now let's jump over to the left side controls and show you how this is all connected up.

So on the left side of this bike you've got a couple things you could just barely see in this shot. You've got those adjustable levers that we mentioned earlier. The clutch lever here is the slipper and assist clutch. We've talked about that in other videos as well. That makes the clutch lighter to pull and also allows you if you miss a downshift or mess up on a downshift, it's going to help prevent the rear wheel from locking up so you can stay in some control. So you get that lighter clutch, which is nice to move around town. You get the adjustable reach there. You also have that slipper clutch, which again, keeps you safer. Really nice modern feature. The other thing that I like modern feature wise is right here, we were just showing you the triple odometer. This is the button you can use to switch through. Now we used to put buttons over here not that long ago. That just isn't a practical spot. So to put it over here, make it real easy to change is really nice.

Over here, headlight switch, high beam, low beam and the trigger right by my finger here allows you to flash your high beam really quickly. So again, modern feeling controls compared to a retro bike, they just feel more solid. Signal lights right here, you've got the left side and you've got the right side marked right there, which is clear. Older bikes used to have a single green light. This one here has the more modern double and what's nice about that is if you switch this out, you've got your four-way flashers, which a lot of old bikes didn't used to have. Just something that's nice to have if you're stopped on the side of the road there. Down here you've got a horn. It is a much louder horn than a retro bike. So just again, overall, really nice to have those modern twitch gear right there. Let's check the right side out.

Over on the right side, the simple stuff. Start button right here. Kill switch right here. Breaker lever right there. It is also multi adjustable there, at least four settings and a five setting. One, two, three, four, yeah, five settings of adjustable reach there. So no matter what size your hands are, simple, simple things. One thing you won't notice over here, is no choke lever. No choke lever on the handlebars anywhere. This is a modern fuel injected engine and that is one thing that is nice to have that's not retro. It just starts up and it runs and it's no problem.

So if we're going to talk about modern features on a retro bike, we can talk about things like this cool paint job and that kind of thing. But let's talk about safety still. First of all, road sport tires, unlocked road sport tires, really sticky tires that are properly curved. If you've ever driven a bike that looks like this but is from the '70s or '80s, you didn't have the side wall that runs right to the edge here. You had a long or a larger side wall, so you couldn't really, really lean the bike over, you'd run out a tire. You didn't have the tread patterns, you didn't have the modern rubber compounds. These are grippy tires that mean you can really lean that bike over, have a lot of fun, feel really secure. You've also got dual disc brakes, one on this side of one on that side. The reason we're showing you this one here is because you've got this ABS ring down here. When you see this little ring there, that's what the ABS uses for the sensors.

So you've got modern ABS breaks, dual, vented calipers. These ones are rounded, which This 50th anniversary has these gold wheels is moving back to from the pedal style ones, but again, really works well in this retro look. Z650, not the Z650RS, but the retro, naked style Z650.. That style, like I said, so is the paint. We'll show you those closer in a second. But we talk about modern things. The tires make such a huge difference compared to retro tires because the old retro tires, if you've ever ridden those old bikes, they're fun to keep upright, but when you start getting moving in corners, they just don't have the ability. So modern wheels, the modern strength of the wheels, the modern brakes and the modern tires make a massive difference in making this bike feel fun but also very safe.

As we continue to talk about modern and retro, you've got the round headlight here, which I haven't got it on right now, I can show you it on. You've got a LED light, which doesn't really showing perfectly at the camera, but you can see it flashing the high beam there as well. Upper half here is your regular headlight, lower half is your high beam light. So you've got a single unit, all of which is designed with sharp cutoffs, which is why it didn't appear too bright in the camera, but really nice modern light. It makes you visible to others, but it also gives you that retro styling.

And we'll talk about the suspension while it's here. You've got that retro style suspension, but you've got the little shields out here. Those shields keep the bugs from building up on your forks here and that keeps you from having shock seal or seal issues here later on. So just little modern things, not even to mention that just the modern shocks and suspension of a modern motorcycle are light years ahead of bikes from the '70s, making this a lot more fun to ride.

Taking a look at the bike in the shady side here, you've got the chain, of course, on the other side down here. You've got modern swing arm here, which has a little bit more flare to it. So I really like that. You've also got this modern exhaust that tucks up underneath and cuts short, giving you full view of those nice gold wheels. And then you've got the modern frame up here. Now you've got a whole bunch of features here that are cool. You've got the exposed engine on the Z900. They do sort of a fake slatted look here for air cooled. This is of course a liquid cooled and you've got the cool exhaust pipes that run down through there. So real modern frame, which means it's strong, means it's quality build. You've got the exhaust that come through here, giving you that sporty, modern look as well. But a real clear, easy to see, clean look here. You've got the oil fill window here. The bike's on a side stand and tilted that way, so normally you could just glance at that to see how the oil's doing. Oil fill right there.

So it's easy to deal with as an older bike, but of course you don't really have to do as much with it because it just works. There's no adjusting carburetors or something like that. Solid metal brake lever that comes off there. And you've got the rubber padded or rubber mounted metal grips there with the little, if you do drag a peg there, it's got the little tooth there to help you drag. And you've got the modern rear pegs there with the rubber padding there. This little bar right here. Of course that's great for style, it's great for a passenger. It's also great to tie down things. You've got a little clip right here, which you can see. So you can tie down a tail bag on there if you wanted to and keep that paint from getting scratched.

Let's move to that paint right now. All right, I'm trying to freehand my camera here because the paint is really most visible when you move and it is absolutely gorgeous in person. It really doesn't film as well as it should. But this 50th anniversary version is just beautiful. They've got a special paint process and it really stands out as retro but also super stylish. Just want to cover this side of the motorcycle as well. The 650 double overhead camshaft is a real throw back to the '70s when this bike was first inspired, this look came out.

But again, you can't see the metallic paint from your angle, but this is nice metallic paint in here. The red comes up and it's just painted in there. These aren't stickers, that's all painted right through there. And this silver panel here, it's plastic, but it also has a metallic look to it and it is just really cool when you see this bike in the sunshine, it's one of those things there. It just stands out to you more than you would think it would, just because of that paint and because of the details here. One other cool thing, helmet lock down here. This is how they used to do it. The little retro ones were nice down low there. They sometimes put them up higher on a more modern bike, but you've got the retro style plug or retro style clip right there for your helmet lock. And again, that big swing arm here, just overall very modern with that cool styling.

So I think the real question with this bike is not just about the modern versus retro, it's about who is this bike for? First of all, this 650 engine is used in all kinds of things. Off the top of my head, the closest relative to this is the the Ninja 650, there's also the Versys 650, there's also the Vulcan S There's also So Versys 650 probably puts you like this. Vulcan 650, which is the same 650 engine. So the engine is used in all kinds of things and each bike has a different purpose. I've driven the Versys 650, I've owned it for a number of years in the past. I don't own it anymore, but I've driven this engine around and it works great for that touring style bike. It also works great in the Ninja 650, which is more of a sport lightweight bike.

So where does this fit in? Especially with the Z650, which really is a modern take on this. Well, short answer is, this is a little bit more of that retro ride as well. While it's sporty, there's a little bit more cush to this ride, in my opinion, a little bit more comfort. So it's still very sporty, very much road sport, RS stands for retro sport, but I would also consider it to be more road sport. Taking this to the track would not be my first choice out of the Kawasaki lineup, but that doesn't mean at all it's not sporty. It's just a balance there. This engine alone is very nice to drive in the road, so on the road type thing. So really that regular country roads up to highway roads, not a problem.

The bike itself is light enough to easily handle through town. You can see I'm about six feet tall, my legs are flat. And again, the seating position is very upright and comfortable.Kawasaki puts your feet out like this. Ninja 650 puts you a little bit more like this. The Z650 is similar to this, similar certainly position. This seat feels different than that and the rider position feels different. So styling doesn't only determine styling on a motorcycle, it also determines the type of feel you're going to have when you're riding it. And to me, this is one of the most versatile packages. If you wanted to go camping, stack stuff up here, put some side bags on, soft luggage even, you could figure that out. You can tour on this bike, you could put a windshield on because you've got handlebar rounds. If that's what you wanted. You could put it on for the weekend and take it off. The simplicity of seeing the entire way down the front forks here, is what motorcycling used to be all about. You didn't have huge faring out here and you had just the gauges out front.

So if you want that simplistic, back to the original motorcycles, that's what this feels like from the top. The benefit is it still gives you that sporty handling. And that's my issue with some of these retro style bikes, is people get on them, they drive them with their other friends, maybe they've got sportier bikes. This one will keep up, it will handle, it will fit in. So to me, the 650 emphasizes that real good if you're a beginner, 650 is not too big for you, but it's also not a bike that you outgrow very easily. If you need power, it's got the power there to handle and make it fun. So who's it for? Kind of a lot of everybody. You got to like the style, you got to like a sportier bent to your riding or at least the ability to stay sportier and, of course, decent safety features and a pretty good value overall. Both in insurance rates, in overall bike, you get a lot of bike, a lot of comfort, a lot of versatility for the price. I'm a big fan of this bike.

So like I said off the top, there's no way I've answered every question you have about this bike or anything else in the Kawasaki lineup. lineup. If you have questions, let me know in the comments below and I'll continue to bring this bike on, other bikes on and we'll start comparing them within the Kawasaki bikes We'll start answering your questions and then we'll want this to be a place where we can really build that community of getting the answers we want onFredericton, New Brunswick. Check out Jim Gilbert's PowerSports. Because hey, I've got a lot to learn as well. Sometimes you guys say something in comments that I've got to go back and research so that I can help you guys out, both in the comments section and in future videos.

And if you want to see this bike in person, swing down to the number one volume Kawasaki dealer in the country, they are an absolute destination store. They started the Kawasaki line not that long ago and they became the number one volume Kawasaki dealer in the country. Like I said, destination store, a place that worth stopping by, seeing. A place worth getting your bike at. Thanks everybody for watching.

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