You're going to love this motorcycle! The 2023 Kawasaki Z650 is a great bike that's perfect for anyone looking for a fast, fun, and affordable ride.
Hey, everybody, it's Peter and I'm here with the 2023 Kawasaki Z650. And these are slightly updated models that I'm starting to fall in love with. I'm a big fan of these bikes. I like what they did and the only thing that's frustrating about them is they did better things here than on the 2022 Kawasaki Z900 RS that I just bought, which costs significantly more than these and you're getting better components in here. So again, I totally recommend the bike I bought, but to show you Kawasaki moving forward, these are actually better. So I'm filming here at Jim Gilbert's Power Sports. This is the number one volume Kawasaki dealer in the country and they give me complete access to their Kawasaki lineup, which is good for you because if you have questions here that I don't get to in this video, subscribe to the channel and let me know when the comments, what you want to know because I'm gonna continue to build a video database coming back to these bikes again and again and again to make sure we answer everything you could possibly wanna know.
So again, even if you're not gonna uh, hit the comments, hit the subscribe if for interested in these bikes cuz there will be a lot more content on them because they're fun to film. You guys like to know about 'em and that's the way this works. I wanna thank Jim Gilberts for giving me access. Let's get going with the review.
From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript... enjoy...
So first of all, 2023. We've got some new colors here. We've got this sort of silver and gray. Now they don't show up perfectly on camera, kind of did a pre-test before. Uh, they're stunning in person, but you've got of course the silver with the red wheels and some different accents. And then you've got the green frame with black wheels and a little bit of a green accent on the wheels and a really cool kind of dark, almost a matte dark gray color over there.
We'll show you them up close as we go through, uh, the video, but just keep in mind that the way you see them in the screen, it just doesn't film perfectly. They look stunning in real life. So let's take a look. Uh, let's take the Kawasaki green one and start with just that bike. I'm really just showing the two here to show the colors, but I'm gonna probably focus on one individual bike for most of this video. Let's get going with that one. So let's start off the top with what this bike is. This is Kawasaki's twin cylinder 650 engine in a standard style bike, which we now call naked bikes because I guess that sells better, you know? Anyways, I think the look of this bike in person is spectacular. It has been a bike that people continue to walk in and go, wow, that looks really sharp.
And again, that may or may not transfer on camera. When I saw this in pictures, I thought, okay, yeah, Z650, saw it in person thought, wow, sharp looking bike. So this six 50 engine here, other than the KLR, that's a different 650. This twins owner they use in just about everything. And I used to own a Versys 650 for a number of years, has the same engine. I really, really like this engine. It's kind of that perfect do it all on the street engine. So of course you can move to these race bikes that are really designed for that racetrack type engine and you can drive them on the street. Whereas this is something that is approachable easy but absolutely fun, plenty sporty for what you need on the road. Great passing power even at highway speeds is just a really good engine.
It's why Kawi uses it in so many things. It's got good torque, it's got decent horsepower and it's a good balance. And this is a compact lightweight bike, especially the size of it you really notice is a very small kind of bike for, um, for this engine, which makes it of course a little bit lighter weight and it feels more nimble. There's a lot of things in this unit that make it nimble. We'll talk about those as we work through the bike. But that's what this is. I'm gonna jump across it so you can kind of see how it is. I'm about six feet tall. There's also the six 50 Rs, I've done videos on that. The Zed six 50 Rs you would think is very similar, but it's very different in a lot of ways because it's a retro sport bike. So again, I just bought the Zed 900 Rs.
Those retro sport bikes have the analog dials, so the, you know, the true gauges instead of the TFT display that this one has. And uh, they don't have traction control, they have different tires than this. This is less expensive so you pay more for that look. And I say that fully willingly knowing that I paid more for my Z900Rs than I would for Z900. But there's things that are starting to irk me here because this is so good compared to my bike. The TFT display, I knew I wasn't getting that, but you have l e D signal lights here, which in North America we didn't always have. You've got that here front and rear. Uh, obviously L D headlight will talk about that a little later. You also have the road sport two tires I believe here. And that bothers me more than anything because the tires on the bike that I bought, they're perfectly fine, but they're the sport max tires, they're a step below.
And even when you go on Dunlop's website, the sport max tires that that bike has, you know, Dunlap pretty much advertises in their video that the best feature about them is the price. So here you're having more expensive tires, uh, that grip better, you're having more expensive l e D lights compared to my Z 900 Rs. You've got some great features. And then again the TFT display, it's better, it's just, it's arguably better. It doesn't look the same as the old style gauges, but uh, it certainly gives you more function. So you're getting really good value in this bike in a package that works. And then this one has traction control for 2023. The traction control matters because it's uh, gives you that little extra control, especially in slippery condition. So we're gonna turn on the tee, just display in a second, but I just wanna show you sort of what it looks like with me on this bike.
I'm about six feet tall. I'm easily flat footing here so if you're shorter than me you can easily fit no problem. Uh, but even if you're my size or even taller, you fit nicely here. You're tucked underneath kind of the indent in the tank. It's a very narrow feeling bike because again, the tank comes out and then comes back in only the twin cylinder for the tank to cover. So that instead of uh, something like mine, which is a four shoulder, which has a wider engine, the nimbleness of this bike is right there. There's a slight forward lean here, a lot like the Ninja six 50, uh, but you're not terribly forward. It still has handlebars in here and on a bike with no windscreen, a little bit of a forward lean is actually a good thing. There's really not a lot of weight on my hands, but a little bit of movement's gonna push that wind back on you.
It's gonna be a very comfortable position. And because of the back design here, you've got a really kind of nice kind of tuck position as well, which this bike isn't designed for. Tuck the same way that Ninja is. If you're looking at the Ninja six 50 and you're going to be in a tuck position, that ninja is better, has a little bit extra a faring and wind protection and the mirrors which are here mounted to the handlebar on the Zed class of bike are moved out on the faring on the ninja that allows you to get in a tuck position and still see those mirrors there. Whereas you can see if I'm in a tuck position here, the mirrors are pretty much useless on the Zed, they're better because if you're in upright riding position, they're closer to you. When you hold a mirror close to you, think about looking in the mirror close to you versus far away, you get a more of a wide angle view.
So the Z is partly styling differences, um, but really it's that tuck position versus non tuck position. The mirrors come closer to you. That's the real big difference um, for going with the Zed. You know, and if you like the styling, I've never used to love the Z as much as the ninja, but seeing this in person and seeing these paint colors and paint schemes, yeah I'd buy the Zed, I'd buy the Z650 over the Ninja 650 and I don't know if that's true with the Z400. I think I'd buy the Ninja 400. So interesting. Let's take a look at the dash here and then really start going through the details on this to show you what I think makes it really unique and makes it really desirable. So we're gonna take a look at the TFT display here. Now I've set it up so there is intentionally some glare on this screen because a lot of people wonder about these TFT displays and glare.
So first of all, whenever you're filming a display screen, they show more glare in part because the camera has one eye and we have two. Our eyes are actually better adjusting to glare than a camera. But you can see here as soon as I turn it on, you really don't have an issue with glare. You can really see everything on this screen. It is a very, very good screen with good detail. The coloring is very good on your camera. This looks a little bit bluey, at least on my camera here. It is very gray and it's got some good stuff in there. So we're gonna sort of go through the basics here. First of all, you have a tack that moves up and down the thing. Um, so again, at a glance you'll be able to see where you're at. Usually with these and I haven't double checked, but usually you can set a rev limit on these and uh, I don't think I'll do do the check on camera cuz it'll just make for poor video.
Uh, but you can usually you can set a rev limit where they can flash. Um, and that's kind of nice to, you know, be able to tell if you don't wanna go over 6,000 RP before being notified, it'll start sort of flashing at you. So again, I'll double check to make sure that's still there. But moving us through here, really clear, um, you know, speed of course in kilometers now we're here in Canada. You've got information down here that we can cycle through and we will in a second your gear indicator up top always visible. So even though you have a green neutral light here, when you're neutral it goes green up there and then of course one through six, it's a six speed transmission. Uh, that's always gonna be displayed for you, which is really nice fuel gauge down there as well. We've got some trip meter, let's go through that. So we've got trip A, trip B, and then we've got odometer right there and that's all that's there. So if you hit the bottom button here, we'll show you the button that we're hitting a second. We've got average speed there right now. That can
Change well to total time to the battery currently at 12.3 volts kilometers per liter. So that's the instant fuel efficiency I believe that can be set to liters per a hundred kilometers as well. So this is instant and right there is average and we come back to range, which is again a calculation of how many kilometers you'll have left on the tank based on how you've been driving and the types of uh, terrain you've been on. So, uh, don't rely on it perfectly but certainly gives you a pretty good estimate of what's going on. And then of course we're back to the average speed there. So a lot of things uh, in here in this display that work very well, odometer, everything like that. So really like that. And then you have the traction control. So K TRC is Kawasaki traction control, that's a big thing here for 2023.
In addition to getting, getting better tires and having less chance of slip, they also give you this traction control, which I think is really good. So traction control one is basically the um, standard that you're probably gonna drive around with most of the time. Uh, you know, that's sort of where you'd wanna be as you go into there. We can go up to, uh, off there. So we went, we skipped the wrong way. Let's go. There we go. One, two, uh, is there, so two you're gonna use in the rain or if you want the most intervention possible, uh, if you're a newer rider or the bike's newer to you, you can keep it in two and that'll just help protect you a little bit. Extra level one is gonna be sort of that standard riding position and like I said, the off position is there as well.
This is a bike that's not super intimidating to drive with it off. Like I said, I used to have the Zeds, or sorry the ninja or sorry I used to own the versus six 50 myself. Uh, and you could get some slip outta the tires. Now again, it didn't have as nice tires as these, uh, but you can get some slip but of course, um, you know, you've got some ability to uh, you know, do what you want here with the uh, traction control, putting it where you want. So lemme just bring it right back to make sure I've left it on for whoever needs to leave it on. You have to hold down the select button here and I think I'm not being patient enough. There we go. Oh boy, we'll switch that back in one second, uh, when we get that switched. But yeah, level one, level two and off are your settings right there.
So how do we control that TFT display? Well, it's pretty simple. We've got the selection switch here. So the odometer, triple odometer trip A I was using this to cycle through. You just cycle through on the upside of the button. The downside where I was showing you things like the average and instant fuel efficiency, the range, that kind of thing. Tapping this down will cycle through those. So this is the upper, um, part of the display. This is the lower part of the display. It makes perfect sense logically when you're looking at that. And then the selection button here, holding that down will activate that traction control and you can uh, then select up down. So one, two or of course off. So simple, simple controls there. The rest of it's pretty simple motorcycle stuff. There is a trigger back here that you don't see, um, that will flash the high beam.
Uh, so really to get people's attention to just sort of flash it on and off. I really like that on the, uh, several of the motorcycles here. I think that's a nice little safety feature if you're actually using your high beams to lock 'em in place, you're gonna tap that on. Of course signal lights here. All the switch gear feels really, uh, good stuff. So signal, lights, horn, typical stuff. And then you do have the hazard warning lights here and you can see just the little hint there. These are l e D lights. So that Full l e d modern look again makes me a little jealous. It's on this bike for a really good value coming across to this side here. Both the uh, clutch lever and the brake lever have adjustments. This one's five levels of adjustments. So this is your reach adjustment. So if I'm standing back here and I wanna reach my clutch here, let's just actually use it for you. So level one there is probably the furthest out. Let's turn it to level five, which is the furthest you can see it's right here on this knuckle with level five and go back to one. It's, you know, well beyond that knuckle. So what that does is effectively lengthens the reach for all of these, uh, um, these controls here. And uh, you have that both on the clutch lever and the brake lever. The brake lever is also five. Yes, it's also five levels there. So again, both of these can be adjusted for reach, which makes it really comfortable. There's that flash to pass button that we were talking about right there. So two hidden features I should point out about what we've already mentioned is that that tfd display also allows you some smartphone connectivity through the radiology app. So I'll probably have to do an other video to get into that, but anytime you have a TFT display, you have at least some level of smartphone connectivity with that, which is awesome. And then the clutch lever, which we just showed you is part of the slipper and assist clutch. So what a slipper and assist Clutch does is it's started at the racetrack and it's good for both new riders and it's also good for experienced riders. What it does is essentially when you're downshifting, sometimes you can like really aggressively downshift on the track or if you're riding on the street, maybe mess up a downshift, don't get that rev matching kind of the way you want to.
And if you aggressively let go of that clutch, what can happen is the amount of engine speed and engine braking that hits when you dump that clutch is you can have a bit of a rear wheel skid as the engine tries to compensate for you just dumping that clutch in the wrong gear. What the slipper and assist clutch does is assist you by allowing the clutch to slip instead of the wheel. So it's not fully foolproof, but it works pretty well to make sure that you still keep traction on an aggressive downshift or a messed up downshift. Uh, instead of letting the wheel slip, it allows the clutch to slip. Now the way this is designed is sort of an advanced system and a side benefit of the way they're setting it up is when that clutch engages, it pushes together. So you actually need less clutch springs.
Don't worry about how it works. The idea is it makes for a lighter clutch pull, which means when you're driving this thing in traffic and you're up and down through the gears and you're maybe at a stop and go traffic kind of thing, the light clutch pull is really easy. That's something you notice every day. And in an aggressive situation that light clutch pull is part of a system that makes it a safer system to avoid some wheel spin. So you've got the traction control, you've got the A B S and you've got the slipper assist clutch. They're all working to get you great traction and you've got those better tires. Let's go take a look at that right now. So taking this look at the engine sort of below the tank area, they do a few things really well. You've got subtle body work here, which blends in the radiator down here, the radiator on the RS models.
The retro sport is kind of a bit of a visual eyesore. Again, those spikes are styled really well. I really like them and again, I bought one of those rss, but the way they kind of build it into the body work, you don't see that liquid cooling quite the same way. Liquid. Cool. It's a fully modern engine twin cylinder, 650 cc, I think 649 cc or something like that. Um, but very good. You've got a little ice glass here for the oil right now because it's on the side stand, you can't quite see it, but hold the bike level, you'll see it in there, filler there. Everything you need here is nice. What I like is this under slung exhaust with no exhaust coming out back here. First of all, it gives you a better view of the swing arm, which is pretty stylish, but it also takes all of this heavy weight, puts it very down low on the center and brings nothing back up and out the side here.
So from a sporty handling perspective, some of the heavy components are right down low and very centralized and that's a very good thing. That's what you want in a sporty style bike. Same thing with a suspension design. It's all tucked in up high. So very compact overall weight to the bike. The heavy components are low, they're in the middle and they're very good, which is part of what makes this bike a lot of fun. As far as a handling bike, it's worth taking a look at the lighting here. We'll show you the rear lights first because that's sort of where we're set up. If we turn the uh, lights to on or the bike's on, you can see the really cool tail amper light that comes up there. Now to me, motorcycles, of course visibility is an issue with motorcycles, but making the light not just bright but also making it interesting draws people's attention to it.
And that's what you want. You want them to know what you're doing if you're just sitting there riding along like that or if you're hitting the brake. So again, bright l e d thing I like about LEDs is they're instant on. And let's turn on those hazard lights right there. Oh yeah, that still makes me jealous. You're getting the l e d signal lights here. That, uh, again, great value, something that I would've liked to see in the bike that I bought. Now to be fair, I haven't seen the 2023 Z 900 Rs, the Z 900 Rs around other markets. Has it? Maybe, uh, they're starting to bring this to North America, but like I said, they make me jealous because they're really good. Let's take a look at the front lights as well. So take a look at the front. The Zed six 50 here is different than the ninja and one of the differences is the headlight turns with the, uh, with the handlebars here.
So because of that, you end up with really good visibility from the side, but you can kind of get people's attention at a stop light from that by turning your wheel turning or turning your handlebars towards them. So again, the ninja's body work that's kind of connected to the rest of the bike and it steers in between where this one is uh, connected there. So let's just sort of see if we can turn it towards you. There really bright lights there, which are pretty cool. And if we flash the pass right there, blindingly bright lights looking at the camera. So pretty cool there when you can see that. And then let's just turn on those hazards again, those bright L e d um, signal lights there as well that shows. So again, just great lighting, great for safety, but great for visibility. The thing I like about those white l e d lights is they help you help your eyes identify what you're seeing because the color of that light is more white in nature, that's closer to daylight in color.
So if you're looking at a rock or rabbit on the side of the road, your eyes are gonna much more quickly identify not just because they're brighter, but because the color of the light is more in line with what you're familiar with seeing in the daylight. They're just safer all the way around. So let's talk about who these bikes are for. Well, this six 50 engine lineup, you can really come to a Kawasaki showroom. Again, virtually anything you could want. There's a retro version of this that looks like a traditional motorcycle. I'll be honest, the styling language of these is not something I loved in pictures, but every time I walk by them in person, I'm like, that is a cool looking bike. And it seems to be that other people are seeing the same thing. These have been in the showroom for about a day or so and everybody that walks by is like, wow, those are sharp looking bikes.
So it's one of those things that you kind of have to see in person. I think I like the way they did the color different on the frame than the body work. And again, this paint work on both of these is really sharp and Kawasaki's known for their paint work. So again, in that six 50 lineup, if you can get everything you want, why buy these? Well, these are versatile bikes to me, that upright seating position, the overall styling gives you that ninja six 50 capability without that full ninja styling, you've got really good tires here with the road sport too. You've got the nice TFT display here. And if you want a bike that's pretty versatile, you don't have to go to something like the verus, which is a bigger, much, much bigger, uh, slightly heavier or you know, significantly heavier bike with the same engine because this, um, little windscreen here pops on with about four screws.
The aftermarket is full of windscreens that can be larger than that. So you could do some touring on this. And what's cool about it is because it's such a simple installation with the four screws, you could swap out a bigger windshield based on the types of weather you're dealing with or the types of trip you want to do. The overall CD position, again, I'm gonna jump on this one again. CD position is just really, really good. It's just a comfortable thing for a lot of riders. Having those adjustable uh, levers makes it really comfortable for a lot of people with different reach. It's a non-intimidating bike without a whole lot of body work out front. It's very light between your legs. So you've got something that's sporty, you've got something that's comfortable, you've got options to get luggage here. I think even Kawasaki probably has a tail bag here.
I know on the 2023 Ninja 1000SX, they have a tail bag that mounts here, but all kinds of options for tail bags. You could put a tank bag here. It feels nimble, light and compact. It's got all the power you need on the street. It's not too crazy to ensure As far as the, uh, overall power and that kind of thing, this is a bike that is a bike that I would recommend to a whole lot of people. If you're a new rider, the Z400 is below this, that's an option. But I, I wouldn't shy away from telling new riders that this is a bike they can ride. It's certainly something that most people aren't gonna wish for more speed from. So that's kind of what this is. It's sporty, it's comfortable, it's versatile because you could add a few after American accessories and turn it into a different style of bike that you wanted to. It's got pretty high end components
With those L e D lights, the TFT display, the uh, abs, the traction control, and the really good tires. And it's probably one of the best value six 50 s you can get in the Kawasaki lineup. And that's saying something because Kawasaki has a lot of value in that 650 cc engine lineup. Who is it for? It's for a lot of people. I really like these. I'm a big fan of them and I'm hoping that you guys like it as well. Let me know in the comments what you think of this video and I'm kind of hoping that you guys wanna see more videos on these because this is a bike that, uh, as I saw it in person, it impressed me more and more and more and the value of this thing. That's absolutely fantastic. So really good bikes here. If you're looking to see more, let me know.
And of course if you wanna see them in person. We're down here at Jim Gilbert's Power Sports, the number one volume Kawasaki dealer in the country. I'm filming these in early March. There's about 20,000 square feet of indoor heated showroom here. It's massive. You can come see these. Like I said, these two just arrived. There's more coming in. Uh, lots to see here. Lots to go through. Definitely something you can, you should consider seeing. So thanks everybody for watching. Make sure you hit subscribe so we can, uh, post more, more videos of these and you'll, uh, see 'em as well. And, uh, we'll talk to you in the next one.