“Naked 2023 Z650 compared to the Retro 2023 Z650RS Kawasaki”
Let’s go side by side, which one turns your gears????
Hey everybody, it's Peter. This video is gonna be a fun one because I'm talking about two bikes that I really like. This is the Kawasaki Z650 Rs. It's a 2023 model. It's this beautiful green color and that is also a 2023 Kawasaki Z650, not the Rs, which stands for retro sport. So what we're gonna do is compare these two bikes. We're gonna talk about seating position, we're gonna talk about how the different styling can make them the use case a little bit different. But really what, what we're gonna focus on is a lot of the differences that the other videos don't talk about. So for instance, we know it has a TFT display on this one doesn't, but there are some things in that situation that maybe we're not thinking about and maybe it uh, affects the way you use it.
And there's a whole bunch of other little differences in these bikes that I think make a difference to which, uh, one may be better for you than the other. So here's the thing. I'm filming 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 entire vehicle lineup. So I can come back to these vehicles again and again and again and make sure that we answer the questions that you want to know. So if I don't answer the questions you want in this video or if you're interested in these bikes, make sure you hit the subscribe button. After that, if you have uh, comment, let me know in the comments section what you want to know, and I'll come back to it both in the comments section and in future videos.
From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript... enjoy...
So let's get going with this comparison. So just yesterday I got my first look at this 2023 model. We focused mostly on the green framed version with the darker gray. We're gonna focus on this one today. And I mentioned that this bike really, really impressed me. It is just a great, great bike and there's no way you can hide it. I mean, Kawasaki doesn't try to hide it either. This is the better value than that if you just compare the spec sheet. My thing is though, people don't buy motorcycles just based on the spec sheet. Sometimes they'll pay more because they wanna buy the bike that they like. And I just bought a Z900 Rs, which same thing with the Zed 900, the RS costs more and you get a few things less. That being said, I bought it and I think there's value in that retro sport, but we're gonna talk about some of those differences so that you can decide, hey, if I'm getting this, what am I giving up?
Or in some cases, what am I gaining? We'll talk about those differences. So like I said, seating position's gonna be different. We're gonna show you that coming up. We're gonna talk about some of the technology differences, but I really wanna focus on the details before we get into some of the obvious stuff. So let's start digging into the nitty gritty details and then work our way back out to some of the more broad things and we'll talk about how those differences affect how you uh, how you like them. But yeah, overall these 2, 6 50 bikes, that six 50 engine is an absolutely great street sport engine. It's not a racetrack engine, although you could certainly track either of these bikes. Um, but that six 50 engine, I've had it in a versus six 50 that I've owned. I loved it. It's really good for what you want.
Both these bikes are lightweight, easy handling, and they have a comfortable seating position. One is gonna be a little bit different than the other and I don't think anything's more comfortable than the other, but there will be some slight differences in there as well. So let's dig in. We're gonna start right here at the front wheel of both these bikes and look at the differences. So starting over here on the Zed six 50, this is a little bit more modern style faring. We'll move to that a second. The biggest difference you're gonna notice is although on the spec sheet, these brakes appear to be basically the same. The dimensions are all the same. The style is the same. Again, this is sort of floating caliper. There's the dual disks. They both have abs. The difference here is these ones stay with the pedal style disc a little bit more modern look and I'll show you the difference in the uh, ZED six 50 Rs in one second as we take a look at the exact same thing.
The other thing to notice is this, uh, silver color. Now I call them the red and the green because there's red frame and green frame, but there's a silver and a darker gray. The silver color does come with these red wheels. So just remember when you're looking at that. Um, it had, I believe it was black wheels with a green stripe on the uh, Z six 50. And the same thing on the Rs we're looking at today. The wheels are a little bit different. So let's take a look at that one right now. So take a look at these wheels. These are the gold wheels. Now you can get these on the 50th anniversary of the previous year. We actually still have one of those still here in stock, but this is the only way to get the gold wheels with the green paint in the 2023 model.
The other one, uh, we did a separate video of the uh, rs already, which is a black model which looks really sharp. So if you want the gold wheels, you can only get 'em on the green. And again, you've got those round cas or round uh disks here instead of having the pedal style one. So that's really the only difference. The other thing is both of these bikes, and I talked about this a little bit in the previous video I did of the Zed six 50. Both of these bikes have the road sport, two tires I believe. There we go. Sport max, yeah, road sport two. These are a nicer tire than on the Zed 900 Rs that I bought. Which bothers me because this is a less expensive bike and you have the better Dunlop tire than I have now. I haven't seen the 2023 version of my bike.
I bought the 2022. So it is possible that they upgraded that in 2023 on the Zed 900. But it's worth noting that you have very good tires here for this class of bike. And like I said, better tires here on this 2023 Z650 Rs than I have on my Z900 Rs, which is actually nine 50 as well. So again, same tires on both same everything. Just a different break and the different faring. Now I know it looks like I set up this camera of wrong with this shot. It's a very busy shot, but this one here has this red frame and it's easier to show you the frame on this bike than on the other bike. But we will show you and there are some differences here. The frame I is identical in here and like when you see the differences in the bikes, you can really um, you wouldn't think they're on the exact same frame, but there is the exact same frame.
All the welds, all the angles, all the pieces. They're all in the exact same spot on each bike up till about here, around here on the back here. There has to be some difference. I still think the rear foot pegs are mounted in the same spot, but there is a tiny bit of difference because although the dimensions of these bikes are slightly different in width, which is probably due to the handlebars in length, which is probably due to the tail section here, there is a 0.2 of an inch difference in wheelbase. And I know that the front, uh, the angle of the front steering here is the exact same that everything, the dimensions on there are the front. So there's a slight, slight, slight difference somewhere in the rear here. Uh, which makes sense because the tail section comes up here and it's more level on the um, on the Z650 Rs.
And that might mean there's some difference. The other little difference here is this cover plate right here is styled like this on the modern bike and it's a little bit more retro in the retro bike. Let's show you that right now or in one second. And then you have a little bit more of a visual faring which covers your liquid cooling radiator right here, which is a little more visible or completely visible on the Zed six 50 Rs. So I like that sort of the style, the way that covers it up. But again, same frame, same engine. So take a look at the similar angle here. We'll talk about some differences from here on up. But down here, again, all the same little different styling piece right here. But all of the key pieces, all the frame pieces, all the same, even the way the exhaust is routed is all the same.
So really when we talk about these retro sport bikes, as you have a fully modern sport bike underneath the classic styling, that's very, very much true because you really have that exact same frame. Even the, like I said, the exhaust routing, all of that's exact same. So now that we've established that essentially from here down, both these bikes are the same. Obviously there's a styling difference up top. You have different style tanks among the other different styling and there's a practical difference here as well. This here on the retro sport is a 12 liter fuel tank. And this here on the regular Zed six 50 is a 15 liter tank. So of course that's gonna have a difference in range cuz fuel efficiency should be basically a wash between the two. The other thing that's interesting is on the Kawasaki website, both these bikes are identically weighted.
So they are 412 pounds on the website, however that is a semi wet weight. I believe they fill the fuel tank to 90% uh, on their uh, weight measurements. So technically if this is at 90% and this is at 90%, there is a very slight weight difference in the bikes with this one being a hair lighter, not something you're gonna notice but worth mentioning there as well. So all those specs, uh, weight being the exact same is probably just a hair different if they were both out of fuel or both full of fuel. But we're not talking anything that you would notice at all. So now let's talk about the seating position, cuz again, with that frame being basically the same, the seats are quite different. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna line up one bike here, sit on it and try to show you the exact seating position as we fade into with the second bike in the same position.
So you can see that slight uh, difference in seating position. Let's do that right now. So this is always a little tricky to get perfect, but I'm making the assumption that if the frame is the same I can put this the uh, kickstand in the same spot and you should be able to see a nice transition from this bike to the next bike. Now one thing I will mention with this seating difference and we will cover the seat a little bit more in the, in the a little bit here, it does give a slightly lower step oversight. So you can see that if I swing my leg over here, it's nice and low. So what I'm gonna do is try to look forward and uh, sort of give you the position here. We'll talk about some of these details, but we're just trying to give you just the seating position here. So I'm gonna put my left leg up where it goes, where I would want it looking straight ahead and hopefully you'll be able to see a transition here from one to the other.
So it looks like I messed up lining up that bike. So I will say that the legs stay in the same position but there is a difference in the hand position. So you can see that in that transition. Sorry about messing that up. We'll try to get right next time.
So there you go. That's the difference. And I'll be honest until I edit this video, I don't really know the difference visually. This handlebar seems to sort of come up a little less towards me, but both of them are very comfortable despite the fact that that has probably a little bit more cushy. I point to that. That's off camera. The Z6Rs has probably a little bit more cushy seat, a little bit larger seat. I don't find either one uncomfortable in any way. I find both these bikes to be quite comfortable. So potentially that RS is probably gonna be a little bit more comfortable to me. I feel like there's a little bit more of a difference in seating position between the Z900 Rs and the Z900 than there is between the six 50 and the Z650 Rs. That could be just me.
But let's talk about some of the other differences here that you're gonna see from the cockpit area. Obviously there's this TFT display, so let's start with that. All right, so in yesterday's video I zoomed in closer to this screen and you could sort of see just that. So if you wanna see a little better view of that, I am using some glare here intentionally. I could make it a little bit darker, but I wanna show you that when you turn the vehicle on, that glare disappears with this uh, TFT display. The other thing I wanna show you is on the Zed six 50, your key is mounted to the bike on the Zed six 50 Rs. It's mounted to the handlebar so it turns with the handlebar. I don't think that makes any difference but there is a difference there. I also wanna show you this switch here, which is part of the reason I'm doing uh, things the way I am once to turn this on.
You've got that Kawasaki TFT display comes up. It is very clear in here. Let's just talk really quickly about the features odometer. You have the odometer, the trip odometer and the trip B. So trip A, trip B, that's what's up top. Then in the bottom section down here you can see I'm hitting the bottom of this button here. I'll change the bottom section. Kilometers per liter is my instant kilometers per liter. Then you have average kilometers per liter. I think you can set those both up for liters per hundred kilometers as well. And then you have the range. So that is of course the calculation of how much range you have left in the fuel tank based on how you have been driving. Obviously right now fuel is very low and that's really all you have. Oh sorry, average speed as well and the time and the battery.
Oh I forgot about the battery. So that's basically the basics there. So all of this uh, information, a lot of that's gonna be available still on the other one. The difference that you're gonna have here is this traction control, Kawasaki traction control. It's level one. You're gonna have level one, level two and off and you can see the select switch here. This switch here, I use the up and the down. It also has a select button in the middle. You're not gonna see this on the rs, we'll show you that in one second. Holding this down, you get the traction control here and it should start blinking in a second. Maybe it won't anyways, there is no, there we go tap it. So then uh, you can go off, you can go traction level one and traction level two. So two would be used for really the rain.
Uh, one is kind of your standard traction control and of course off on this bike with this kind of power. It's not something that would scare me to turn it off but obviously if you're in slippery conditions you probably want to keep it on at least level one. I would drive it with level one all the time. Gear indicator, really nice display. Now of course if you want the TFT display, this is the way to go. One other benefit that we don't talk about enough is a TFT display. Kawasaki R links up with your cell phone has a RI radiology app and it has some functions there with cell phone connectivity that you cannot get on the retro sport. So on this bike, traction control, TFT display and cell phone connectivity, those are things that you cannot get on the retro sport. Let's go take a look at that one for a quick second though and show you what you do get.
So filming from a similar angle here, first thing I wanna point out is this switch is different. There's an up and there's a down but there's no selection switch. That's because there's no traction control on this model. So now what I'm gonna try to do is keep filming here, we'll zoom in a little closer. You can see the key is then mounted to that dash and bear with me here. I am zooming in on a cell phone right now so I'm not the smoothest but let's keep it like that. Turn the key to on here. Again, key moves with the dash. You still have a lot of the same information here because you have this great display in the center. So that retro look uh, works really well. You can see those clear, easy to read gauges. And then again if I hit the up button here you've got the odometer on the very bottom, you've got trip A, trip B, and then the same display continues to display everything else.
So whereas in the past you could have trip a show as well as fuel efficiency. Here it's one or the other. So this one's set to miles per gallon. US obviously we can change that average miles per gallon range in miles. So again we're gonna change all this out actually the odometers and miles as well. So we have not set this bike up correctly for delivery yet. Uh, obviously just pull it out of the pack. But this is a Canadian bike. It will be set up for kilometers and I think liters per a hundred kilometers is the way I would set it up. But you could do kilometers per lit as well. So a lot of that same information is down here. I don't think we have a time on this. The other one had a timer. Yes, so no timer on this one. Uh, and there's that 900 Rs actually has, sorry about that.
The 900 Rs also has the outside temperature, which just doesn't have, you still have your temperature gauge here, which you would have on the TFC display fuel, the gauge there, which you would have and gear indicator right there. So you have really a lot of the same information but you don't have that cell phone connectivity. So that's one thing that people um, you know, have to remember to give up. You're giving up with that tfd display when you go with this. Information's still there but no cell phone connectivity. So let's take a look at the handlebar here. On the RS. You can remember that this switch is different but other than that they are identical. It's the same grip. Here you have the uh, reach adjustable levers on both uh, clutch lever and the brake lever. And you have the same controls in here. So really the same exact thing.
The one thing you're having a little trouble seeing is right here by my hand. There is your flash to pass. That's your um, you know, basically your high beam. You can flash it on and off like that or you can lock it on and off like that. One thing to note here is you do have the hazard lights down here, which a lot of people don't realize as we're talking about hazard lights, that's in other little feature that I really like about the Zed six 50 that I don't have in the RS model. Now it may not bother you too much, but the RS model, as you saw them flashing there, they're incandescent signals here again fits with that retro look. So maybe it doesn't bother you but it's a retro modern bike. Uh, I don't have the L E D signal lights on my Zed 900 Rs that I would like because in North America we don't have that.
However, the Z650, it does have the L E D lights, uh, including the L e D signal lights. So let's take a look at headlights, compare those two and taillights as well. Cause that's a pretty big difference. Uh, although they're both functionally they're very similar. So the reason I'm showing you these side by side is because both of these bikes are equipped with L E D lights. They're both turned on right now interestingly on the Zed six 50 there is the L E D headlight that is on and it is an extremely bright headlight. The high beam is just on the lower section here and you can see on this one there is a little like daytime light in there. If your headlight doesn't work, that kind of gives you some light there a little bit, but it is not actually properly lit and I think your lo beam would be there and your high beam would be up there.
So it's again, l e d light on both but not l e d signal lights on both l e d signals over here. Not l e d signals over here. And the same goes for the back. So l e d lights a little bit different, uh, in how they work. Let's just jump around the back here. Well, my camera work, I'm a little outta practice here. Moving the camera the wrong way. Outback is pretty cool because you have this retro style look like this looks like there's just a little single old-fashioned bulb in there by that is l e d. And then over here you have that sort of zed pattern look. So that very modern, clearly L e d look over here where here, the very retro look and again the tail here is something that is sort of that duck bill kind of tail, that classic look that they did in the 1970s there.
And of course a very modern look right there. You do have a little bit more, uh, tail extension there than you do over here as well. Just comes out with the body work. So if you're gonna do a tail tidy, maybe a little less necessary on this, uh, maybe you'd like it a little bit more on a bike like that. So that is kind of those exterior details. Let's just talk about some of the differences in riding these two bikes. So practically speaking, these are different bikes in a couple ways. You can see from the angle that I'm filming at here that the passenger seat here is significantly raised up over the driver's seat right here. Where on this bike here, there is still a raise, but it's a much lower raise. It's my feeling that a com a passenger's gonna be more comfortable here.
But to be fair, this is still a good size passenger seat and sometimes people like to sit their passengers a little higher so they have better visibility. I like them a little bit lower for center of gravity, but the reality is a couple inches here and there. It's probably not gonna make a whole lot of difference. What I like this seat for is you have a little bit better ability in my mind to strap on a little bit bigger, uh, luggage, that kind of thing over this seat. It is definitely a wider seat than over here. That being said, there's a lot of packages and uh, luggage type things that fit into this seat that comes off and can fit underneath here. So you have options either way as far as sporty riding. Both these bikes are gonna feel very light, very easy to drive.
This one. Having the traction control does make a difference, but I'm not sure it makes as much of a difference in dry pavement. These are powerful bikes, but they are not overly powerful bikes. Something like my Z900, you can really give a throttle and really accidentally wheely or accidentally spin that wheel on these bikes. I don't think you're gonna be accidentally doing that, although they, those things can happen. So traction control is very important if you're doing a lot of wet weather riding. But I don't know if it's as important if you're doing the dry weather riding and at the end of the day you need to pick the bike that appeals to you most. As far as practicality, you have round mirrors here. You have uh, wider mirrors there. The round mirrors I like, they give good visibility, but these can give a little bit extra width to them just in the design that they work.
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So either one's gonna make you feel safe, either one's gonna make you feel comfortable. It just comes down to which style you like better. And if you're okay paying a little bit more for styling, which I was when I bought mine, or if you wanna make sure you're getting your value all in the features, which again, this one has a little bit step up in features for less money. So lemme know what you think. Do you own either of these bikes? Tell me which one you think you like best for you. Tell me what you like about them and if you have questions about them, make sure you let me know as well because I will be able to come back to these bikes again and again because I film here at Jim Gilbert's PowerSports. Again, Canada's number one volume Kawasaki dealer. They allow me complete access to their entire lineup to make sure that I can help answer your questions. And if you wanna come down and see them, these are going quick. A lot of these are selling right away. So make sure you swing by the dealership here in Frederick New Brunswick and check it out for yourself. Thanks everybody for watching.