2020 Kawasaki 650 Ninja
8th October 2019
649cc | Parallel twin | Dunlop Sportmax tyres
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▲ Kawasaki Ninja 650 for 2020. Warmed up, but not overheated
Kawasaki's 649cc Ninja is an unashamed budget-conscious middleweight motorcycle launched in 2017 having pushed aside the klunkily-named ER-6F. From the start, the 650 Ninja was a worthy enough motorcycle offering satisfying performance for those riders who don't feel the urge to stray too close to the edge.
Kawasaki saw this bike as a part time commuter and weekend sportster/tourer, and the firm gave it just enough bells and whistles to nudge it over the street cred line. Since its launch, it's sold in respectable numbers, but a revamp is clearly overdue, and the Big K has obligedóbut the upgrade isn't likely to blow anyone's boots off.
The DOHC, 8-valve, parallel twin, liquid-cooled engine is the same bag'o'bolts as the 2019 model (67bhp/49lb-ft). The "trellis-style chassis" (Kawasaki's wording) is also exactly as it was. But the stylists have evidently sharpened their pencils, notably with regard to the fairing, side panels and pillion saddle. It's a little more crisp and cutting, but isn't going anywhere new or exciting. That said, it pretty much keeps the bike up to speed and is enough to make the outgoing model look a little more dated.
Meanwhile, a 10.9cm full-colour TFT dash has been installed to give the rider something to play with at traffic lights, and Bluetooth connectivity is on the 2020 menu. LED illumination graces the front and rear. Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 are standard fitment. Three colours are on offer:
KRT Edition (Lime Green/Ebony)
Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark
Black Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black
Candy Steel Furnace Orange/Metallic Spark Black Candy Steel
Furnace Orange/Metallic Spark Black
...and if those colours are a little confusing, that's how Kawasaki gave them to us.
A performance model and a more convincing tourer are on the way, but no price or delivery date for any of the models has yet been revealed. However, we expect the bikes to be cost-consciously priced at around £6,500 and then motor onwards to somewhere around £7k.
We're not overly impressed with this warm-over. But we're not sneering at it either. From where we're sat, it simply looks like a modest move forward and will probably satisfy most Ninja 650 aficionados. Nice, but not essential.
Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve, 4-stroke parallel twin
Bore x stroke: 83mm x 60mm
Compression ratio: 10.8:1
Fuelling: Injection. 2 x 36mm dual throttle valves
Maximum power: 50.2 kW (68 PS) @ 8,000 rpm
Maximum torque: 64Nm (47lb-ft) @ 6,700 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, wet multi-plate clutch
Final drive: Chain
Front brakes: Dual semi-floating 300mm discs. Dual piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 220mm disc. Single-piston caliper
Front suspension: 41mm telescopic fork
Rear suspension: Horizontal Back-link with adjustable preload
Front tyre: 120/70-ZR17
Rear tyre: 160/60-ZR17
Seat height: 790mm (31-inches)
Kerb weight: 193kg (424lbs)
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