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Fri, 01 Oct 2021

Retrovolution begins with 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS

Targeted at younger riders and those in the early stages of their riding career, the Z650RS is predicted to also appeal to those who fondly recall the launch of the iconic “son of Z1” Z650-B1 in 1977. The delicate balance of old and new, retro and current has been expertly achieved by the Kawasaki design team with clever Z references abounding.  

At the heart of the new machine is an updated version of Kawasaki’s venerable 649 cm3 water-cooled, parallel twin engine used in both the current Z650 and Ninja 650 models. With a justifiable reputation for durability and performance, the assist and slipper clutch equipped engine unit has also formed the basis of machines raced to success at the gruelling Isle of Man TT races.  Tuned in the case of the Z650RS for low and mid rev response, plus characteristic invigorating high rev performance, the engine is rated at 68 PS  (50.2 kW) and will also be available from Kawasaki dealers with a 35kw power down kit fitted creating an A2 compliant machine.

In terms of the chassis, the frame is a tubular trellis type construction providing both lightness and agile response to aid reassuring handling capabilities. Its narrow aspect also allows riders to easily reach the ground at a standstill and manoeuvre the bike on the move with equal ease. The seat height for European models will be 820mm with a low seat accessory option at 800mm. 

Focusing on suspension, the front duties are undertaken by ø41mm conventional forks with Kawasaki’s highly rated horizontal link rear suspension acting on a shock that is adjustable for pre-load. Braking is care of dual twin piston front calipers acting on retro-style 300mm round disc rotors instead of Kawasaki’s customary petal style rotors while at the rear a single piston brake acts on a 200mm rotor all assisted by Bosch advanced ABS.

Specification is one thing but the styling of the Z650RS is a whole new ball game. Evoking myriad memories of the Z650-B1, the paint and pinstripes are a faithful reproduction of the green version of the earlier machine while the iconic “duck tail” cowling behind the seat and faithfully crafted side panels also play homage to the 1977 machine. Even the seat and its stitching pattern reveal a familiar fastidious attention to detail by Kawasaki stylists. 

A round, LED headlamp lights the way while the dual analogue style “artillery shell” shaped meters include a digital centre panel for rider information. The adoption of gold multi-spoke type wheels is truly the “icing on the cake” while further embellishment is possible via a range of Kawasaki Genuine Accessories. Without doubt the new Z650RS will ensure that 2022 is the year of “Retrovolution”.

Click here to view the 2022 Kawasaki Z650 RS