Kawasaki’s agile upright naked Z650 sportbike is getting the same retro styling treatment that proved so successful with the Z900. The new 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS retro-modern motorcycle gets styling changes, along with some ergonomic modifications. Here’s what Kawasaki did to turn the Z650 into the Z650RS.
- The riding position gets relaxed on the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS.
- The rubber-mounted handlebar is a big part of the Z650RS’s feel. Kawasaki raised the upper triple clamp three-quarters of an inch and then bolted on a wide, flat-bend handlebar. The grips are two inches higher on the RS than the standard Z650, and over an inch closer to the rider. The result is a much more upright seating position, with more leverage for the rider. The steering sweep is also widened for easier maneuverability in tight spaces.
- The Z650SR’s stepped seat is nearly a half-inch taller than the Z650. That means more legroom.
- The teardrop-style fuel tank gives a nostalgic feel, while still holding four gallons.
- Organic curves rule the day on the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS. The four-gallon fuel tank is a graceful teardrop design, while the LED taillight is a wide oval. The round LED headlight has two round clocks with bullet-style casings perched atop it, with round rearview mirrors climbing from the handlebar. Nestled in between the speedometer and tachometer is a scrollable LED display.
- To give the Z650RS some definition, the side covers are angular and the tailpiece juts out flatly. It’s not an accident that the Z650RS’s tailpiece reminds you of the 1972 Kawasaki Z1, or the KZ650 from the late-1970s.
- Although Kawasaki didn’t go all-in for retro styling with wire-spoke wheels, the cast wheels get a spoke-like style. Mounted on the rims are Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires.
- The trellis chassis is unchanged, and that means a modern single-shock rear suspension. The fork is a bit more retro, being a traditional non-inverted design. Triple disc braking with Bosch 9.1M ABS is standard, and the front brake lever can be adjusted to five different distances from the righthand grip.
- The motor is the same parallel-twin found in the Z650, featuring 49 ft/lbs of torque. The oversquare engine has a 180-degree crank timing that favors smoothness over rumble. The exhaust is a modern design, and the swingarm is arched on one side—straight on the other. The clutch is an assist-and-slipper design, with the clutch lever being five-position adjustable—unusual on a clutch with cable operation.
- The 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS has a price tag of $8999. That’s $1150 more than the 2022 Z650 ABS. We don’t have an arrival date at dealers yet.
2022 Kawasaki Z650RS Specs
- Type: Parallel twin
- Displacement: 649cc
- Bore x stroke: 83 x 60mm
- Maximum torque: 49 ft-lbs @ 6500 rpm
- Compression ratio: 10.8:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC; 4vpc
- Fueling: EFI w/ 36mm Keihin throttle bodies
- Transmission: 6-speed w/ Positive Neutral Finder
- Final drive: Sealed chain
- Frame: Steel trellis
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 41mm fork; 4.9 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Spring-preload adjustable horizontal shock; 5.1 inches
- Wheels: Cast spoke-style
- Tires: Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 160/60 x 17
- Front brakes: 300mm petal-type rotors w/ 2-piston calipers
- Rear brake: 220mm petal-style disc w/ single-piston caliper
- ABS: Bosch 9.1M
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 55.3 inches
- Rake: 24.0 degrees
- Trail: 3.9 inches
- Seat height: 31.5 inches
- Fuel capacity: 4.0 gallons
- Curb weight: 412 pounds
- Colors: Metallic Moondust Gray/Ebony; Candy Emerald Green
2022 Kawasaki Z650RS Price: $8999 MSRP