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2023 Kawasaki Ninja 650 – First Look

Kawasaki is bringing back both the Ninja 650 and Z650 for 2023 with one significant update – traction control. Formerly a rider aid only for the most powerful sportbikes on the planet, the safety benefits of traction control reach far beyond trying to go quickly around a racetrack. The two-step KTRC system does not feature the exotic IMUs that flagship sportbikes use, but a more modest system. In mode 1, KTRC allows the rear tire to slip a little more and doesn’t intervene as early. It’s a sport setting designed to allow the rider maximum drive and acceleration off a corner.

Mode 2 is more conservative, intervening earlier than in mode 1 and is ideal for riding in bad weather or low-grip situations. Then, for riders who insist on being in complete control of their engine’s power, KTRC can be turned off entirely.

Visually and mechanically, both the Ninja and Z 650s don’t deviate much from last year’s model – not that that’s a bad thing. The Ninja-inspired looks remain, as does the tried-and-true 649cc parallel-Twin engine, petal brake discs, and meager suspension. See the press release below for full details.

For 2023, the Ninja 650 is available in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Ebony or Pearl Robotic White / Metallic Matte Flat Raw Graystone / Ebony, with an MSRP of $7,999. The Ninja 650 KRT Edition modeled after the Kawasaki Racing Team is available in Lime Green / Ebony, with an MSRP of $8,199, and is also available with ABS with an MSRP of $8,599.

The 2023 Z650 is available in Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Spark Black, with an MSRP of $7,749. The Z650 ABS model is available in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Ebony, with an MSRP of $8,249.

Begin press releases:


With sleek, angular bodywork draped over a light weight, sporty trellis frame and responsive parallel twin engine, the Ninja 650 delivers uncompromising middleweight Ninja motorcycle performance and style while maintaining everyday versatility.

NEW FOR 2023

2-Mode Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) (KP)

• Kawasaki’s advanced traction control system provides both enhanced sport riding performance and reassurance under certain conditions to allow riders to negotiate low-traction surfaces with confidence. Two modes allow riders to adjust settings to suit the riding situation and rider preference.

  • –  Mode 1, the least intrusive, helps to manage traction during cornering. Designed with sport riding in mind, it facilitates acceleration out of corners by maximizing forward drive from the rear wheel.
  • –  In Mode 2, intervention occurs earlier. When excessive wheel spin is detected, engine output is reduced to allow grip to be regained, effectively enabling riders to negotiate both short, challenging patches (train tracks or manhole covers) and extended stretches of bad roads (wet pavement, cobblestone, gravel) with confidence.
  • –  A switch on the left switch housing gives the rider the option to turn the system off. KTRC is always on when the engine is started.

ENGINE

649cc Twin-Cylinder, DOHC Engine

  • Tuned to deliver strong, responsive power for performance that favors everyday riding and inspires confidence in newer riders, yet is spirited enough for sport riding.
  • Camshaft profiles are tuned for quick response and performance.
  • Slim intake port shape also helps boost engine response andperformance.
  • Airbox design with a single large inlet contributes to the power feeling.
  • Exhaust system has a short header and the sleek muffler’s internal construction further enhances power delivery.
  • Muffler is mounted below the engine to help lower the center of gravity and aid weight centralization.
  • Kawasaki Air Management System(KP) (KAMS) radiator fan cover helps direct hot engine air down to the ground and away from the rider.
  • Compact parallel twin engine helps reduce the dimensions of the entire motorcycle to keep it small and nimble.
  • 180-degree crankshaft plus balancer shaft for extremely smooth engine operation.
  • Triangular crank and transmission shaft layout makes the engine very short from front to back, a semi-dry sump(KP) oil system reduces overall engine height, while the narrow pitch of the chrome composite(KP) plated aluminum cylinders helps reduce engine width.Digital Fuel Injection(KP)
    • Fuel injection settings provide smooth low end response while contributing to the engine‘s quick- revving character.
    • Throttle body diameter is 36mm and utilizes fine atomizing injectors to further enhance engine response and low-to-mid-range power.
    • The throttle bodies feature sub-throttle valves(KP) for optimum performance and rideability. The sub throttles, located behind the main throttle valves, are controlled by the ECU so that the EFI system has more precise throttle response, similar to a constant-velocity carburetor.
    • Precise fuel injection plus exhaust catalyzer significantly reduce emissions.
    • Automatic fast idle system makes starting and warm-up easy.Assist & Slipper Clutch(KP)• Using the rotational forces of the clutch hub and pressure plate, the clutch is forced together during acceleration (Assist function) so that fewer and lighter clutch springs can be used for a lighter feel at the lever. During high back-torque, such as when too low of gear is selected, the Slipper function allows some clutch slippage to help prevent engine lock-up and stalling, and rear-wheel hop.6-Speed Transmission• Equipped with a linkage-type gear shift mechanism for positive shift touch and feeling.

      • Cassette-style transmission puts the transmission shafts and shift drum into a compact layout.

      • Includes Positive Neutral Finder, a Kawasaki exclusive user-friendly feature.

Frame

  • High-tensile steel trellis frame has optimized dimensions and wall thicknesses to significantly reduce frame weight and contribute to extremely light handling.
  • Frame components follow the ideal pipe line so that the lines of the frame are as straight as possible. When bends were necessary their angles were as small as possible, resulting in a design that disperses stress extremely well.
  • Three-point rigidly mounted engine and footpeg stays are used as stressed members to contribute to weight reduction.
  • Suspension
    Horizontal Back-link Rear Suspension(KP)
    • Horizontal Back-link progressive suspension system like that found on the Ninja® ZXTM-10R optimizes balance, sport riding potential and ride comfort.
    • The linkage is placed atop the swingarm and helps make room for the under-engine muffler for better mass centralization.
    • Rear shock is further away from the exhaust so that its operation will not be affected by exhaust heat.
    • Gull-wing swingarm uses hollow press construction that helps keep it light.41mm Front Fork• Upper triple clamp has stylish reinforcing ribs on the upper surface to enhance appearance.Triple Petal Design Brake Discs
      • Nissin brake calipers provide excellent brake feel and control and project a sporty image.
      • Front brake calipers grip dual 300mm petal discs and have big 27mm pistons for excellent brake feel.
      • Petal design offers great cooling and warp resistance. Available ABS
      • Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) helps assist braking under certain conditions.
      • Bosch 9.1M control unit provides precise electronic management and is compact to save space and weight.

ERGONOMICS

Wheels and Tires

• Sporty five-spoke wheel design has a light, nimble appearance.

• Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires contribute to light handling.

Confidence-Inspiring Cockpit

  • Separate, clip-on style handlebar mounts atop the upper triple clamp are positioned slightly forward for an aggressive sport riding position. However, the leg position is opened up by placing the footpegs low and forward to help maintain comfort.
  • The seat is low and slim at the front to make it easier for the rider to place both feet on the ground at a stop.
  • The fuel tank is positioned low on the chassis and its slim design further facilitates the reach to the ground for added rider confidence. A resin design fuel cap eliminates the presence of mounting bolts for a stylish design.
  • 5-way adjustable brake and clutch levers accommodate a variety of hand sizes for increased comfort and control.

[Z650]

Streetfighter Cockpit

    • Slightly-forward handlebar position provides sport riding potential.
    • Low, forward footpeg placement helps keep the rider’s knees open for increased comfort and ease of operation.
    • The fuel tank is positioned relatively low on the chassis and its slim design helps riders to reach the ground and inspire confidence. A resin design fuel cap eliminates the presence of mounting bolts for a more stylish design.
    • The seat is slim at the front to further facilitate the rider’s reach to the ground.
    • Rubber-mounted handlebar reduces vibration.
    • Five-way adjustable brake and clutch levers accommodate a variety of hand sizes for increased comfort

Strong Sugomi Styling

  • A sharp, compact cowl and muscular looking radiator shrouds give the Z650 a strong sugomi presence. Sugomi describes the intense aura or energy given off by a person or object of greatness and felt by the viewer. Someone, or something, possessing sugomi inspires awe, leaves an indelible impression, is daunting in stature or ability, and commands respect.
    • A compact LED headlight is complemented by a centrally located LED position lamp. Sharp edges emphasize the design of the headlight.
    • Sharp, compact cowl has a distinct two-piece design that positions the colored pieces high to create a light appearance. The sharp chin spoiler, meter cover and forward-slanting lines of the cowl contribute to the sugomi design.
    • Wide radiator shrouds provide the impression of muscular shoulders, adding to the Z650’s fierce appearance, while their functional design adds to the sharp looks.
    • Sharp front fender design and compact, upswept tail cowl contribute to the dynamic, sporty image.
    • LED taillight lights up in a Z shape.

Wheels and Tires

• Sporty five-spoke wheel design has a light, nimble appearance.

• Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires contribute to light handling.

Confidence-Inspiring Cockpit

  • Separate, clip-on style handlebar mounts atop the upper triple clamp are positioned slightly forward for an aggressive sport riding position. However, the leg position is opened up by placing the footpegs low and forward to help maintain comfort.
  • The seat is low and slim at the front to make it easier for the rider to place both feet on the ground at a stop.
  • The fuel tank is positioned low on the chassis and its slim design further facilitates the reach to the ground for added rider confidence. A resin design fuel cap eliminates the presence of mounting bolts for a stylish design.
  • 5-way adjustable brake and clutch levers accommodate a variety of hand sizes for increased comfort and control.TFT Color Instrumentation
    • All-digital 4.3-inch TFT (thin-film transistor) color instrumentation gives the cockpit a high-tech, high- grade appearance.
    • TFT delivers a high level of visibility. The screen’s background color is selectable (black or white), and screen brightness adjusts automatically to suit available light.
    • Display functions include: digital speedometer, digital bar-style tachometer, gear position indicator, shift lamp, fuel gauge, odometer, dual trip meters, current and average fuel consumption, remaining range, average speed, total time, coolant temperature,
      clock, battery voltage, Kawasaki service reminder, oil change reminder and the Kawasaki Economical Riding Indicator.
    • Bluetooth chip allows connection to smartphone and RIDEOLOGY THE APP.

RIDEOLOGY THE APP Smartphone Connectivity†

†Do not operate smartphone while riding

• A Bluetooth chip built into the instrument panel enables riders to connect to their motorcycle wirelessly. Using the smartphone application “RIDEOLOGY THE APP,” a number of instrument functions can be accessed, contributing to an enhanced motorcycling experience.

Available functions:

  • –  Vehicle Info: information such as fuel gauge, odometer, maintenance schedule, etc can be viewed via the smartphone.
  • –  Riding Log: GPS route information as well as vehicle running information can be logged and viewed via the smartphone.
  • –  Telephone notices: when a call or mail is received by the smartphone, this is indicated on the instrument display.
  • –  General Settings: general instrument display settings (such as preferred units, date, date format, etc) can be adjusted via the smartphone.
  • Once vehicle information has been downloaded to the app, it can be viewed on the smartphone. Available information includes: odometer, trip A, trip B, fuel gauge, remaining range, average gas mileage, average speed, battery voltage, Kawasaki service reminder, oil change reminder, etc.
  • Detailed riding logs including GPS information and vehicle running information can be recorded. While riding, the app tracks vehicle speed, rpm, gear position, current mileage, and coolant temperature from moment to moment. Once the riding log has been paired, riders can review these items in a graphic-style display at any point along the route. The app can also display a ride summary, with information that may include: route travelled, total distance, total time, gas mileage (best/average), speed (best/average). For either display mode, riders can select which items are displayed, and can arrange them in their preferred order.
  • When riding with the app ON the bike and smartphone are always connected. When the engine is turned off, the latest riding information stored by the app may be viewed on the smartphone.


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