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Kawasaki’s All-New Z650RS

Kawasaki’s 650cc class Twins come in a wide range of shapes and styles – from full cowling Ninja sportbikes to the Z family of supernaked models to the Versys adventure-style and Vulcan cruiser-style machines. The newest member to join the venerable 650cc lineup is the all-new 2022 Z650RS, a middleweight retro sport that combines timeless looks inherited from the Z900RS with a compact, responsive package that riders will love to enjoy daily.

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Just like its bigger Z900RS counterpart, the Z650RS tempts the eye with the beauty of an orthodox motorcycle. Distinguishing itself from its bigger sibling is a slimmer fuel tank and a shorter, more compact tail, which express its light handling and approachable character. The Z650RS has a fun and easy character that can be attributed to an engine and chassis based on that of the highly acclaimed Z650.

The responsive 649cc parallel twin engine with robust low-end torque, combined with a lightweight chassis, deliver rider-friendly power delivery and light, natural handling that evokes a dose of fun to city outings and daily commutes. Factor in the relaxed upright riding position that you would expect from a retro sport model, plus a comfortable reach to the ground, and riders will be looking for any excuse to head out for a ride.

Parallel-twin 649cc engine
Lightweight trellis frame
Telescopic front fork and horizontal back-link rear suspension system
Compact, horizontal tail
Dual-dial instrumentation with multi-function LCD screen
Round LED headlight
Spoke-style cast wheels
Disc brakes with standard ABS
Assist and slipper clutch


Optimized for everyday riding, the exciting paralell-twin engine offers quick response, strong low-mid range performance and excellent fuel economy. When opening the thottle, riders will notice a smooth and powerful engine character offering both a high level of control and gratifying rush of acceleration. The liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve, 649cc paralell twin is equipped with fuel injection and has a strong low-end power focus that inspires rider confidence, while also lending itself to sporty riding.

The 36mm throttle bodies contribute to the engine’s strong low-mid range performance and response, while sub-throttles ensure a smooth response. Fine-atomizing injectors delivering 75-micron droplets complement the throttle bodies, providing the ideal fuel-air mixture needed for the low-mid range focused engine. An open-deck aluminum die-cast cylinder contributes to the overall light weight of the Z650RS. Its plated, cylinder bores enable a narrow cylinder pitch and slim engine width.


The 180° crankshaft drives a balancer shaft for silky smooth engine operation and a semi-dry sump design reduces engine height. The engine’s compact size allows it to be positioned lower in the frame and contributes to a low center of gravity. A simplified cooling system routes coolant through the engine cases to the cylinder and head to reduce external routing. A radiator fan cover, which is located behind the radiator, directs hot air down and away from the rider to signficiantly increase rider comfort when at a standstill.

The 6-speed, return transmission is paired with an assist and slipper clutch which lightens the pull at the lever and reduces wheel hop under heavy engine braking for direct and precise shifting.

A key contributor to the light weight of the Z650RS is its innovative high-tensile steel trellis frame, which can be felt immediately when lifting the bike off of its side stand. The lines of the frame were made as straight as possible, and when bends were necessary their angles were made as small as possible, resulting in a design highly adept at dispering stress.

Using Kawasaki’s in-house anaylsis technology, the necessary pipe diameter, length, and wall thickness were precisely determined to deliver the ideal lateral and torsional rigidty. This also allowed unnecessary material to be trimmed, further resulting in the light weight frame. Rigid-mounted engine and footpeg stays are used as stressed members, aiding in the frame’s rigidty and light weight.


In order to give the Z650RS a light handling feel, Kawasaki engineers used a steep angle design. Kawasaki’s in-house analysis technology was also used in the swingarm, and similar to the frame, the line from the pivot to rear axle was made as straight as possible. This lightweight swingarm design contributes to the bike’s light, natural handling.

Great manueverability was achieved through a short wheelbase and tight turning radius. The angle of the rear frame is less upswept than that found on the Z650 and helps to achieve the Z650RS flat, even tail design. Just like the Z650, the rear frame’s twin-tube design contributes to the bike’s comfortable reach to the ground.


Handling the front suspension duties on the Z650RS retro machine is a 41mm telescopic front fork. On the rear, horizontal back-link suspension offers a progressive character and delivers a balance of sport performance and ride comfort. The rear suspension positions the shock unit and linkage above the swingarm, contributing to mass centralization and ensuring that it is not affected by exhaust heat. Kawasaki Motors Corp.,

Stopping the Z650RS is a pair of 300mm front brake discs that deliver plenty of braking power. The front discs are matched to dual-piston front calipers that offer superb brake feel and control. On the rear, a single 220mm brake disc can be found and matched with a single-piston caliper. Round discs on both front and rear contribute to the bike’s retro sport image.


ABS is a standard feature on on the Z650RS, providing braking confidence and a compact Bosch 9.1M ABS keeps weight to a minimum. Similar to those found on the Z900RS, original cast wheels feature flat spokes designed to look like classic wire-spoked wheels. The wheels were designed using Kawasaki’s advanced anaylsis technology and offer a balance of light weight and stylish looks that contribute to both handling and a design suited to the retro category.

Together with the swingarm, the wheels contribute to the bike’s light, natural handling. Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport tires have been fitted for performance and add to the light handling of the motorcycle.


The wide, flat handlebar and relaxed riding position found on the Z650RS puts the rider in a natural, comfortable position that both inspires confidence and facilitates control for a wide range of riders. Thanks to longer fork tubes, the upper-triple clamp is positioned 20mm higher than that found on the Z650, contributing to a higher handlebar position and more upright riding position.

The handlebar grips are 50mm higher and 30mm further back and closer to the rider than that of the Z650. Its wide 35° steering angle facilitates low-speed handling. Thanks to the bike’s low 31.5 inch seat height and slim overall design, riders can more easily keep both feet firmly on the ground when stopped. The narrow frame and engine design combined with the slim fuel tank, allow the rider to grip with their knees and keep their feet closer together.


Excellent ride comfort can be found thanks to a stepped seat design, which is slimmer at the front and facilitates the reach to the ground. Utilizing the ignition key, the seat can be removed and offers hassle-free access to the fuse box and tool kit. Rubber mounted handlebars reduce vibration transmitted through the handlebar grips and to the mirrors, adding to the bike’s comfortable feel. The 5-way adjustable clutch and brake levers help accommodate a variety of hand sizes for increased comfort. Rubber pads on both the rider and passenger footpegs use a harder rubber material with hollow centers to reduce vibration felt through the footpegs.


Just like the Z900RS, the Z650RS features timeless good looks that give this middleweight model a light and casual appearance to reflect its rider-friendly character. The simple and modern design touches allow the Z650RS to blend seamlessly into your everyday life and riding. Featuring a blend of retro and modern design elements, the LED headlight casts a bright, white light and consists of two chambers (low-beam/high-beam) and a grooved design on the thick headlight ring that adds a modern touch.

The retro-style fuel tank design uses edges dividing the top and sides of the tank to emphasize its compact size. A simple design of the engine’s side covers contribute to the modern retro styling. The tail of the Z650RS traces a horizontal line, contributing to its flat stance. The tail is shorter than that of the Z900RS, which reinforces the light, casual styling theme. Unique to the Z650RS is the original design stepped seat, emphasizing the compactness of the tail.


An oval design on the LED taillight pays homage to Kawasaki’s old-school Z models. The LED taillight on the Z650RS lights up as a solid surface to create a design that is both retro and modern. LED turn signals and an external helmet lock can also be found and add to the appearance. Dual-dial instrumentation with multi-function LCD screen balances the retro-style looks with modern functionality. The bullet-shaped dial cases provide a retro sport model touch, while the modern typeface used on the dial faces add a contemporary touch.

The LCD screen features a negative display with white letters on a black background, adding to the instrument clusters sporty, modern look. Display functions include gear position indicator, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, remaining range, current and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature, clock, and the economical riding indicator.


The 2022 Z650RS model is available with ABS in Metallic Moondust Gray / Ebony and Candy Emerald Green color schemes with an MSRP of $8,999.

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