New Z650RS ramps up Kawasaki’s ‘Retrovolution’

Kawasaki is calling it a ‘Retrovolution’ – 2022 will see it ramping up its retro revival as it expands the popular RS family.

It is adding a new Z650RS to its retro sport line, opening the mid-capacity class to a wider range of riders.

Pricing starts at £7,549 and it’s available from November.

Kawasaki has nearly 50 years of Z heritage and this experience comes to the fore in this new retro motorbike. Clever Z references subtly balance old and new, retro and current.

Targeted at younger riders and those relatively new to riding, the Z650RS will also appeal to those who fondly recall the launch of the iconic ‘son of Z1' Z650-B1 in 1977.

Its heart is an updated version of the venerable 649cc, water-cooled, parallel twin engine from the Z650 and Ninja 650.

For the Z650RS it is tuned for low and mid-range response, plus characteristic invigorating high-rev performance.

Two versions will be offered – 68PS and an A2-compliant 47PS with a power-cutting kit fitted.

The frame provides lightness and agile response for reassuring handling. It is narrow so riders can easily reach the ground and manoeuvre the bike. The standard seat height is 820mm but it can be lowered to 800mm.

The front suspension is 41mm diameter conventional forks while the rear shock is adjustable for pre-load.

ABS braking sees retro-style 300mm round front discs, instead of Kawasaki’s customary petal style rotors, with dual twin-piston front calipers. The rear brake is a single-piston, 200mm disc.

The Z650RS’s styling evokes 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.

The seat and its stitching pattern also reveal a familiar fastidious attention to detail.

The retro styling includes a round, LED headlamp while the dual analogue-style ‘artillery shell’ shaped meters include a digital central information panel.

Gold multi-spoke wheels complete the look and there is also a range of Kawasaki Genuine Accessories for those who want to personalise their Z650RS further.

The Z650RS is available in three colours – Metallic Spark Black at £7,549 and Candy Emerald Green and Metallic Moondust Gray/Ebony, both at £7,699.