Kawasaki has launched its 2017 range of motorcycles in India including the BS IV compliant Ninja 300, the new Z650, Ninja 650 and the Z900. Here are the first impressions
Replacing the ER-6n, Kawasaki has now introduced the Z650 in India. Gone is the weird looking ER-6n and in comes a sharper looking Z650. As the name rightly suggests, this naked offering draws inspiration from the Z family of Kawasaki motorcycles. One glance and the Z650 immediately looks a lot more aggressive than its predecessor. The headlamps design, tank extensions, the taillights as well as the grab rails are sharply designed to give the Z650 a sportier appeal. It is also a lot more sophisticated than its predecessor thanks to some much-needed equipment like slipper clutch and ABS. The new design and the additional features are sure to open the Z650 to a larger market.
Providing firepower to the Z650, is an updated version of the 649cc parallel-twin unit making 67bhp and 65.7Nm. Although the peak power output is 2bhp less than its predecessor, the difference in performance is hardly noticeable. Credit for this goes to the lightweight tubular trellis frame that helps the Z650 shed an impressive 19kg over the ER-6n. The weight loss has also helped in improving its handling dynamics and the Z650 feels nimbler than its predecessor. The 6-speed gearbox remains unchanged but it is now assisted by a slipper clutch.
Kawasaki had chalked out a 3km track to experience the motorcycle but the single run on the track that we got was just not enough to evaluate it. That being said, the Japanese bike maker has retuned the engine for improved low and mid-range performance which should make it a lot more comfortable to ride in the city.
The Kawasaki Z650 has all that was missing in the ER-6n. To make things more interesting, it has been launched at Rs 5.19 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), which is just Rs 40,000 more than the price of predecessor when it was first launched in 2014.
When the Kawasaki Ninja 650 entered the Indian market, it was the only middle-weight offering at that time. Time passed, new players entered the game but the Ninja 650 remained unchanged thanks to which it was starting to show its age. Now, the new Ninja 650 is here and it promises to be as much of an all-rounder as its predecessor.
The new 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 borrows its design cues from the ZX-10R. Due to the considerably lowered height and handle bar, it might seem that the riding posture is a bit aggressive just like its larger sibling but it isn’t quite the case. The posture is adequately sporty yet comfortable. As far as the design itself is concerned, the new Ninja 650 looks stunning! The split headlamp with the protruding lip, the well sculpted tank as well as the overall silhouette make the N650 look lean.
Just like the Z650, the new Ninja 650 too comes with an updated version of the 649cc parallel-twin motor. This motor too makes 67 horses and 65.7Nm. The 6-speed transmission it comes with is assisted by a slipper clutch to ensure that the rear wheel doesn’t lock up during aggressive downshifts. We could only take the Ninja 650 for a short spin in Amby Valley, Lonavla, but it did feel strong in its mid and low range just like its naked sibling.
The Ninja 650 also gets a new frame that helps the motorcycle shave off as much as 18kg. Despite the reduction, it still continues to be a fairly heavy motorcycle. That being said the power/torque figures are unchanged on this model which eventually gives it a better power-to-weight ratio. One of the most important additions to the 2017 Ninja 650 is ABS.
Kawasaki has launched the 2017 Ninja 650 at Rs 5.69 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) which is marginally cheaper than the Benelli’s TNT 600i ABS.
One of the biggest complaints about the Kawasaki Z800 often heard from owners and enthusiasts is its weight – at 231kg it is 10kg heavier than its litre class sibling. As a replacement to the Z800, Kawasaki has now launched the all-new Z900 at Rs 9 lakh inclusive of accessories. Thanks to a completely redesigned lightweight trellis frame, Kawasaki has managed to keep the weight in check. The Z900 is an impressive 21kg lighter than the Z800 despite sporting a larger 948cc inline four-cylinder engine. All of this weight is well distributed too and you don’t quite feel it, even when riding at slow speeds. As you’d expect from a four-pot motor that makes 124 horses, the acceleration is brisk thanks to which the Z900 feels like it is on steroids. The flat handlebar, low 795mm seat height and ensure that the Z900 has an upright yet comfortable seating posture.
All the motorcycles that bear the Z family name are crafted sharply and sport a design that can make you go weak in the knees. While the Z800 was all about sharp cuts and edges, its successor’s edges have been smoothened out to give it a less intimidating appeal. It continues to get the split headlamp, as well as the Z-shaped LED taillamps. As you’d expect from a motorcycle that costs Rs 9 lakh, the Z900 comes well equipped including slipper clutch, ABS, preload adjustable front and rear suspension. We didn’t get much time to experience the new Kawasaki Z900 like it should be but we will bring you a detailed review when we ride it for a longer duration.
While the other three motorcycles are all-new, not much has changed on the Ninja 300. The first easily noticeable change on the motorcycle is the new paint scheme that makes it look a lot sportier than before. Kawasaki has finally fitted the Ninja 300 with a grab rail which should not only ease the anxiety of the pillion rider but can also come in handy while strapping saddle bags and tail packs. Aside from these two changes, nothing much has been fidgeted with.
The engine too remains unchanged except that it is now BS IV compliant. It still pumps out 38bhp and 27Nm from the 296cc parallel twin motor. The nature of the engine hasn’t changed, which means it still makes all of its power higher up the rev range. Considering that it might just be the only motorcycle for a lot of people, we would have loved a little more punch in its low and mid-range. That aside the powerplant feels refined, with vibrations on the handle bar and foot pegs well within control. At 172kg the 2017 Ninja 300 still weighs as much as its predecessor.
After all the criticism that Kawasaki has got over the years for its tyres, it’s surprising that the N300 still comes with IRC tyres. The lack of ABS does not go unnoticed especially considering the Rs 3.64 lakh price of the bike and the fact that motorcycles that cost half as much provide ABS these days.