Kawasaki introduces new Ninja 650 for 2017

By Marc Potter
marcpotter Tested every new bike since 1994, loves anything on two wheels, Bike Social boss, Potski to his mates. Recently discovered elbow-down riding - likely to end in tears.

Kawasaki's popular ER-6 has gotten a sharp new suit and a new name for 2017, along with  a large host of changes including an engine retuned for low to midrange power and new styling inspired by Kawasaki’s sports bikes.

The ER-6f becomes the Ninja 650 for 2017 and gets a host of changes, including:

- A retuned engine now suitable for Euro4 with better low and midrange torque

- 6.8% better fuel economy

- New styling, chassis and swingarm reducing weight by a massive 19kg

- New suspension and Nissin brakes

- Grown-up features like an adjustable shiftlight and digital gear indicator

Kawasaki says that the bike now offers: “Supersport-like nimble handling, direct feel and strong acceleration are complemented by easy-to-manage power delivery and rider-friendly maneuverability, offering an ideal blend of sporty performance and everyday versatility sure to satisfy everyone from new to more experienced riders.”

Styling is taken from the Ninja family of sports bikes, led by the Kawasaki ZX-10R and Ninja H2, with a new full fairing tucked closely into the bike’s frame for a sportier look and an upswept tail unit. The whole vibe is much slimmer and more aggressive, yet still retaining the Ninja 650’s aim of being a practical every day bike for all purposes.

There are LED tail lights at the rear and a new twin headlight front-end, indicators are integrated into the fairing, and a new screen offers three positions adjustable between a range of 60mm in height. The riding position continues to be relaxed, yet sporty at the same time with a 790mm seat height.

Kawsaki Ninja 650

The 649cc parallel twin motor has been retuned from the ER6-f for mid-range power between 3000 and 6000rpm, while continuing to offer decent power and torque above 6000rpm. This has been achieved with a combination of new longer header pipes, 36mm throttle bodies, a new airbox, and new intake and exhaust cams. There’s also a slipper clutch fitted as standard and continues to use a six-speed gearbox. No power output has yet been revealed, something the legion of TT racers who tune the engines for the Lightweight TT will be waiting to hear.

The Ninja 650’s chassis weighs a claimed 15kg and Kawasaki claim you’ll notice the weight difference when it’s lifted off its side stand. The steel trellis frame is all-new and has been on a weight loss programme to remove any unnecessary parts on the bike, along with improving rigidity and its natural handling feel. 

At the front there are 41mm telescopic forks and dual 300m petal discs with four-piston Nissin calipers using a Bosch ABS system. The rear suspension uses a horizontal linkless system to offer progressive suspension feel.

No prices are yet available, but expect the bikes to go on sale in the spring. Colours are Lime Green and Ebony (as per Kawasaki Racing Team colours), metallic black, pearl white or candy burnt orange.

The Ninja 650 A2 version with a 35Kw power restrictor is of course available too.

Kawasaki 650 Ninja
Kawasaki Ninja 650
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