2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650L KRT Edition (bike review)

RACE-inspired and yet perfect for inexperienced riders, the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650L KRT Edition offers aggressive looks that will turn heads, and leave people questioning the fact it’s actually LAMS-approved.

The best part is you won’t be looking to upgrade when you come off your Learner Licence because this is the kind of bike you could keep riding for a long time.

To put the KRT Ninja though its paces, we whacked the Kawasaki Rideology app on our phone and head out over the Blue Mountains, where we knew we could access a good mix of high and low speed corners on some of the best roads Australia has to offer.

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It was on our way there that we unearthed what was probably the only disappointing thing about Kawasaki’s 650L; its need for a taller sixth gear. The revs quickly became an annoying factor when sitting on 115km/h for an extend period of time.

Once we hit the turn off to Oberon though, the Ninja came into its own. It’s a bike that feels planted and controlled through the twisty stuff, and the down low torque surge out of each corner is satisfying enough to please even the most spirited rider.

Braking super late and with aggressive down shifts, it feels very stable. You don’t even get a wiggle, with the slipper clutch preventing the rear tyre from skidding. The forks don’t dive under hard braking either, which adds to the enjoyment.

The suspension handled the bumpy country roads with ease too, with only the biggest of bumps grabbing our attention. The seat remained comfortable after a few hours in the saddle and the upright seating position made the long ride enjoyable.

We like the shape of the tank as well, as it allows you to have your knees tucked in and the screen seems to help deflect a lot of the wind. Our test bike came with the addition of a tank protector and frame sliders as an added bonus.

But it was the KRT Edition’s lime green paint and aggressive looks that drew the most attention, particularly at our lunch stop. And while spirited riding is all well and good, the Kawasaki Ninja 650L also excels as a weekday commuter.

It’s a very smooth and easy bike to ride in heavy traffic, and if you’re lucky enough to have an unrestricted licence, the mirrors fold in and out very easily, making lane filtering even on the narrowest of roads an easy task.

You can easily add panniers or a top box to your KRT Ninja as well, and an optional power outlet can be added so you can hook up your phone or navigation device.

The 650cc parallel twin produces 50hp and 59Nm of torque, and provides plenty of low to mid-range power that won’t leave you feeling the need for more. You also won’t find yourself needing to drop down a gear either.

Just twist the throttle and the torque will instantly get you well above the speed limit, should you desire to go there. The clutch is super light, but still has a good feel, and is matched with a super smooth and quiet six-speed gearbox.

It’s a joy to ride and easy to find neutral when stopped in traffic. Weighing in at 192kg, the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650L KRT Edition is lightweight and nimble, offering smooth transitions and a stable ride.

It rides on Dunlop Roadsport tyres, which provide plenty of grip, and has dual 300mm front petal disc brakes, with 220mm petal disc brakes a the rear. The combination delivers plenty of stopping power, and along with ABS, fills you with confidence.

The class leading 4.3-inch TFT LCD colour instrumentation even has a Eco function for maximum fuel savings and Bluetooth connectivity to the Rideology app we mentioned earlier. This will let you log rides, fuel mileage, average speed, and even battery status.

With an average fuel consumption of 3.1-litres/100km during testing it will get you well over 400km out of the 15-litre fuel tank. The twin LED headlights work great too, and are nicely paired with X-pattern LED tail light.

Priced at just $12,369 ride away, the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650L comes with a 2-year unlimited kilometre warranty. It’s available in Metallic Spark Black in its standard form, or the KRT Edition Lime Green (as tested).

It’s a great all-round motorcycle that you can ride in peak hour traffic during the week and have fun on throughout the weekend, with you and your mates taking on the twisties.

Our test bike was provided by Kawasaki Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650L KRT Edition, contact your local Kawasaki dealer.


Riding experience
Styling and comfort
Braking and handling
Technology and connectivity
Overall bike performance
Value for money


Pros - outstanding TFT LCD instrumentation; great styling; easy to ride.
Cons - non adjustable forks; sixth gear simply not tall enough; power outlet is an optional extra.
Mathew Probert
Mathew Probert
Motorcycling has been in Mathew Probert's blood for more than 30 years, which explains why there are three bikes in his garage. He says there's one for every occasion, but it's dirt bikes that are his passion. He also enjoys the adrenaline rush of taking on some of the best roads in Australia aboard anything with two wheels.


    • Hi Craig,
      We’re not aware of any engine restrictions on this bike. It is slightly less powerful than a standard Ninja 650 though. We will reach out to Kawasaki Australia though and see what we can find out for you.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> outstanding TFT LCD instrumentation; great styling; easy to ride.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> non adjustable forks; sixth gear simply not tall enough; power outlet is an optional extra.2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650L KRT Edition (bike review)