Australia’s learner legal bike market has some very tasty options and one of the hottest retro motorcycles out there is the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS. A large capacity offering, it’s easily the best looking thing in its class.
With its 1970s inspired looks and an exceptional Candy Emerald Green paint scheme, combined with gold and green pinstriping, the Z650RS is topped off with gold spoked cast wheels. It’s also evident Kawasaki have drawn inspiration from their 1976 Z650.
That’s obvious when you look at the slim fuel tank and dove-tailed rear fender. The LED headlight gets the retro treatment, housed in a nice round chrome bezel. Even the globe has been made with a dual chamber to make it fit the retro style look.
Turn signals and rear taillight also score the LED treatment as standard issue. We’re also fans of how the exhaust is tucked away underneath the motorcycle, making the bike feel narrower and showing off the swing arm, with its classic gold spoke rear wheel.
Disappointingly, the sound out of the pipes is underwhelming. It’s also over-powered by the induction roar under hard acceleration.
The 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS is powered by the same 649cc liquid cooled DOHC parallel-twin you will find across the brand’s range, but is tuned for low-mid range power and torque. It produces 38kW and 59Nm of torque. It’s rider friendly, with smooth linear power.
We averaged 4.3-litres/100km from the 12-litre tank. That’s a little on the small side, but you can comfortably push it past 250km in range, if ridden sensibly. On the downside, the ratios in the 6-speed gearbox are too short at freeway speeds.
It’s worth noting that it was revving so hard you could feel the engine buzzing through the seat. That said, the prospect of more enjoyable longer rides could be vastly improved with a sprocket change.
In the positives column, an assisted slipper clutch gives the rider a super light lever pull, and the added safety and protection from rear wheel lock, particularly during aggressive down shifts.
The front end has a 41mm telescopic fork, with a horizontal back-link with adjustable preload on the rear. This doesn’t sound much on the spec sheet but is in keeping with the traditional technology. We had no complaints here either as the ride was very comfortable.
Brakes come in the form of Nissin dual semi-floating 300mm discs with dual piston callipers on the front, and a single 220mm disc with single piston calliper at the rear. Combined with ABS, the combination provides good braking feel and plenty of stopping power.
The Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 performance tyres are solid and provide lots of grip in all conditions. An analogue-style speedo and tacho look great and are complemented by a multi-function LCD screen.
It sports a large easy to read gear indicator, as well as a fuel and temperature gauge, trip computer, fuel consumption and fuel range data. There are no riding modes, traction control or cruise control.
The handlebar mounted buttons for the instruments are well positioned and good quality. The round style mirrors keep in with the retro theme and are positioned well, providing a good view behind. The slim design fuel tank fits nicely between the knees.
The 800mm seat height allowed us to comfortably have both feet flat on the ground when stopped. The seat itself is slim, yet very comfortable, with plenty of padding. It also extends the full length of the bike to support a pillion.
Well placed foot pegs and grab handles combine with plenty of room to make for a nice experience for both the rider and passenger.
On the road, the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS is a dream to ride. It feels light, with a wet weight of just 186kg, and is easy to manoeuvre, yet planted and stable. The suspension does a great job of soaking up the bumps and harsh road surfaces.
The handlebar has a high bend, giving an upright riding. The engine is responsive and smooth, and has enough torque to put a smile on your face, without being intimidating for the inexperienced rider.
The overall build quality and style are excellent, with the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS turning heads thanks to its Candy Emerald Green paint. It comes with a 2-year warranty and is available from $13,188 ride away. Metallic Moondust Grey/Ebony is the other colour option.
Our test bike was provided by Kawasaki Motorcycles Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Kawasaki Z650RS, contact your local Kawasaki dealer.