The New 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650 - Road Tested

Kawasaki have been greener since the '70s. In Thailand, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the other sportsbikes have been available in green paint jobs. The Kawasaki Ninja 650 has been updated to the latest 2013 specs and has the distinction of being more green than other green colored Kawasaki's.

The Kawasaki Ninja 650R was launched in Thailand a few years ago, though globally the model was around a bit longer. With 2013 we get the latest revised model and it is called the Kawasaki Ninja 650; the 'R' has been dropped in this phase of motorcycle evolution. The 'R' maybe gone, but that has not affected performance of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 in any way. The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650 is the best sports tourer in the Thai market segment.

The Kawasaki Ninja 650 has always been a rider-friendly motorcycle and the new 2013 Ninja 650 takes that core value even further. Kawasaki has carried out a more holistic update with the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650. So apart from better performance and different looks, the 2013 Ninja 650 also gets some ergonomic updates.

As you can tell from the pictures, the new Kawasaki Ninja 650 looks sharper with lots of creases on the body. In addition to the eye-catching surface design, the new paint job is sure to turn heads. As expected, the new 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650 is a better looker than the outgoing motorcycle.
A lot of tweaks have also been carried out under the skin. The power and torque ratings remain similar to the older model at 71 horsepower and 64Nm torque respectively. But Kawasaki has worked on improving the motorcycle's low- and mid-range performance and fuel economy. In the real world, these changes count for a lot because they are far more useful and easily noticeable.

Since on paper this green motorcycle promised to be a perfect highway tourer, we decided to give it a go. With the raining season turning everything green the Kawasaki Ninja 650 was completely in his element.

Starting the engine is a bit of an anticlimax. You would expected the 650cc parallel twin engine to rumble to life. It's a quiet affair instead and even the exhaust sounds is hardly noticable with the surrounding sound of a busy road. Twist the throttle and the Ninja 650 gets off the line swiftly. Performance may not be neck-snapping like those liter-class motorcycles, but the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is still seriously fast. It has enough power for everyday riding as well as highway runs for touring in the weekend. This despite tipping the scales at 211 kilograms.

Some riding time on the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650 confirmed my earlier assessment. The seats are indeed cushier. And the wider handlebar and upright seating position do significantly improve riding comfort. The upright seating and comfortable foot peg position let me ride the Ninja 650 fatigue-free for more than 150km (maybe more but saw BBQ-chicken and was hungry) without stopping.

The improved 2013 suspension setup is good too. The Kawasaki Ninja 650 has telescopic forks upfront and an adjustable monoshock behind. I manage to put the Ninja 650 through all kinds of roads on my trip. This included everything form bumpy roads to slick tarmac and at times even through some medium sized potholes (please not tell Kawasaki). The ride was always good and even while taking fast corners the Kawasaki Ninja 650 was sure-footed.

A three-stage adjustable windshield saves the rider from wind-blast. This is most appreciated when riding long distances at higher speeds. Only inconvenient bit is that you need to carry a spanner around to adjust it. Nested between the center of the handlebar is a completely redesigned instrument cluster. Unlike the one found on the previous Ninja 650R that was all digital, the 2013 Ninja 650 gets an analogue tachometer with a multi information digital screen below it.

Apart from the usual speed and fuel gauge, the screen also displays information like current and average fuel consumption. Strangely, the motorcycle also comes with an 'ECO indicator' to tell you when you're riding is eco-friendly. This is the most useless feature on the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650 in my opinion. I would have preferred a gear indicator that tells me which of six gears I was in. This would be especially useful when slowing for corners after a straight. We may live in green times, but I maintain a token ECO indicator is pointless on a sportsbike like the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650...Tag: Kawasaki Ninja 650R 650cc Parallel-Twin Sportsbike
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