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First Ride: 2006 Kawasaki Ninja® 650R

79863 Views 86 Replies 43 Participants Last post by  dougmo
Might get me to trade my bandit.
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Hope all you WERA guys are ready to trade in your SVs to keep up. Clip-ons, Rece-tech and Penske, and the clubman classes are your oyster.
I'd like to see a comparo with the SV. It seems that the SV will probably be a better value. Then again, I have always been biased towards Suzuki's, despite currently owning a Ninja.

I also wonder why we are not getting the naked version available in Europe. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Hmmmmm. Locating the muffler beneath the engine to lower CG adn centralize mass...Jeezo, where have I seen that before?

Oh right. Buell.

funny how the suzi GSXRs and Yammi Rs sport similar mufflage arrangements.

A tip o' the hat to Eric B pls. ;-)
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I'm no fan of "First Ride Reports". So skip the criticisms and go on to the next post if you are.

1) HP and Torque measurements? I don't care what the maximum is. I never ride at those rpms. I want to know what the bike can do in and out of the vibration range. Are freeway speeds right where you get maximum buzz? Is it torquey on acceleration and up to cruising speed or do I need to gas it to get it through a flat spot?

2) RPM at 65. Tells me how the bike is geared.

3) What does the thing weigh? MO is the only magazine (e-zine) I read that doesn't report wet weights. Is it that hard to get that number?? You can get pretty close by using a good bathroom scale and weighing each wheel separately. You have to get the other wheel perfectly horizontal, but you should be able to get within about 2%.

These are the things the advertising copy doesn't tell you or lies about. Ride reports just fill time and space - like me at work.
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Nice job, Pete. As to "midship muffler", my SRX6 had one in `86, and wouldn't be surprised if they had them in the `20s. I think i threw mine in the trash tho, stupid...
This is a great idea for a motorcycle. It looks to be fun, reasonably quick, decent ergos, good fuel economy(?) and its nivce looking. I imagine this Kawasaki will sell quite well and if it is as good as it seems to be, it deserves to to do so. I'm sure the litre class sport bike crowd will look down on it but it sure seems like a real world bike for folks who don't need or want to go 160mph on the way to work.
Maybe it didn't appear as obvious as I thought in the story. Nevertheless, I'll restate that the engine is turning roughly 5,000rpm at around 70mph.

As to your questions about vibration and "maximum buzz", again I refer to the story but will repeat that the 650R is very smooth, especially considering it's configuration. Have you ever ridden a parallel twin?

Since this was a press intro, things like weights, HP, torque and the like are frequently absent at the time. Not in every case but it's not unusual. Of course if you'd like to send us your bathroom scale--sans body hair, toe nail clippings and "stains", we'll consider adding wet weights to future stories--Pete
I like the Euro (naked) model. Looks much more agressive than the model we get.
Need an SV comparison

Need a comparison with the SV:

a) Low skill riders: How are both as novice bikes.

b) Real world riding: How are both as day to day bikes.

c) Track time: How are both on the track.

What's dissapointing to me: In Europe, Kawasaki has a $500 ABS option on this bike. Also, in Europe, it comes with real grab rails rather than a weeny-strap.
Re: Need an SV comparison

Good point about the grab rails, nweaver. Here in the U.S. Kawasaki wanted to keep the "aggressive" look of the Ninja line on this bike. As a result grab rails are an "option."--Pete
Re: Need an SV comparison

Pete, did anyone ask if the naked bike has a shot at coming to America? Also, I was told by my local Kaw dealer that the ABS option would make it here by summer- any truth to that?
nice write up Pete! That is a good looking bike, and I think that is what is going to sell them to there intended market. I rode an ex 500 once and had a blast, and it sounds like the diff in price will be worth it. My hats off to Kawi for creating an interesting bike. I'd ride it with pride like I do my low budget 1200 Bandit.
I could have summed it up - first ride reports deliver less than what I'm hoping to learn from them. In this case I'm particularly interested in the Kawi 650. OK, It's almost Christmas fer crissakes - thanks for the report.

"Have you ever ridden a parallel twin?"

Yes, old 360 and 180 degree versions. They vibrate like hell. I've only ridden the Triumph Bonne in this century. Great bike!!

I can't, in good conscience, send you my bathroom scale, because it has been reading erroneously high the last few years.

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Re: Need an SV comparison

Sorry, no talk of either. I couldn't even get a clear answer on why a cassette tranny. And more importantly, where this bike will leave the Ninja500. In my opinion, this new Ninja makes the 500 moot. But they claim, at least before the 650R, that the 500 is still a top seller.--Pete
Bandit 1200. One of the best bikes ever put together, from other bikes. Ride proud my friend, ride proud.--Pete
I'm guessing the rider of the Silent Gray Fellow wasn't concerned with mass centralization or polar moment.

Everything is nimble at 10 mph.
Funny how my 1988 Honda Hawk GT has that same setup.
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