Big and smoothly contoured, the Ninja 650R displays classic styling. Its fairing stretches tautly over potent, twin headlights and leads smartly downwards to cover a dark black engine bay. The primary colour (Kawasaki’s trademark green) mixes with black that covers much of this new motorcycle. The fairing snout mounts a smart pair of rear-view mirrors and a tall, transparent wind deflector with a duct provides excellent wind protection at every speed. The flat, blood-red backlit display includes a fuel gauge, twin-trip facility and clock, apart from the usual icons. However, the cascading bar-type rpm counter is cumbersome to read at high speeds.
Great palm grips
The 650R comes with a rubber-mounted handlebar and set of bar weights. The comprehensive, solid-feeling switches, outstanding palm grips and a pair of machined alloy levers will entice riders. Overall, you can’t miss how everything about this Ninja feels solid and imparts an impressive top-quality feel. The Kawasaki Ninja 650R deploys a parallel-twin engine that displaces 649cc. It’s an eight-valve powerplant with dual overhead camshafts. We revelled in the crisp throttle response, the horde of 72.1 horses smoothly delivering all their brawn at 8,500rpm.
The Ninja blasts through the quarter-mile in a commendable 12.93s, passing 160kph in only 12.06s. Precise gear shifts The gears shift with a weighty, yet positive and precise feel — each ratio feeling perfectly spaced. However, the cable-driven clutch gives your fingers an unwanted workout, especially in Indian city riding conditions.
The Ninja 650R offers usable power with enough performance for even the more seasoned rider. The bike can hold 130-140kph consistently with a top speed capability in excess of 200kph. Tubeless Bridgestone tyres provide great traction but we do feel the dual-piston, 300mm petal-type front disc brakes should offer better bite. Our braking tests saw us haul the Ninja 650R to a stop from 100kph in a creditable 47.73 metres. The fleet-footed Ninja 650R returned 21.6kpl in city riding.
Kawasaki Ninja 650R
Ground clearance 145mm
Kerb weight 204kg
Engine: 649cc, Twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled, four-stroke
power: 72.1bhp at 8,500rpm
Max torque: 6.73kgm at 7,000rpm
Suspension (f/r) Telescopic forks, Offset single shock, D-shape swingarm
This is a genuinely quick motorcycle. Factor in comfort and smart handling and you’re staring at an appealing package, further sweetened by a rational R4,57,915 (ex-showroom, Pune) price tag. Plus, it’s backed by Probiking, Bajaj’s and India’s largest big bike support system.