I have many friends who’ve mentioned to me in the past that the Kawasaki Z650 was the bike they wish they’d kept when they moved on to other bikes or cars. The Z650 would be considered middleweight road bike when compared to Kawasaki’s Z900 and Z1000 lineup, however the Z650 still offered real world performance.
The Z900 and Z1000 had a reputation scary handling with suspension and brakes which couldn’t handle the power. The Z650’s more modest 70 horsepower and lower torque gave the chassis a fighting chance with the good rider aboard.
Can I find a good Z650?
Like all motorcycles of the period you’ll be very lucky to find an example that hasn’t been through the hands of an inexperienced mechanic or “tuner”. Condition is often more important than mileage with these bikes, so checking leaks, rattles and failing hoses/seals is important. Fuel tanks are also prone to rust due to ethanol in modern fuels, so make sure a recent repaint isn’t hiding any horrors.
Check out my article regarding preventing ethanol fuel damage to your motorcycle to ensure you fuel tank is preserved. The Z650 had a relatively short production run between 1977 to 1983 before being superseded by the GPz range. Happy hunting!