India Kawasaki Motors has launched its 2017 range of motorcycles in India. These models include the new BSIV-ready Ninja 300, the mildly updated Versys 650 and the all-new trio of the Z650, Ninja 650 and the Z900. Kawasaki confirmed that the Z800 will continue to remain on sale in India. India Kawasaki also confirmed that Bajaj and the Japanese company had mutually decided to stop sharing the Bajaj Pro-Biking or KTM network in India to sell and service Kawasaki motorcycles. From April 1, 2017, Kawasakis, whether CBU or CKD will be sold only through the Kawasaki network and Bajaj's Pro-Biking network will become the KTM network.
The ZX-10R inspired styling marks the Kawasaki out as new for 2017. Updates includes a new trellis frame that is almost 20kh lighter with new suspension and a lower seat. ABS is standard and the 648cc parallel twin makes 68PS and gets a slip-and-assist clutch.
The new Kawasaki Ninja 650 is priced at Rs. 5.69 lakh (ex-Delhi). It features a brand new trellis chassis, a sharper design and an updated 650cc parallel twin engine. In addition, the bikes also gets ABS as standard. The 650cc motor develops 68PS and 65.7Nm. It's mated to a six speed transmission and has an assist and slipper clutch. The bike is about 22kg lighter than the previous Ninja 650 which should give a far better power to weight ratio and quicker performance. The design is a big improvement over the previous Ninja 650. Inspired by the Zx-10R's design, the bike looks a lot sportier too. The seats are of the split type instead of the single piece seat on the previous Ninja 650 . The rider seat height is at 790mm which is lower than the outgoing model. The instrument panel consists of an analouge a dial and a digital speedometer and the usual tell tale lights. The instrument cluster is not shared with the Z650.
The new Kawasaki looks compact and is a vast improvement visually over the ER-6n. The new frame (shared with the Ninja 650) means a lighter machine while standard ABS and other features up the value quotient.
The Z650 is priced at Rs 5.19 lakh (ex-Delhi) and is essentially the naked version of the 2017 Ninja 650. It has the same engine , steel trellis frame and other cycle parts as seen on its faired sibling. The only difference between the two is Z650's stylish bikini fairing and a new instrument console that's shared with the Z900. The Z650 is about 20kg lighter than the outgoing Er-6n which should translate to better performance. The Z650 replaces the oddly-styled ER-6n and is now the cheapest of the big Kawasakis. We have not tested this machine yet, but its very, very promising.
The aggressive 2017 Z900 gets Z1000-inspired styling and also a 20kg lighter weight, new trellis frame, adjustable front suspension, ABS, slip-assist clutch, 12PS more power from its 948cc inline-four... That sounds great, actually!
This is another big launch by Kawasaki. Priced at Rs 9 lakh ex-Delhi the Z900 offers immense value when you also consider the accessories that the bike comes with at this price. The list includes a radiator guard, fly screen, crash protection and a tank pad. The Z900 features a 948cc, liquid cooled, inline four cylinder motor that develops 125PS - 12Ps more than the Z800 - and 98.6 Nm. The engine is mated to a six speed transmission and gets a assist and slip clutch. The styling features the Japanese Sugomi design language that's also seen in the bigger Z1000. It certainly looks sharper than highly successful Z800 which will continue to sell alongside. The price difference between the two is about a lakh.
One of the biggest criticisms that the Z800 faced was its weight. Kawasaki thus, has employed a brand new tubular trellis frame and a lightweight swing arm in the Z900 to keep the weight low. The bike in fact, is about 20 kg lighter than the Z800. We shall wait to test the Z900 to figure how much of an improvement there is over the Z800. The little nuance is that Kawasaki is not selling the basic Z900 in India. The price includes a handful of accessories including a seat cowl, radiator guard, crash protection and a screen plus bits. With standard ABS, more power, less weight and all that, the Z900 is a deal compared to the Z800, which Kawasaki says remains on sale for the moment. The battle between the Z800 and the Street Triple was already a fierce one. Expect the one upcoming one between the the Kawasaki Z900 and the upcoming slew of 2017 Triumph Street Triples to be even more so.
The updates to the Ninja 300 include a BSIV motor, a new paint scheme and a 2kg increase in weight. It also gets a hideous grab rail that's courtesy of the government's bizzare rules. The new Ninja 300 is priced at Rs 3.64 lakh (ex-Delhi).
The 2017 Versys 650 gets a new Kawasaki green colour that really good looking. Besides this , the company has also added a gear position indicator based on customer demand. The bike is priced at Rs 6.60 lakh (ex-Delhi). As you know the Kawasaki Versys 650 - the black one is no longer on sale we are told - is one of our favourite big motorcycles to ride around in India.
Stay tuned for detailed road tests of the new Kawasakis. Meanwhile here's a video where Shumi explains how the new Kawasakis fall into place in the Indian range.