Since Team Green unveiled the Z1-inspired throwback in 2018, Yamaha's XSR900 and Kawasaki's Z900RS have been competing for retro middleweight dominance. Since 2018, there hasn't been much competition for the XSR700 in the lower levels. While the XSR700 may take aesthetic and livery cues from Yamaha's famous XS650, the naked bike is an entirely contemporary design. The neo-retro appeals to both young at heart and old souls alike and is primarily based on Yamaha's MT-07.
Even though the Kawasaki Z650RS arrived late, it did so in style. The 2022 Z650RS is an accurate portrayal of the brand's original Z650, which was built between 1976 and 1983. Kawasaki forgoes the 64-horsepower, air-cooled inline-four featured in the original Z, but the 649cc parallel-twin engine in the RS provides this neo-retro roadster with reasonable performance.
By this time, buyers of vintage naked bikes are aware of the history of Yamaha's CP2 engine—the versatile and enjoyable 270-degree parallel-twin that powers the MT-07, Ténéré 700, and YZF-R7. The XSR700, which generates 74 horsepower and 50 lb-ft of torque, crams all the CP2's zip into a stylish and classy package.
A similar 649cc parallel-twin engine is used in the Z650RS from Kawasaki. Numerous Team Green models, including the Ninja 650, Versys 650, and standard Z650, are also powered by the mid-size engine. The Z650RS is no slouch with 67 horsepower and 48.5 lb-ft of torque, but it falls short of the XSR700's performance. That being said, the Z650RS has a 50cc deficit that cannot be disregarded. With a more linear power delivery, it does manage to recoup some power.
The Yamaha may have a little advantage in terms of power, but the two retro motorcycles also have almost equal chassis configurations. Both have typical 41mm front ends attached to steel tube trellis frames. The XSR and RS both favor a monoshock rear suspension, however Team Green equips its with horizontal linkage and Yamaha chooses direct installation. Even though both models' 55.3-inch wheelbases are identical, the Z650RS's 24-degree rake edged the XSR out by one degree.
Both versions come standard with ABS, but the Z650RS additionally has a slipper and assist clutch. The minor feature makes a significant impact, whether it's a new rider slamming down the gears or an aficionado looking for a lighter clutch pull. Both models promote simplicity with limited electronics suites, save from the safety function, enabling owners to focus on the trip.
In the local market, the Yamaha XSR700 and Kawasaki Z650RS occupy the upper echelons of the price range when it comes to middleweight naked bikes. Indeed, you can’t go wrong with either of these options, and the only real difference between these two bikes is the fact that the XSR700 has a punchier, torquier motor thanks to its crossplane crankshaft, while the Z650RS offers a more familiar, linear powerband. As for pricing, the Yamaha XSR700 retails for P519,00, while the Z650RS will set you back P469,500.