Just when we thought the retro craze was starting to fade, a potential newcomer from one of the big four Japanese manufacturers has just made the modern retro segment even more exciting. Last week, rumors broke out about Kawasaki releasing a new middleweight retro bike with the Z650RS, a smaller version of its successful Z900RS.
Ever since Ducati came out with the Scrambler back in 2015, almost all major manufacturers followed suit and have started coming out with their own versions of retro bikes. The new segment offers the same charm of classic motorcycles, but with the reliability of today’s technology.
Yamaha was one of the first among the big 4 Japanese motorcycle manufacturers to join the retro craze when it released its XSR700. It comes with a punchy CP2 engine, that is also used in its MT-07. Honda took a different approach, with the release of its Neo Sports Cafe lineup, and with the release of the CB650R. The CB650R burst into the scene with its roaring inline-four engine that made it a middleweight contender in the modern retro space. Suzuki, on the other hand, remained true to its roots with its bulletproof SV650X, which comes with a V-twin engine platform that has been a staple in its lineup for years.
With the modern retro segment becoming hotly contested and with the competition stepping up their game Kawasaki didn't want to be left out. Hence the Japanese manufacturer wanted to get a slice of the very lucrative market segment. Kawasaki already had some good retro bikes in their lineup such as the W800 and the Z900RS, however, the company felt the need to introduce a bike with a smaller engine. Hence the rumors of the Z650RS. The modern retro bike is rumored to come with the same 649cc parallel-twin engine that comes with the Z650 naked and the Ninja 650 sports bike. Using an already existing engine platform could save the company money when it comes to research and development costs, all while keeping the Z650RS within a competitive yet affordable price range. With that said the possible new motorcycle could easily attract more customers to step into the retro craze, especially for those who find the powertrain of the larger Z900RS as too daunting for them.
If Kawasaki pushes through with releasing the Z650RS, it will come with the same classic charm as the Z900RS that brings with it the same design aesthetics of the Kawasaki Z1 classic. It will also come with modern-day technology along with the reliability and performance of the Z650’s 180-degree parallel-twin engine. If and when the bike enters production, it won’t take long before people start rushing to the nearest Kawasaki dealership just to take a glimpse of its latest middleweight retro offering. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that these rumors eventually hold true.