The 2023 Kawasaki Ninja 650R emerges as a beacon of modern motorcycling, boasting the new addition of traction control. A revisit to this long-time favorite reveals its continued competitiveness in the market. Right from Kawasaki’s driveway, the initial test drive was an unexpected trial of the new traction control feature.
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2023 Kawasaki Ninja 650R Specifications
|Maximum torque||48.5 ft-lbs @ 6500 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed w/ Positive Neutral Finder|
|Front suspension; travel||Non-adjustable 41mm fork; 4.9 inches|
|Tires||Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2|
|Front tire||120/70 x 17|
|DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES|
|Seat height||31.1 inches|
|Fuel tank capacity||4.0 gallons|
|Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Ebony|
|Pearl Robotic White / Metallic Matte Flat Raw Graystone / Ebony|
Traction Control: A Rainy Day Test
The first ride on the 2023 Kawasaki Ninja 650R was met with rain. With traction control cranked to its maximum, the rear wheel impressively resisted spinning up in Mode 2 on wet pavement. Although basic in design, the system operates transparently and effectively, especially in rainy conditions. Once the roads dried, Mode 1 was engaged, providing a seamless rider aid without drawing unnecessary attention. Turning off the traction control might offer more performance for those venturing onto the track, but Mode 1 is a reliable cushion for everyday rides.
Engine Performance: Friendly Yet Competitive
The Ninja 650R’s parallel-twin engine stands out for its user-friendliness. While it might not be the most powerful in its class, it offers ample power for city or sport riding. The engine’s strength lies in its broad midrange, allowing riders to effortlessly harness its power without pushing it to extreme rev counts.
Chassis and Suspension: Agility Meets Practicality
The Ninja 650R’s chassis is a dream for those seeking an agile urban sports bike. Its ability to swiftly change direction and adjust lines ensures optimal cornering speed. The 2023 model’s suspension balances on-road practicality and sporty aspirations. While track enthusiasts might find it softer, urban riders will appreciate its adaptability to city terrains.
Tires and Brakes: Reliable and Forgiving
The Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires perfectly match the Ninja 650R’s capabilities. They offer predictable turn-ins and impressive grip on urban roads. Complementing the tires, the Nissin brakes are forgiving, making them ideal for new and experienced riders.
Additional Features: Designed for the Rider
The KRT Edition, available with optional ABS, is worth the extra investment for novice riders. Its slip-and-assist design tailored the clutch for rider comfort, especially during aggressive downshifts. Kawasaki’s proprietary Positive Neutral Finder is a notable addition, ensuring seamless gear transitions. Ergonomically, the 2023 model caters to a diverse range of riders, with an adjustable riding position and a comfortable seat height. The 4.3-inch TFT display, paired with Kawasaki’s Rideology The App, enhances the riding experience, although its utility might be limited given the few electronic adjustments available on the Ninja 650R.
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Conclusion: A Stellar Introduction to Sportbikes
The 2023 Kawasaki Ninja 650R is an exemplary introduction to the world of sports bikes. It is designed to guide new riders safely while offering experienced riders comfort and ease of use. Its versatility extends to commuting, although wide mirrors might pose a challenge in traffic. With its rich history and modern enhancements, the Ninja 650R continues to solidify its reputation as a top-tier motorcycle.