2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650 First Look Preview

Kawasaki shows off its racier-looking Ninja 650 sportbike.

Kawasaki’s pulls the wraps off its updated-for-2020 Ninja 650 ABS. Featuring sharper and racier body panels, in line with the rest of the Ninja family, this parallel twin 650 is a kinder, more gentle sportbike for everyday street riders.

Viewed from the front, it's apparent the styling direction Kawasaki gravitates toward, with the 650's front end borrowing cues from the Ninja 400 and ZX-6R. Specifically its snout is wider with a more pronounced slant evoking a greater sense of speed. A pair of LED headlamps sit inside, each featuring individual low and high beam circuits and aesthetically pleasing position lamps. This helps the NInja rider stand out on the road.

Kawasaki gives its 650-powered twin a face-lift and electronics makeover for the 2020 model year.
Kawasaki gives its 650-powered twin a face-lift and electronics makeover for the 2020 model year.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

The windscreen fits flush with the upper fairing and the external fasteners that traditionally secure the bodywork have been eliminated for a modern, streamlined look. A colorful iPhone 6-sized TFT-type instrument panel keeps tabs on the motorcycle’s vitals. The 4.3-inch display incorporates Bluetooth functionality so the rider can pair their smartphone via Kawasaki’s new proprietary Rideology app.

The Ninja 650 now benefits from a 4.3-inch color TFT display that offers Bluetooth functionality.
The Ninja 650 now benefits from a 4.3-inch color TFT display that offers Bluetooth functionality.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

This allows the rider to access features including GPS-enabled route logging and machine vitals. When paired, it also displays telephone alerts while riding. Ride settings and history are automatically saved to the smartphone app so the rider can view this information away from the motorcycle.

Kawaski didn’t forget about the passenger either, fitting a wider and more well-padded seat that also incorporates a larger hip support lip for the person in front.

Like before, the Ninja 650 is powered by a liquid-cooled 649cc parallel-twin that’s mated to a six-speed transmission. It puts power back to the new and lighter Dunlop Sportmax RoadSport 2 160/60-series tire via a chain final drive. The engine delivers nearly 58 hp and 42 pound-feet torque the last time we ran it on the dyno.

The passenger seat is thicker and offers more rider hip support via its dished lip.
The passenger seat is thicker and offers more rider hip support via its dished lip.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

The motor is hung in a recently upgraded (for the 2017 model year) steel trellis frame with well-damped suspenders that offer a pleasant balance between around-town comfort and sport handling.

A variety of add-ons including a 30-liter top case, tank pad, seat cowl, radiator trim frame slider set, and TFT display screen protector can be purchased as OE accessories. MSRP remains unchanged with the base Ninja starting at $7,399 and an ABS brake-equipped version available for a $400 upcharge.

2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS Specifications

The 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650 MSRP remains unchanged with it costing $7,399 without ABS.
The 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650 MSRP remains unchanged with it costing $7,399 without ABS.Kawasaki
PRICE $7,399; ABS $7,799–$7,999
ENGINE 649cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 8-valve
BORE x STROKE 83.0 x 60.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.8:1
FUEL DELIVERY Dual-stage fuel injection w/ 36mm throttle bodies
CLUTCH Wet multi-plate slipper clutch; cable actuation
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
FRAME Steel perimeter
FRONT SUSPENSION 41mm telescopic fork; 4.9-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Horizontal back-link shock adjustable for spring preload; 5.1-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 2-piston calipers, 300mm discs, w/ ABS
REAR BRAKE 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc, w/ ABS
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR Die-cast aluminum; 17 x 3.5 in. / 17 x 5.0 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR TBD; 120/70-17 / 160/60-17
RAKE/TRAIL 24.0°/3.9 in.
WHEELBASE 55.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 4.0 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT 426 lb.
WARRANTY 12-month
AVAILABLE TBD
CONTACT kawasaki.com
The Ninja 650 saw its last full mechanical overhaul in 2017. The redesigned chassis is far more adept in terms of comfort and sport handling compared to its predecessor.
The Ninja 650 saw its last full mechanical overhaul in 2017. The redesigned chassis is far more adept in terms of comfort and sport handling compared to its predecessor.Kawasaki Motors Corp.
Kawasaki offers a line of OE accessories, including this passenger seat cowl.
Kawasaki offers a line of OE accessories, including this passenger seat cowl.Kawasaki Motors Corp.
The 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650 slots in between the entry-level Ninja 400 and the plus-sized (636c) Ninja ZX-6R.
The 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 650 slots in between the entry-level Ninja 400 and the plus-sized (636c) Ninja ZX-6R.Kawasaki Motors Corp.
Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 is designed as a casual sportbike that’s at home on the street.
Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 is designed as a casual sportbike that’s at home on the street.Kawasaki Motors Corp.