As we take off from our hotel in downtown Santa Monica, twisting the throttle gives a smooth linear response. With the same 649cc engine as its ER-6n predecessor and the Ninja 650, the Z650’s powerplant felt torquey enough in the low to mid-range rpms. Acceleration is nice and even, without any surprises, giving the Z easy accessible power in town. When we got out on the Pacific Coast Highway and had more room to rev it up, the naked Kawi still felt plenty powerful to get up to speed and keep up with traffic. Above 4,000 rpms, vibrations become apparent, transferring more through the seat and footpegs. With a rubber-mounted handlebar, the vibes were dulled enough to keep the grips from causing numbness in my hands.