kuala-lumpur

The most sensible entry-level big bike

By Escargot for Kawasaki Z650 ABS

I've been interested in getting a big bike for some time, but it was never in the cards financially. But last year I've been fortunate enough to be able to get one as my first bike.

The Malaysian market is quite saturated by big bikes in recent years so choosing one was a headache.

With my budget, the candidates are the 650+cc bikes, including the MT07 and SV650. Unfortunately, Honda's 4 cylinder options are a bit of a stretch. So, i was left with Kawasaki's array of twins, Yamaha's popular naked, and somehow the very difficult to find, Suzuki's SV650A.

I have always been fond of the MT07's looks, but honestly, the SV650A was my first choice due to that V-twin. On paper, these two bikes overpower the Z650. So why did I get this bike?

This being my first bike, i wanted something reliable and should the bike have problems, have a good network of shops with sensibly priced spareparts. Also power delivery-wise, the bike should not give me too many surprises as I still need to learn proper riding techniques without endangering myself and others. Comfort and dimensions are also important as this will be a daily commuting bike, with enough low end power and efficiency in heavy traffic.

The Z650 ticks all these boxes. The Kawasaki engine is a tried and tested reliable engine, and although on paper it's not as powerful as its competitors, it will actually keep up with them with ease and out-pace about any car or bike on the road (unless you're trying to race a supersport in the straights) with quick acceleration in the low to mid range.
Seating position is comfortable and not too aggressive with well padded seats (the MT and SV seats are quite thinly padded) should you want to take longer trips. The Z650 is also quite light and nimble, perfect for city riding.
Suspension and brakes are also good, with great feedback and good feel from the ABS brakes. Price-wise, it's also cheaper than the competition in Malaysia.

The only complaints so far is that the bike gets vibrations in the handlebar from below 5.5k rpm but loses the vibes with higher rpm, something to look out for especially if you're riding for hours. The stock tires are not very good in the wet and I urge caution while riding in the rain, as it tends to lose traction while cornering. (Change your tires before anything else)

Overall, it's the most sensibly practical entry big bike around.
-2017 Z650

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