The Kawasaki Ninja 650 employs a 649cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine with no change in power and torque output, producing 72.1PS at a much lower 8500rpm and 64Nm of torque coming in at 7000rpm. Both motorcycles come paired with 6-speed gearboxes. So as you can see the extra two cylinders on the Honda make it the powerful motorcycle in this comparison.
Apart from a re-tuned engine, the Honda CBR650F gets LED headlamps for 2017. The all-digital instrument cluster, however, remains the same two-part display with speedo and taco displayed on the left, while the display on the right showcases all the other readouts that include a fuel meter, time, odo and trip meters. Other changes include new graphics, two colour options – black and red – and the crankcase is now finished in a shade of bronze. Owing to the new emission norms, the new CBR also gets re-engineered pipes, wherein Honda engineers have changed the intake and exhaust flow system.
Apart from this, the exhaust system also features a dual-channel internal structure as opposed to the three-channel structure on the earlier exhaust, which has further helped them reduce the back pressure.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 gets sharper looking halogen-lit headlamp and a design that is inspired by its elder sibling from the Supersport division, the Ninja ZX-10R. The new graphics further enhance the sporty quotient of the motorcycle.
Information is displayed via an analogue-cum-digital instrument cluster that provides a host of information like fuel range, average consumption, eco mode, clock, gear engaged, speedo, fuel meter, engine temperature, odo and trip meters. The 2017 Ninja 650 also gets a three-way adjustable windscreen. Other updates include the adjustable slipper-clutch and adjustable front brake lever.
Dimensions & Mechanical Components
The new Honda CBR650F is built around a steel diamond frame. A rake of 25.3° with a trail of 101mm and a wheelbase of 1449mm has endowed the CBR650F with better straight-line stability and agility to tackle corners, as claimed by Honda. Despite being on the pricier side, suspension duties are managed by traditional telescopic forks upfront instead of USDs. That said, these are no ordinary forks. The front gets a 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve (SDBV) type forks, which incorporates a free valve structure that progressively increases the amount of damping according to the road conditions, which is an industry first. The rear is taken care of by a monoshock unit that gets 7-stage spring preload adjustment.
The alloy wheels come wrapped with Dunlops and braking is kept in check by dual-channel ABS-equipped 320mm petal discs at the front and a single 240mm petal disc at the rear. Also, the 17.3-litre fuel tank is expected to come in handy for touring. At 810mm, the seat height is low enough for most riders to get astride. Ground clearance has been improved by 3mm and is now 133mm, but you would still have to be careful of the large infamous speed breakers commonly found in India. With a kerb weight of 216kg, it is also on the heavier side, but judging from the earlier version that we tested, this weight isn’t felt much while riding.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 is held together by a newly designed double-pipe perimeter-style frame that maintains the basic design structure of the earlier chassis, but now gets a new backbone-style rear frame design, which has enabled the company to make it even slimmer than before, making it accessible to a larger set of riders. Potholes and undulations are taken care of by 41mm non-adjustable telescopic forks, while the rear is managed by a horizontal back-link monoshock that is adjustable for preload.
Braking is managed by dual-channel ABS-equipped brakes with 300mm twin discs up front and a 220mm petal disc at the rear. The alloys come shod with Bridgestone tyres. Fuel tank capacity of 16 litres is also generous enough for touring. The seat height of the Kwacker is low at 805mm. The ground clearance of 130mm though, is lesser than the CBR and owners will have to be equally careful of the big breakers. At 211kg (kerb), the Ninja 650 is 5kg lighter than the Honda.
The Honda CBR560F has been priced at Rs 7.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which is the same as the older model. It does seem to be on the higher side, considering that the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is available for Rs 5.44 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). But then again, Kawasaki has earned a name for itself when it comes to competitive pricing.
Both middle-weight sports touring bikes are engineered to perform and built to last. But when it comes to engine characteristics, both are designed to cater to a different set of audience. So if you have the extra cash and are particularly looking for a fully faired bike with an in-line four character, the Honda makes for a good option. However, if you are not very keen on the in-line four sound, the Kawasaki makes a strong case for itself as it comes across as a more practical option by not only being easier on the pocket but also because it does everything else in an equally good manner as the CBR650F.