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Top Gear Philippines


The battle among middleweight motorbikes heats up following the recent entry of the 2017 Kawasaki Z650 naked into the Philippine market. Wheeltek Motor Sales Corporation,  the official distributor of Kawasaki big bikes in the Philippines, recently unleashed the Kawasaki Z650 that boasts of a new trellis frame that it shares with the new Kawasaki Ninja 650 sport bike.

Wheeltek general manager Bobby Orbe is optimistic that just like its predecessor, the ER-6N, the new Z650 will continue to dominate the midsize motorbike market based on its sleek styling, responsive yet fuel-efficient engine, improved handling, and more important, competitive pricing.

The new Kawasaki Z650 is expected to slug it out with the Suzuki SV650 V-Twin and the Yamaha MT-07 parallel twin as favorite picks of both novice and seasoned riders.

“The 2017 Kawasaki Z650 is the latest addition to the Team Green’s Z family, taking years of experience from the Z800 and Z1000 super sport. It is a great option for Filipino naked lovers wanting that sporty Kawasaki feel from a mid-displacement powerhouse that is light and nimble with a good center of balance,” says Orbe, a seasoned rider.

The new Z650 is propelled by a 649cc parallel twin, liquid-cooled engine with a claimed peak power output of  67.3hp at 8,000rpm and 66Nm at 6,500 rpm. Its new trellis frame and swing arm are lighter and translates to better geometry stress management, according to Orbe.

The Z650 has a new instrument cluster with a digital gear indicator, an important feature missing in the ER-6N. The new Z650 growls pleasantly with the new exhaust system, particularly in the middle to high RPM range. Aside from this, it is the only locally-available 650cc motorbike blessed with assist/slipper clutch.

But you win some, you lose some. Priced at P345,000, the Z650 lacks ABS. On the other hand, the P399,000 Yamaha MT-07 is equipped with ABS but has no assist/slipper clutch.

Of the three Japanese bikes, the MT-07 is the lightest, with a curb weight of 182kg, followed by the Z650 with 183.1kg, and the SV650 with 189kg.

Kawasaki traces the success of the 650 to being a practical choice for daily commuting and weekend track attacks. It has been raking praises globally for its low center of gravity.

Easy to maneuver, fuel efficient, and without being deprived of the sexy styling of their bigger siblings, these midweight bikes are just awesome.

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With these three so-called “all-arounders” present, do you now dig the line: “to ‘Z’ is to believe”? 


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Aris Ilagan
Motorcycle Editor
Being a veteran journalist, Aris is considered one of the "sharpest" columnists of Top Gear Philippines. Just look at him from head to toe and you'll get our point.
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