xBhp Rides and Reviews the Kawasaki Ninja 650R.
Chlorophyll Inorganica + HomoSapien = (C9H13NO3) *∞
Text & Photos: Sundeep Gajjar / motoGrapher.com
Today’s launch of the Ninja 650R will be remembered as an important checkpoint for Indian motorcycling . It marks the start of a new war involving the 600s in India. The first battle will be between the, you guessed it, Garware Hyosung GT650R and the new born Ninja 650R. However, this is not the topic for now.
I will start from the most important attribute that anyone factors while choosing their dream machine – the dough.
You will have to cough up 4.57 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi (which will be less than 5 Lakh INR!@ on road!). This is an extremely competitive pricing.
The next is the brand equity and its legacy. The Ninja brand name is pretty darn strong. Say Ninja in a biker’s meetup and everyone sees green and fast bikes. In retrospect, It’s unbelievable how bold a move it must have been to give a bike named Ninja the flagship color of lime green. I am sure it wasn’t by design, but destiny. Much like the success of our own Pulsar here. Kawasaki is also a reputed company, plus Ninja 250R has been there for a long enough time and has proved its mettle in India.
Then come the looks. No matter how good the engine is, it is the looks that make machines like these a commercial success. And with a country like India which just has a handful of options and an infatuation with faired bikes, this is again goes positively for the Ninja. My first look impressions involved me getting in love with that green again. It reminded me of my green Ninja 250 which I acquired an year ago. Coming to that, I felt a little confused, the N650R did not look as BIG as compared to its younger sibling. Now, before you get me wrong – discerning and informed motorcyclists like you and me know that they are two very different machines – but for many who will buy the N650R will be not be comfortable with a Ninja 250R standing besides it and getting equal if not more gazes from the curious onlookers. I have been around enough to be able to vouch for this predicament that will be inevitable for every N650R owner. However equally frustrated will be the N250R owners, when they will compare the price difference between the two Ninjas. This is for laters though.
The N650Rs most impressive design element has to be the side mounted monoshock which lends it a radical look. Following this are the broad dual headlights (again compare it with the R15 and the FZ16 and many might come to a conclusion that its not that radical or ‘big’ for a bike which is four times the capacity, but again this is India and lots of people think on these lines, ‘un’fortunately many of them also are probable customers).
Your eyes then track to the rather broad and tall windshield, which doesn’t look out of place but doesn’t aid its look as well, really. However, go past this paltry issue and you realize that almost everything about this bike oozes practicality. The good windscreen, the BIG LCD backlit console which has every thing digital – from a tacho to a very handy clock (which has CLOCK written below it just in case some over smart number crunchers might think of the numbers as something else ?).
The tube type raised handle bar along with the switchgear feels top notch, again putting function before form. The fuel tank is sleek and rotund at the same time, a little bulged up that the N250R’s but enough to carry 18 litres of gas. The seat looks svelte with the pattern grooved on to lending it a premium feel, however is it comfortable? Lets find out ahead in the long ride report. The mirrors are borrowed from the ZX6R, they are good but not great while the front set of fairing integrated indicators lend it a more contemporary and clean look.
The rear end is pretty sleek and rather simple. But before your eyes reach there you will stop and stare at the side-mounted monoshock. It definitely looks different. But beyond that I was forced to think what purpose could it have served on a bike, which had a relatively simple styling. Some research and pondering minutes later it boiled down to a m being a clever packaging solution (placement of ultra stubby exhaust, battery etc) plus maybe a distinguishing design element which is also found on the bigger Versys from the Kawasaki stable.
Track further down and you have the under engine exhaust which probably not only lends it a tricked out look but also better CoG (Center of Gravity) in terms of mass centralization and low CoG. However, in my opinion that definitely didn’t help it a lot when compared to the N250R, despite the younger sibling having a standard exhaust. Goes a long way to say perfection is achieved by a lot of interdependent components rather than a single component fixed in for a specific purpose.
The bike ends with a rather simple and sleek rear. No dramas there. A standard LED cluster tail lamp with practical longish grab rails greet the trailer.
The tyres (rear 160 and front 120) on the N650R are good enough, but could have been thicker to make the bike look, once again by popular demand, bigger.
The best view of the bike is rear 3/4th, the biggest from front 3/4th, most radical is the right side profile, the least impressive is the direct rear.
Zoom out and see the bike’s profile in totality. Something will strike you. The bike looks small than it is supposed to be, and that it sometimes looks like a semi faired bike. One of the reasons is because the lower fairing is matte black which merges it with the similarly treated engine casing. I fail to understand why it didn’t have the standard green all over it.