When Kawasaki set out to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their iconic Z1 with a series of special-edition motorcycles, the Z650RS was an obvious candidate. For the ‘Z650RS 50th Anniversary,’ Kawasaki have added some cool styling touches that fans of the original Z1 will instantly recognise and appreciate.
As one of Kawasaki’s two popular retro-inspired models, the Z650 has more freedom to up the retro ante in 50th Anniversary form, but it hasn’t gone over the top, adding a special paint scheme and a few subtle changes that die-hard fans of classic Zs and casual observers alike will appreciate.
The paint applied to the Z650 50th Anniversary is inspired by the Candy Brown and Orange of the original Z1 from 1972 that we know as ‘Jaffa,’ but Kawasaki refer to as ‘Fireball’.
Along with having a darker shade of brown and more of a red tint than orange, this modern take on the classic colour scheme also features a multi-layered painting process designed to give a deep, glossy finish. Kawasaki say this was specially developed especially for the retro 50th Anniversary models.
Applied to the tank, sidecovers, front mudguard and tail, the special paint is complemented with a gloss black finish on the frame and gold-coloured wheels, which Kawasaki say reflect the custom wheels available on early Z models.
Another deliberate nod to the past on the Z650RS 50th Anniversary can be seen on the sidecovers that feature ‘650 Double Overhead Camshaft’ emblems (in the style of the 900 DOHC badging on the original Z1) and a chrome pillion grabrail.
Other features include a textured finish on the leather seat and a small ‘Z50th’ decal on top of the fuel tank.
Beyond these cosmetic features, the Z650RS 50th Anniversary specification is the same as that of the current Z650RS, with the same steel trellis frame and 649cc four-stroke parallel twin engine. Output of 37.8kW and 59.0Nm is the same as that of the Z650/Z650RS and meets LAMS requirements.
The six-speed gearbox and wet, multi-plate clutch with slip/assist function and chain final drive are also the same as the regular Z650/Z650RS.
The standard 41mm tele fork front and monoshock back-link rear suspension features adjustable pre-load at the rear and travel of 125mm up front and 130mm at the back.
Instead of the petal brake discs on the Z650 50th Anniversary, the Z650RS 50th Anniversary features retro-look round discs, with dual 300mm units up front and a single 220mm disc at the rear. Two-piston calipers at the front and a single-piston caliper at the rear, backed by ABS, are standard.
Instrumentation keeps the retro theme going, with dual analogue gauges for speed and revs bracketing an LCD display with gear position indicator, fuel level, engine temp, odometer, tripmeters and a clock. An economical riding indicator is standard, too.
The Z650RS 50th Anniversary has an 800mm seat height and wide, flat handlebar for relaxed riding ergonomics. Weight is 188kg and fuel capacity is 12 litres.
The 2022 Z650RS 50th Anniversary was still available at time of writing, but with very limited numbers allocated for Australia, it’s likely to sell out.
Pricing is approximately $13,500 ride away. See your Kawasaki dealer to confirm pricing and availability.
2022 Kawasaki Z650RS 50th Anniversary – basic specs
Engine: 649cc liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin
Power: 37.8kW at 8000rpm
Torque: 59Nm at 6500rpm
Clutch: Wet multi-plate w/slip-assist
Transmission: Six-speed, chain final drive
Frame: Steel trellis
Suspension: 41mm tele fork front w/125mm travel, horizontal back-link monoshock rear w/130mm travel
Brakes: Dual semi-floating 300mm disc Fr/Single 220mm disc Rr, 2-piston caliper Fr, single-piston caliper Rr
Wheels: 17-inch alloy Fr/Rr
Tyres: 120/70ZR17M/C 58W front, 160/60ZR17M/C 69W rear
LxWxH: 2065mm x 800mm x 1115mm
Seat Height: 800mm
Fuel Tank: 12lt
Wet Weight: 188kg
LAMS APPROVED: Yes