Here’s a number to consider: 382. Kawasaki says that’s the percentage the naked motorcycle market has increased since 2011. For comparison, the sportbike market has stayed relatively stagnant during the same time period. With that kind of popularity in a particular segment, it’s no wonder motorcycle manufacturers likeKawasaki are trying to grab a piece of that pie.
Market research would seem to back up this claim, too; inKawasaki customer surveys, 70% of owners who purchased a Z naked bike said they only cross-shopped other naked bikes, paying no attention to sportbikes. The inverse is true for Ninja sportbike owners surveyed as well; 70% said they didn’t pay any attention to naked bikes in their search.
So what do you do if you’re Kawasaki and you have a perfectly good Ninja 650 in your lineup but hardly anyone shopping in the hotly growing naked bike segment is looking at it? Simple: you ditch the fairings, restyle the headlight, give it some handlebars and give it a new name. Say hello to the Z650.
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