Triumph Trident 660 Or The Kawasaki Z650: Which Mid-displacement Naked Should Be On Your Shopping List For 2021

2021 is your year to step up to big bikes. Would it be wise to spend money now and get the Z650 or wait and save a bit more and get the Trident?

Just two months into the new year, and we have seen a lot of interesting developments in the two-wheeler industry already. From a cruiser giant like Harley-Davidson stepping into the world of ADVs to KTM gearing up for a thorough-bred track machine, 2021 sure looks promising.

A segment that has particularly caught every manufacturer’s attention is the mid-displacement naked. After all, these versatile machines do not cost a bomb and offer the real ‘wind-in-the-hair’ experience. While buyers in other countries are spoilt for choice, we have had limited options. The soon-to-be-launched Triumph Trident 660 aims to change that, but should you wait for it or go for the trusty Kawasaki Z650?

Why You Should Go For The Kawasaki Z650
To begin with, it is propped up by the same tried-and-tested formula that has been perfected over the years. The 649cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine received its fair share of updates in its BS4 and BS6 avatars. With performance figures rated at 68PS and 64Nm, it has lost its torque marginally compared to the BS4 variant, but feels rortier than ever. Also, the healthy torque spread across the rev range means the Z650 won’t disappoint you even when you take it for grocery runs.

But when you are shelling out over Rs 6 lakh, grocery runs would be the least of your concerns. If attacking corners is what you intend to do with your Kwacker, the Z650 won’t disappoint. In fact, the updates to the suspension have made the Kwacker rather composed at high speeds. The downside of a firm setup, however,  is that low-speed riding can be jarring, with your back bearing the brunt of the sharp bumps.

We can’t ignore the new design of the Kawi, can we? Sharing the same Sugomi design language as that of the Z900, your bike could easily be mistaken for the 900cc sibling.

Why Waiting For The Triumph Trident 660 Makes Sense?
As good as the Kawasaki may seem, it still is a relatively simple motorcycle. And that’s exactly where the Triumph Trident 660 shines. While the only electronic luxury on the Japanese naked is dual-channel ABS, the Triumph will spoil you with two riding modes (Road and Rain), each with its dedicated engine maps, ABS, and traction control intervention. If that doesn’t cut the mustard, Triumph will also sell you an optional bi-directional quickshifter for Rs 29,000 only.

Not only does the Triumph feature better electronic aids but a bigger and more powerful engine too. Yes, the BS6 Kwacker sounds a bit raspy, but it certainly won’t come close to an inline-triple’s hair-raising symphony. The 660cc motor belts out 81PS and 54Nm (13PS more and 10Nm less than the Kwacker), with 90 percent of the torque available from 3600rpm all the way to 9750rpm.

And when the talk is about tried-and-tested formulae, Triumph cannot go wrong with their tubular steel frame, right? This motorcycle gets a slightly relaxed geometry, but hopefully, its handling will still bear resemblance to that of the Street Triple series. The 41mm Showa SFF USD fork and monoshock setup is slightly more sophisticated than the Z650’s equipment.

With multiple levels of ABS intrusion and traction control, the Nissin brakes are likely to be better at what they do compared to the Kawasaki’s intrusive setup. Also working in the Trident’s favour are the Michelin Road 5 tyres, which offer far better grip than the Dunlops we tested on the Z.

Let’s talk of aesthetics. Unlike the Kwacker (that has lost its identity), the Triumph Trident 660 offers fresh styling. With a tasteful blend of retro and modern elements, the Trident is certainly a looker.

Our Suggestion: Hold For The Triumph Trident 660
To sum it up, Kawasaki Z650 is undoubtedly a good motorcycle; it is easy to live with and a practical option for those weekend  jaunts. That said, with a powerful engine and sophisticated electronics, the Triumph Trident 660 does make a stronger case for itself. If you are spending a good Rs 7 lakh -8 lakh, wouldn’t you want a bike that takes you one step closer to more sophistication and better comfort?


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