YZF-R7 vs Ninja 650 Acceleration and Top Speed
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 is a very popular midrange sporty motorcycle that is up there at the top end of the class. It has been around for a number of years and has seen many updates.
It’s an immensely popular machine that combines great performance and practicality that is priced attractively, both to new and existing riders looking for a sporty machine.
Yamaha has not had a sporty motorcycle at this engine capacity in the entry-level class for a good while, maybe with the exception of the Yamaha FZ6R but that machine perhaps is a little bit more tourer than sport.
The Yamaha MT-07 is a huge hit and a favourite among many riders.
All Yamaha had to do is make a sporty faired version, and they did. Introduced recently, Yamaha looked and has shaken up the class with its new Yamaha YZF-R7.
– YZF-R7 – Ninja 650
Yamaha YZF-R7 vs Ninja 650 on the Dyno
At their core, both the new Yamaha YZF-R7 and Kawasaki Nina 650 are similar, as both are powered by parallel two-cylinder engines
Claimed power and torque for both machines are in the same ballpark with the Yamaha YZF-R7 coming out on paper on top.
That means 74.8 horsepower at 8800 rpm and claimed torque of 50 ft/lb delivered at 6500 rpm.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 is not too far behind with Kawasaki claiming 67 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 47 ft/lb that kicks out at 6700 rpm.
Power and torque figures are close, though the Yamaha YZF-R7 displaces a little more cubic centimetres with the advantage being 40 cc.
This does not sound like much, but the difference can clearly be seen on the dyno too and not just on paper.
The Yamaha YZF-R7 produces a very healthy 70 horsepower at around 9000 rpm and punches out 47 ft/lb at 6500 rpm.
As per the on-paper claims, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is lagging behind with around 62 horsepower that is produced 1000 rpm lower at 8500 rpm.
The Yamaha YZF-R7 has an advantage when it comes to torque too with around 5 ft/lb more peak measured at the rear wheel.
If we check the dyno curve in more detail, we can clearly see that there is nowhere in the rpm range where the Kawasaki Ninja 650 beats the Yamaha YZF-R7.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 can only match the Yamaha YZF-R7 for power and torque briefly at 4500 rpm though but it is short-lived.
This is impressive from the Kawasaki Ninja 650 considering that it gives away some 40 cc in engine capacity.
Perhaps more Impressively, the Yamaha YZF-R7 produces the same peak torque as the Kawasaki Ninja 650 does from as little as 3500 rpm.
The power and torque delivery of both engines are uncannily similar. Both engines work best in the bottom and midrange parts of the curves.
The Yamaha YZF-R7 is more willing to rev though and picks up nicely at around 4000 rpm while the Kawasaki Ninja 650’s torque curve is flatter.
While both engines’ power curves drop off abruptly, the power and torque curve of the Yamaha YZF-R7 has a larger and more useable spread, though right in the last part of the top-end, it does drop off more aggressively.
Both engines are grunty and flexible and provide more acceleration in the portions of the rpm than rivals such as the Honda CBR650R.
– YZF-R7 – Ninja 650
If we look at acceleration/thrust in each gear, we can see that the Yamaha YZF-R7 dominates.
This is in large part due to producing more peak horsepower and torque as well as more power and torque all through the entire rpm range except momentarily at 4500 rpm where the Kawasaki Ninja 650 matches the Yamaha YZF-R7.
The advantage is particularly felt in the first three gears where the Yamaha YZF-R7 dominates and punches harder no matter the rpm or speed.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 has lower gearing in all gears and fairs a little better as a result in fourth, fifth and sixth gears.
This is because in those particular gears, they are even lower compared to the gearing differences between the two machines in the first three gears.
This means that despite the lower power and torque and heavier weight, in the last three gears the Kawasaki Ninja 650 offers similar in-gear performance in these gears.
This is the case at least for the bottom and mid part of the speed range which is evident with how close the thrust lines are in the thrust graph.
In the top third of the last three gears though, despite the lower gearing of the Kawasaki Ninja 650, the Yamaha YZF-R7 dominates and provides more thrust and acceleration period!
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 does well if considering the deficit in power and torque, and that’s down to Kawasaki’s good choice of gearing that gets the most out of the Kawasaki Ninja 650’s power and torque.
The Yamaha YZF-R7 on the other hand could run with lower gearing but doesn’t have to in order to be competitive against class rivals.
This is because, among its peers, The Yamaha YZF-R7 produces more power and torque throughout the entire rpm range.
On though road both motorcycles deliver similar performance in the sense that gear choice is not imperative.
This is because both motorcycles have an abundance of midrange and low-end torque meaning that they both can drive with good enthusiasm from one corner to the next in a gear higher than what is maybe optimal.
The difference is that the Yamaha YZF-R7 just has a little more to offer, especially in the first three gears.
In the remaining three gears, things even out with perhaps a very slight advantage to the Kawasaki Ninja 650 in the first part of the speed range of each gear.
Yamaha R7 vs Ninja 650 Speeds in each gear at 5000 rpm
|Speed at 5000 rpm||YZF-R7||Ninja 650|
|Speed 1st Gear||25.6 mph||23.3 mph|
|Speed 2nd Gear||34.3 mph||33.2 mph|
|Speed 3rd Gear||44.7 mph||42.6 mph|
|Speed 4th Gear||56.1 mph||51.2 mph|
|Speed 5th Gear||66.9 mph||58.9 mph|
|Speed 6th Gear||75.7 mph||66.7 mph|
– YZF-R7 – Ninja 650
Producing more power and torque and being lighter, we can obviously expect the Yamaha YZF-R7 to be faster accelerating and the data clearly shows this.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650’s lower gearing has helped here but there is simply no substitute for power and light weight when it comes to acceleration.
Off the line, both motorcycles are very close!
Generally speaking, the main differences come down to rider skill which would determine who’s quickest in the real world of the two machines.
When push comes to shove though, it is the Yamaha YZF-R7 that can consistently lay down the better times. It is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in only 3.27 seconds and 0-100km/h in 3.43 seconds.
That is an incredible time for a middleweight entry-level motorcycle!
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 is not too far behind with a very impressive 0-60 mph time of 3.53 seconds. Another fantastic time!
The 0-100km/h time of 3.93 seconds hurt a little for the Kawasaki Ninja 650, as needs an extra gear change.
You could run it right to the redline in second gear and hit 100km/h but the thrust available really tails off drastically and overlaps with third gear.
Despite the extra time to change gears, it’s actually quicke though not so if you don’t decide to use the clutch when changing.
The Yamaha YZF-R7 only needs second gear to reach 100 km/h in comparison.
The sprint from 0-100 mph is a good metric for mid-power level motorcycles.
The 0-60 mph sprint is often too similar between bikes to really convey performance differences in a meaningful way due to the skill more often than not being the main differentiator.
An example when testing the Yamaha YZF-R1!
The majority of my 0-60 mph times were in the 3.5 seconds range despite that motorcycle having more power than the Yamaha YZF-R7 and Kawasaki Ninja 650 combined and with some leftovers.
At around 60 mph the Yamaha YZF-R7 is in front but it’s not by a significant margin. it’s from 60 mph on where it starts to assert dominance over the Kawasaki Ninja 650.
After which the Yamaha YZF-R7 connivingly walks away from the Kawasaki Ninja 650 with an advantage from 0-100 mph being around 1.8 seconds.
When all done, the Yamaha YZF-R7 scored a very impressive time of 7.88 seconds from 0-100 mph, while the Kawasaki Ninja 650’s 0-100 mph time arrived at 9.51 seconds.
The YZF-R7 is one of a few motorcycles in the class that if you nail it perfectly you can dip under the twelve-second mark for the standing start quarter mile with a 600 Supersport chasing 11.64 seconds time.
Terminal speed though is somewhat lower at 116 mph.
This is an absolutely brilliant time once again for what is an entry-level middleweight sports motorcycle
Typically, most people with a bit of talent would be in the twelves. To dip into the elevens, you must be light and have a very good 60 ft time of 2 seconds or under. And of course, a lot of skill.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 on the other hand is a solid twelve-second kind of motorcycle.
If everything comes together you can expect a 12.3 at 110 mph at the strip. Most people would be in the high twelves or low thirteens though.
You really should not rev both out to redline for best effect, changing up at around 9800 rpm on the Yamaha YZF-R7 and approximately 8500 rpm on the Kawasaki Ninja 650.
This is because on both motorcycles power and torque falls off rapidly, and to the point where actually changing up a gear provides more acceleration than taking the existing gear close to the rev limiter.
When the Kawasaki Ninja 650 passes the quarter mile the Yamaha YZF-R7 is around 33 metres in front and continues to add distance.
From 120 mph the Kawasaki Ninja 650 really starts to struggle while the Yamaha TZF-R7 is still pulling strongly to 130 mph.
You can see this if you compare the 0-120 mph times, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 does it in 15.7 seconds while the Yamaha YZF-R7 is quicker as expected at only 12.8 seconds.
Though the gap to 130 mph is much larger as it takes around 22 seconds longer on the Ninja 650 to hit 130 mph compared to the Yamaha YZF-R7.
By the time the Ninja 650 hits its top speed of 130.5 mph the Yamaha YZF-R7 has increased the gap to over 100 metres and is a spec in the distance as it too hits its own top speed of 139 mph.
Our Kawasaki Ninja 650 must be a good one because 130.5 mph is about as fast as you will ever see one. Must be something to do wit the sneaky exhaust.
The Yamaha YZF-R7 is almost faster in every situation compared to the Kawasaki Ninja 650.
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 can only really trade blows with the Yamaha YZF-R7 if rolling on in fourth, fifth and sixth gears from the bottom or midrange.
Other than that, it’s a roll-on and straight-line win almost everywhere else for the Yamaha YZF-R7.
YZF-R7 up against the Ninja 400.
Yamaha R7 vs Ninja 650 acceleration through the gears and top speed
|Speed||Yamaha YZF-R7||Ninja 650|
|SS/QM||11.64 @116mph||12.30 @110.6 mph|
|SS/KM||22.40 @132.5 mph||23.20 @ 127.5 mph|
|SS/Mile||32.48 @134 mph||33.66 @129.3 mph|
|Top Speed||139 mph||130.5 mph|