Sportbikes have always been a popular staple in American society, thanks to the excellent combination of a powerful engine and handling performance with a high degree of comfort, practicality, and top-end styling. Over the years, Kawasaki has provided the market with some of the best bikes of this segment, dating back to the original Ninja 900R of the 1980s, to the ZX-11 of the ’90s, and the ZZR 1200 of the the new millennium.
Today, the Japanese motorcycle brand is proud to announce their latest offering to the line-up, the new Ninja 1000. As the name suggests, this sportsbike is all about stealthy good looks that are combined with an unassuming, yet powerful engine, resulting in a machine that’s more than capable of stopping you in your tracks before you even realize what just happened. Sort of like a ninja.
The bike’s core - the frame, engine, and suspension - are all made from the finest materials and built with the sort of high-end technology that Kawasaki has built its name on. So don’t be surprised if the new Ninja 1000 drops your jaws to the floor; it was built specifically for that purpose.
Find out more about the Ninja 1000 after the jump.
Radical, fresh, and edgy, the Ninja 1000 places itself on a design category all its own. It has an advanced aluminum frame that bears striking similarities to the all-conquering Ninja ZX-10R sportbike. The aggressive nature of the bike’s design is no more evident than with the lightweight cage that smoothly curves over the engine, cradling it from above. This same cage bolts it solidly in three unique places with a rubber-backed fourth mount added in to ease vibration isolation and torsional rigidity.
Another key component surrounding this design is the opportunity to make a narrow waist for the bike, providing riders a comfortable riding experience. There’s also a manually adjustable, three-position windscreen that gives riders the free hand to choose their preferred setting depending on where they’re comfortable. Meanwhile, the handlebars are mounted higher with the pegs a touch lower to give the Ninja 1000 the look and feel of tourer with sports bike capabilities.
Other key components worth mentioning include the integrated front turn signals, a ZX-6R-spec front fender, a stylish tail section, a wildly styled exhaust system, and a full-featured instrument panel to help complete the look.
As an added bonus, Kawasaki is also offering a line of optional touring-oriented accessories for the Ninja 1000, including hard-case saddlebags, a top trunk, heated grips and more.
Powering the Ninja 1000 is a 1,043cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 16-valve inline-four mated to a slick-shifting six-speed transmission. The long-stroke design of the engine screams instantaneous power with the accompanying electronic fuel injection providing the type of throttle response that allows the bike to adapt to just about every imaginable road condition it gets into.
While the engine offers plenty of power, it also comes with another important attribute: a flexible, midrange-heavy thrust that accelerates you out of corners, providing the kind of ride that produces the kind of smooth, instant-on thrust that Kawasaki has come to be known for. The engine’s digital fuel injection, together with four 38mm Keihin downdraft throttles, provides the perfect combination of fuel and air into the combustion chambers. An advanced ECU set-up also helps in the overall distribution of power and efficiency in the engine, as do the oval sub-throttles and a cool air intake system that routes fresh air to the airbox via ducts at the front of the bike.
Then there’s the balance shaft that’s been driven off the crankshaft to keep the mounted engine running as smooth as possible while a radically designed 4-into-2-into-2 catalyzer-equipped exhaust system provides the kind of unmistakable roar that you’d come to expect from a Kawasaki bike.
Brake and Suspension
The importance of the suspension and brakes in any bike cannot be understated. It’s no different for the Ninja 1000, which comes with a stout 41mm inverted fork suspension in the front. This system is fully adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping, important components that allow you to adjust your suspension based on your weight and riding style. In the back, there’s a horizontal back-link shock system that features a damper that’s mounted nearly horizontally above the swingarm to provide top-level mass centralization and excellent heat resistance. The Ninja 1000’s suspension has also been designed to give the rider the kind of technology and comfort that sportsbikes of this quality should come with.
As for the brakes, the Ninja 1000 has dual racing-spec 300mm petal-type rotors in the front that are squeezed by radially mounted calipers pressurized by a radial pump master cylinder. In back is another high-tech disc setup. The entire braking configuration for the bike gives it enough power and feel at both ends, resulting in a ride that’s better than advertised.
It’s an affordable bike that retails for just $10,999, making it one of the models in Kawasaki’s new bike line-up that won’t burn holes in your pockets should you decide to make the purchase.
|Engine||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four|
|Bore x stroke||77.0 x 56.0mm|
|Fuel injection||DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles|
|Ignition||TCBI with digital advance|
|Final drive||X-ring chain|
|Rake / trail||24.5 degrees / 4.0 in.|
|Frame type||Aluminum Backbone|
|Front tire||120/70 ZR17|
|Rear tire||190/50 ZR17|
|Front suspension / wheel travel||41 mm inverted cartridge fork with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.|
|Rear suspension / wheel travel||Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 5.4 in.|
|Front brakes||Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper|
|Overall length||82.9 in.|
|Overall width||31.1 in.|
|Overall height||48.4 in.|
|Seat height||32.3 in.|
|Curb weight||502.7 lbs.|
|Fuel capacity||5.0 gal.|
|Color choices||Ebony, Candy Fire Red / Ebony|