Irvine, CA — When Kawasaki launched the updated naked Z1000 in 2010, we fell in love, naming it Best Standard that same year. But not everyone wants a naked-style sportbike, so, the following year, Kawasaki introduced the Ninja 1000. Although closely related to the Z1000, the Ninja offered full-wrap bodywork, an upright riding position, good wind protection and the same torquey 1043cc inline-Four that we like so much in the Z. For 2014, Kawasaki has given this real-world sportbike a few upgrades, highlighted by traction control, better brakes and multiple power-delivery modes.
The Ninja 1000 isn’t quite in a class of its own, but the only other open-class sportbikes currently sold that offer upright ergos and and some semblance of a fairing are the Honda VFR1200F or Yamaha FZ1. This trio is bookended by purebred sportbikes on one side and heavyweight sport-touring machines on the other. Kawi had one eye on the sport-touring market when it redesigned the Ninja, taking it back to basics with a lightweight approach: A new subframe and a tailsection are designed to cleanly accommodate the optional 29-liter saddlebags, which, when removed with quick-release hardware, leave a clutter-free appearance.
Big news on the Ninja 1000 are the new electronic rider aids. The KTRC traction-control system has three levels of intervention and can also be switched off. Further, two output modes can be selected, either full or low power (70 percent of peak). The 1043cc inline-Four has been tweaked for better low- to midrange torque with new intake cams. Improvements have been made on the intake side with a new airbox, air filter and revised velocity stacks on the quartet of 38mm throttle bodies. We expect impressive performance where you use the power most on the street, because the previous model was already very strong.
The chassis is very similar to the one on the bike it replaces with a couple of exceptions: New one-piece monobloc, radial-mount front brake calipers are controlled by a radial-pump master cylinder and pinch 300mm petal-type discs. ABS is standard. Out back, the shock features a new remote spring preload adjuster for quick and easy adjustments to accommodate a passenger and/or luggage.
So, while the $11,999 Ninja 1000 ABS is still largely the same machine, with a killer real-world engine and sporting chassis, the addition of the optional hard bags and upgrades to the electronics and braking hardware promise to make the bike more versatile and help it outperform the previous generation bike. Two colors will be available in 2014, Candy Lime Green or Candy Cascade Blue. Look for a riding impression in the near future. The fact that 2014 model is $100 cheaper than the bike it replaces is a nice bonus.
|KAWASAKI PROTECTION PLUS||12, 24, 36, and 48 month plans are available|
|WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTOR||Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
9950 Jeronimo Road
Irvine, CA 92618
|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|
|FRAME TYPE||Aluminum Backbone|
|FRONT TIRE||120/70 ZR17|
|REAR TIRE||190/50 ZR17|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||41 mm inverted cartridge fork with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload|
|FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL||4.7 in.|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, remotely adjustable spring preload|
|REAR WHEEL TRAVEL||5.4 in.|
|FRONT BRAKES||Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston monobloc calipers and ABS|
|REAR BRAKE||Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper, with ABS|
|OVERALL LENGTH||82.9 in.|
|OVERALL WIDTH||31.1 in.|
|OVERALL HEIGHT (WINDSCREEN DN/UP)||46.1/48.4 in.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||32.3 in.|
|CURB WEIGHT||509.4 lbs.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||5.0 gal.|
|COLOR CHOICES||Candy Lime Green, Candy Cascade Blue|
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