2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX First Look

Look again—it’s changed more than it seems.

2020 Ninja 1000SX
Kawasaki has updated and upgraded the 2020 Ninja 1000SX with more tech, performance, and comfort, but you might need to give it a longer look to know it.Kawasaki

Even if you're quite familiar with Kawasaki's Ninja 1000SX it would be quite easy to stroll past the new 2020 model and think there was nothing more than a color change. But look closer, as Kawasaki has actually given the bike a fairly extensive rework for the 2020 model year.

Visually, the first change you’re likely to spot is the exhaust. Whereas earlier versions had four exits—two stacked on each side—the new model has a single, large can on the right-hand side, with all the spent gases escaping from just one outlet. It means the left-hand side of the bike is much cleaner and lighter than before, with the rear wheel on full view rather than being hidden behind a bulky end can.

Ninja 1000SX
Both the rider and passenger seats on the Ninja 1000SX get revisions for 2020.Kawasaki

Next, you might spot the thicker pillion seat, which flicks up at the rear to stop passengers from sliding back. The rider’s seat is reshaped and thicker, too, and the side panels and bellypan are redesigned. Up front, a more vertical adjustable screen promises better wind protection while adding a fourth position to the three on the earlier model, and all the lights are now LED.

2020 Ninja 1000SX
Optional accessory hard bags can be had to up the Ninja 1000SX’s sport-touring chops.Kawasaki

2020 Ninja 1000SX Changes Under The Skin

Underneath the subtle visual updates, the 2020 Ninja 1000SX gains several mechanical updates that promise to make it a significantly better bike. Engine-wise, there are new cam profiles to reduce tappet noise, and the intakes are redesigned to suit the new exhaust, with shorter funnels for cylinders one and four. Speaking of that exhaust, the single pipe is both cleaner than the old system but is also 4.5 pounds lighter.

right-side muffler
A single right-side muffler on the 2020 Ninja 1000SX replaces the duals of the previous model, shedding 4.5 pounds.Kawasaki

While the main chassis isn’t changed, the suspension is revised with tweaks to the damping and redesigned pistons in the forks.

Despite the changes, the engine’s power and torque peaks are much the same as before. The European-spec bike is confirmed as having 140 bhp at 10,000 rpm and 82 pound-feet of torque at 8,000 rpm, and US models are unlikely to be significantly different.

2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX Electronics

There’s a significant trend toward ever-smarter electronics in 2020’s bikes and the Ninja 1000SX is no exception. A new suite of rider aids includes four switchable riding modes—Sport, Rain, Road, and Rider-programmable—each changing the traction control settings along with the power level. Cruise control is also new for next year, as is the addition of an up/down quickshifter.

From the rider’s seat, all this extra tech is illustrated on a new 4.3-inch TFT color instrument panel, with selectable background color and choice of display layouts. If you want, it can even display G-force readings from the bike’s IMU and a visual representation of front brake application.

4.3-inch TFT
A new 4.3-inch TFT color dash has multiple layout options.Kawasaki

As with several other 2020 Kawasakis, the screen can also be tied to your phone via Bluetooth and Kawasaki’s Rideology app. That puts bike info onto your phone, including a GPS riding log and info like fuel level, mileage, and a servicing schedule. You can even set the riding mode from your smartphone. The link also means phone information can appear on the bike’s dash including call notifications.

2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX Price

MSRP for the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX is set at $12,399.