2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

Images and information from Kawasaki's press material

Ideal Performance from an Open-Class Sportbike

They’ve been a staple of the sporting motorcycle world for decades: sportbikes that blend top-shelf engine and handling performance with a high degree of comfort, practicality and devastating good looks. Kawasaki has built plenty over the years, from the original Ninja® 900R of the 1980s, to the ZX™-11 of the ’90s, and the ZZR®1200 of the ‘00s – standout performers that are also easy to live with, day in and day out.

For 2011, an all-new model slots into this legendary and ultra-capable category – Kawasaki’s new Ninja 1000. Like the original, which debuted to an amazing chorus of press and customer kudos back in 1986, the new Ninja 1000 offers an alluring blend of capability and technology, from the very latest racetrack components, to astounding engine and chassis performance, and to cutting-edge styling that’ll stop you in your tracks the instant you lay your eyes on one.

It all starts with a core motorcycle – frame, engine, suspension – that’s so good, so flexible and so downright capable it’s been wowing press and customers worldwide all year long: Kawasaki’s amazing Z1000 super-standard. Using the Z1000’s new-think engine and chassis package as a starting point, Kawasaki engineers added radical, knife-edged bodywork along with a host of cool features that push the Ninja 1000’s performance, capability and flexibility envelopes to amazing heights.

Ninja 1000 motivation comes by way of a highly advanced open-class powerplant – a 1,043cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 16-valve inline-four featuring a long-stroke design for instantaneous power, a slick-shifting six-speed gearbox, and no-fuss electronic fuel injection for the type of seamless throttle response – warm or cold – that makes short work of tricky traffic, higher-speed backroad situations and everything in between.

Power? There’s a ton of the stuff, but the real magic of this engine is its flexible, midrange-heavy thrust that accelerates you out of corners and away from stops in a satisfying manner that’s sure to keep you entertained – and your riding buddies impressed – for years to come. At seemingly every rpm, the Ninja 1000 engine produces the sort of smooth, instant-on thrust many hard-core sportbikes just can’t match.

Digital fuel injection helps, and the quartet of 38mm Keihin downdraft throttle bodies slam the perfect mix of fuel and air into the combustion chambers with help from an advanced ECU, oval sub-throttles and a cool air intake system that routes fresh air to the airbox via ducts at the front of the bike. A balance shaft driven off the crankshaft keeps the solidly mounted engine as smooth as possible, while a radically designed 4-into-2-into-2 catalyzer-equipped exhaust system offers a pleasing growl without being overly loud along with the cleanest possible emissions. It’s a perfect engine for a road-going sportbike – smooth, powerful, flexible and blessed with the sort of legendary reliability Kawasaki motorcycles are known for.

Like the superb-handling Z1000, the new Ninja 1000 features an advanced aluminum frame similar in design to that of the all-conquering Ninja ZX-10R sportbike. The lightweight cage curves over the engine, cradling it from above and bolting solidly to it in three places, with a rubber-backed fourth mount provided for added vibration isolation and torsional rigidity. This design allowed engineers to keep the waist of the bike very narrow for superb rider interface and high levels of comfort and control. The main frame and swingarm pivot pieces are cast as a single unit, with welds eliminated wherever possible for seamless aesthetics.

The wheels, brakes and suspension parts that control that frame/engine duo are thoroughly advanced. Up front is a stout 41mm inverted fork that’s fully adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping – just what you need for dialing things in perfectly for your weight and riding style. In back is a horizontal back-link shock system featuring a damper mounted nearly horizontally above the swingarm for optimal mass centralization and excellent heat resistance. The gas/oil shock is adjustable for both spring preload and rebound damping, and tuned for effective performance everywhere from backroad sport riding to bopping along a pothole-infested city street. As a package, the Ninja 1000’s suspension is designed to provide the rider with clear communication of what’s happening at the contact patches, while still taking enough edge off the bumps to provide a comfortable ride on longer trips.

Strong, responsive stopping power is provided by the new Ninja’s racing-spec brakes. Dual 300mm petal-type rotors up front are squeezed by ultra-rigid radially mounted calipers pressurized by an equally race-spec radial pump master cylinder. In back is another high-tech disc setup. Braking power and feel at both ends are amazing, giving rookies and pros alike a feeling of confidence while aboard.

The wheels holding those brakes – lightweight six-spoke supersport-style hoops – are also the latest in production technology. They not only reduce unsprung weight, which allows the suspension to function optimally, but they carry the latest in radial tire technology. The result is excellent grip, precise handling and extended tire life.

But perhaps the most stunning aspect of the new Ninja 1000 is its racy, full-coverage bodywork. Designed with one eye focused directly on Kawasaki’s track-ready ZX-6R and ZX-10R, Kawasaki has blessed the new bike with a thoroughly radical look, one that’s fresh and riveting. But despite its edgy, rakish appearance, the bodywork cleaves enough of a hole in the atmosphere to offer a reasonably quiet cocoon for the rider. A manually adjustable, three-position windscreen helps here, allowing riders to pick just the right setting for their height and riding style. 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 help complete the look. It’s one you won’t soon forget.

And despite its radical stance, the new Ninja 1000 retains comfortable ergonomics. The handlebars are mounted higher than on a supersport machine and the pegs a touch lower, all of which makes the Ninja 1000 a capable medium-haul tourer, and certainly a sportbike you could spend the day aboard without undue strain. To sweeten the day- or weekend-trekking deal even more, Kawasaki offers a line of optional touring-oriented accessories, including hard-case saddlebags, a top trunk, heated grips and more.

It’s rare to find such all-around functionality and performance in a sport motorcycle these days, with many bikes so specialized they’re almost one-trick ponies. But the 2011 Ninja 1000 is a different animal – one with wide-ranging talent in sport, sport-touring and commuting roles. And because it’s based on a motorcycle – the Z1000 – so all-around competent and happy in its own skin, you know the newest Ninja will be a hit. Chalk up another great do-it-all sportbike to the Kawasaki folks.

Authentic Kawasaki Accessories are available through Kawasaki dealers.

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Features and Benefits

Key Features

  • 1,043cc inline-four with DFI® offers serious torque
  • Lightweight aluminum frame is narrow and tuned to transmit optimal feedback to the rider
  • Fully adjustable inverted front fork has settings designed for sporty performance and ride quality
  • Design of horizontal back-link rear suspension contributes to mass centralization
  • Radial-mounted front brake calipers combine with the radial-pump front brake master cylinder to offer superb control and feel
  • Sleek, supersport styling gives the Ninja® 1000 a distinctive look
  • Relaxed, upright riding position contributes to all-day comfort
  • Larger fuel capacity offers substantial range
  • Windscreen is adjustable to three positions, allowing for optimum wind and weather protection

DOHC, 16-valve, 1,043cc Engine

  • Liquid-cooled inline-four offers true open-class power from idle to redline, making it easy to harness for experts and novices alike
  • Bore and stroke dimensions of 77.0 x 56.0mm offer an ideal balance of peak power and low- and mid-range flexibility
  • 38mm Keihin throttle bodies cram the air/fuel mixture directly into combustion chambers via downdraft intakes for maximum power
  • Oval sub-throttles help keep the engine slim, and a slim midsection allows an ideal bike/rider interface for maximum comfort and control
  • Engine's rev limiter comes into play "softly," providing usable overrev character since power doesn't drop off suddenly at high rpm
  • The engine's relatively low crankshaft position allows a moderately long stroke without adding engine height
  • A secondary engine balancer, driven off a gear on the sixth web of the crankshaft, eliminates excess vibration and contributes to rider comfort Cool Air System

  • Intake system routes cool air to the airbox via ducts in the fairing, minimizing performance loss due to heated intake air

  • Duct positioning – close to the rider – allows the intake howl to be heard and enjoyed
  • Airbox resonator reduces noise at low rpm and enhances intake sound at higher revs

Exhaust System

  • The exhaust system features a 4-into-2-pre-chamber-into-2 layout. Silencer end-caps maintain the quad-style image
  • Main and pre-catalyzers ensure cleaner emissions
  • Thanks to the under-engine pre-chamber, silencer volume is reduced, and silencer weight is low. Exhaust system offers excellent mass centralization and contributes to a low center of gravity

Slim-type Fuel Pump

  • Slim-type fuel pump features an integral fuel gauge
  • Fuel tank design and slim-type fuel pump minimizes dead volume inside the tank; fuel capacity is 4.0 gallons Bodywork

  • Supersport-style full-fairing bodywork gives the Ninja 1000 a distinctive, head-turning look, and also offers plenty of wind and weather protection for short-tour ability

  • The fairing's slat-style leading edges direct wind around the bike, allowing the fairing to be narrower at the middle
  • The fairing flares at the rear, keeping hot engine air from hitting the rider's legs
  • Original design front turn signals are integrated into the fairing and are attached to the inside of the fairing with rubber mounts that minimize damage if the bike falls over
  • ZX-6R-spec front fender contributes to excellent aerodynamics and racy looks
  • Slim and compact tail cowl moves mass physically and visually toward the front of the bike
  • LED taillight features red LED bulbs and a red transparent lens
  • Slim rear fender gives the bike a light-looking rear end
  • Windscreen is manually adjustable for optimum wind/weather protection
  • Windscreen has three available positions spanning approximately 20 degrees and ranging from sporty to maximum wind protection. Adjustment can be done by hand (no tools required) by depressing the release button below the instrument panel. Windscreen adjustment should always be done with the bike stopped

Aluminum Backbone Frame

  • Aluminum backbone frame is similar in concept to the Ninja ZX-10R's, and helps make the bike narrow and easy to grip with the knees for maximum rider comfort and feedback
  • The frame is lightweight and highly rigid, and uses the engine as a stressed member for solid handling and optimum stability
  • Frame elements are tuned to transmit optimal engine feedback to the rider
  • The frame's five-piece construction consists of steering stem, left and right main frames, and two cross pieces. The two main frame components have open C-shaped cross sections
  • Welds were eliminated wherever possible for simplicity and appearance; the frame beams and swingarm brackets are single die-cast pieces
  • The new frame uses four engine mounts, three of which are rigid, one of which (the upper rear crankcase mount) is rubber
  • Rear subframe is a three-piece aluminum die-casting assembly that's light, strong and optimizes mass centralization
  • The sub-frame is an example of form and function combined, negating the need for side covers and allowing underseat narrowness for a shorter reach to the ground

Horizontal Back-Link Rear Suspension

  • All-new rear suspension design positions the shock unit and linkage above the swingarm where it's less exposed to exhaust heat and contributes to mass centralization
  • Visible from the outside, the horizontal monoshock contributes to the Ninja 1000's ultra-sporty appearance
  • Linkage characteristics are the same as those of a standard Uni-Trak® system: Wheel movement versus shock stroke is the same ratio
  • The shock features stepless rebound damping and spring preload adjustability for a custom-tuned ride

Fully Adjustable 41mm Fork

  • The Ninja 1000's inverted fork is adjustable for compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload – and is protected from harm by a cool-looking shroud
  • Settings are designed for both sporty performance and ride quality
  • Separate, raised handlebars contribute to the sporty, comfortable riding position; bar stays are mounted to the fork tube tops, which extend above the top clamp
  • A thick urethane seat provides a high level of rider and passenger comfort
  • Tapered-type grips, like those used on supersport models, offer a more direct feel
  • Ninja ZX-10R-style footpegs with knurled surfaces offer good grip, direct feel and control, and no-nonsense looks
  • The passenger footpeg brackets incorporate convenient luggage hooks


  • 300mm front petal-type brake discs are gripped by opposed four-piston radial-mount calipers. (Caliper piston size is 4x30 mm)
  • A radial-pump front brake master cylinder contributes to the superb control and feel offered by these high-end calipers
  • The rear brake is a single piston, pin-slide caliper gripping a 250mm petal-type disc. The caliper is mounted below the swingarm, and located by a torque rod

Large-Volume Fuel Tank

  • Five-gallon (19L) fuel tank offers substantial range
  • Steel construction facilitates use of magnetic tank bag
  • Tank shape (flared edges and a trim shape at the back) allows riders to easily grip tank with their knees


  • Sporty instrument panel features a large analog tachometer and multi-function LCD screen. It's a design based on the ZX-6R's unit, but which features original graphics and coloring
  • Functions include speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, odometer, clock, dual trip meters and warning lamps
  • Hazard switch located on left bar pod

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2011 Kawasaki Ninja® 1000 Specifications

Engine Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Displacement 1,043cc
Bore x stroke 77.0 x 56.0mm
Compression ratio 11.8:1
Fuel injection DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition TCBI with digital advance
Transmission Six-speed
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
Wheelbase 56.9 in.
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
MSRP $10,999
Warranty 12 Months

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