We are continuing to thoroughly enjoy our Ninja 1000 test bike. You can see Part One of our long-term report here, and read our report from the press introduction of this bike here. We can update you on the gas mileage you can expect if you purchase this model. Below is a table setting forth the four most recent tanks of gasoline we have run through this bike.
Tank # 1 – 170 miles @ 4.46 Gal. = 38.1 MPG
Tank #2 – 128.3 miles @ 3.54 Gal. = 36.3 MPG
Tank #3 – 149.5 miles @ 4.41 Gal. = 33.9 MPG
Tank #4 – 171.1 miles @ 4.02 Gal. – 42.7 MPG
As you can see, when ridden aggressively (as we have), the Ninja 1000 does not return the best gas mileage. Nevertheless, the 43 mile per gallon figure we obtained on Tank #4 was primarily high-speed freeway cruising. Given the large, 5 gallon tank in the Ninja 1000, 200 miles between fill-ups on a highway trip is certainly possible, and this is more than decent range for a sport tourer.
The bike has continued to impress us with its smoothness. We do note some minor vibration through the tank when gripping the bike with our legs above 6000 RPM. It is noticeable, but not an annoyance.
We’ve been trying to dial in the handling. The way the bike was delivered to us by Kawasaki, we thought it turned in slower than the unit we tested at the press introduction a few months ago. As a result, we decided to raise the forks in the triple clamps by 5 mm (see picture). After doing this, we learned that Sport Rider magazine had recommended a similar adjustment. Basically, the Ninja 1000 feels like it needs more weight on the front end. This can be accomplished in a couple of different ways.
You could take the approach we did, or you could try something different (something we may try when we switch tires). You could go with a higher profile rear tire. The Ninja 1000 comes stock with a 190/50 section rear, and you could swap to a 55 section rear (either 190 or 180) to provide a bit more ride height in the back, and also a better tire profile for tipping the bike in the corners. By raising the forks, the Ninja 1000 not only changes directions more easily, it tracks better, whether in a straight line or through corners.
We wanted to finish testing the bike in stock condition before proceeding with modifications. As we said earlier, we are anticipating an exhaust change, windscreen change, and several other mods. In our opinion, however, the Ninja 1000 is an outstanding motorcycle in stock condition, and a very viable one-bike solution for riders who like to commute, tour and attack the canyons on weekends. Stay tuned.
The manufacturer provided Motorcycle Daily with this motorcycle for purposes of evaluation.