MD is at the press launch of the 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS in California. We are riding the bikes North from Los Angeles to Monterey. Yesterday, we put over 200 miles on the new Ninja 1000 … riding everything from freeways and back roads to a crazy little, beat up “road” that in some ways resembles a motocross track more than something you would take a street bike on (known as Santa Rosa Creek Road near Cambria, CA).
Our ride continues on up to Monterey today via the beautiful Highway 1. This report will be brief, and followed by a much more extensive Part 2 a bit later.
We have already described all of the changes to the 2014 Ninja 1000 here, but I want to highlight a couple of things in this first report.
Kawasaki revised the damping settings of both the fork and the shock for 2014, and also stiffened the spring in the shock. Working together with the very impressive Bridgestone S20 tires, the bike seems to handle better than the model being replaced, particularly when ridden aggressively. The suspension seems to operate higher in the stroke, and although the new settings are stiffer, small bump absorption is excellent.
The brand new monobloc four-piston brake calipers are really impressive. These are made by Tokico, although branded Kawasaki, and feature differential bore sizes for the pistons (30 mm on top and 32 mm on bottom). The pad compound has also changed. The result is powerful, controllable braking that does not fade (we did our best, trust me) during aggressive street riding.
The engine performance is as sweet as ever, and even improved with the changes Kawasaki has made for 2014. Much more about this in Part 2. I am riding a bike with the new saddlebags attached today (they hold 28 liters each, not the 29 we reported earlier), and will give you more details on how well Kawasaki has integrated these bags (jointly designed with GIVI). Stay tuned.