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  • September 30, 2013
  • Dirck Edge
  • Adam Campbell, Kinney Jones and Dirck Edge
  • 65 Comments

New 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS: MD First Ride, Part 2

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Popular wisdom says you should wait for the second generation of any new product, so the manufacturer can “work the bugs out.” But, let’s face it, sometimes you just can’t. The first generation represents something so different and so desirable that you have to have it. No waiting allowed.

The first generation of the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 (introduced to the US market as a 2011 model) qualified as one of those have-to-have-it-now products for many motorcycle enthusiasts tired of race bike ergos as the “price of admission” to superbike performance. The upright seating position, more generous leg room, and adjustable windscreen were too hard to resist when combined with adjustable suspension, premium brakes and street acceleration that not only equaled, but surpassed that offered by superbikes.

Horsepower/Torque (Nm)

4K RPM

5K RPM

6K RPM

7K RPM

8K RPM

 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 (2011 model) 46/83 61/88 75/91 95/97 115/105
 BMW S1000RR (2010 model) 41/76 56/83 65/77 80/84 102/92

 Kawasaki ZX-10R (2013 model)

38/68 52/76 65/78 79/83 100/92

That’s right, at street RPM levels, the original Ninja 1000 was faster, particularly given the ridiculously tall first gear found on every superbike sold in the US (all of the Japanese street-legal superbikes exceed 90mph at redline in first gear, due to their race inspired close-ratio gearboxes). The numbers above represent interpretations of the Dyno charts prepared by Akrapovič for each model, which can be found on the Akrapovič web site. The bottom line is that the original Ninja 1000 had more street engine performance than nearly every other bike available in the U.S.

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But now we have a second-generation 2014 Ninja 1000, and you might wish you had followed Grandpa’s advice about waiting. This bike has numerous changes, some significant and some subtle, that, our testing confirms, add up to a much better motorcycle than the already excellent first-gen bike. We have put nearly 500 miles on the 2014 Ninja 1000 riding with a group of very fast journalists from Los Angeles to Monterey. We didn’t take the shortest route available, but instead tried a wide variety of roads (some more than once) to fully assess the performance of the new bike.

First, let’s talk more about what’s new for 2014.  A new three-stage traction control system allows riders to select minimal interference for maximum acceleration, all the way to a setting appropriate for wet/slippery conditions that intrudes as much as a similar setting found on the Concours 14 sport tourer. The system can also be turned off completely.  When you start the bike it defaults to Level 1, which is the least intrusive setting (for maximum acceleration, while still providing traction control).

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Also new for 2014 is the ability to select from two power modes, including Full Power, as well as a second mode that significantly softens power delivery and limits the machine to 70% of its peak horsepower.  For instance, in wet or slippery conditions, traction control might be set to Level 3, while setting power to Low Power.

In Part 1, we mentioned the new monobloc, radial mount, four-piston front brake calipers controlled by a radial-pump master cylinder.  The front rotors are 300 mm each.  According to Kawasaki, these Tokico front calipers are machined from a single block of aluminum, and feature  differentiated piston diameters to match the force on the leading and trailing edge of the brake pads (which are of a new compound with a higher coefficient of friction).  A new ABS pump provides more precise control of line pressure.

The changes to the 1043 cc, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine may receive less attention, but they are significant nonetheless.  Kawasaki claims improved horsepower and torque throughout the rpm range from the following changes.  The intake cam features less lift and more duration for increased low-mid rpm power.  Breathing passageways have been created between the cylinders to reduce pumping losses, increasing high-rpm power.  New oval shaped, large diameter balance tubes connect the exhaust headers, also increasing engine performance.  Finally, additional air intake volume and equal-length velocity stacks improve performance, while adding a more “stirring intake howl.”  Kawasaki tops this off with a higher flowing, stock air filter element. Revised ECU settings compliment these changes and, according to Kawasaki, provide for a more crisp throttle response.

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We have already mentioned the stiffer damping settings in both the fork and shock for 2014, together with a higher spring rate for the shock that is adjusted by a remote pre-load handle.  This makes it easy to dial in the desired spring tension for changing passenger/luggage loads.

Speaking of luggage, the 2014 Ninja 1000 ABS has a new sub-frame, specifically designed for the integration of new 28 liter saddlebags.  These new bags, designed with the assistance of GIVI, are relatively short front-to-rear, but very deep.  They easily swallow a size large, full-face Arai helmet, for instance, seemingly with room to spare.  As you can see from the photos at the end of this article, the new mounting system is far more attractive than the clunky-looking brackets found on the older model, and it holds the bags much closer to the centerline of the bike.   We found these bags among the easiest we have ever used, both in terms of opening/closing (they are locked with the ignition key) and complete removal from the bike.   They also look much better and more integrated with the design of the motorcycle.  No complaints.

Other changes for 2014 include a taller sixth gear for more relaxed highway cruising (we saw less than half of redline at 70 mph), and a revised instrument panel with new LCD functions indicating traction control and power modes selected, current and average fuel consumption, remaining range and coolant temperature.  The rider’s seat is flatter with thicker padding, while being no higher (thanks to the new subframe), while the passenger seat is also new with thicker padding and underside vibration damping.  Other subtle changes include improved rearview mirror shaping and more accurate fuel level sensor.

Features that contributed to the last model’s long distance comfort and practicality, such as the large, five gallon fuel tank and three-position windshield, return for 2014.

We are very familiar with the 2011 model, so had a good basis for comparing the 2014 Ninja 1000 ABS.  In short, the new model is faster, smoother, more comfortable and better handling.

Throttle response seems crisper, yet the engine remains very controllable by the rider.  The engine simply seems livelier, and more eager.  The bike pulls smoothly off the bottom into a stout mid-range and a fiercely powerful top-end.

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Power is nothing without control, as they say, and the new suspension settings really play an important role here.  The new model feels much better balanced, and can be pushed very hard on the street without losing its composure.  Although firmer, the new suspension settings still absorb small bumps comfortably, and keep the bike planted in corners on rough surfaces.  Seemingly small changes to the suspension have paid big dividends.

The new flatter seat offered good comfort and support, and the narrower mid-section of the bike (thanks to the removal of the side panels) seems to allow an easier reach to the pavement.

The new suspension settings and the tire profiles offered by the Bridgestone S20 tires, together with another seemingly subtle change (lower friction steering stem bearings) contribute to noticeably improved low-speed handling, and easier direction changes overall.

The engine changes also seem to contribute to a smoother, lower vibration ride.  While vibration could become annoying at times on the older bike, we were not bothered by it during our test, and the rearview mirrors seemed less disturbed, as well.  These mirrors are much more useable (wider spaced) than those found on the typical sport bike.

After testing a naked bike last week, I really appreciated the excellent wind protection offered by the Ninja 1000. With the adjustable windscreen in its middle position, I had clean air flow at the helmet level with zero buffeting, while my chest remained out of the wind. Exactly the way I like it.

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I typically used Full Power and the default setting 1 on the traction control, and never spun-up the rear tire, despite riding some rather dirty roads (and sliding the front tire at least three times on the extremely technical Santa Rosa Creek Road, just inland from Cambria, California).

The transmission shifted well, and the clutch operated predictably with a pull-effort in keeping with the size and torque of the engine. The higher sixth gear undoubtedly contributed to the perceived lower vibration on the highway. Although we did not test it, the taller sixth gear might very well improve fuel economy as well.

As I stated in Part 1, the brakes are fantastic. I had one near-panic stop on Highway 1, and used everything the front brake had to offer. The power and control was stunning.

Frankly, I have to think hard about criticisms. At roughly 510 pounds curb weight, the Ninja 1000 is not as svelte as a modern super sport or super bike, and you do feel its heft in comparison to that category of machine. Although far more comfortable than a sport bike, there are sport tourers and adventure tourers that sit bolt upright, if you require that position. Finally, in an era where triples and twins are more common, an in-line four can feel a bit more generic and lacking in character, although this particular in-line four sounds fantastic at full song.

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New saddlebag mount design (on right) is much cleaner.

All-in-all, Kawasaki must be commended for making excellent decisions about updates to an already fine motorcycle. The changes to the new 2014 Ninja 1000 ABS result in a superb, high performance machine that is comfortable and practical at the same time. Every purchaser of this motorcycle should add the excellent hard saddlebags as well. The integrated look of the saddlebag mounts, and the look and function of the bags themselves are hard to fault.

So what we have here is a viciously fast street bike that is controllable, easy to ride, and a good fit for a wide variety of enthusiasts. If you want one bike that does it all, the 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS might just fill the bill.

U.S. MSRP is $11,999, for each of two color choices, including Candy Lime Green and Candy Cascade Blue. The hard bags, together with the mounting system pictured, are available for $1,269.75. Many other accessories will be available from Kawasaki after the bike begins hitting U.S. dealers in a couple of weeks. For additional details and specifications, visit Kawasaki’s web site.

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New saddlebag system (right) is cleaner and more integrated.

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The bags did not seem to impact handling.

65 Comments

  1. Don Cox says:

    Wow, I really love this bike. I’m 52 years old and have owned many different MC’s over the last 27 years. My current rides are a ’12 R1200gs & a ’95 900ss. The 2014 Ninja 1000 ABS checks off all the right boxes; usable addictive power, killer brakes, handling, wind protection, comfort, range, integrated luggage, whiz bank electronics (TC, Power Modes & ABS). I’m not crazy about the exhaust treatment and I wish it had heated grips, but other than that it looks just about perfect. Great job Kawasaki! I’m going to get one.

    • VLJ says:

      “My current rides are a ’12 R1200gs & a ’95 900ss.”

      What an absolutely fantastic two-bike combo.

      :applauds:

    • D.E. says:

      I concur. This is the bike I’ve been looking for. My only gripe would be the color options. I like the white of the 2013. I guess Kawa green it’s going to be…

  2. Mr.Mike says:

    Looks like a great bike. Minor nit: I wish they’d move away from the 1950′s rocket ship thruster styled mufflers. Something plain and unobtrusive would be fine. Also, that’s a lot of money for a couple of bags. I felt extravagant spending $200 for a couple of used Pellican 1550s and welding up mounts for my VStrom. Spending $1200 for a place to keep my crap would be simply out of the question for me.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      If “a place to keep my crap” is all you need, then just add a tankbag. OTOH, if hard bags fit your needs better, this bike ~with~ bags costs less in 2013 than many bag-equipped ST bikes did a decade ago.

  3. WillieB says:

    Pretty sure I am gonna sell my Ducati Multistrada 1200 and get one of these. Hoping to find a demo ride soon.

  4. Storm Monkey says:

    Dog dammit!! Damn you Kawasaki and MD! I was one of those in the ‘gotta-have-one-now’ crowd. In fact I went out and bought the 1st gen after reading MD’s long term review (great work guys – you guys write the best reviews truly).

    Coming off a VFR ’06, my first thoughts were “this is the bike Honda should’ve made’. I mirror the sentiments here that it was the best ‘road bike’ I had ridden to date that I could live with day in day out. My only niggles (and they are very small) was that I wished for: 1) more integrated luggage system 2) traction control 3) remote rear spring control. Aaarrrgh! Kawasaki actually listens to their customers??? What am i gonna do now? Well maybe if I rolled the new ’14 model into the garage the wife might not even notice the differences? Hmmmmm….

    Btw regarding all those comments on the ninja monicker, let’s not forget that the very first ninja was not a race rep but the venerable GPZ900R. Remember the old tom cruise Top Gun drag at the air strip moment? In this sense this latest ninja range in many ways is more true to the original ninja concept than any other bike since.

  5. warprints says:

    Center stands are great, but not a deal breaker for me. Except on rare occasions, I only use my center stands when servicing my bikes.

    • Bob says:

      I tend to hit torrential rain everywhere I tour. Having a c-stand would have helped on a few trips, especially since I hit plenty of unmaintained and unpaved roads like in Death valley and the back way in to Bryce Canyon. I just ended up with abrasive paste on my chain. So I had to clean and lube more than normal.

      The biggest beef I have though is the spool mounts on the swingarm. They are 10mm and the spools are large enough that you can not ride with them on or you will break off the spool tabs with the mufflers while riding. I’ve done it twice. First time I did a tire change, I didn’t know any better. 2nd time I did a tire change, I simply forgot to take them off when I let the bike down. I need to find someone who welds aluminum to put the tab back on. They are weak and in the wrong place.

      At least make them 8 mm so a low profile spool can be sourced.

    • Gary says:

      I have been forced to park places where there are high winds and/or irregular or sketchy surfaces. Centerstands come on handy at times for things other than maintenance.

      • ApriliaRST says:

        What!? Haven’t you read all the internet experts who say bikes are more stable when parked on the side stand? Supposedly something about a larger triangle. They forget that once tipped to the right past upright the bike falls over. ;)

  6. Jake Mills says:

    I did not wait for generation 2 and bought a 2011 … best bike to date I have owned… just turned 26,000 k/m … looking at the 2014 time to trade my ’11 for a new ’14 Ninja 1k… love the upgrades … now we just need a Ninja 1K rally…

    • Bob says:

      I couldn’t wait either. My R1100S had 160k on it and was starting to worry my wallet to keep it going. But that bike could tour well and scratch in the canyons.

      The N1k was the right combination of sportiness and able to tour and commute…and the right size.

      There was only 2 things I don’t care for. ABS was not offered in the USA and I prefer a grunty twin or triple over a linear feeling 4. Can’t always get what you want…

  7. motonerd14 says:

    Based purely on price, I can’t help but wonder how many prospective buyers will look at this, with the bags tacked on as an extra, and then look at the Concours 14, which never sells for MSRP, and then decide to buy this.

    Different needs and wants, perhaps, but having ridden both, and having bought the Concours instead, I’m having some difficulty understanding what Kawasaki hopes to accomplish with this, in the price bracket it’s in.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic motorcycle. Were it priced at $12k with the bags as standard, it’d be a knockout bargain. As it stands though, it’s getting a little pricey, considering all the extra features a Concours 14 has over this, for not a lot extra (most C14s are selling for well under MSRP.)

    • Ralph says:

      Really? The C14 is what, 140-150# heavier? NO THANKS. I’m done with big heavy piggy sport tourers. Yes, the C14 has warp drive, but this Ninja won’t be slow.

      I currently have an MTS1200Touring, about the same weight as the Ninja, maybe a little more power. I’d seriously consider this Ninja if I needed a new sport tourer. In fact, I’m going to try to find one for a test ride anyway.

      But yes, I’d buy this over the piggy C14 any day.

      • Bob says:

        Agreed. The C14 is a great bike but huge and heavy by comparison. I can go out to the country and ride like a complete ass on the N1k. The Connie will just plow into a ditch. During the week, I commute in a more sensible fashion. It does both and tours on top of that. I have had no issues with a couple 6000 mile trips.

    • DaveA says:

      Just as an FYI, the N1K rarely sells for MSRP either. There are brand new examples on eBay right now available for under $9000 OTD.

      • warprints says:

        Don’t trust eBay retail prices. I had one dealer tell me, after some prodding, that the listed price did not include freight, setup, and profit. Wait, WHAT? The price didn’t include profit? Well, the profit was substantial, once I got him to tell me the out the door price.

  8. Nico says:

    $1200 for some bags? These motorcycle companies need to chill.

    • Bob says:

      Yeah, WTF?. That $200 more than I paid for the Givi bags, color matched panels and tubular mounts for my ’11.

  9. jake says:

    Losing the Ninja name might be wise, but keeping the aggressive Ninja look up front would have been even wiser and more welcomed.

    Seems as if Kawi improved every thing on the bike except for the front crossed eyes beak look and the muffler which reminds a person of a cancerous looking growth.

    Esthetically improve both aspects and you could have a bike people really desire after.

    Also, would an additional 7th overdrive gear further improve highway mpg? Would one ever be needed or desirable?

    • mickey says:

      Really? Now we want a 7 th gear on a motorcycle that can break the speed limit anywhere in the U.S. In “First” gear?

      • jake says:

        Cars come with an 8 speed these days in an effort to improve fuel economy. If gas prices continue to inch up, a 7th gear to allow a big bike like the Ninja to get over 50 mpg on the highway would be welcomed I would think.

        • mickey says:

          Nobody buys a 125 horsepower liter bike for the economy, they buy them for the sportiness. Otherwise they’d be happy with sub 100 horsepower bikes, which most don’t seem to be these days. Whether it gets 55 mpg or 45 mpg makes no difference to most people. If they want to get better fuel economy couldn’t they just push the button for a lower power mode? Sure, but they won’t.

          Besides both my CB 1100 and my ST 1300 regularly get over 50 mpg with 5 speed transmissions.

          Personally id like to see them start working on tire longevity design. Chances are you are going to be putting new rear rubber on this thing about every 6,000 miles or a couple times a season.

          • jake says:

            And nobody dates a beautiful girl for her personality or her intelligence. If you can have both, why not? Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

            In the next 5 years, gas prices will surely increase to 5 to 6 dollars a gal in the U.S. For those born into the establishment or who have somehow managed to weasel their way into it during their lifetime, sure, those people do not have to care about increasing petro costs, cause their salaries will increase commensurately. But for the rest of us, we know we are screwed, and a 5 to 10 mpg increase in Hwy MPG would be most welcomed.

            Also, lowering power might help with mpg during stop and go traffic, but will not help at steady hgwy cruising.

          • jake says:

            As for tire design, I would think traction control and abs would allow tire manufacturers to use harder, longer lasting compounds in their tires without much detriment to safety or performance. They could market it as the “Traction Control, ABS, Hardbutt Rubber But Won’t Slip, Long Lasting” tire.

            So the tech to produce longer lasting tires probably already exists, the problem is the tire companies have no incentive to produce such a tire. Why would they want to create a tire which would allow you to spend less money on tire costs and put less money in their pockets?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Just because the bike can mitigate instances of traction loss doesn’t mean it would be beneficial to put harder rubber on the bike. Doing that would just make the electronics kick in earlier and more often. A stickier tire will stop faster than a harder one with or without ABS, no?

          • BlackCayman says:

            I’m with Mickey – fuel economy isn’t a concern in deciding which bike to buy. I want something that stirs my soul.

            whyweridefilm.com

        • jake says:

          Sure it would. In an absolute sense, a stickier tire will always stop or start better, but in a real world setting we have to make a compromise so the tire can last a reasonable length of time. Analogously, everybody wants a “no loss of suction” vacuum cleaner in an ideal world, but in the real world, most don’t want to pay $500 for the pleasure of “complete seal technology”. A regular old $99 vacuum will do for most. In the real world, life’s all about such compromises.

          So long as the slicker tire does not slip or skid, I suspect the difference in performance would be marginal compared to a softer tire designed for bikes before the era of abs or trac control. For a 50% or possibly more greater tire life, would some people be willing to live with a 10 to 15 feet longer stopping distance from 60 mph, or slightly softer burst when accelerating at full throttle. I bet many would if given such a choice by the tire companies.

      • Bob says:

        Sure why not. I look for it all the time! hahaha On the 80 mph roads going west out of San Antonio, the N1k is spinning too high and in the buzz zone. Really tickles the boys.

  10. BarryB says:

    I’ve only sat on the first model and was impressed with how narrow it was at the seat/tank and how easy it was to move. In the UK, a tyre upgrade did wonders for the feel/handling so I figure older models will depreciate even more now that new models are available and will look for one with the right tyres and lowish mileage. We have the less than stunning black colour option – a suicide invitation as it tends to merge stealth like into the tarmac and encourage car drivers to run over you – but I love white bikes and will get the front fairing sprayed if I end up with one of those. BTW, new they are the equivalent of US$15000 in the UK

  11. seth says:

    Muffler is head off of War of the Worlds martian?

  12. Jay says:

    I even like the mufflers. It’s hard to believe that it makes more torque and horsepower than a BMW RR1000SS all the way past 8000 rpm. I never go higher than that (unless I’m being chased).

    • DaveA says:

      It is important to note that while the hp/tq numbers in the article are true, and are largely representative of how most people ride on the street, they should not be taken as examples of actual higher performance in an apples-to-apples kind of way. By way of an example, a BMWs1000RR doesn’t even sniff its morning coffee until about 9,000 RPM, and doesn’t make its peak hp for 4,000 more RPM than that. When you’re talking about the N1K (which I love btw) making more power at 5k, the S1000RR is essentially lugging at that rpm (not literally lugging…all modern sportbikes are magically able to trundle around at tiny RPM just fine).

      Like I said, it is true that people ride around at those RPM levels, but I wanted to add perspective.

  13. Jeremy in TX says:

    I think this is a great bike. The closest competitor from a price perspective is the BMW F 800 GT. But the Kawasaki just has so much more of absolutely everything that it makes the BMW seem almost irrelevant. Unless one just wants a smaller bike in general (some people do) or refuses to live with a chain drive (some people do), the BMW would be a tough sell against the N1K.

    Good job Kawasaki. I know looks are subjective, but I think this Ninja is a knockout. They perhaps could have thrown a more “mature” color option in the mix, but I doubt that will have much if an impact on sales.

  14. WillieB says:

    The only negative is the DOT reflectors on the bags. Hopefully just 2 sided tape and not molded in / screwed on….

  15. allworld says:

    This is a great bike for all the right reasons.

  16. SmokinRZ says:

    I think the bike hits its mark without a center stand. If you want centerstand get a concours.

    • Sam Jones says:

      The new Ninja IS a great looking bike but still needs a center stand for us rally types.
      All my BMW’s, Triumph Sprint ST, 2000 VFR were factory equipped with center stand…particularly important with a chain-drive rig plus the bike is simply easier to load/unload/balance helmet during rest stops, etc. and certainly looks better when parked.

  17. Jay says:

    Yes, I’d prefer a triple or twin. A triple might save some weight, too. But it’s a great concept for Kawasaki. No one else really has one like it. Those 1300 tourers are overkill.

    • Sam Jones says:

      I agree, Jay. A 900-1000cc triple would be heaven in the new Ninja…We’ll just have to wait for Yamaha to deliver a true sport-touring configuration with their new triple (FZ-09) in place…a “slimmed-down” FJR might do the trick…are you listening, Triumph..?

      • Bob says:

        As someone who has owned lots of twins of various configurations, I would have loved this to be a liter triple too. Imagine the grunt! Similar to a twin but a little more rev when playing around.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          This bike has plenty of grunt. The number of cylinders doesn’t have anything to do with how much torque gets produced.

          • goose says:

            Thanks for saying what should be obvious. If anything, more cylinders smooth low RPM power delivery since they give more, smaller power pules.

            Stupid myths die hard,

            Goose

          • Bob says:

            “The number of cylinders doesn’t have anything to do with how much torque gets produced.”

            But everything about how it is delivered.

            No, it really doesn’t have enough grunt, I should know after 2 years. Typical of any I4, it’s too predictably linear in delivery. Boring actually until you wind it up.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            BMW’s 800 twin and Triumph’s 800cc triple are the two most “predictably linear” engines I can think of. And neither changes much in character as you wind them up. I still contend that this isn’t an issue related to the number of cylinders.

  18. Any thoughts on passenger comfort? I’m coming off a Yamaha FJR1300 and my wife is not sure about this bike, thinking the passenger pillion is too high above the rider’s seat.

  19. Bones says:

    Great bike! I want one.

    So, to make it an acceptable touring mount, I’d want a center stand, heated grips and a top case — offer those as an upgrade package along with the panniers. Cruise and a gear position indicator would be nice. Prefer silver wheels, and red or silver paint. As others have mentioned, lose the “Ninja” nameplate for us in the AARP crowd who’d like our insurance rates lower.

    • VLJ says:

      No go on the centerstand, not with that catalytic converter taking up the necessary space for one, but Kawi does offer optional heated grips for this bike, and a top case is easy enough to source through the aftermarket. With the upgraded rear subframe, Kawi may even allow the use of their own top case with their side panniers.

      • Bob says:

        I got the Kawi heated grips when I got my ’11. They suck big time. Can barely feel them at high power through race gloves (A-star GP Pro)and without gloves, they feel like they should. But I never ride without gloves so I replaced them with Oxfords for 1/3 the price. Much, much better.

        Yes, been asking for a centerstand for 2 years now. Lubing the chain while on holiday is a PITA, rolling the bike fore and aft little by little.

  20. john says:

    So do you sit more upright on the new model than the old one then ?

  21. Joey Wilson says:

    I’m a big fan of ‘what the Interceptor used to be / the next Interceptor oughta be’ motorcycles: Close to superbike power in a more anatomy vs. distance friendly package. I can’t do 400 miles hunched over in a racer’s crouch now, and I’m sure I couldn’t have done it in my teens or twenties either.

    This is a great example of what I had in mind. I’m with you guys: Centerstand, please.
    If Kawi is serious about this little market niche, heated grips / seat and cruise control
    would be fine as well. Anybody know if they sell a matching top trunk to go with this?

    Interesting how out of the big four Japanese companies, Kawi always seems to make the most thoughtful updates to already good products the quickest.

    • david says:

      In that case it creates a competition against its own big sibling the Concour 14! I would think Kawasaki will stop short of all the touring accessories similar equipped on the Concour.

  22. Dale says:

    Another excellent report. Well done.

  23. VLJ says:

    I think it’s safe to say that we likely will not be treated anywhere to a better, more thorough real-world review of this bike. Perhaps only Rider magazine may make the effort to cover so many of the important real-world aspects such as engine vibration, wind buffeting, mirror placement, bump absorption, etc.

    And no one else is going to offer such clear, beautiful pictures.

    Excellent work, Dirck. In particular, thanks for the pics/description of the saddle bags/mounts, including their ability to hold a full-face Arai.

    Someone please refresh my memory: does the instrument cluster include a gear indicator? I want to say that it doesn’t. I seem to recall thinking that all this thing is missing from my R1200R (besides a centerstand and shaft drive) is a gear position indicator and an ambient temperature gauge.

    25% more hp, a two-inch shorter wheelbase, sharper handing, a bit of buffeting-free wind protection, and far fewer/cheaper service intervals more than make up for those omissions, however, at least to me.

    Yep, had I not just swapped my BMW for a new Street Triple R, this is what I would buy the moment one became available, no question about it. For something this long-term capable, I’d even be willing to live with a blue bike clashing with all my red and black gear! Oh, and the ridiculously high insurance premiums, for which we can all thank that silly “Ninja” moniker.

    In any case, this is the I4 version of what Honda should have crafted when it was time to update the ’98-’01 VFR800. At last, someone has given us a true fully-faired sportbike (well, close enough) with genuine all-day comfort. Even the VFR was never this comfortable, nor this fast and agile.

    Brilliant work, Kawasaki.

    Once again, stupidity may win the day, and I might just have to find my way onto one of these here Ninja bikes.

    • Tom Shields says:

      I second your comments about Dirck’s writeup. Great work, and this does look like a fantastic bike. Think those hard bags would hold a laptop case?

  24. itchface says:

    How about selling a version of this bike for geezers that’s not called Ninja. Something said geezer can relate to, but still sounds sporty. How about calling it a Hipbreaker, or Viagrowl, or Getoffmylawnja. Anything would be better than Ninja.

  25. mugwump says:

    Yup center stand if you want me to give up my FJR.

  26. CW says:

    Thanks for putting up Part 2!

    not sure if I missed it in the article, but do you know when this beauty is expected to hit the showroom floor?

  27. Sam Jones says:

    Kawasaki have done a great job with the 2014 Ninja 1000…improvements to an already great bike. Now, if we could just find a way to attach a CENTER STAND..!