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2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS: Stylish and Comfortable Sportbike Upgraded for Today’s Rider

2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS: Stylish and Comfortable Sportbike Upgraded for Today’s Rider

Written by  on Thursday, 12 September 2013 13:05

Riders who want real world, open class performance need to look no further than the upgraded 2014 Kawasaki Ninja® 1000 ABS sportbike. With an unmistakably aggressive profile that could only come from the Ninja family tree, this premium quality sportbike has the perfect combination of power, handling, looks, technology and rideability.

For 2014, Kawasaki engineers concentrated on making the Ninja 1000 ABS even more usable. Its advanced new KTRC Traction Control system features three different modes to deliver maximum performance and increased rider confidence, regardless of the riding conditions. Similarly, the dual selectable Power Modes serve to match engine performance to conditions, further expanding the rider’s confidence. Great looking one-piece “monobloc” radial-mount front brake calipers offer world-class power and feel. A new, taller 6th gear drops the RPMs at highway speeds for improved comfort when covering miles on a long ride.

Since riders will probably want to take their Ninja 1000 everywhere, its subframe was redesigned to allow the cleanly integrated fitment of stylish and functional Kawasaki Genuine Accessory hard luggage.

The Ninja 1000’s impressive thrust comes by way of an even more powerful inline-four – a 1,043cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 16-valve engine that features revised intake cams that boost its low-to-midrange torque—where most street bikes spend their time. When the road opens up, this big Ninja can better stretch its legs thanks to additional airbox vents and new cylinder connecting passageways that strengthen mid-to-high RPM performance by improving breathing and reducing the pumping losses associated with displacing air inside the crankcase. The more pronounced growl of the intake at low-RPM and intoxicating howl at full-song will put a smile on even the most jaded rider’s face.

This engine’s all-around performance allows it to excel at almost any street-going activity, be it commuting, sport riding, touring, or eating up the miles on the freeway. But this engine’s magic is more about flexibility and easy-to-use oomph than simply peak horsepower numbers. The extremely reliable inline-four produces the sort of power that launches you out of corners and away from stops in a way that’ll keep you entertained – and your riding buddies impressed – for years to come. At seemingly every RPM level, the Ninja 1000 engine produces smooth, instant-on thrust that many hardcore sportbikes simply can’t match. Kawasaki’s perfectly calibrated electronic fuel injection helps make this so. The four 38mm Keihin downdraft throttle bodies inject a perfect mix of fuel and air into each combustion chamber with help from an advanced ECU, oval sub-throttles and an updated cool air intake system that routes fresh air to the airbox via extra ducts at the front of the bike. A new, non-woven air filter element increases air flow for stouter high-RPM performance.

For 2014, equal-length velocity stacks provide snappier throttle response, increasing the engine’s fun factor. Digital Timing Advance contributes to the increased low- and mid-range power, while spark plug-mounted ignition coils help ensure perfect timing for each cylinder. Warm up is easy—regardless of the temperature—thanks to the ECU’s idle speed control system.

A three-mode KTRC traction control system combines with a two-mode power selector system to give the rider the best possible performance in varied conditions. The Power Modes give the rider the choice between full power and low power, allows the rider to set power delivery to suit their preference. The first two KTRC modes are intended to maximize acceleration similar to the ZX™-10R’s S-KTRC. The third mode is tuned for low-traction (wet/slippery) conditions, similar to the Concours® 14 sport tourer’s KTRC. The KTRC system can be turned-off by the rider, and its settings and the Power Mode ignition maps can be selected with the bar-mounted switch. The KTRC and power modes—as well as ABS and Economical Riding (ECO) status—are indicated on the updated LCD instrument display for at-a-glance monitoring of settings.

A balance shaft driven off the crankshaft keeps the solidly mounted engine operating smoothly, while a beautifully styled 4-into-2-into-2 catalyzer-equipped exhaust system offers a pleasing growl without being overly loud. It’s a perfect engine for a road-going sportbike – smooth, powerful, flexible and blessed with the legendary reliability associated with Kawasaki sportbikes.

The Ninja 1000 sportbike features an advanced aluminum frame similar in design to the Ninja ZX-10R’s. The lightweight assembly 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 bike’s waist narrow for superb rider interface and maximum 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 new sub-frame allows for dealer installation of accessory Kawasaki Quick Release (KQR) 29-litre hard saddlebags. Those new KQR accessory bags also feature aggressive styling that is more suited to the Ninja 1000 than previous bag options. The sub-frame design eliminates the need for side covers, thus allowing a narrower midsection for an easier reach to the ground.

The wheels, brakes and suspension bits that allow the Ninja to move so gracefully and swiftly are truly state-of-the-art. Suspension is handled by a fully adjustable 41 mm inverted fork up front and a preload- and rebound-adjustable single-shock system in back with a new remote preload adjuster, the ideal scenario for dialing in the perfect settings for your weight and riding style or quickly adjusting settings for adding a passenger and/or luggage. The single-shock system features a damper mounted nearly horizontally above the swingarm for optimal mass centralization and heat resistance. The gas/oil shock offers superb wheel control whether you’re hammering along deserted backroads or navigating across pothole-infested city streets. On the Ninja 1000, you’ll always know what’s happening at the contact patches.

Stopping power is provided by ABS equipped disc brakes – 300 mm petal-type rotors up front squeezed by new ultra-rigid radially mounted “monoblock” calipers fed hydraulic pressure by an equally race-spec radial pump master cylinder. The new, monobloc front calipers are machined from a single piece of aluminum delivering both increased caliper stiffness and lower weight. Riders will love the responsive braking power and improved feel at the lever. Out back is another tech-savvy disc. The power and feel of the brakes at both ends is amazing, giving rookies, pros and everyone in between supreme confidence hauling the bike down from speed. The Ninja 1000 ABS’ anti-lock brake system (ABS) offers additional rider confidence when riding in slippery situations.

The wheels working with those brakes – lightweight six-spoke supersport-style units – are also the latest in lightweight production technology. They not only reduce unsprung weight, which allows the suspension to function optimally, but also carry the latest in radial tire technology. The result is superb grip, precise handling and reasonably long tread life.

But easily the most stunning aspect of the Ninja 1000 is its sleek, wraparound bodywork. Designed with an eye on Kawasaki’s race-ready ZX-6R and ZX-10R, the Ninja offers a thoroughly radical look, but one that’s unique and memorable. Despite its edgy, rakish demeanor, the bodywork carves a surprisingly large hole in the atmosphere, giving riders a quiet cocoon in which to work. A manually adjustable, 3-position windscreen helps, 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 and an updated, full-featured instrument panel complete the look.

And despite its radical look, the Ninja 1000 offers surprisingly comfortable ergonomics. The handlebars are mounted higher than on race-oriented machines, the pegs a touch lower, all of which makes the Ninja 1000 a capable sport tourer, and certainly a sportbike you can spend the day aboard without undue strain. Passenger comfort and security are improved with new grab-rails.

To sweeten the day- or weekend-trekking deal even more, Kawasaki offers a line of optional touring-oriented accessories, including redesigned hard-case saddlebags and top trunk, heated grips and more.

It’s rare to find such all-around functionality in a sporting motorcycle today. But the 2014 Ninja 1000 is a different beast – one with wide-ranging talent in sport, sport-touring and commuting roles. As Motorcyclist magazine wrote recently: “In the real world we ride through every day, it doesn’t get much better than the Ninja 1000.”

Canadian pricing and availability has yet to be determined.

-- From Canadian Kawasaki Motors


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Graeme Jones

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