Why is the N1K so unpopular?
Yes I know, WE all like this machine and have realized it's a terrific blend of performance and practicality at a good price point.
But I hardly ever see another one, and the last three Kawasaki dealers I have been in didn't have a single example- of any year. There are inmates here reporting that they are finding and buying leftover bikes dating back as far as 2013. Reviews in the press have been largely positive, and owner reports have been too, with the primary complaint being engine vibration at certain engine speeds.
Evidently this is a very good seller for Kawasaki in other markets, but not so much here in the USA.
The only theory I have come up with is that Kawasaki has branded themselves into a corner with the "Ninja" moniker and that by insisting on calling it a Ninja here in the states they have pigeonholed it into a category that it doesn't fit. The Ninja name has become entangled with pure sports machinery such that it seems riders who want a more practical machine ignore the 1000abs from the outset and riders who want a pure sports bike can see that that's not what it is and pass it up as well.
Oddly, the Ninja name when applied to Kawasaki's smaller machines- specifically the now gone 250 and 500, and the remaining 300- seems to function as an aspirational label and works fine, despite those machines being much closer to a standard than to a sport bike.
In my eyes the N1K would be a "Standard" but for the fairing. Everything else about it- the seating position, the midrange weighted power delivery, the inclusion of integrated luggage, etc, serves to make it a regular do-everything machine.