Looking for Ninja 1000 Owner Reviews on cornering characteristics - Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 03-20-2019, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for Ninja 1000 Owner Reviews on cornering characteristics

Hi,

I'm getting much closer to making the switch, from a VFR800 to a Ninja 1000. I still haven't had the opportunity to actually ride one yet (one of the benefits from living remote and having no dealer within a bulls roar), so I may have to end up making the decision sight unseen and get it delivered.

I think I can live with most of the things I'm going to lose switching from a VFR. The centre stand, the single side swingarm, etc.

One thing has me concerned, and that is the cornering characteristics. The think I love most about the VFR is that it corners like it's on rails. All other bikes I've ridden are twitchy, you have to hold them in the corner and it's too easy to change the line (you have to concentrate the whole time). Maybe ideal for racing, but for sports touring (for what I ride), the VFR almost sits exactly where you put it and doesn't want to change until you tell it otherwise - I get my most satisfaction out of sitting leaning over in the corner with the bike just as stable as.

So, I'm almost ready to make the switch and I then read this review:

https://www.bikesales.com.au/editori...review-107726/

Admittedly the review is for a 2017 model, and I'm looking at a 2019. Is there much difference in the handling between?

So I'm looking for feedback as to how people find this in the twisties. I'd love people who are familiar with both the VFR and the Ninja to comment, but I'd still appreciate Ninja only owners to comment as to what the handling of the bike is like when it's in a corner.

Even if I do manage to get a chance to demo one before buying, it'll be a 'ride around the streets', and nothing that will give me the idea of what it's like in a sweeper, or S sections up the canyons, etc.

How would you describe the characteristics of this in corners? Is the article above a fair assessment. Is the 2019 model significantly improved with cornering compared to the 2017? Does the reviewer have no idea what he's talking about?

Cheers

Adam.

Last edited by sportstourer; 03-20-2019 at 08:54 PM.
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post #2 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 12:40 AM
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Well, having ridden VFRs from 1984-2012 ('84, '87, 90, 98, 99, 99) and made the switch to the Ninja 1000 in 2012. I've had a 2011 Ninja and now have a 2014. All the major components haven't changed over the years, only the electronic assists.

In reading the review, it seems at first to me that the reviewer expected supersport twitchiness and was disappointed when it didn't handle that way. As it went on one thing he didn't mention was tire pressure. If his front tire was low it would handle the way he mentioned, heavy. It's possible had a defective bike.

The first thing most Ninja riders do is change the rear tire to a /55 profile. This makes the bike feel a lot lighter and also makes it very neutral in turns. I found the stock tires required a bit of pressure on the bar to hold a corner line but changing to Pilot Road tires with a /55 profile rear the bike was back to about the same neutral steering I had on the '99 VFR with maybe a bit lighter feel.
The VFR to Ninja switch was a natural one for me. Everything about riding the Ninja is easier and I found myself going a bit faster through all my familiar roads.

The hardest thing for me to get use to between the two was the loss of a center stand. After a few years I'm use to dragging out the rear stand all the time. Other than that, I think the Ninja was a fine successor to the VFR. Not the same fit and finish, not as smooth, no gear whine, but all in all a fine replacement. You can look at my list of mods in the .sig to see what I used to make it my perfect sport tourer.
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post #3 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 12:47 AM
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There are no advertised changes between 2017 and 2019. I have a 2018, and have run Metzeler M7RR (including 190/55 rear) since it rolled off the showroom floor. Like you, I have a dislike for nervous and twitchy road manners. Likewise, it should not feel truckish either! The Ninja 1000 has plenty of agility but is never edgy at all. With the current setup it stays planted in fast sweepers with very little bar input. Rider size is worth noting, 1'm 6'3” and 230 on the bike.

VFR: I had a '92 750 and that thing was pretty lively at times- it did a big boots-off-pegs tankslapper at speed while crossing a bridge on Highway 1 near Big Sur. It is the only bike to actually tuck the front end on me, doing it twice on uphill 180-degree left turns. Two tucks, two saves.
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Last edited by Rickifumi; 03-21-2019 at 12:53 AM.
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post #4 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your replies - very handy to know.

Rider size - @Rickifumi - thanks for mentioning that. Like you, I'm 6'3, but unfortunately closer to 260lb on the bike. (I have heavy safety gear ;-) )

I've never had a tankslap on the VFR thankfully, although I've had the tail go back and forth 3 or 4 times on a few occasions. (Conditions more slippery than I appreciated). Thankfully like you, stayed upright. Don't think it was skill - think the bike plus my poor reaction time worked in my favour because by the time I figured out 'oh crap' and had the chance to make some poor control inputs, the bike was settled back again.
@kenors - thanks for the suggestion about changing the tires away from the stock standard. I'll keep that in mind.

Hearing "The Ninja 1000 has plenty of agility but is never edgy at all. With the current setup it stays planted in fast sweepers with very little bar input." is music to my ears!

What's it like in the more tighter stuff. Is it similar for you? Light enough to not wear out your arms too much, but stable enough to not have to hold it there as well?
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post #5 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 08:44 AM
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I had a 2003 VFR for many years and put 45,000 miles on it. I was always looking for something similar but with more power and slightly more upright riding position. Bought a Ninja 1000 in 2011 and never looked back.

As mentioned before, the Ninja comes with a 190/50 rear tire. This made the bike need some pressure at the bars to hold a line through a turn. Switching to the 190/55 made the bike much more neutral. With the 55 rear the Ninja is as agile as the VFR. You can also slide the forks up about 5 mm and this will quicken the steering even more. Although a few have done this I never felt it was necessary after changing the tire size. The Ninja is also more comfortable as it is just a bit more of an upright riding position. It has better brakes as well. The big difference is the engine. Not as smooth as the VFR but way more power right where you need it in the midrange. By comparison the VFR feels anemic. With the VFR you had to be in the correct gear with the RPM's above 7000 rpm to get proper drive off the corner. With the Ninja you can just roll open the throttle and drive right off the apex, even if you are up one gear too high it will still pull nicely out of the corner.


The Ninja 1000 is what the VFR 800 should have been. I have zero regrets about letting my VFR go.
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post #6 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 10:03 AM
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2017-2019 is the same bike, except I think the 2019 they went to grey background LCD gauges instead of black background LCD like 2017-2018. Bought my 2018 Ninja 1000 without riding it. It simply ticked most of the boxes. The only other bike I seriously considered was the Yamaha MT-01 and it just doesn't have the wind protection I want.

Had a '90 VFR750 with Racetech fork valving and Penske shock. I'd say the Ninja 1000 handles very similarly. Not particularly quick steering, but very stable when it takes a set. I'll echo all the comments regarding the 55 series tire. Also, the stock bars are kinda ridiculous as they seem to angle up, and make you feel like your pinkies are higher up than your index fingers. Going to the Speedy Moto clip ons changed the angle and dropped the bars at the ends and made it feel more like my VFRs bars.

This post actually made me realize how many Ninja 1000 owners have come from either the Honda VFR or Yamaha FZ1. I've also owned an '09 FZ1, and now that I think of it, the Ninja 1000 like taking both of those bikes and combining them. The Ninja 1000 being a better sport tourer than my FZ1, but like the FZ1 much more power and torque than my VFR. Take all that and add the modern electronic riders aids I had on my '15 Yamaha R1, and it becomes a hybrid of three of my previous bikes.

In the end the only thing the Ninja 1000 leaves me wanting is outright performance for canyons and especially track days. 30 more hp and 50 less lbs weight and it would be the greatest hyper streetbike ever made. That in mind, I've come to the conclusion I just can't have one bike to do all I want, but the Ninja 1000 comes closest and down the road I can always pick up a salvage title 600 or 750 for the track.
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post #7 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 10:14 AM
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For sure look at other reviews for the bike. Look at reviews for the 2017 and newer machine. The older reviews won't help much for this specific bike as this one had some significant changes.

If you do, there are a few of them who do talk about handling, but nothing to the degree that this guy did. Also, I can see peoplemlike us jumping on a motorcycle and just riding away, but for someone who plans to write a full report, after the ride, he did a poor job of setting the machine up for his weight.

He jumps on and has no idea if the tires are inflated properly? Second, he's using rear shock preload in an attempt to dial in handling. This is something that should be set, for his weight, THEN a test rider makes comments....Third, he makes an incorrect statement regarding front end ride height. The forks can be moved up, or down...not much, but enough to change how the bike handles. Unless you have set up the front and rear preload, matched to your weight, s well as damping, that's a really poor time to make comments regarding a motorcycles handling.

His comparison to a kx 250 or at a zrx750 is strange, and not relevant. Mostly, it stands out that his review is so much different than the other tests.

Test riders are riding the same bike, so you really can't trust the reviews that are not VERY similar to each other. I believe everyone who replaces tires , on this specific bike, immediately comes back here and says how much better the bike handles. Maybe not everyone, but I know I've seen 20 or 30, maybe more.
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post #8 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportstourer View Post
What's it like in the more tighter stuff. Is it similar for you? Light enough to not wear out your arms too much, but stable enough to not have to hold it there as well?
My local canyons are pretty technical. In some ways it's actually easier (not faster, just easier) to ride in the tight stuff than my '15 R1 was due to the more upright riding position and wider set bars allowing better leverage to facilitate transitions.

The best ridden supersports will ride away from you but at those speeds those guys are not leaving much if any margin for error. At the end of the day the bike is essentially the Z1000 naked/streetfighter with a full fairing, and in the canyons, it feels more like riding a big naked than sport tourer to me. When I think of sport tourers I think of bigger bikes like the FJR or the Concourse. The Ninja 1000 has way more sport than those bikes.
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2018 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 - Akrapovič Racing Line Full Exhaust; BMC Air Filter; Corbin Saddle; CRG LS 2.2 Mirrors; Driven Grips; Driven PAIR Block Off Plates; Dunlop Q3+ Tires (190/55 rear); GPR V4S Steering Stabilizer; Kawasaki Frame Sliders; Mirror Block Offs; Moto Dynamic Fender Eliminator; Moto Dynamic Integrated Taillight; MRA Racing Double Bubble Screen; ProGrip Tank Pad; R&G Racing Engine Covers; Speedy Moto Tall Boy 50mm Clip Ons; Woolich ECU Tuning With Race Tools And Quickshifter.
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post #9 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 01:03 PM
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On the Ninja 1000's backroad prowess, suffice to say that it encourages me to take the twistiest routes everywhere. For a guy like me, who loathes freeways and Interstates, it's a fantastic traveling companion- even with the hard cases loaded it's always ready for the squiggly stuff!
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post #10 of 63 Old 03-21-2019, 01:58 PM
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If you borrow a friends bike, I can see jumping on and going for a ride.
It's different when you decide to evaluate a bike. At that point, the review is worthless if you do not take the time to set the bike up for the rider weight, tire pressure, lever angles, etc.

Maybe he did this and never mentioned it, the guy did not even offer his body weight.

I remember , years back, of an owner complaining about how soft his ninjas suspension was. It turned out that he was 6ft 5in tall, weighed 325lbs, and often times rode 2 up with his 225lb wife. The bike would have been worthless if it was good for his weight.

Speaking of worthless, you could also add any test that uses stock tires. Stock tires are oem grade, built to a price point, and are not at all similar to real, aftermarket tires, no matter the name or brand...especially with japanese bikes.
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