Considering Ninja 1000 for touring - Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 06-21-2019, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Considering Ninja 1000 for touring

I have my eye on a 2018 model to replace my Honda 919 that I don't find particularity well suited for touring, even with a good size windscreen. it vibrates and seems like a lot of work to spend a week on. It's more of a city bike I think.

I had a stock ZX14R w/ Ivan's flash, but sold it most specifically because of the unbelievable heat it threw off not around town but at 70mph in 90-100F heat. It was even worse than my Blackbird. Yes you are sitting on an extremely powerful internal combustion engine and it's going to get hot but I personally believe heat production and heat management are two different things. The VFR1200 for example is excellent in this regard.

So I have two concerns, heat and handlebar vibes. Not at high rpm, just cruising at 70mph.

Any other reason these bikes don't tour well? I seem to recall a lot of Ninja 1000's, used completely set up for touring with very few miles, as if it just didn't work out for the owner as expected. Just something I noticed. The 2011 I rode a while back seemed awfully busy on the highway but I guess they've made some improvements? The Versys 1000 is supposed to be super smooth.

Thanks in advance, great forum you have hear.
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post #2 of 31 Old 06-21-2019, 08:19 PM
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I have 62k miles on my '14 Ninja and just got back from a 3k mile trip. Other than the seat, I can't think of any reason why you can't tour on the N1k. Necessary creature comforts for me included seat and windshield but the rest are just for added comfort on long days.

Heat has never been an issue for me but I don't spend any time sitting in the heat in slow traffic. I plan my trips around wide open spaces, not city traffic jams. Handlebar vibrations? I did put gel grips on but vibration wasn't a huge issue. Going to a 17T countershaft sprocket and /55 profile rear tire brought the engine rpms down to 4k @ an honest 60mph.

The Ninja cat is below your feet and puts out a lot of heat. But if you're not sitting still, heat is not an issue. A few hours of our trip were spent in 90+ degree heat but at anything over 20 mph heat isn't an issue. Engine heat is vented effectively as well.

Probably the biggest inconvenience for touring *to me* is the lack of a centerstand. Chain maintenance on the road is a bit of a pain but with modern X-ring chains it's not too big a deal.
If you want to cover some ground on a light weight one up touring bike, I can't think of a better one. A few years ago when I was looking for one I tried several. You know what *I* ended up with.
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post #3 of 31 Old 06-21-2019, 08:28 PM
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Maybe you need to look at the Concours 14.

At 70 mph a 2018 will not be a whole lot smoother than a 2011. I think they're both smoother at 80 mph. But from what I read the C14's and ZX14R's are very smooth. But I have no personal experience with either.

If you thought the 2011 N1k felt "busy" at highway speeds, a 2018 won't be that much different. It's smoother but not by a whole lot. It is after all, still a Z1000 naked sportbike with a full fairing and luggage carrying capability. So it's more sport bike like. That's why they're so much fun to ride.

Compared to your 919 though, the N1k may as well be a Boeing 787 Dreamliner!
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Last edited by OCLandspeeder; 06-21-2019 at 08:33 PM.
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post #4 of 31 Old 06-21-2019, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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I expect all bikes to get hot in stop and go, what I can't deal with is getting blasted on the freeway like my 14R because you can't escape it., so sound like I'd be good there in the Ninja 1K.

I also had an FJR but it was like landing an airplane when stopping off the side of the road, or a PIA getting lost or making tight u-turns or whatever. So I'll have to make a compromise there I accept that.

Not having a centerstand is made up to me by having those nifty eccentric chain adjusters. Why those aren't more common baffles me.
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post #5 of 31 Old 06-21-2019, 08:37 PM
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Welcome aboard and your questions.... or concerns are good ones. I'll give you my experience on them.
On heat, at 70 not at all. I used to very seldom even think about it when moving. Now at a stop or at low speeds your right foot or ankle can get pretty warm from the location of the catalyst in the system. I've deleted that on mine and no longer even consider it.
As for vibes their very mild and at most RPMs almost cant be felt. They were though, on at least my bike felt most at 65 to 75 till a gear change.
If you come from a bike with any vibration though I'd be surprised if you find them remotely bothersome on the N1K. I came from a pretty smooth zx6 and only noticed it at first.
You mentioned being busy on the highway and I agree if your referring to stability when crosswinds are hitting you. Let's start with the OEMS20s though as they are no where near the best tires for this bike. With a good touring tire it's better then with a more sport oriented one. Also the bags add just a bit more wind shift in my experience but im seldon at 70 here in Texas so take that into account. I've put 43,000 on my 2015 bought new the end of June 2016 with 70% of that being on very stable Pirelli Angel GTs that I could get 8000 + miles out of and still love and might use again if a long trip was to present its self. With Bridgestone S21s though the bike turns in faster, holds deeper lean angles easier and changes lines when down there with less effort. Just like you would expect out of a sporty sport touring tire that you can get 7000 miles out of.
I guess what I'm trying to say is on this bike tire choice can make or break your experience.
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post #6 of 31 Old 06-21-2019, 08:47 PM
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Eccentric chain adjusters don't alleviate the need to clean/lube the chain now and then. When I take 5k-10k mile trips, especially if there's been bad weather I feel the need to maintain the chain. Modern chains pretty much never need adjusting other than when new and at their end of life.
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post #7 of 31 Old 06-21-2019, 09:24 PM
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I have the concours 14, too, as well as a 2012 ninja. The ninja touring drawback, for me, would be limited to vibration. With Ivan's flash, it's not bad, but it vibrates more than the double balanced c14 motor. The ninja is not fjr like smooth. Second would be its transmission. Its geared low and spins a few revs at 70. Not like it hurts anything, but not as relaxed feeling as it could be.

This is assuming we on some perfection scale, which does not exist. With that in mind, why not? You could do a lot worse. Did you consider the versys 1000? I think it would be on my list if I were buying today.
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-22-2019, 02:27 AM
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If touring is what you want to do, and you want an in-line 4, look no further than the new Versys 1000. Go for the 2019 model as that is significantly upgraded over the previous years models.

The Ninja 1000 is a sporty-tourer, more sport than touring. I would not consider a Versys 1000 because I’m more sport than touring so the Ninja fits me like a glove. But for a touring bike, the Versys 1000 meets all parameters you mentioned.

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post #9 of 31 Old 06-22-2019, 08:35 AM
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Bikram makes a good point about the Ninja 1000 being more sport than touring and I agree. It is still very capable of touring but never lets you forget that it is on the sport side of the equation. The bars are just high enough to be comfortable but you are not quite fully upright. There is just enough leg room that it does not feel like a super sport. I have owned two, a 2011 which I totaled, and am still riding my 2013. I am approaching 58 years of age and have a 34 inch inseam but still find the bike to be comfortable enough for some touring.

I do wish the final gearing were taller. The engine is smooth enough at highway speeds but with all the mid range torque this motor has they could have easily given it a taller sixth gear. The catalytic converter does throw off some heat and I felt it on my right foot on hot days in traffic, but soon had a full exhaust on the bike which deleted the cat. One thing I have to say about this bike is that it may be the most reliable and most solidly built of all the bikes I have owned. Mine has 30,000 miles and feels like it did when new and has required very little to keep it this way.

When buying a sport touring bike it comes down to where along the ST equation do you want to be. If you desire to be more on the touring side there are others you should consider. If you want to be a little on the sport side of the equation and still tour occasionally there may be no better choice in my humble opinion than the Ninja 1000. Just be sure to replace the 190/50 rear tire with a 190/55...….much improved handling. Why they still sell this thing with a 190/50 is a mystery to me.

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post #10 of 31 Old 06-22-2019, 08:47 AM
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I'll echo most of the things said above. I came off a zx14 to the ninja because of the heat as well.

Heat is not an issue on the 1000 - a little on the right foot at slow speeds from the cat, but nothing major.

Not sure if the 14r's fixed a major annoyance to me on the 14 - the fans on the ninja are dead silent. My 14 sounded like a cheap pc fan when it came on. And it could barely keep up on a 90 degree day. Really annoying.

I geared my ninja down significantly. +1/-2 (i think) and it spins about 4600 at 70. The stock gearing is ridiculously short for touring.

One thing you are going to miss - 14r power. I seem to have semi-forgotten the heat issue because i kind of want the 14 back (or a 14r!). The power from the 1000 isn't anywhere close to what the 14 or 14r produces. The 1000 has decent power up to about 8000 rpm or so then it starts to seriously buzz and hp runs out. I rarely rev the 1000 past 8-9000. But it's nothing like a 14. If you have any power junkie dna coming down from the 14 may be disappointing.
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