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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m at 800 kms and thought I’d get some initial impressions down on paper so I could compare notes at a later date. This review is somewhat lengthy but I’m hoping some discussion may get generated if nothing more for ‘general discussion’ on likes, dislikes and possible improvements that may eventually work their way back to Kawasaki for the next generation of N1K’s. And, hopefully provide to insight to those who may be considering the N1K for their very own.
Mine (“Eddie”) is a new ’13 NIK (leftover) with the green and black tank/front fairing scheme. I would have said I preferred to have had the other green paint scheme – green front fairing and tank with black mid fairings but the more I see and look at mine, the more I like it. I’m beginning to warm up to my colors very nicely. And not to offend anyone out there, to me anyways, Kawi’s colors have always been Kawi Green which suits me fine. My KX’s were, of course, green so I like ! There are a couple of other nice color schemes out there, tho, and it’s all good with me.
The Motor: What can you say? Isn’t it great? 138 HP. Top speed of around 150 mph. Able to go zero to 60 in the sub 4 sec range. That’s right up there with the Porsche 911’s who can go 0 – 60 anywhere from 2.8 to 3.2 secs depending on the actual model. Has gobs of torque. Stick it in 4th or 5th around town and it pulls to a nice steady climb. Around town, it’s very useable. No bucking or need for high revving. Roll-on speed is great on the hwy as it just keeps climbing as you twist. And, I’ve not tried yet but from what I’ve read, in stock form this this loves to one wheel without much effort.
Tranny: Is nice. Smooth, positive shifting. Finds “neutral” at red lights without issue. Read lots about changing out the front and rear sprockets (+1 and -2). Think this will be one of my initial first mods. With that motor, sounds like it doesn’t affect the power too much and helps on the gas mileage end of things. For me, that’s a plus. With STILL be plenty of power for a 49 yr old like me who wants a thrill now then.
Comfort and Ergo’s: Very comfortable as far as general ergo’s go. For around town, short ½ hour rides, etc., I don’t find any discomfort in my back, legs, wrists or neck. Went on a recent 6 hr day ride and my butt was feeling it tho. Getting off the bike every hour or two is a necessity for me. And, if you just move around a bit while riding or putting more pressure on the pegs or utilizing your legs a bit more during the ride, it helps out. You have limited range of adjustment for the clutch and front brake levers. Like my levers more down vice level but cables and such get in the way of lowering them to where I really like them. Haven’t done any two-up’s yet with my wife so can’t comment on that yet. Maybe for a future review.
Handling: Once you get the sag setup properly for yourself, it has plenty of suspension adjustment. Getting that rebound set just right makes for a great top level handling bike. A huge fun factor for me with this bike is how “flickable” it is. Have not been on a track with it but hope to get to a track that’s close by next summer. But around town, on the highway and for the twisties that I’ve found, it is so maneuverable. Very nimble. Using your legs and bodyweight against the sides of the bike allow you to miss poor road conditions (potholes), road manhole lid covers/frames that want to jump out and attack you, thru turns and twisties on the hwy, etc. Come into corner, drive your inside foot down atop your footpeg and you can feel it the responsiveness of the bike further diving into the corner. Come out of the corner, doing some weight shifting, get it upright as soon as possible and twist. Good times.
Gas Mileage: So far, I’m averaging 44 MPG – that’s Imperial gallons. In US gallons, that would approximate 36 MPG. My highest has been 51 MPG. Keep in mind, like I said earlier, I’m in the sub 4000 rpm break-in period so not a lot of throttle twistin’ going on. But, to me, that’s impressive. Knowing that I have all that power available to me when I want it YET knowing if I wish to go on trips and be conservative about it, I can get some very respectable fuel mileage. A definite ‘plus’ with me.
Windscreen: I like it. It’s 3-way adjustable and changes the air flow nicely. I’ve never been a fan of going down the hwy ‘a la plywood’ in front of me to block all the wind completely. What’s the point?? It’s motorcycling. Getting a certain amount of wind in your chest or face or wherever you like it best keeps you feeling like you’re on a motorcycle – like it should be! And having it adjustable three ways is a nice option to have. I saw a nice mod via YTube where the fella took a can of black plasti-paint and painted the inside of his windscreen. So, the effect you get is a black windscreen which I DO like. But, he left the outside of his windscreen as-is. So, the added effect is that you have a black windscreen with what looks like a shiny and glossy on the outside which is really just the clear, stock lens. Ingenious ! Those cans of paint are, what, $20 ?? That’s cheap. So, if you’re considering changing out your windscreen just to get a black one, consider this as an option.
Brakes: I guess I like them. They get me stopped. I’d have to agree with some posts I’ve read the back doesn’t seem all that great. I’m a big front brake fan anyways and seldom us the back. I’m by no means a MotoGP guy BUT I do use some of my motocross racing skills by using the front brake while in a turn to help get just a bit more weight on top of that front tire and assist in the turning aspect. But careful of any loose marbles on the road tho. By employing some minor bum-weight shifting, you can make those back brakes work better for you as well.
Mirrors: They seem to be fine. Had to fiddle around quite a bit to finally get a decent enough view of behind me and still see who might be coming up beside me from the rear. Definitely no vibration in the mirrors around town OR on the hwy. I’ve read of owners getting extensions put on. Might not be a bad idea. But, for me, I like mine and will likely keep them as-is.
Dash and Gauges: Very readable and has all the basics you need. A large tach to monitor engine grunt and nice LCD speed indicator. I’ve read some owners wanting to see a gear indicator added. First thought was why ?? But, I have found myself loosing track of what gear I’m in at times but it’s a relatively minor inconvenience. At my age, I need big numbers anyways and with the size of LCD screen you get, it would likely be so small that I’d be squinting to see where I’m at and likely taking my eyes off the road needlessly. Gas gauge? Not sure on this yet. It’s an “indicator” I suppose. Haven’t really figured it out or know exactly where I’m at with respect to each of the LCD increments it shows. May have further thoughts on this down the road .. preferably NOT with a red jerry can in my hand.
Muffler/Sound: You know what? I love the look of the muffler. Just may be one of the intangibles or small features of this bike that I like the best. Could never quite put my finger on it why I seem to like the looks so much of the muffler but it just dawned on me the other day. One of my favorite bikes is the V-Max and it’s muffler is very similar in visual design. I think it’s great looking. And, the sound !! One owner best described it with it having a turbine-like whir about it with an underlying deep throatiness. It’s a great sound. As the actual rider, you don’t really get to fully enjoy it but you can hear it. It’s there. And as far as looks, it adds a unique set of optics to the bike instead of the typical cylindrical cans you so often see. My opinion of course.
Looks and Sex Appeal: Last topic .. the N1K’s look great! I may still be in the honeymoon phase but even when I pass by it in the garage to go out the back door, I STILL look at it and end up walking half sideways as I continue by it. They look so great, don’t they? The fairing lines, angles and related color schemes – gets a 10+ in my book. In a way, it reminds me of the early 80’s Yamaha Seca Turbo – definitely dating myself here. That was such a great looking bike and ahead of its time. Would still look good today. And the N1K is no different. It’s such a sharp bike. Get compliments all the time. Great for a 49 yr old’s fragile ego.
All in all, it’s been great so far. Early in my ownership tenure, I realize, but it’s really a great all around bike. A sport bike that’s comfortable – simply put. Gobs of torque and great comfort qualities. And, you have the option of doing one, two or longer day trips.
It’s a winner. :D
 

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Nice comprehensive review... I've found people either love or hate the mufflers. I'm a bit unconventional so I like 'em personally! Some people just can't get past what they are used to... "the can."
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cycle World along with Kawasaki did a 90 day demo promo back in 2011 where Kawasaki hand picked a broad cross-section of riders from across the US to ride the 2011 N1K for 90 days and blog (text, photo and video) about their daily rides. Then, after 90 days, they each returned the bikes back to Kawasaki.

Would have loved to have done this !

Some good reads amongst the various riders especially for those out there that may be considering a N1K in their future.

Cycle World Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Experience
 
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