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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am a new member here as I am considering a ‘14 1000 Ninja ABS as well as a few other bikes. On my short list is a 1000 Versys and a FJ09. I am looking for a middleweight commuter bike. My commute is in town and LD. During the week it is heavy traffic for 5 days and on the weekend I commute about 900 to 1400 miles from work to home/family/etc. I have a very good LD sport touring bike but I don’t want to put the miles on it and it isn’t the best in heavy traffic but amazing everywhere else.

I don’t really care about the “style” such as ADV poser or sport tourer, etc. I have an ADV bike now but unfortunately it doesn’t have ABS or I would ride it instead and not be looking at these 3 bikes. I was about to pull the trigger on a used FJ09 at a great price when I stumbled on a 2014 Ninja 1000 at possibly an even better price. So while researching the 1000 Ninja I checked with a dealer I had done a lot of business with and they had a 1000 Versys at apparently a very good price as well.

Here is how they stack up with respect to pricing (not including any taxes I’d have to pay). FJ09 (w/bags) 8500, Ninja 1000 (w/bags) 9000, Versys 1000 10,000. They all have about 1,500 miles on them. They are all so close in price it is hard to differentiate on price alone.

Is there anything about your 1000 Ninjas that you hate? I realize there is likely to be a Kawi bias here. I am definitely in generally a Kawi fan as I’ve owned a GPZ750, GPZ1100, GPZ750 Turbo, Ninja 900, ZX12R and a bunch of old 2-stroke triples. So I definitely have a fondness for Kawis. The FJ is a pretty entertaining bike and with a ECU reflash ($200) smooths out the fueling incredibly. It does have a nice exhaust note as well.

The 1000 Versys has a lot of the basic goodness of the Ninja in a different package. I do want pretty good wind protection as I’ll be spending a lot of time on the highway cruising 80+. It doesn’t seem like the Versys is as good as the Ninja but I don’t really have enough seat time to tell. I do like the higher riding position of the ADV styled bikes in traffic.

Another important thing for me is headlights. It seems the Ninja’s headlights are pretty bad. That is an issue with my current commuter, a CTX. It has been a great bike and surprisingly comfortable on the highway. I wouldn’t mind more motor at high speeds to be honest but the ABS works pretty well and amazing economy.

I’ve been looking through the forums and I haven’t seen any really negative things. I want something that has good heat control as in the summer months I have to commute through the desert. It seems like the Ninja is pretty good there as well. The Versys does have a slipper clutch which would be a nice to have. In addition the wider ratio gearbox would be nice as well. I know I can change sprockets on the Ninja but the Versys seems geared better from the start.

The FJ09 is a lot of fun. The exhaust note sounds nice. Another plus is it is pretty lightweight. The suspension would need a bit of work but that is the case for me on all 3 bikes as I am on the bigger size. A big plus for me vs. the Ninja is the FJ has a center stand. I don’t really have anywhere to work on a bike during the week as I am living in a hotel. So having a center stand is a big plus for chain maintenance.

I typically ride year round and use heated gear. Does the Ninja have enough power to run heated gear? I would probably want to run heated grips, gloves, jacket and possibly pants. It also looks like I would want to run a pair of LEDs for better visibility as well.

One last thing is I’ll likely take my wife on occasion as well for short trips (<300 miles). How cramped is the rear seat area and bike in general with a passenger? Fortunately she is pretty petite but I do want her to be comfortable. She’d definitely want a rear box of some sort to feel more secure. Are there any racks that work with the stock luggage that I could fit a Givi or Shad top box with?

Thanks in advance for any advice and replies. I am leaning toward the Ninja at this point but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.
 

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I bought my 14 N1K on 9/28, and have put over 1000 miles on it since. My commute is all of 1 mile, so that should give you an idea of how much riding I have been doing.

I only have two gripes: Headlights and wind protection at freeway speed.

The headlights have been talked about a lot in a thread on this forum. I have ordered a set of HID's I plan on installing once they come in, and I will be taking side-by pictures of them before and after install to compare. I'll let you know how that turns out, and the thread is this one:
http://www.kawasakininja1000.com/forum/ninja-1000-appearance-modifications/3210-adding-lightes-see-seen.html

Regarding the wind protection... A PUIG sport windshield fixed the issue for me. It is larger in the places it matters, doesn't detract from the sporty look of the bike, and I have not experienced the issues I have seen other mention (hitting the levers, plastic, etc)

Neither of these issues were enough for me to write the bike off. Some people complain about the seat, but I have not had an issue with it. I have a rather... firm *** from pedal biking, so...

I don't know about running heated gear, but about the rear seat... I have ridden a couple passengers already. None have complained about the seat room. Though one was really happy to have the side handles to use.

Hope you find what fits your bill, even if it isn't a N1K. As you can imagine, I am a bit biased though. :p
 
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If I were putting that kind of mileage on a bike, I'd look towards a concours 14. Especially if you figure in a passenger. Its built for miles and the shaft drive means you wont be oiling chains.

I love my ninja, but its in a different category than the c 14. C14 headlight is amazing as is its smoothness and power. The c 14 really enjoys ultra high speed highway stuff. Better wind protection, better comfort, better at all for long distance.

As far as cost, the 08 and 09 will be priced less than your talking about here.

Did I mention I love my ninja and would not be without it? Thats true, but if I were pounding miles like your talking about, I'd sell it and buy a second c 14. Thats what the c 14 is built for. It is massive, but that sensation goes away after 15 minutes on board.

Ninja is wonderful, but for multiple hundreds of miles, the c 14 is five times the bike. It also handles like you cant imagine with a passenger on board.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the suggest on the Connie. The early ones had some heat issues. I could live with that but it is too close to a bike I have; K16GT.

A lot of my commute will be from SoCal going through LA (and the miserable traffic) up to NorCal. I normally have to commute either in San Fran or Orange County and that is why I am looking for a bit smaller bike.

The K16 is an amazing bike but it isn't the best when it comes to lane splitting and the C14 Connie is not exactly pleasant there. I wouldn't mind having shaft drive to reduce my maintenance a bit.

I normally have a chance depending on which office I am going to, to be near some decent mountain roads. So I don't want to go too far toward the super slab eating big bikes. That is where my CTX has done a great job. I can spend 10 hours in the saddle and be ready for more. Then I hit the mountains and start wishing for another 50 hph and better suspension.

That is why the Ninja seems like not a bad option. I sort of like the looks of the Z1000 and it seems to have great headlights. Wind protection is lacking but it is sort of appealing as well.
 

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I'm in Socal as well and picked up a '14 1000 over the summer to complement my Triumph Daytona 675. I split my commuting time between both bikes. I will also start using the Ninja for sport touring.

For long distance, my only complaint is the seat. I recently rode up ACH and back (somewhere north of 200mi). My *ss was pretty sore the final 50mi on the fwy. I will send the seat in soon to have it modified by a guy in Florida. For wind protection, I find the stock windscreen to be just fine. I can cruise at 85mph all day long. For real long distance fwy, I'd rather get some cheapo cruise control over a taller windscreen. Lights: they are not superbright but it's not bothersome to me; I usually turn on the high beams at night for some extra light.

As far as commuting goes, the bike is still small enough to split lanes without real issues. The only place I prefer my narrow Daytona is on surface streets; the mirrors on the Ninja stick out pretty far which is sometimes limiting on narrower surface streets. Not a deal breaker but it would be annoying if I didn't have any fwy time at all in my commute.

Hope that helps :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Luciano. That was the kind of feedback I was looking for. At this point I am 90% sold on the Ninja. I checked insurance as well. It will be about $480/yr for me. On the FJ it would be $190 and on the V1K it would be $229. So while it is more than the other bikes, it isn't a deal breaker. By comparison my CTX is $80/yr.

I did contact 2 people that had super clean 2011 & 2012 C14s as well. We'll see how serious they are to sell them. If the V1K was a lot lighter, I'd be a lot more interested in it.
 

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I ride around Bangkok on my Ninja 1000 and just flip the mirrors in when the traffic is extra bad (as opposed to standard bad). Works a treat and the mirrors, once popped back out, retain the same view as previously setup.
 

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I ride around Bangkok on my Ninja 1000 and just flip the mirrors in when the traffic is extra bad (as opposed to standard bad). Works a treat and the mirrors, once popped back out, retain the same view as previously setup.
That is indeed a handy feature on this bike. Mirrors pop back into the same spot when folding back out. Not the case on all bikes.
 

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I think you'll enjoy the Ninja if you go that route. It really is a perfect all-arounder. They have a good reliability record as well which is definitely helpful if you do a lot of miles.

Thanks Luciano. That was the kind of feedback I was looking for. At this point I am 90% sold on the Ninja. I checked insurance as well. It will be about $480/yr for me. On the FJ it would be $190 and on the V1K it would be $229. So while it is more than the other bikes, it isn't a deal breaker. By comparison my CTX is $80/yr.

I did contact 2 people that had super clean 2011 & 2012 C14s as well. We'll see how serious they are to sell them. If the V1K was a lot lighter, I'd be a lot more interested in it.
 

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Day Trippin--I may have missed it but I didn't see anything on what size guy you are. If you're really tall, you may feel "scrunched up" on the N1K. I'm 5'10" and the N1K works fine for me. I also previously owned a C14. No doubt, the C14 is larger, heavier, and more comfortable but...with the right seat and windscreen, the N1K can do quite well. And, it's considerably more "nimble" than the C14. Also, don't sweat the headlights. The stock lamps are poor but I can show you how to upgrade to LED headlights that are fantastic and not expensive. Go for it! I doubt you'll ever regret it!
 

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Your comment about your own BMW makes me want to ask a question.

This really is the perfect bike for what your talking about here. Good handling, great power and comfortable. Every accessory known to man to keep the long , droning rides entertaining.

Is there any value in that bike if your afraid to put miles on it due to reliability or resale concerns?

That being said, I think I might have figured out the perfect bike for you.

Perfect size. Larger than a ninja 1000, bit not massive like a bmw or c14. Comfortable, yet still small enough to lane split with. Fast. Shaft drive

This would be the Honda vfr1200. If you've never ridden one, its just about as close to perfection as a motorcycle can get. Its an odd bike. Its not zx14 fast, but still, its amazing.

Smooth, quiet, and now they are cheap on the used market.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Honestly, the K16GT is the best all around bike I've ever ridden but it really loves the open roads the most. I put a header to remove the cat and then a Akrapovic mufflers. The sound is the most intoxicating sound I think I've ever heard on a bike other than maybe an old CBX with an exhaust. It took an act of God for the family CFO (my wife) to sign off on buying it, let alone adding goodies to it.

I know another opportunity isn't going to come around again anytime soon. I won't exactly say it is quid pro quo but when she wanted to go to another grad school this year I couldn't exactly say no. So to put this in perspective I could have bought a new 911 Carrera 4 GTS for what I have sunk into the K16GT (and all of its mods) as well as my wife's grad school and associated fees books, etc.

Reliability isn't a concern but honestly I had given up on BMW bikes after I had bad experience with a GS Adventure and have the drive shaft destruct 1k miles and less than a month after the warranty expired. The K16GT lured be back in and I've been totally happy with. At the end of the day I plan to keep it as long as I can and use it how I intended it which was for sport touring trips in FUN areas. So I prefer to head it up into the mountains for a few thousand mile trips. Riding it on the interstate is like using Scotch for paint thinner. In heavy traffic it isn't bad, never overheats and isn't a real handful but lane splitting it isn't ideal. Just a touch too wide and if anything happened to it my wife would kill me.

So basically I want sort of a "beater bike" that is still fun to ride. Whatever I buy I'll likely ride until it drops. That is why I bought the CTX. It honestly has exceeded expectations in so many ways. My main grip is like of HP to cruise at 80-90 without much issue. I have the rest of the package pretty well dialed-in and it is more of sport bike than a cruiser despite its looks. The ergo are all day comfortable for me.

As for the VFR1200, I had forgot all about it. I saw one a few years ago and liked the looks of it a lot. I thought about the 800 version but not strong enough. I'll poke around and see if I can find a VFR close. That was a great suggestion. Thanks! Still leaning toward the Ninja though as the price and mileage is right in my budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I found a VFR at a great price. Not the DCT version but I am fine with that. When I just checked insurance, I found it would be more than the 1000 Ninja. What is up with that? Are people crashing these things left and right?
 

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The ergos on the VFR are also slighly more aggressive than the N1k I believe. Definitely something to consider for long distance.

A full blown sport tourer is definitely too large for lane splitting; the Ninja is about the biggest I would get for that purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well its a done deal, or at least almost. I put a deposit on a N1K and likely will pick it up on Monday. The salesperson is out tomorrow and I am gone for the weekend on my commute. I think the deal was pretty good for an almost new, still under warranty, 2014 N1K. I was able to confirm it had the 600 mile service done as well. Only defects I could see were an incredibly minor tip over. It put a little scratch on the side cover and even smaller one the barend and lever. It had frame sliders and they saved the bodywork.

Now that I think about it, it was a great deal. Since it was used, I didn't have to play all the dealer frt, prep, etc. games. I also got the factory bags as well. I almost felt guilty walking out of the dealership. To their credit they didn't try and play any games with me.

One big plus for me is that it wasn't thousands of miles away like some of the fairly low priced ones I saw. I would have had to pay for shipping it here and dealt with the hassle all that would entail and not easily being able to inspect the bike before forking over money. So all in all it turned out to be a good option for me. I really thought about the VFR but at the end of the day I did want something a bit smaller and lighter. I only have to contend with my wife riding about 5-10% of the time anyway.

Now I just need to figure out what mods I want to do. Most likely improved lights, ECU and exhaust and I should be good. I'll see how the seat is and then maybe swap it out. Is there a good listing of what parts fit from the earlier models 1000s?
 

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Good deal!! I picked up a leftover '14 this summer. $4k off MSRP but they indeed added the frt and other BS fees. All in all, it was still pretty good for a new bike.

What dealership are you getting it from?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Maybe someone here can help. Is there a thread that shows what parts from the older versions will work on the 2014 and newer? I know the rear subframe changed but are a lot of the other parts the same?

For example I am 90% likely I'll want to swap out the seat. I know I'll want some sort of rear rack to put a topcase on.
 

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Maybe someone here can help. Is there a thread that shows what parts from the older versions will work on the 2014 and newer? I know the rear subframe changed but are a lot of the other parts the same?

For example I am 90% likely I'll want to swap out the seat. I know I'll want some sort of rear rack to put a topcase on.
Those two items did change over the years. The luggage system is definitely new on the 2014 bikes. The seat I believe changed in 2015.

So, while I don't have the exact answers, I do know changes were made.
 

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Thanks for the suggest on the Connie. The early ones had some heat issues. I could live with that but it is too close to a bike I have; K16GT.

A lot of my commute will be from SoCal going through LA (and the miserable traffic) up to NorCal. I normally have to commute either in San Fran or Orange County and that is why I am looking for a bit smaller bike.

The K16 is an amazing bike but it isn't the best when it comes to lane splitting and the C14 Connie is not exactly pleasant there. I wouldn't mind having shaft drive to reduce my maintenance a bit.

I normally have a chance depending on which office I am going to, to be near some decent mountain roads. So I don't want to go too far toward the super slab eating big bikes. That is where my CTX has done a great job. I can spend 10 hours in the saddle and be ready for more. Then I hit the mountains and start wishing for another 50 hph and better suspension.

That is why the Ninja seems like not a bad option. I sort of like the looks of the Z1000 and it seems to have great headlights. Wind protection is lacking but it is sort of appealing as well.
I think I'm in you're situation, kind of. I've got an FJR1300 that I use for anything longer than about an hour - Russell Day Long seat, cruise control, big ole windscreen with awesome protection from the elements, etc... makes it the go to choice for anything requiring comfort.

My commute is 28 miles door to door, from the East Bay area to Sunnyvale so i spend a lot of time lane splitting. When I totaled my FZ1 back in April I was looking at the same choices as you for a replacement.

1) Test rode an FJ09 - really enjoyed the motor, seating position was good, but I was worried about the width of the bars. They seemed to be perfect height to plow into side view mirrors and there's no way I've heard of to fold them in.
2) Looked at a '15 Ninja but didn't like the $12k price tag. Soon saw an ad for a brand new '14 for $9k. I flew to SNA, took a cab to Champion Motorcycles on Newport Blvd, then rode it home to Pleasanton- about 7 hours door to door. By the end of the ride I didn't like the seat and was tired of the wind blast. That's why the FJR comes out for longer rides but the Ninja is great for my 30-45 minute commute. Its got folding mirrors and gets pretty narrow once they're tucked in.
3) I didn't ride the Versys, but from what I've read it has some nice features, especially the slipper clutch with assist. It gets rid of the dry clutch plate issue that a lot of the N1K's have had (mine did but its been remedied) and really lightens up the clutch lever pull which would be useful in commuting use.

good luck
 
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