Like many of you, the lack of factory topcase option with the factory bags for the 2014 and later Ninja 1000 has been an issue. It is more of an issue for my wife than me as she likes having a topcase to reassure her that she isn't going to launch off the back of the bike during hard acceleration. I was worried that the factory bags might be too wide to lane split but they are tucked in pretty tightly and so far they haven't been an issue.
I like my wife to ride with me and I've been riding the N1K more than my other bikes so the lack of a topcase has pretty much meant she didn't want to ride as she feel perched high on the pillion and feels like she can fall off too easily and coupled with the strong acceleration of the N1K at any speed she basically doesn't want to ride on it at all.
I went to the bike show in Long Beach and saw the Grip-n-Ride belt there. It basically is like a kidney belt with handles for your passenger. I had thought about grab handles for the tank filler area that I’ve seen but to be honest they look sort of goofy and are there even when you don’t have a passenger on the bike. At least with the belt, I can take it off when I don’t need to wear it but actually it works pretty well as kidney belt. In addition I am a bit on the portly side and my wife is tiny. It would be almost impossible for her to reach around me AND grab the handles on the tank. She couldn’t even do it if I wasn’t on the bike.
At the show they had a special and I had a chance to try one on. I have a very big ADV type jacket I wear and it adds quite a bit to my girth. I wanted one to fit worst case scenario and I realized it might be a bit too tight so I asked them to make one a bit bigger and sew on bigger straps and more Velcro. The main part of the belt doesn’t change size but the straps did. I used my Olympia jacket in 3XL and all the liners in as a worst case scenario.
It took them a few days to make it and I stopped by to pick it up. Since then I’ve had several chances to go riding with my wife. I wanted to wait a bit before posting a review. The best thing I can say is my wife almost never complains about not having a topcase on the N1K now. She really likes how well it she can grip it and she feels much more secure. She likes it so much she would like to have me wear it when we ride other bikes. She bumps into me less now and it keeps her grip lower on me where it is less disruptive when I ride. I never thought it would make such a difference. I can move the handles to the front or the back to make it better for her. When the handles are in the front I don’t get the kidney belt effect but she likes the variety of positions.
It can fit quite snugly which is good for her feeling more connected when we ride. There is a basic Velcro strap that basically gets it into position and holds it there while you click the belt together for the very heavy-duty webbing. You can then cinch it down tighter if you need.
This is something I never knew I needed until after I bought. It really is never in the way, my wife loves it and I wish I had it years ago when my kids were smaller. They have a wide variety of colors and designs. I went with bright yellow to be closer to the Hi-Viz colors of my jacket. I’ll be posting some photos later. For now here is their website info. I posted it in another thread. They will do custom designs as well if you want to upload your own image.
Excellent review DT... thank you. I saw these at the Progressive Motorcycle Show in Long Beach as well and thought what a great idea! When I two up my wife she usually holds around my waist and then puts her hands on the tank during braking. Does your wife continue to hold the Grip n Ride when you are braking?
Funny you should ask. My wife and I just finished a ride up PCH from San Clemente up to Newport Beach and a few other areas. She is absolutely loving the grip belt. Honestly, most of the time I can tell she is holding on to it except under hard acceleration.
As an experiment, I ran it hard in 1st & 2nd from a light after warning her. Normally I'd get some obvious reaction to her displeasure such as smack to the back of the helmet, a kidney punch or a karate chop to the neck. Dear - if you are reading this forum, I am just kidding. Others - you know how your significant other can react when displeased when on the back.
Anyway she didn't say a word. I just felt a slight tug on the back only when we started to carry the front wheel through first gear. Hit second and it started to come up again and backed it off a bit. Rode on for another 10 minutes and when we stopped the only thing she had to say was about a little fast through traffic in town. They were doing 5 mph and I was doing 25 in a 30.
Based on her reaction tonight, I'd say it was my best investment for us riding together so far. Her biggest complaint now is pretty much eliminated and we ride in my better sync as well. She sometimes holds on when braking but often not. When on the open road she either lets go or just holds on with 1 hand. In heavy traffic where she knows I might need to take evasive action, she holds on to both. All in all it is better than when she has a backrest so to speak where she just sort of checks out at times. For longer trips, she'll likely want a backrest but even then I'll keep the belt. Definitely worth the money I paid.
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