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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I've joined the Ninja forum because I am selling my BMW R1200GS Rallye and replacing it with a sport tourer. I was previously on a Honda VFR1200F, which I really liked, but decided to give the BMW a try, due to the taller seating position. This hasn't turned out the way I would like it. Sure, I have more leg room, but just about everything else pales in comparison to the VFR. For one, the boxer engine isn't anywhere close to the smooth power delivery of the VFR. I thought I could get used to the boxer engine, but, after having the VFR, it is a huge letdown (for me, anyway).
Despite being a very pretty bike, the R1200GS riding experience isn't what I enjoy, mainly because it tends to want to tip left or right all of the time. I have ridden motorcycles for over 30 years, and have never had to make such adjustments, but I have now. By employing more back brake, it seems to have corrected the problem somewhat, but the brakes, being linked, will essentially provide me with the same brake pressure regardless of which brake I use. I did notice an improvement, but here's the issue - after taking the YCRS course, I always ALWAYS cover my front brake to be able to react quicker to any situation. So this means applying it in emergencies.
So....I have had a SPATE of close calls on the BMW this spring, and in three instances, I've covered my front brake, and had the bike start to tip. I've managed to get a foot down and stop from falling, but I can tell that it won't have to tip much further before I cannot recover, and the bike goes down. Two of the instances were people cutting me off as I was turning. The third was ME stalling in third in an intersection turning left, after I missed the downshift somehow. In any event, the problem keeps showing up.
All in all, I want a bike that is 1) Not as tall as the BMW, 2) Not as heavy as the BMW (538lb curb weight), or has less weight up front (I think the Telelever spring system up front must add quite a bit of weight to the front end), and 3) Has a much more of a sporty (VFR-like) engine. I will live with a more bent seating position (than the BMW).
I haven't driven any of the bikes on my shortlist, and, because of COVID, I doubt I will have a chance, so I thought I would see if anyone could comment on my choices for solo riding:
Kawasaki Ninja 1000 - seems pretty ideal. Has the Bosch IMU, has a 1000 cc engine, but not sure of the power characteristics. I've heard some talk of buzziness, but that's just part of motorcycling, unless it is severe. Suspension and handling are what I value most, so comments on that aspect would be appreciated.
Yamaha Tracer GT - the YCRS guys use these bikes as workhorses around the track, and they can really fly on them. My personal instructor actually did some club races on one (he was a former racer), and was highly successful with it. The taller seating position is there, but it's close to the BMW, so there's not much of an improvement there. However, its curb weight is 59 lbs less than the BMW, which probably makes it more manageable. The weight distribution is probably better too, seeing that there's no bulky Telelever suspension system up front (not sure why BMW bothers with this anymore when there are so many good suspension options out there).
Kawasaki H2 SX SE or SE Plus - amazing technology in this bike. However, the curb weight is up (579 lbs) and I do not need all of that horsepower. I am wondering, however, if the chassis and suspension are that much better on the SX than the Ninja 1000? If it is, that would be the reason to go with it. From what I understand, you can use the riding modes to dial the power back considerably on the H2 SX, correct? By how much? In this case, I see the power as a detriment, but perhaps the chassis is a positive. I am not sure if there are really any chassis improvements over the Ninja 1000 or not.

I usually do short day trip rides, with two three-to-four-day rides, and I find being on the "sport" side of sport touring just fine. Curious to hear your thoughts.
 

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I think that on your short list, the Yamaha Tracer GT is going to give you the most entertaining ride. If having fun is your #1 goal, this is the bike. Being lighter, and being based on the MT09, and having that super entertaining triple, equals endless fun in the sun. I believe the Tracer weighs 500 lbs. wet. but don't know if that's with or without bags.

The N1k is also fun. But it is more substantial than the Yamaha. It weighs in at 520 lbs. wet (without any bags). But it is also A LOT more powerful. In addition to having 20 more rwhp, it is about 15+ more ft lbs. of torque. Power is also everywhere and never tapers off all the way to redline. Since the N1k is based on a naked sportbike, as opposed to the Tracer being based on a naked bike closer to a Super Motard, I would guess the Ninja will feel more stable at higher speed cornering. The N1k will also have better wind and weather protection. I think the newer one also has a quick shifter, plus that IMU controlled TC/ABS, cruise control, and a big TFT display. Overall, it's a better bike than the Tracer from a traditional sport-tourer's perspective.

The H2 SX SE is much closer to your BMW except it's not an adventure bike. It will be extremely fast.

All of these bikes though will be SO MUCH better than the GS on the road. The GS is basically a Cadillac Escalade, while the Ninja 1000 is more a Cadillac CT6-V, while the H2 SX SE is a Twin Turbo Lincoln Continental AWD. LOL! The Tracer GT is more like the CT6-V with a normal V6 engine.

Handling fun = Tracer GT
Comfort and power = H2 SX SE
Something between those two = Ninja 1000

If those three are my choices, I think I would get the Ninja 1000 because I ride more sport than I do tour. And the Ninja 1000 is a very sporty bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have I missed any choices?
Has anyone compared the front forks of the H2 SX to the Ninja 1000?
 

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The H2 SX SE is Kawasaki's flaship so it has a higher spec, fully adjustable suspension. The N1k is a middle offering. It has adjustments for Preload, rebound/compression up front. But it's a lower spec suspension.

Choices in the sport end of the ST segment, I think your list is pretty complete. Maybe include the Ducati Super Sport.
 

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Have I missed any choices?
Has anyone compared the front forks of the H2 SX to the Ninja 1000?
Have you considered the FZ-10?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No I haven't. Europe has a touring model that would be awesome here. Need the screen and the bag latches to put it on the list.
 

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No I haven't. Europe has a touring model that would be awesome here. Need the screen and the bag latches to put it on the list.
I currently have a 2017 FZ-10, and it definitely leans more toward the sport side of sport/touring. But with the "normal" mods like bar risers and a good seat, it is very comfortable and upright for me. Now I wouldn't take it cross country, but for day trips and if you don't spend a lot of time on interstate type roads, it's worth considering. You are looking for fuel at around 120 miles, but I like to get off and walk around at that time anyway.
 

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I really thought I wanted the H2 SX SE not long after seeing the specs. After sitting on one and comparing it to the N1000SX and a significantly higher MSRP (the used 2018 was only 14K) but my thoughts were redirected to the N1000SX.

I ended up with a 17' N1000 ABS for 99% of the 2020 N1000SX and saved thousands of dollars.

The weight is quite a bit more than my Ninja 400, the seat height about an 1" higher (I am only 5'-6" and flat footed on the N400 but tripod the N1000) and the power substantially more. However the transition was pretty easy even after only being back on a street bike for ~6 months and 7,500 miles.

I am not qualified or have the experience to compare the BMW with the N1000 but I am very happy with my bike.

Good luck whatever decision you make!

ps, I have a real desire to test ride a GSXR 1000, H2, Vmax, FJR and GoldWing (it's a disease that I can live with)

pss, and a ZX14 and a ZX10
 

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Most don't like the GSX-S1000F looks, but personally, I really like it. Not much room for luggage though and no cruise control. May be an option also.
 

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Have I missed any choices?
Has anyone compared the front forks of the H2 SX to the Ninja 1000?
We have a member, 57x, that has both bikes. Really, no comparison is necessary though.

One bike sells for 25k. The other is closer to 12 or 13. Kawasaki did an ok job on the suspension, but make no mistake...if you found Ninja 1000 forks and its shock, on a 25k bike, you would be pissed off. You can make the ninja forks better than the h2sx, but that will cost you 1200.00. Same story with the shock.

The Ninja is good, but it wont compete with a 25k bike if you start comparing suspension, paint, fit and finish. Details that cost money.
 

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I would expect the fit and finish to be the same unless they are built in different plants.

And there is room for huge upgrades in the 10K dollar MSRP difference, not that they would be equal but the N1000 a very good value.

I would like to hear 57X on the fit and finish comparison.
 

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Prior to my recent purchase of my '18 N1k, I rode 2 VFR1200F for some 7yrs. First was a '10 that I rode for 5yrs, liked it so much I bought a '12 to replace it. When the '12 met an untimely demise, I decided to go elsewhere, even though I still like the big Viffer and think a world of it.

I was not at all interested in less than 1000cc, so my choices were few:

H2-SX SE
R1200RS/R1250RS
N1k

If insurance premium were so ridiculously high, I would've gone with the H2-SX SE. As with the ZX14R I had previously, I just cannot bring myself to dump that much money into insurance every year. And with a $16k+ bike, I do not want to skimp on coverage. I am hoping in a few years, premium will come down, just like it did with the N1k. The curb weight doesn't bother me too much. VFR1200F was 591 lbs wet but with good road manner once moving. Unlike the ZX14R, which stretches me forward too much for my liking, the H2-SX felt like a smaller bike than it actually is. The ergos are less aggressive than the VFR1200F, which I thought was perfectly fine for all day riding.

The RS is a very interesting proposition. I like that they have conventional telescopic forks, instead of the Hossack front end like on my K16GT and the RT/GS. I never did make friends with the boxer engine. Anything prior to the wethead just felt like the proverbial sewing machine to me. Torquey allright, but not enough top end extension to deserve a title with anything resembling "sport". The wethead came close to acceptable, if only marginally. The latest shiftcam 1250 finally makes some serious oomph, but the price tag is too high for what it is. I'd rather rock an H2 SX SE for that many clams. Again, may be in a few years the $$$ point will be more palatable.

As for other bikes...

I never considered the Duke GT, mostly because my own experience with KTM has soured my taste for another one. The styling is also just too edgy for me.

I would love either the Aprilia V4 or the Yamaha crossplane Inline4 in a sport touring package, but neither exist. Nakeds are out-of-the-question for me.

The adv-styled sport tourers like Multistrada, S1000XR and Versys 1000 are also out. Don't need or want the tall seat or the upright ergos. Yuk!

GSX1000F has a lovely engine, but the rest of the package is a let down. With no provision for hardbags and no adjustable windscreen, it's good for those sport touring riders who can travel light. Not for me.

Other oldies but goodies are out also. I wanted one with up-to-date safety-related electronics. Not too many 5yr old bikes have Bosch 6-axis IMU and cornering ABS.

That leaves me with the N1k. Power-wise, it is not in the same class as H2-SX/ZX14R, of course, or even VFR1200F/K1300S for that matter. If my ZX14R experience has taught me anything, it is that there is such a thing as too much power. I can see the HP junkies howling at this one, but sometimes enough is just that... enough. Not excessive, not jaw-dropping, not holy-sh!t-mother-of-god-this-is-too-much-fun-silly-grin-inducing, just... enough. A little more than enough is good to have; a lot more than enough is not only unnecessary, it can render other aspect of the bike undesirable (think weight and mpg). Suspension & brakes aren't top shelf but manages okay for most types of riding I do. They can be improved upon with aftermarket. The inline4 buzz is really only thing that bothers me. On the '18, it only really rears its ugly head above 7k RPM and even then, Kawi seemed to have tamed it over the yrs. I wish it's not there, but it is. No bike I've owned is perfect. Ultimately, N1k ticked the most boxes on the plus side, and least on the minus side.
 
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The guy I ride with...all the time for 15 years, has had a Ninja 1000 and now has a H2 SX. He also has an FJR and a Superduke R. He is seriously interested in going back to a Ninja 1000from the SX becasue he would prefer a lighter bike. On the other hand, he has the Superduke to cover light and nimble, and the FJR for our long trips every year. So for now he is keeping the H2 as A “tweener”.

If you are interested in dialing back the power of the H2, it is not for you. That would be like considering marrying a porn star and asking if she can quit having as much sex. There are better options.

You want less power and less weight, so this seems like a trick question anyway. The Ninja is the right bike.
 

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I haven't read through everyone's responses, but I spent 8000 miles on the Tracer GT and just traded it in on the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja. Previous to the Tracer I spent 9000 miles on the FZ10. Previous to that I've had the Fz09 and currently have the Fz07 to go along with the Ninja. I liked the Tracer for everything but the twisty work. It was too upright and I found the feed back a bit vague and the suspension was lacking. It was perfectly comfortable for eating miles and soaking up road bumps, but for the real aggressive stuff, not so much. I have to ride 250 miles before I get to any good roads so.... I just didn't like the bike enough to want to drop the money in suspension and brakes, because the brakes suuuuuck. No initial bite, no feel, soft and wooden. The motor is great, the bike feels light and flicks side to side well. It has almost everything a good touring bike should have stock from the factory; heated grips, cruise control, hard bags (although a little small), and power outlet. The wind screen needs replaced with something bigger (but even with the puig touring screen there was more noise than I liked). The seat is just okay if it didn't have that stupid forward lean it would be fine, but it does so in my opinion it needs replaced. The bags are an easy fix since a used pair of FJR bags will fit and expands capacity. As a benefit you can add a topcase with the side bags and you don't have to choose between one or the other like the Ninja.

The Fz10 is okay for traveling other than the ridiculously small tank, lack of wind protection, no heated grips, and no stock luggage. I hated the throttle response on the FZ10 even after a flash, way too much engine braking and a snatchy on off throttle. Great engine and that sound whooo that engine sound. It also doesn't like to cruise, it's just wants you to twist that throttle and hoon.

It's time to leave work, but if you want to hear my impressions of the Ninja I'll post later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I haven't read through everyone's responses, but I spent 8000 miles on the Tracer GT and just traded it in on the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja. Previous to the Tracer I spent 9000 miles on the FZ10. Previous to that I've had the Fz09 and currently have the Fz07 to go along with the Ninja. I liked the Tracer for everything but the twisty work. It was too upright and I found the feed back a bit vague and the suspension was lacking. It was perfectly comfortable for eating miles and soaking up road bumps, but for the real aggressive stuff, not so much. I have to ride 250 miles before I get to any good roads so.... I just didn't like the bike enough to want to drop the money in suspension and brakes, because the brakes suuuuuck. No initial bite, no feel, soft and wooden. The motor is great, the bike feels light and flicks side to side well. It has almost everything a good touring bike should have stock from the factory; heated grips, cruise control, hard bags (although a little small), and power outlet. The wind screen needs replaced with something bigger (but even with the puig touring screen there was more noise than I liked). The seat is just okay if it didn't have that stupid forward lean it would be fine, but it does so in my opinion it needs replaced. The bags are an easy fix since a used pair of FJR bags will fit and expands capacity. As a benefit you can add a topcase with the side bags and you don't have to choose between one or the other like the Ninja.

The Fz10 is okay for traveling other than the ridiculously small tank, lack of wind protection, no heated grips, and no stock luggage. I hated the throttle response on the FZ10 even after a flash, way too much engine braking and a snatchy on off throttle. Great engine and that sound whooo that engine sound. It also doesn't like to cruise, it's just wants you to twist that throttle and hoon.

It's time to leave work, but if you want to hear my impressions of the Ninja I'll post later.
Yep, definitely want to hear them, seeing that you are switching from the Tracer GT.
I really wonder who really needs the full power of the H2SX. It's too bad you can't get it without the supercharger, as would make sense for a heck of a lot more riders.
As for the suspension quality on the Ninja 1000, how "budget " is it? Wondering if it's any better or worse than my previous VFR1200F? It lacked some adjustability but still performed fine.
 

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The Fz10 is okay for traveling other than the ridiculously small tank, lack of wind protection, no heated grips, and no stock luggage. I hated the throttle response on the FZ10 even after a flash, way too much engine braking and a snatchy on off throttle. Great engine and that sound whooo that engine sound. It also doesn't like to cruise, it's just wants you to twist that throttle and hoon.
Who did you have flash your FZ-10? 2WDW did mine. The first iteration needed some improvement, but they improved upon their initial flash. Once I sent my ECU back for their revised flash, the snatchy throttle in B mode was completely gone along with less engine braking. The bike doesn't seem to have any issues with just cruising..... I think it's more me that wants to twist the throttle......;)
 
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