Below is my first ride thoughts on the 2018 I just purchased. This is based on a 200 mile ride on various road types. The really good news is the bike’s baseline platform is awesome in terms of: engine, braking, clutch pull & absorbing road conditions. The con’s: bars, leg rooms, windscreen are all fixable with aftermarket accessories. Note: I'm 5'6", 150lbs.
Ninja First Ride Initial Impressions – 08.10.19
The smoothest throttle response I’ve ever experienced, in any gear, at any speed. Even at small throttle openings in 1st gear. No on/off throttle issue at all.
Clutch worked very easily. Easy lever pull & dropped in and out of gear quickly. Only one missed shift all day, even with my boot issue (see below).
Slipper clutch worked very well & matched RPM speed allowing quick gear changes without any rear wheel hop.
Engine is powerful & capable but completely manageable & not intimidating. Engines spins up quickly but not abruptly & without hesitation in all rpm. It’s also smooth on deceleration & engine braking.
Engine braking occurs nicely without being too strong, which sets up well for great initial bite of the brakes both front & rear. The brake pull is easy, offers great feedback & the bike stops fast. Overall the brakes are confidence inspiring even at moderate lean & work very well. Didn’t try the brakes going hot into a turn.
Almost any gear can operate at any speed making the bike easy to ride without feeling like your lugging the bike or running in too high an RPM.
Suspension over all road conditions was awesome. Bike was super compliant on any surface. Very comfortable.
Sargent seat worked fine. No complaints on maiden voyage. Although didn’t move to rear of seat much as my reach to bars prevented it.
Reach to the ground was no problem for my 30" inseam.
Didn't have any issues hitting exhaust with boots as I've read about.
Bar risers needed. Bars were too far away requiring a reach, which overworked neck & back muscles causing fatigue & discomfort. Can’t ride long distances as is.
Lower controls need to be lowered more. Need more legroom. Legs felt cramped were uncomfortable as ride went longer. Will purchase Motowerk’s.
Bike doesn’t turn easily. Requires too much initial effort to steer it. This is a major complaint I’ve read about. I have a suspension tune scheduled to hopefully help & setup SAG/compression/preload for my weight. If not a 55mm tire is in my future.
Windscreen needs to be replaced. It does work & displaces some air, but doesn’t provide enough protection which I’m looking for. Seemed to work best in middle setting allowing cool air to the helmet. High setting had too much turbulence at helmet.
Can’t wear thick boots which I was, as it was much too difficult to get boot over & under shifter throughout the day. Had this problem all day on every shift even after adjusting shift linkage.
Didn’t notice any difference between Full & Low power modes. Will need to evaluate more.
I look forward to addressing the changes on the con's list to make it a rock steady sports tourer for my needs.