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Hi Guys,

I just took my new 1000SX out for it's first day run. I'm obviously in the break in period but there's a lot I've learned about it just in this days riding I thought might be of value to some people. I have a lot to say with this review but I'll try and keep things as brief as I can without waffling too much.

(I was going to try and do a youtube video review, but I don't think I have the skills for entertainment - so sorry for the wall of text :) )

Please note (disclaimers?)

I'm going to be deliberately very critical - not from the perspective of putting the bike down, but instead of guessing what's relevant to you - I'll blurt out all my thoughts unfiltered and let you sift through what's relevant or of value to you. I'll do the criticism up first, and then what pleased me afterwards.

I have no significant prior experience of Ninja's (except for 2 demo rides of the 2019 model). All my experienced is comparing with VFR's.

Also - I was not convinced on buying this bike. In many ways I have been a reluctant purchaser. My wife told me to buy a new bike (no joke) more than 12 months ago. She did not like the fact that I was taking our daughter on a older bike that had no safety features (no ABS, no traction control) and told me I had to get a new bike.​
(For the last 18 months I have been hanging out hoping that Honda would release a new VFR with updated electronics, but no luck. But during that time I have been doing a lot of research (some on this forum) - and it seems most VFR refugees switch to the Ninja 1000. After a lot more investigating it seemed as though it was the best compromise. I was ready to buy 6 months ago but wanted to see what they released with their new generation. Glad I did!)

I have had low expectations on how much I would appreciate this bike because the VFR fit my style of riding perfectly. The way it cornered, it's forward lean angle, etc fit my like a glove. To be fair, I think I molded to it - as it was the only road bike I've ever ridden - but it has been a great fit. So in full transparency - - my review on the Ninja will be very bias from this perspective.​
So with all that, today I took the bike on a nice scenic trip that involved some twisties in the mountains today for a break-in. Nothing heavy throttle, just smooth tight cornering to get a feel for her.

First thing I noticed this morning is that I really miss the centre stand. Checking the oil was a breeze with the centre stand, and having to move the bike a couple of times to get to the values was also a pain. I guess I'll get used to it because it seems that Kawasaki won't change this (even as a factory optional accessory). :(

Also the new display screen is great - from my perspective it would have been nice to have had factory accessory options for tire pressure sensors that fed direct into the screen.(Like Triumph). I think this is a missed opportunity.



Heated Grips


I had these installed but I'm not convinced they're worth the extra cash. At the end of the day they don't integrate with the bike anymore than any other after market model would, so if you're expecting the display to show you if they're on or off, etc - they don't. I do like the switch on the grip though instead of Oxford having a seperate module. It's cleaner and neater, but at 3x the price - maybe not.



Gear Selecter


I've found the shifter spongy when in first gear and I pushing down (I'm used to a tactile response telling me I'm in first) . I'm not sure if this is normal and expected for quick shifters or not. I'm not complaining about this - just making a statement that it's quite noticeable coming from my VFR.

Also - the quick shifter is turned off by default so you need to turn this on. (I chose to leave it off for the break in because I shouldn't be in the rev range anyway).

While on the screen - I needed to manually change the shift indicator (that tells you to change gears) from 4,000 to 6,000 manually once you reach 300kms. Again - not a complaint - just letting you know to keep an eye out for the 300km mark on the odometer as the bike won't automatically shift it.


Riding Modes

While I really appreciate 3 different riding modes plus a user configurable option - I don't appreciate that you can't change the mode whilst riding. If I'm riding and hit a storm, it'd be nice to keep riding with the protection of the fairings without having to stop and switch to rain mode. Maybe there's a way to do it but I haven't found it.

(For what it's worth I had it on rain mode all day today to keep myself from getting over excited incase I had a rush of blood whilst still breaking in the engine).



Engine Buzz

I have noticed a buzz coming in around the 4,000rpm range. (Unfortunately our highway speed). It's not bad but it is noticable through pegs, butt and handle bars.

The worst part about it is the mirrors. Travelling at 100kph / 60mph everything is a blur in the reviews. It's basically not possible to tell if the car behind you is a cop car or not.

I know someone on here was interested to know if this has been resolved. I don't know how bad previous models are - but this is definitely a factor. When I slipped in the clutch everything went instantly clear - so I know it wasn't the road surface. At 80kph it's much better. It seems to be around the high 3,000 RPM mark that it comes into play.


Rideology

I've only had a small play with rideology. I've got to admit - I do not appreciate that rideology keeps telling me to stop riding in order to use it. I was stopped, and off the bike with the engine not running and it still wasn't happy. Turns out that the bike must be in neutral. Since I always park in gear I found this a nucance. Surely it wouldn't have been difficult to detect if the engine is running or not?


Accidental Engaging of High beams

A coupe of times I found myself knocking the high beam on. I didn't realise I had done it until I looked at the dash and saw - so not sure how long I was running with it and blinding people. I'm not sure if earlier Ninja's are the same or not, but the high beam is initiated by your index finger by pushing the flash switch forward. I'll have to keep an eye on that. I'll be interested to know if anyone else has a similar experience.


Cruise Control

I love this - it's brilliant (although almost puts me into a restful lul).

I did find that it looks like the cruise control will not resume unless you manually come within a certain speed of what it's set. Either that or I don't know what I'm doing - but some times I just couldn't get it to resume. Other times I couldn't get it to engage. I suspect that revs may need to be at a certain range too.



Handling

Well, I found my VFR to be a very forgiving bike. Last weekend I went through a patch of road work gravel I missed seeing, and the bike slipped - but still felt completely stable the whole time. (Slipped enough that it cleared a full line through the middle of the stones, but there was no anxious moment).

I haven't had a situation to compare that with so far, but I can say that I did come into one corner a little hotter than I was meant to and on the VFR I would have had to do some work braking and turning, but on the ninja it just turned so much easier. That was really nice.

Additionally I have found the braking is so much more effective on the Ninja too - I'm very pleased with it. The VFR comes across a little heavier than the Ninja in the braking whereas it seems if I don't hang on - I'll end up going over the handle bars. A definite upgrade for me there!

To be honest - after riding for a bit and getting used to the bike - I have been very pleasantly surprised by the Ninja's handling. My concerns about it not behaving as nicely as the VFR have been unwarranted, and the 1000sx handles like a well trained sheepdog. It just seems to know what you need and does it without instruction (well almost). It exceeds my desires in a VFR in a number of areas!


From what I recall with the 2019 demo's I rode it seemed that the Ninja was bad at low speed handling (at least I didn't feel that stable). I have not noticed this on the 2020 model. I only rode a 2019 twice, so I would be very interested to hear from other Ninja owners as to what they make of this. I also know that the /55 size tire 'mod' is very popular and will be interested to hear from experienced Ninja riders whether they think it's necessary with this bike. For me - I'm very happy with factory handling. ( I haven't had the chance to set up the suspension correctly for my weight and riding style yet - but even as factory standard - this thing is impressive and I would be happy with the bike as it is).

The bars input is lighter than the VFR - but not twitchy like some other bikes I have ridden. It still gives me great tactile feedback and still feels as though it wants to sit there in the corners just as nicely as the VFR - but much lighter if I need to change my line.

The pegs feel like they naturally put my boots out of the way a little better than the VFR (and feel a bit higher too - but not sure if they are). Where I normally feel like I would have been scraping pegs on the VFR in some slow corners I'm familiar with the Ninja still seemed to have some clearance.

I don't know if I was cornering at exactly the same angle (no way of measuring that on a VFR), but according to the lean indicator I hit 47 degrees on the Ninja without trying (this is just my first ride) - the bike just naturally lulled (seduced? ;) ) me into confidence and I just found myself there - (very similar to the VFR in that way). This I am extremely happy with - it was very natural to me which I wasn't expecting.

(As for the scraping pegs - I do this because I take the road line as opposed to race track - in wide, out tight as mentioned in the Police Riders Handbook. This naturally has me leaning more through a corner at the slow point before speeding up - so don't think I was racing on public roads and trying to lean over hard to get pegs to scrape - it's a result of choosing conservative lines which have a sharper turn through them).

And the low speed handling is brilliant. I cannot express this enough. Additionally the throttle control is silky smooth. Coming from the VFR where trying to ride at low speed (30-40kph) was jerky to say the least. Even going from acceleration to backing off the throttle was jerky. Not with this Ninja. I can not express how impressed I am with both the low handling control and the smoothness of the throttle.

At this point I would like to mention that I am very thankful to Honda - for NOT continuing the VFR. As already mentioned - I was a reluctant team switcher - I loved my VFR and if they had have released a new model even still a 800 with good electronics I would have jumped at it - and I would have missed what I'm experiencing now. My fears were unfounded, and I needed to stretch my horizons a bit more!

Comfort

The windscreen is very nice from what I am used to. (Coming off VFR which was shocking with buffeting). I found that all the way down I had very clear or smooth air. Putting it up to it's highest point seemed to offer protection for my torso but not my helmet. (I'm 6"2)

The seat feels more comfortable than the VFR and has a firm back (if I can phrase it that way) - where the VFR seem to slope and was uncomfortable when I had my young daughter as pillion (put pressure on my lower back and made it sore). I haven't ridden with my daughter yet but I expecting with the feel of the seat this will be different.


Range

Wow - I'm surprised by the range. Roughly half way through my ride it's indicating as though I would get 450kph out of a tank. I'm not sure how accurate the fuel range indicator is - or whether it too includes a reserve or not. I don't plan on putting that to the test. I know I'm riding more sedately during break-in, but still - I heard some people mention making 300kms and it currently seems as though that is a very conservative estimate. I think it's equal to - if not better than my VFR if my experience today is anything to go by.


Anyway - sorry for the wall of text, but I hope this is of interest and helpful to some people. There doesn't seem to be much info around yet so I thought I'd put up my 2c worth - even though I know a review from a previous model Ninja rider is probably more helpful. :)
 

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Congrats on the purchase of your Ninja 1000 and welcome to the forum.

I had a 2003 VFR which I put 45,000 miles on before looking for something else. I wanted a slightly more upright riding position and a bit more power. In 2011 I bought a Ninja 1000 and never looked back. Two years later on a wet road I totaled the bike but was not hurt. I knew right away I was getting another Ninja 1000 and picked up a new 2013 which I still have to this day. I can't see myself parting with the Ninja any time soon. It has performed flawlessly and reliably from day one.

Enjoyed reading your review. Definitely give the 190/55 rear tire a try. Most of the riders here made the switch. With the 55 profile less input is needed at the bars to initiate and hold a line through a turn. Bike feels more neutral, a definite improvement. Why they still sell this bike with a 190/50 is beyond me.
 

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That was an excellent review. You need to get a job with one of the biker mags.:grin:
 

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Mark, I agree. I'm not sure what mags are still around, but sport tourer could easily work there.

If Kawasaki really changed the bikes geometry, maybe the 190/55 is no longer necessary? I've not been able to confirm this. Several reports do mention this change, but most of those reports were uk based, written by the same person. You would think that a real geometry change would be listed on Kawasakis page where they show the 2020 specs, and it doesnt.
 

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Its fun to go back and read the old ride reports on the bike. When the bike gets updated, Kawasaki has always done one of these press introductions. It's not just Kawasaki that does this.

They round up these people and take them to some very exotic and expensive places. They ride the bikes in these destinations. Long enough to have fun, not long enoigh to really get to know the bike. The reports are always the same.

Its will be something like This bike is amazing. The handling ? Amazing . The seat, brakes and color? Amazing . The air in the tires? Amazing.....Did I mention the bike was amazing." I'm sorry readers, but Kawasaki has built the perfect bike.

It usually takes a few months before there is any mention of any shortcomings. Go back to the older ride reports , from american journalists and see how carefully they talked about poor low speed handling. Like this piece of ****:

https://www.cycleworld.com/2013/10/02/2014-kawasaki-ninja-1000-abs-first-ride-review-photos/

Or this one:
https://ridermagazine.com/2017/05/12/2017-kawasaki-ninja-1000-abs-first-ride-review/

SportTourer did a much better job. The magazines wonder why no one bought the monthly copies?
 

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Nice report. Coming from a long line of VFRs I see much of my experience in your report. Thanks for taking the time for the report.

Now on my 3rd Ninja 1000... Get yourself a rear stand and spools for the swingarm. I still find the lack of a centerstand a PITA for everything from sighting oil level to airing the tires to chain maintenance on the road. I would also say be VERY careful using the stand until you are very good at it. About the most sickening moment in your life is levering the stand and having the bike flip to one side because it slipped off the stand.

Get use to fuzzy mirror images. All 3 of mine ('11, '14, '18) blur and any ticketable speed.
 
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Its fun to go back and read the old ride reports on the bike. When the bike gets updated, Kawasaki has always done one of these press introductions. It's not just Kawasaki that does this.

Its will be something like This bike is amazing. The handling ? Amazing . The seat, brakes and color? Amazing . The air in the tires? Amazing.....Did I mention the bike was amazing." I'm sorry readers, but Kawasaki has built the perfect bike.

It usually takes a few months before there is any mention of any shortcomings. Go back to the older ride reports , from american journalists and see how carefully they talked about poor low speed handling. Like this piece of ****:
Yeah a buddy of mine have been laughing at the magazines for many years because with every model update some "horrible" problem has been fixed. Go back and read the original review and try to find the problem mentioned. Guarantee it won't be. (MCN excluded)
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the feedback guys. It's encouraged me to actually make a video review of it. (Although after seeing my lack of video editing skills and lack of voice expressions it may not be the greatest idea - and I'm thinking that suggestions I get employed by a riders mag might change). ;-)

I'll post the link back here (if that's permitted on this site?) when done if anyone's interested.

Thanks for suggestion on a rear stand. I can see that will probably be a new purchase in the not to distant future.
 

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Nice Review and welcome aboard. I am a VFR fan as well and have owned a couple but after a few mods on my 2014 Ninja I would not let it go!
 

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No, no one ever goes after someone who tries. You'll do great job on the video, too. Maybe go for less full frontal nudity, this time, but otherwise, go for it!

The ninja has always been like this. Owners were giving tide reports way before the big outlets did.

This test was a real pos. It was released after a bunch of people bought the bike, so we knew better. Hell, Ivan basically built a flashing empire around fixing the bikes fueling flaws....poor fueling and poor handling was never mentioned. They skipped right over it's bad tires, too.

https://www.cycleworld.com/sport-rider/kawasaki-ninja-1000-vs-suzuki-gsx1250fa-vs-yamaha-fz1-comparison-test-battle-super-standards/
 

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Yeah, the "problems" are relative. Compared to 600cc supersports, the Ninja 1000 might not be the sharpest blade in the twisties. However, put it up against 600 lbs - 750 lbs sport tourers, it is very light on its feet.

I finally took my '18 out for its maiden voyage yesterday. What a gorgeous sunny 70F day here in Houston! Coming off commuting all week on the K16GT, all I can say is... wow! What problem?!

Only thing I noticed was the front brake was a little mushy, but it may just need some more wear in. Right out of my drive way, I practically glided through the first stop sign.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You did a great job on the video review!
https://youtu.be/h-klmFrSi_w
LOL - you bet me to it - posted the link before I got around to doing it myself. Thanks for the feedback. I was umm-ing and arr-ing as to whether I should make it - but so far it seems as though it's not a waste of people's time. :)

There is one error in the video - you can change modes while riding. I've tried fixing this up with a poll as a caption because you tube have removed the ability to add annotations. (Either that or I'd have to pull it down and do it again).
 

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Great review! I'm a 2017 zx-10r owner who also reluctantly traded on a 2020 1000sx. My first longer ride this weekend agreed with most of what you said. My mirrors were fine, at least as clear as what I'm used to on the zx-10r. I imagine the VFR was a lot smoother running.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Great review! I'm a 2017 zx-10r owner who also reluctantly traded on a 2020 1000sx. My first longer ride this weekend agreed with most of what you said. My mirrors were fine, at least as clear as what I'm used to on the zx-10r. I imagine the VFR was a lot smoother running.
Thanks for the feedback and confirmation. Good to know that what I'm seeing/feeling agrees with others.

Yes - the VFR was smoother, until you hit around 6,500rpm when the vtec kicked in and opened up the other 2 valves. Then it buzzed a lot more. However for highway commuting when detail in the reviews really matter - the revs were well below that so it was never an issue for me.

I took my VFR riding again yesterday (now that I've lost my 1000sx until I get it back on the weekend) - and found it interesting how at the same rev range, the VFR seems a lot lower in tone. I'm assuming that the same RPM's should give the same frequency - but maybe I'm wrong? The Ninja definitely sounded higher pitch as though I was rev'ing it a lot higher when I was sitting on 4,000rpm in comparison - but maybe that's just my mind playing tricks on me with the different types of tones.
 

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VFR's did have a nicer deeper tone. It's V4 vs I4. In-line 4s always sound raspy and higher pitched to me. It's too bad Honda went the Vtec route with the VFR. My '98, '99, '99 were dead smooth all the way to redline.
 
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The VFR800's deeper tone comes from its "big bang" 90deg V4 grouping the firing orders closer together. The traditional 180deg crank inline4 is not a big bang motor and has a more evenly spaced firing order, like F1 engines, which tend to shriek at a higher pitch tone.

BTW, not all V4's have big bang firing order. The 76deg V4 in the VFR1200 does not fire the fore and aft cylinders alternatingly like the VFR800. Instead, it fires the pairs in each bank closer together, forming a more even order at 104 and 256 degs. The result is an engine more compact than a big-bang 90deg V4 but still has characteristics of a V4, like not requiring a power-robbing balancing shaft (as in Ninja 1000).

These days, I ride with earplugs and prefer long cans that keep the exhaust as quiet as possible, so the exhaust note doesn't matter to me as much as it once did. I still prefer narrow angle V4s and triples though.
 

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So, as a yet-another VFR owner considering making the leap to a N1K (likely a 2017+ for the superlative IMU safety features), tales of persistent engine buzz are a definite concern for me -- I think because I recall reading a few threads by people who were having issues with numb hands and such. So, how would people characterize the vibration issue in the recent vintage N1Ks? Is it just blurred mirrors? Or is it a genuine discomfort issue for rides that extend beyond an hour or two?
 

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I found the buzz in Ninja 1000s quite annoying after several VFRs. However, you can minimize it with several relatively easy solutions. I've had a 2011 and 2014 Ninja and now a '18 which I haven't really ridden much yet so this is all based on the earlier models. The models were different in their characteristics. The '11 buzzed when new, smoothed out a lot by 20k while the '14 was quite smooth when new and began to get buzzier at 15k miles. The buzzing was all in the mirrors, handlebars and tank.

My easy fixes:

The buzzing is generally 5k rpm and up. Going up 1 tooth on the countershaft sprocket along with a 190/55 rear tire means that cruising up to 80-85 mph is smooth and relaxing. This was the biggest help for me. The engine's more relaxed at high end freeway speeds and the speedometer is more accurate. It does make getting the front wheel up in the air harder if you're into that kind of thing.

I added gel grips to the bike. I like to wear thin leather gloves. I tried gel padded gloves but didn't like the feel. Gel grips worked well to minimize the vibes from the bars quite effectively. No sleepy hands even after the longest fastest days. I like the Progrip 719s but there are others. I used them on my VFRs as well. Adding them when I added my grip heaters made it easy.

Others added washers behind the bar end weights. I didn't try this but others said it helped.
Add a couple rubber washers under the rear tank mount. Easy, cheap and seemed to do the job to lower the tank vibration.

Some reported a bit of vibration in the pegs but I never experienced that. They're mounted on vibration dampers. I always wear boots when I ride.

The only annoyance I never got rid of was in the mirrors. Other than that, the Ninja's were smooth enough for long distance touring without fatigue.
 
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