At Intermot 2016, Kawasaki announced the Ninja 1000 sport tourer would receive a host of upgrades to enhance both the sport and touring sides of its dual personalities. While there are obvious design changes to make the bodywork fresh, chief among those updates is the addition of a six-axis IMU from Bosch. With it, the 2017 Ninja 1000 electronics suite is now able to offer much more sophisticated levels of control. Both the Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) and Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS) utilize the IMU to get a real time picture of the motorcycle’s chassis orientation, which it can then use to intervene if needed, and the level at which intervention is applied.

Specifically, the IMU enables the KTRC system to offer more precise wheelie control, while KIBS now offers rear lift mitigation and minimal lever kickback during operation. The ECU also takes into account feedback from the IMU, throttle position sensor, clutch actuation, and gear position to account for back torque while using the rear brake and downshifting.

This little device, the six-axis IMU from Bosch, brings a new level of capability to the Ninja 1000's electronics suite.

This little device, the six-axis IMU from Bosch, brings a new level of capability to the Ninja 1000’s electronics suite.

Maybe the biggest benefit of the IMU, though, is the ability to offer what Kawasaki calls corner braking control, a.k.a. lean-angle sensitive ABS. Says Kawasaki, “Should riders use the brakes beyond the entrance to a turn (i.e. trail braking) or mid-corner (e.g. to avoid an obstacle), brake force is modulated to counter the tendency of the bike to stand up under braking. This assists riders in tracing their intended line through the corner instead of running wide.”

Other changes include revised ECU settings for smoother power delivery and exhaust canister revisions to meet Euro 4 regulations (though those changes don’t apply to U.S.-bound Ninja 1000s).

On the chassis side, there’s a revised shock linkage Kawasaki says offers suppler suspension action while also lowering seat height slightly from 32.3 inches to 32.1 inches. Rear brake pad material has also been revised.

The Ninja 1000's saddlebags now mount without interfering with the passenger grab handles.

The Ninja 1000’s saddlebags now mount without interfering with the passenger grab handles.

The list of touring-oriented updates for the Ninja 1000 is impressive as well, with a new double-bubble windscreen that’s 15mm taller in the center than before. It’s still adjustable to three different positions, without tools, to suit rider preference. The two-piece fairings are 28mm wider on each side to deflect more wind from the rider’s legs and cover a portion of the frame to help keep engine heat away.

Headlights are now brighter and cast their light farther forward, using LED bulbs that draw 50% less power. In accordance with Euro 4 regulations, an LED position light has also been added.

From the ergonomic side, the updated Ninja 1000 gets a five-way adjustable clutch lever and mirrors that are spaced 20mm farther outward, with a greater range of movement. The rider’s seat is broader, while the passenger seat is longer and features thicker padding for more comfort. The pillion seat’s shape is also bulged at the front to help prevent the passenger from sliding forward into the rider.

The redesigned tail section of the Ninja 1000 sees the passenger grab handles separated from the pannier mounting location, so now the clean-mount luggage can simply slide into their slots without the need for an accessory passenger grab handle like on the current model.

Whether you're sitting in the front or the back, both saddles have been revised for greater comfort.

Whether you’re sitting in the front or the back, both saddles have been revised for greater comfort.

Lastly, a new instrument panel is dominated by a large analog tachometer, but is now joined by a gear position indicator and programmable shift lights.

Among the Ninja 1000’s accessories, a few things stand out. They are:

  • A larger GIVI top case (12.4 gallons, 11 lbs max) offers enough room to hold two full-face helmets. Like the panniers, the top case can be fit with the one-key system.
  • ERGO-FIT low-seat reduces the seat height 8 mm, facilitating the reach to the ground for increased confidence and comfort. Seat leather is the same cold-resistant, high-elasticity-type material used on the standard seats.
  • Other available accessories include: smoked windshield, gel seat, single seat cover, tank bag, smart bag (JPN only), soft top case, grip heaters, DC outlet (7.5 A, 20 W), GPS unit bracket, sliders, crankcase rings, front axle sliders, tank pad, knee pads, wheel rim tape.
  • All of the accessories are bolt-on.

Follow the rest of our 2016 Intermot Show coverage for more information on new motorcycle announcements.

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Kawasaki Communities

  • Jon Jones

    OK. I’m sold. I want one.

  • Jamo11

    cruise? No? Huh?

  • ADB

    Fantastic motorcycle (always has been), but really, really, really, bad insurance rating from all of the big carriers. They need to get someone on the stick at Kawasaki US to call all of the carriers and get this bike rated as a Sport Touring bike and not a Ninja. Insurance for just about any bike out there is cheaper than a Ninja 1000. Even a ZX10 or a 14 is lower to insure. I tried Kawasaki, I tried, but at the end of the day, I had to walk away and buy another bike. The insurance tab was too big to swallow. I understand this bike is sold in the UK with a different name and much better insurance rates? Type a Vin number in to one of the big carriers online, and you will see what I mean.

    • Born to Ride

      I actually almost bought one before stumbling upon this revelation. Test rode it, sat down and discussed the numbers, and almost signed on the dotted line before I thought, “hey, I should check with my insurance before I do this.” They wanted 2500$ a year for a 2012 model in 2015. When I argued its not a ZX10, I was told “its a ninja 1000” as if I was some fool expecting to pay 250cc insurance. For the record, I am 7 years M1 licensed with no motorcycle accidents on my record. I agree that Kawi needs to do something to set the record straight regarding this bike with the Insurers.

    • John B.

      I ran into the same experience in Texas. The Ninja 1000 annual insurance premium was near $2,000. Inexplicably, the Z1000 premium was around $600 per year. Eventually, I bought a Concours and pay about $400 a year for insurance. This rate structure makes no sense. I love the Ninja 1000, but the insurance rates are a dealbreaker.

      • ‘Mike Smith

        That’s insane. I pay about $90 a month for full coverage on a R1 & a Zero SR through Progressive.

    • Grant

      As a single 23 year old male, with a clean driving record and 5 years with a motorcycle endorsement I was quoted $2700 a year on a ’14 Ninja 1000. Now I get that I’m young, but holy hell that’s an insane amount of money for insurance. At that price, I’ll stick with my Street Triple R and throw some soft bags on for trips. Then again maybe I’ll just slip on some “Dad Jeans” and buy a Versys 1000, those things are awesome. Kawasaki really needs to drop the Ninja from this bike’s name and/or start calling insurance companies to explain that a “Ninja” sticker on the tank doesn’t make the bike go 200mph.

      • Born to Ride

        I bought a multistrada 1100s. Previous owner was kind enough to outfit factory saddle bags, semi-rigid top bag, and an arrow full system. She’s homely but gawd does she rip in the switchbacks. Plus insurance is cheap. Couldn’t be happier with my alternative purchase.

        • Grant

          My dad bought an FJ-09 when they first came out last year, I always kinda imagined it to be a little bit like the older multistradas albeit with an extra cylinder and a little less displacement. But I’ve never actually ridden an older multi, have you had a chance to sample an FJ-09?

          • Born to Ride

            No but I have ridden an MV Turismo Veloce and own a Triumph Sprint ST, so I can say I am familiar with triples. Triples generally pride themselves on compact design and super smooth and linear power bands. They are happy to chuff along but will scream to the top end if you ask them to. The multi… Not so much. It gives you a giant shove off the bottom and through the midrange with the power tapering heavily in the top end. Wheelie control just becomes part of your riding style. It has those big amplitude vibes that don’t put your ass and hands to sleep but remind you that there is a motorcycle underneath you. I would actually have a hard time deciding between a TV800 and the Multi 1100s if they were aesthetically identical. The multi is less responsible and less refined. It is a Hypermotard with a fairing and 5 gallon tank. If you like that sort of thing(who doesn’t?), you owe it to yourself to take one for a spin. You might find that it is less “Dad Jeans” than you think.

  • Gary

    All those electronic gimmicks and no cruise control. There’s a technical engineering term for that: Stupid.

    • ‘Mike Smith

      In 2017, it is absurd that every non-motocross style bike isn’t already equipped with cruise control. Such an inexpensive upgrade should be a big selling point, but is largely ignored by the industry.

      • Born to Ride

        Not every bike has RBW. Adding cruise to a bike without it would be fairly complex and expensive.

  • Chris Noblett

    No weight reduction? If not, then fail.
    Sorry but the Ninja 1000 is a pig compared to its competition.

    • Born to Ride

      What competition would that be? Who else makes a dedicated SPORT tourer? The VFR 800 is equally as porky and down on power. The FJ09 is lighter, but completely different riding position and demographic, and also down on power. The GSXS-1000 is 36 lbs lighter at the curb and has more power, but lacks any touring amenities or aspirations. KTM SDR-GT whoops the ninja’s ass in nearly every category, but it is 20 grand and equally heavy.

      The cadet’s logic is not sound.

      • Chris Noblett

        Logic is sound, Yamaha FZ-10 my friend; it blows the Kawi away and is so good it competes with the $20k European bikes.
        And yes you can buy tons of accessories including luggage compartment and windscreens to make it a touring bike.

        As for the GSX-S1000, yes it does not come factory with a lugage rack but you can easily buy one aftermarket for $200 and make the Suzuki a sport touring bike. Its a better and lighter bike than the Kawi. It has a better engine, chassis, and suspension.

        Dont get me wrong I dont hate Kawasaki, my every day and track bike is a 2015 ZX-10R. Its a fabulous bike.
        But I am currently shopping this sport/sport touring class of bike and have done my research as well as sat on and test rode many models.

        The Ninja 1000 is just not competitive IMO. Its huge and heavy, combine those attributes with a weak engine and non premium suspension and there are better choices out there.

        • Born to Ride

          FZ-10 and the Ninja 1000 rarely ever are going to compete for the same customer. Ninja 1000 buyers are commuters who want great wind protection, comfort, and roll on power, without having to throw around a 600+ lb Concourse or FJR. It is a practical bike that strikes a balance between every day rideability and sporting potential. Notice that the massive paint and key matched hard bags have clean integrated mounts and the shock has a preload nob for easy adjustment depending on how much you load the bike. These are features absent on the bikes you mention because they are not even pretending to be touring bikes.

          Additionally, for the money you are going to spend on ugly GIVI mounting hardware and bags for your GSXS, you can easily drop 30 lbs off the Kawi and add 20+ hp by replacing the exhaust, reflashing the ECU, and slapping in a shorai. Then it will match it in weight and peak horsepower(and spank it in the midrange), while not having the horribly abrupt fueling that plagues the Suzi. As far as engine, chassis, and suspension go, MO rated them very similarly in the comparison of the Z1000 and unfaired GSXS. Engine being almost equal (without uncorking the Kawi), suspension going to the Suzi, and handling going to the Kawi.

          For the record, If you had made that comparison in a article for the Z1000 I’d agree with you wholeheartedly. They are both hideous, and the yamaha easily outperforms the Kawi.

          • Chris Noblett

            I guess its really a niche product the way you are looking at it, and from that viewpoint there is no direct competitor.

            IMO I’ve always seen it as a compromised sport bike with the option to have saddlebags, which BTW must be installed with at the dealer because they are keyed the same as the ignition lock.

            Technically its not a touring bike but it a sport bike with touring capabilities.

          • Born to Ride

            I don’t agree that the pragmatist everyday rider is really a niche market, as evidenced by the sales success of the bike. But I do agree with you that if you are buying it purely as a sport bike, you are getting a middling performance machine with a bunch of unnecessary features. BTW I preferred the key matched bags on my Sprint to the need to carry an extra key for my current Ducati.

            I think for what it intends to accomplish, it is either better performing or significantly cheaper than its direct competitors, the VFR and SDR GT respectively.

          • Andre Capitao Melo

            I fully agree with all you said, but I just wish Kawasaki made a faired bike lighter than the ninja 1000 and with more power than the ninja 650, it’s line-up is lacking in that regard.

          • Born to Ride

            I wish Yamaha would have made a sports tourer out of their 850 triple. With that platform, you can easily weigh in at the 450, fully fueled and bags attached, and over 100 hp. Perfect place to be as far as middleweight goes. The market has spoken though. The guys that have historically bought ST bikes are switching to SAT bikes. I had big hopes for the Ducati SS 939 but it looks as if they geared it a lot more toward sport, with no available hard bags or adjustable ergonomics. Why can’t OEMs just build a perfect motorcycle? I want my bike to be as comfortable as a Triumph Thunderbird, as much storage Gold Wing, as flickable as a Hypermotard, as powerful as a (insert favorite literbike here), and as sexy as a Thruxton R. The bastards.

          • ‘Mike Smith

            With the maintenance schedule of an electric bike.