Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to read MO’s first ride review of the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS. If not, you should go take a look at our impression of Kawasaki’s gentleman’s sport-touring motorcycle. From its aggressive good looks to its romping engine, the Ninja 1000 has a lot to offer someone who likes their open-class performance wrapped in a highly streetable package.

2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS Review – First Ride

Although we thought we were pretty familiar with the riders who favor the Ninja 1000, Kawasaki opened its private stock of information at the 1000’s press launch. Drawing from owner surveys, Big Green gave us a clear peek into who loves these bikes and how the company plans to better serve them.

Kawasaki Ninja 10001. Ninja 1000 owners make more than double the national average income

According to the Census Bureau, the median annual household income in the United States is $51,000, and the top 25% of the nation’s earners make more than $85,000 per year. The Motorcycle Industry Council places the median household income of motorcyclists at $64,000. (But we already knew that motorcyclists were richer than your average citizen!) Kawasaki’s owner surveys places the median household income for all Ninja buyers at $91,000. However, the Ninja 1000 owner tops them all with a median household income of $118,000!

Kawasaki Ninja 10002. Ninja 1000 owners are experienced riders

According to Kawasaki, Ninja 1000 owners are, on average, 47-year-old guys with 19.4 years of riding experience under their belts. Additionally, 70% have taken a formal rider training course, meaning they’re both experienced and educated. When it comes to riding, they spend 83% of their time solo, so the Ninja 1000’s passenger accommodations are largely untapped. Here are some other tidbits: Ninja 1000 owners spend 40% of their riding time on the twisty roads sport riders love. They’re lucky enough to only spend 20% of their time on surface streets and 18% on the highway. This tells us that the Ninja 1000 is a purely recreational purchase. Surprisingly, only 16% of their ride time is spent on long-distance touring.

Kawasaki Ninja 10003. 54% of buyers add bags at time of purchase

While we’ve noted on all of our road tests – and complained, loudly – about the fact that the Ninja 1000’s bags are an accessory purchase, only 54% of the buyers add bags at the time of purchase. That means that 46% of the buyers are content, at least initially, with the Ninja sans luggage. Kawasaki does not, however, have statistics on how many purchase the bags at a later date. The 2017 Ninja 1000 makes the addition much easier than the previous generation since the grab rails have the mounting points built-in.

Kawasaki Ninja 10004. The Ninja 1000 is Kawasaki’s most requested test bike for long-term loan

Before you accuse us of navel-gazing, consider this: Motojournalists have the pick of all of a manufacturer’s available models, meaning they could request the baddest, fastest, coolest, newest, most technologically packed bike Kawasaki offers. Instead, they choose to request the Ninja 1000, which says something about the bike’s versatility. The Ninja 1000 – with or without bags – is a great companion for backroad shenanigans or even the occasional track day (though that is a time that journos will go for sexy-fast machinery). However, hyper sportbikes don’t do so well in the daily commute or weekend touring. Yeah, they can do it, but they aren’t ideal. When you toss in the optional bags, you’ve got a tool that can take care of 90% of the things you might want to do on a street bike.

Kawasaki Ninja 10005. Kawasaki is addressing the high insurance rate issue

Kawasaki says that the number-one complaint about the Ninja 1000 from its owner’s survey is the cost of insurance. Since this complaint came from a whopping 48% of the Ninja 1000 owners surveyed, the company set out to try to rectify the issue. Case-in-point, Kawasaki contacted Nationwide Insurance about the Ninja 1000 and discovered that it was being lumped in with all 1000cc Ninjas. So, KMC set about educating Nationwide about how different the average Ninja 1000 buyer was when compared to the average ZX-10R buyer. After looking over the information Kawasaki provided, Nationwide has lowered its rates for the Ninja 1000 to more accurately reflect the owner’s demographic. Niinja 1000 owners should definitely check with Nationwide when it comes to insurance.

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  • JWaller

    That’s good that Kawasaki is working to rectify the issue with insuring the Ninja 1000. It shows that they’re listening to their customers and potential customers for this bike. I seem to almost be the typical Ninja 1000 buyer, just don’t make that kind of money (should have got a degree in engineering instead of mathematics). Trust me, it’s been toward the top of my list since it was first introduced. When/if my Sprint ST 955i finally dies, if I’m not dead yet, I’ll most likely buy this bike.

    • Johnny Blue

      Be happy with your math degree. I studied engineering, but I wish I had the brain power to understand math better. Your accomplishments are not direct proportional with your wealth. After university, I switched to programming, but many on my engineering colleagues don’t make a lot of money and those who do are also good at math, or did not work in engineering at all.
      Happy riding! 🙂

    • Douglas

      Well, if u have a math degree, look into becoming an actuarian….they’re the ones who determine the actual rates on vehicle models, car, bike, etc, based on claim history of a particular model, location, rider/driver age, history, specs of the vehicle (e.g., car with 200hp vs same model with 400hp, tho’ that’s almost a thing of the past), and the psychology of why someone would want a vehicle that could, say, lap Daytona in a minute flat…..meaning, that sometime they’re gonna “see what she’ll do” on the public roads.

      Each insurance carrier may have slightly different criteria for rate determination on specific vehicles/operators, but the core basics are pretty much the same.

  • spiff

    This article was written so #5 could be a part of the conversation.

    • DickRuble

      It’s that time of the month …

  • DickRuble

    Fact #6. It’s F*ing boring
    Fact #7. It’s built by a company whose Marketing department is dumber than a bowl of Japanese noodle soup. If they weren’t so dumb they wouldn’t call it Ninja, which lumps it with the ZX-10R and the H2, hence the astronomical insurance rate. They are so dumb in fact that they are pointing to demographics as the key insurance differentiator, when it is pretty clear that when you purchase insurance you provide your age. It’s not that the insurers are lumping you with the teenagers. Hence Fact #5 is mostly BS.

    Fact #4 is unsubstantiated, hence not fact, therefore mere horse manure. I know, Kawasaki told you so. Ducati will tell you the same about the Panigale and Harley will tell you that the Fat Boy is so sought after by motojournalists that they can’t assemble them fast enough.

    • Johnny Blue

      If you think only from an American point of view maybe they are dumb marketers, but they sell it worldwide and not everybody has your insurance problems. In that context, Ninja sounds much better than VFR, FJR, or GSX.
      Why are you so angry anyway?

      • DickRuble

        Angry? Nope.. Not angry..A bit exasperated by their nerve trying to sell nonsense as facts..

        • Relayer

          Welcome to the FIRE economy. Insurance companies are in business to make money for their investors. Servicing us, their customers is just an ancillary detail.
          I’m still riding my 2008 FZ1, $104/year for full coverage at this point. (I’m now 65). This Kaw would be right up my alley if I was thinking about buying. But I have added a full Yoshimura exhaust, opened up the intake box some, retuned comp and I just love it. 42,000 miles on it and engine is solid as a rock.
          I have added a taller windshield and throttle lock on it and soft bags when the occasion requires and it works great for touring. The one thing I would change: a larger gas tank would be nice.

          • DickRuble

            Yup, I think a used FZ1 with some upgrades makes way more sense.

          • Relayer

            I bought it at the end of August in 2008, one of the dealers I was looking at had some ZX-14s he was trying to move. I could have had one for the same price as the FZ- $8,000. Would have loved it probably but I called my insurance agent and he quoted me $2,500/year. Put the kibosh on that idea, lol.
            For an old guy with a spotless record, I thought that price was just sinful. They weren’t looking at the rider nearly as much as the bike. If the difference in ins. hadn’t been so stupid, the ZX would be out in the garage.

      • Born to Ride

        He is Dick Ruble, his irascible nature is what makes him such an ASSet to this discussion board.

      • JonR

        I believe it was the US importer that told Kawasaki to call it the Ninja, in other markets like here in the UK it is the Z1000SX. My insurance for a new 17 model is less than $200. As for fact 6 no it is not boring. Yes you are too angry, chill out.

        • Johnny Blue

          Why am I angry?!

  • John B.

    I wish Yamaha would bring the MT-10 (FZ-10) Tourer to the States. Then, we could have a proper Shootout in this category.

    The insurance issue on this motorcycle does not makes sense to me. Insurance company underwriters tend to be pretty sharp since the company’s success depends on the underwriters’ ability to assess risk.

    How could so many carriers screw up insurance rates on this motorcycle given the information readily available to them? Also, why didn’t Kawasaki address the insurance issue sooner? In particular, I’m skeptical about the assertion carriers lumped Ninja 1000 rates in with ZX-10 rates.

    No matter, this is a great bike especially at this price point, and if the insurance rates become more reasonable I suspect this motorcycle will sell well even in a sagging motorcycle market.

    • Ryan Mullins

      When the 2011 N1000 came out a lot of buyers were hit
      hard in the face with the insurance rates. A few were coming off of the 2010 Z1000 an saw their rates double. A few were insurance agents and noted that the ZX1000 identifier for the N1000 vs. the ZR1000 identifier
      used on the Z1000 is what caused the problem.
      All of Kawasaki’s super sports are identified as “ZX” (ZX-10,
      ZX-6, etc.) models and therefore get hit with higher premiums, while a “ZR”
      model is much lower.

  • Auphliam

    As I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere, if they want to help with insurance costs they should simply drop the Ninja moniker and throw something like a GPZ tag on it. I wouldn’t think “GPZ1000” would garner the same (re: Negative) reaction from Insurance execs.

    • DickRuble

      The GPZ 1100 was a great bike. Not sure this bike would live up to the good name..

      • Auphliam

        Aye, big shoes for sure

      • halfkidding

        The Gpz1100 was a good bike I had one. The ZZR 1200 was much better, I had 2, over 15 years and 100K miles. Hard to beat for full combat mode on freeways and interstates or blasting across states on secondary roads. Never mentioned, it was impervious to high winds from any angle. Priceless for touring. Absolutely bulletproof too.

    • ADB

      Maybe insert “ST” in the new name…

    • WPZ

      My 101K mile GPZ (actually more correctly known as the ZX1100E) had insurance problems anyway. Auto Owners and Farmers both called it a sportbike. It’s under State Farm now but still not as cheap as the GL18 parked next to it.
      I have considered the Ninja 1000 to be the replacement for my ZX if it ever wears out and stops running.
      I know newer bikes are better but- hard to give up a bike that’s been so reliable, so comfortable, and so willing to do everything and anything asked.

  • ADB

    OK, you guys have redeemed yourselves on topic #5 (which is the absolute most important aspect of owning this bike). Hopefully this starts an avalanche with the other insurance carriers. Will I sell my Norge and finally move to the 1000 ABS I always wanted? We’ll see….

  • BDan75

    At the risk of sounding like certain other cranky commenters, could we get five facts about why this website has become nearly unusable? I’m running the latest version of Chrome on a pretty serious desktop machine, and the site is constantly loading sketchy crap in the background and either crashing or slowing down so badly that it verges on being unusable. I don’t know if I’m actually picking up a dose, but I’ve gotten to where I feel dirty just visiting…

    • Douglas

      Do you have the ABP ad blocker for Chrome installed?

      • Johnny Blue

        ABP stopped 19 ads on this page, but it doesn’t block that stupid “You may like” section.

        • Douglas

          Yeah, click bait….it’s like horseschidt…it’s everywhere!

    • Born to Ride

      For a long time I would pause adblock for MO, because I believe in supporting any company that puts out quality product that I use and enjoy. But about a year ago the obtrusiveness of the ads on my beloved site had reached critical mass. I found myself not enjoying the site because of it. I now run adblock at all times, but I would gladly pay a subscription fee to use an ad free version of this site.

    • BDan75

      No, I’ve been trying to be the “good guy.” But right now as I type this I have lag. Only other sites like this are, um, adult (not that I’m typing there).

    • DickRuble

      I don’t get any of that. Pages clean as a whistle. You must have some malware running on your machine. Clean your cache and run Malwarebytes and Superantispyware a couple of times each.

      • BDan75

        Clean as a whistle, and no problems with any other normal sites. I edit 4K video w/ this machine.

  • John B.

    Speaking of advertising.

    I wonder why the MO sales team has not sold ad space to companies and organizations that provide goods and services to the elderly. AARP, MedicAlert, Big Pharma, moto-friendly retirement communities, medical device manufacturers, cruise ship operators, motorcoach manufacturers, and lawyers who draft DNR’s and healthcare directives, among others, would do well to advertise on MO.

    Take this tea pot stand for example, after a 600 plus mile day sport touring, I just don’t feel up to lifting an entire pot of afternoon tea. Let’s face it, the average motorcyclist WITH significant disposable income and/or net assets must be what? 77 years old? During the next Shootout, the MO team should ride to the 2017 Annual Conference on Aging. The most successful salesman in Gerbers Baby Food division lived in Miami, Florida. Any guesses why he sold so much baby food?

    I have to run. Some kids are cutting across my lawn.


    • spiff

      That tea thing could really come in handy at my next house party.

    • DickRuble

      Darn kids! Don’t forget your 45..

  • spiff

    I’ll be the first to call MO out if I deem it necessary, but I’ll also back them up. This is a good site, with good personal. I check this site too much, and enjoy doing it. Don’t know any of them, but I’d buy all of them a beer (at COTA in the KTM section next year, are we doing this?). Anyway…

    The digital world, and publishing are constantly evolving. MO needs some leeway while they figure out how to stay ahead of the curve. If they stray from the base line we should call them out, but not crucify them.

    Long live MO.

  • kenneth_moore

    I find the statistic that Ninja 1K owners have an average annual income ~ $118,000 credible. A buyer will need that much to either buy the bike outright or finance one and be able to afford the insurance. It is encouraging that Kawi got through to Nationwide to provide a sensible rate for the bike. I hope they don’t stop there.

    This makes me wonder how significant a role the high cost of insurance has had on the decline of the sportbike market.