KAWASAKI Ninja 1000 (2011)
KAWASAKI Ninja 1000 (2011)
It’s a rare thing: a new from the ground up motorcycle that feels so right and works so well right out of the crate that it has the press swooning and owners crooning. These well-sorted but rare bikes are often described as “happy motorcycles,” and it’s become crystal clear during the last year that Kawasaki’s Z1000 – completely redesigned in 2010 – is a very happy machine. It’s a realization that comes after just a mile or two in the saddle, and it’s one that confirms the fact that this motorcycle’s design team worked a special bit of magic during development.
The Z1000 thrills before you even jump aboard, with some of motorcycling’s most rakishly stunning lines and body shapes. The aesthetic showcase begins with a low-mount front cowl that slopes back radically, highlighting the Z’s prow and, behind it, an adjustable instrument cluster featuring a multifunction LCD display covered by a trick-looking orange lens. The headlight represents Kawasaki’s first-ever use of a line-beam unit, the guts of which are integrated nicely into that angled cowl. Moving rearward, you come to a shapely fuel tank that’s flared on the sides to let you grab it with your knees and that’s trim at the back for a snug fit. The seat is low and narrow at the front to make ground contact easy, and flows beautifully rearward to end in a futuristically retro LED taillight behind a red lens. It’s a thoroughly athletic shape, one sure to garner attention wherever it’s ridden.
Totally redesigned just last year, the Z features a wide range of new-think moto technology, including an aluminum frame similar to the ZX™-10R’s that curves over the engine, cradling it from above. The design allows a narrow mid-section, which fosters a high degree of rider comfort and feedback in addition to keeping weight low and chassis rigidity high. The engine bolts solidly to the frame in three places, stressed-member-style, and there’s also a rubber mount at the upper rear crankcase area for added vibration damping and torsional rigidity. The main frame and swingarm pivot elements are cast as a single unit, with welds eliminated wherever possible for a more aesthetically pleasing look. And the subframe is a lightweight aluminum die-casting, which is light, smooth and beautiful.
Suspension at both ends is thoroughly modern and wickedly functional: a beefy, fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork up front and a spring preload and rebound damping adjustable horizontal back-link shock is mounted above the swingarm to shield it from exhaust heat and foster an added degree of mass centralization. Wheel control is simply superb, and the substantial feedback sent to the rider makes it easy to know exactly what’s going on at the bike’s contact patches.
The heart of every naked bike is its engine, so Kawasaki engineers paid special attention here for maximum, arm-straightening impact: Dual cams. Sixteen valves. 1,043cc. Liquid cooling. High compression. A long stroke – 56mm – for instantaneous thrust. Six speeds. And digital fuel injection. It’s all there.
The result? This inline-four packs impressive horsepower combined with the sort of flexible, mid-range-heavy power delivery that pastes a silly grin on the face of anyone lucky enough to be aboard. From nearly any rpm, rolling the Z1000’s throttle provides the kind of instant gratification most sportbikes just can’t quite muster, all with silky smooth, highly intoxicating response.
There’s more, of course. Check out the Z’s five-spoke wheels, with spokes machined near the rims for a custom look. We carried forward the quad-pipe theme from the last Z1000 (and the first Z-1), but an under-engine pre-chamber lets engineers use shorter mufflers for great looks and better mass centralization. A solid-mount handlebar and aluminum footpegs lifted from the Ninja® ZX-10R contribute to the Z1000’s quality, top-shelf feel. Brakes? Totally modern: Radially mounted calipers, Ninja-spec 300mm petal-type rotors and a radial-pump master cylinder all provide the latest in braking feel and feedback.
Conventional wisdom says many of today’s motorcycles lack soul, or are all too much alike. The Z1000 proves otherwise – and happily.
Authentic Kawasaki Accessories are available through Kawasaki dealers.
2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 motorcycle model Features
- 1,043cc inline-four with DFI® offers serious torque
- Lightweight aluminum frame is narrow and tuned to transmit optimal feedback to the rider
- Fully adjustable inverted front fork has settings designed for sporty performance and ride quality
- Placement of horizontal back-link rear suspension contributes to mass centralization
- Radial-mounted front brake calipers combine with the radial-pump front brake master cylinder to offer superb control and feel
- Sleek, supersport styling gives the Ninja® 1000 a distinctive look
- Relaxed, upright riding position contributes to all-day comfort
- Larger fuel capacity offers substantial range
- Windscreen is adjustable to three positions, allowing for optimum wind and weather protection
DOHC, 16-valve, 1,043cc Engine
- Liquid-cooled inline-four offers true open-class power from idle to redline, making it easy to harness for experts and novices alike
- Bore and stroke dimensions of 77.0 x 56.0mm offer an ideal balance of peak power and low- and mid-range flexibility
- 38mm Keihin throttle bodies cram the air/fuel mixture directly into combustion chambers via downdraft intakes for maximum power
- Oval sub-throttles help keep the engine slim, and a slim midsection allows an ideal bike/rider interface for maximum comfort and control
- Engine’s rev limiter comes into play “softly,” providing usable overrev character since power doesn’t drop off suddenly at high rpm
- The engine’s relatively low crankshaft position allows a moderately long stroke without adding engine height
- A secondary engine balancer, driven off a gear on the sixth web of the crankshaft, eliminates excess vibration and contributes to rider comfort
Cool Air System
- Intake system routes cool air to the airbox via ducts in the fairing, minimizing performance loss due to heated intake air
- Duct positioning – close to the rider – allows the intake howl to be heard and enjoyed
- Airbox resonator reduces noise at low rpm and enhances intake sound at higher revs
- The exhaust system features a 4-into-2-pre-chamber-into-2 layout. Silencer end-caps maintain the quad-style image
- Main and pre-catalyzers ensure cleaner emissions
- Thanks to the under-engine pre-chamber, silencer volume is reduced, and silencer weight is low. Exhaust system offers excellent mass centralization and contributes to a low center of gravity
Slim-type Fuel Pump
- Slim-type fuel pump features an integral fuel gauge
- Fuel tank design and slim-type fuel pump minimizes dead volume inside the tank; fuel capacity is 4.0 gallons
- Supersport-style full-fairing bodywork gives the Ninja 1000 a distinctive, head-turning look, and also offers plenty of wind and weather protection for short-tour ability
- The fairing’s slat-style leading edges direct wind around the bike, allowing the fairing to be narrower at the middle
- The fairing flares at the rear, keeping hot engine air from hitting the rider’s legs
- Original design front turn signals are integrated into the fairing and are attached to the inside of the fairing with rubber mounts that minimize damage if the bike falls over
- ZX-6R-spec front fender contributes to excellent aerodynamics and racy looks
- Slim and compact tail cowl moves mass physically and visually toward the front of the bike
- LED taillight features red LED bulbs and a red transparent lens
- Slim rear fender gives the bike a light-looking rear end
- Windscreen is manually adjustable for optimum wind/weather protection
- Windscreen has three available positions spanning approximately 20 degrees and ranging from sporty to maximum wind protection. Adjustment can be done by hand (no tools required) by depressing the release button below the instrument panel. Windscreen adjustment should always be done with the bike stopped
Aluminum Backbone Frame
- Aluminum backbone frame is similar in concept to the Ninja ZX-10R’s, and helps make the bike narrow and easy to grip with the knees for maximum rider comfort and feedback
- The frame is lightweight and highly rigid, and uses the engine as a stressed member for solid handling and optimum stability
- Frame elements are tuned to transmit optimal engine feedback to the rider
- The frame’s five-piece construction consists of steering stem, left and right main frames, and two cross pieces. The two main frame components have open C-shaped cross sections
- Welds were eliminated wherever possible for simplicity and appearance; the frame beams and swingarm brackets are single die-cast pieces
- The new frame uses four engine mounts, three of which are rigid, one of which (the upper rear crankcase mount) is rubber
- Rear subframe is a three-piece aluminum die-casting assembly that’s light, strong and optimizes mass centralization
- The sub-frame is an example of form and function combined, negating the need for side covers and allowing underseat narrowness for a shorter reach to the ground
Horizontal Back-Link Rear Suspension
- All-new rear suspension design positions the shock unit and linkage above the swingarm where it’s less exposed to exhaust heat and contributes to mass centralization
- Visible from the outside, the horizontal monoshock contributes to the Ninja 1000’s ultra-sporty appearance
- Linkage characteristics are the same as those of a standard Uni-Trak® system: Wheel movement versus shock stroke is the same ratio
- The shock features stepless rebound damping and spring preload adjustability for a custom-tuned ride
Fully Adjustable 41mm Fork
- The Ninja 1000’s inverted fork is adjustable for compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload – and is protected from harm by a cool-looking shroud
- Settings are designed for both sporty performance and ride quality
- Separate, raised handlebars contribute to the sporty, comfortable riding position; bar stays are mounted to the fork tube tops, which extend above the top clamp
- A thick urethane seat provides a high level of rider and passenger comfort
- Tapered-type grips, like those used on supersport models, offer a more direct feel
- Ninja ZX-10R-style footpegs with knurled surfaces offer good grip, direct feel and control, and no-nonsense looks
- The passenger footpeg brackets incorporate convenient luggage hooks
- 300mm front petal-type brake discs are gripped by opposed four-piston radial-mount calipers. (Caliper piston size is 4x30 mm)
- A radial-pump front brake master cylinder contributes to the superb control and feel offered by these high-end calipers
- The rear brake is a single piston, pin-slide caliper gripping a 250mm petal-type disc. The caliper is mounted below the swingarm, and located by a torque rod
Large-Volume Fuel Tank
- Five-gallon (19L) fuel tank offers substantial range
- Steel construction facilitates use of magnetic tank bag
- Tank shape (flared edges and a trim shape at the back) allows riders to easily grip tank with their knees
- Sporty instrument panel features a large analog tachometer and multi-function LCD screen. It’s a design based on the ZX-6R’s unit, but which features original graphics and coloring
- Functions include speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, odometer, clock, dual trip meters and warning lamps
- Hazard switch located on left bar pod
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