Dianne Park | MSTA Media and Public Relations Director | Florida
This is absolutely not a technical article. I was asked how I selected my bike, how I like it and why, so here is what I know after the first 13,000 miles.
Want to really have fun? Go ride a Ninja 1000!
Vertically challenged, then try out a Ninja 1000!
Want a bike that is faster than your husband’s? You got it, the Ninja. But those are his words. I would never say that!
I was NOT in the market for a new bike! My Yamaha FZ6 was fitted out perfectly for me. However, it was 7 years old, I had put 70,000 miles on it and hubby thought that might be “more than enough” for a midsize engine with an upcoming several thousand mile trip. So, I reluctantly started looking. I considered another Yamaha, but the FZ09 was a bit too “naked” in my mind for sufficient touring modifications. The BMW 800 could have been a nice possibility, but I am glad that I checked out the Ninja first! (Especially with no local BMW dealerships in our area at the time.)
After riding to and from Rapid City (from South Florida) taking the long way around. The almost 8,000 miles was way too much of “it” in the rain. I then traveled back to the North Carolina Mountains a couple of months later in beautiful weather! I know that I REALLY like my bike. I think the biggie is that it feels so light. Even though it is actually heavier than my previous Yamaha FZ6, it feels much lighter. I am not real concerned about trying to be flat footed because it is just so easy to ride. But ask anyone who knows me, I don’t do reverse very well; partly that flat footed thing again.
The only thing I did to personalize the bike (in addition to just a slight lowering), was to have it fitted with a rack for a Givi top box which Kawasaki is likely to tell you, will not work. It does take a slight modification near the back of the bike, but not all that noticeable and the top box fits fine right along with Kawasaki (actually Givi) hard side bags made for the bike. The side bags are always on the bike, and I use the top box when traveling but take it off for day rides. Just my preference.
The seating position is pretty upright. I guess if a rider had longer arms that would make it even more so! When riding for long hours, I like to change my riding position. I hang the heels of my boots over the passenger pegs or resting my ankles over short highway sliders near the front of the bike that we installed for that reason. It allows me to stretch my legs. The only downside that I have found is when riding at higher speeds, i.e. on an expressway, at temperatures above 80 degrees, there is a lot of heat coming from the right side of the engine. I may investigate some kind of heat deflector before summer gets here again.
Something else I noticed about the bike the first time I rode it, you basically think what you want it to do, and it’s already doing it! While it can be a great solution for women and those with shorter legs, I have talked to several “taller” men who own the bike and love it about as much as I. In my humble opinion, it’s a great ride and a great bike.