Kawasaki's 2017 Ninja 1000 ABS Rides In Two Worlds

Mixing two very different worlds, Kawasaki’s Ninja 1000 returns with a blend of performance and features for riders who want a little more saddle time.

The 2017 Ninja 1000 ABS comes ‘infused with Ninja sportbike spirit, speed-minded technology and engineering, but with the comfort of a touring motorcycle’ according to Kawasaki.

Kawasaki’s flagship, open-class sport touring bike with power and comfort, the Ninja 1000 ABS returns for 2017 with added electronics, normally reserved for race models. Built for riders wanting sporty handling and smooth, powerful acceleration, the Ninja 1000 ABS has all of that, but in a relaxed, comfortable riding position. The Japanese manufacturer has positioned this by creating a motorcycle with liter-bike performance, but a level of comfort and versatility that allows the miles to roll on with ease. Now, Kawasaki promises, with the added electronics the 2017 Ninja 1000 ABS will give riders increased confidence on their next ride.

There are a lot of new additions and updates, including;

  • Enhanced chassis orientation awareness technology featuring Bosch IMU
  • Kawasaki Cornering Management Function
  • Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-Lock Brake System (KIBS)
  • Windshield and fairings
  • Lower more ergonomically comfortable seat
  • ECU tuning
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Longer roads

Mentioned above, the 2017 model enjoys wider fairings, a new double-bubble windscreen as well as a 5-way adjustable clutch lever and seat, all aiding in increased rider comfort. Those longer rides might require some packing so the design team offer up hard, KQR color-matched saddle bags among the Kawasaki Genuine Accessories, further enhancing the touring comfort of the Ninja 1000 ABS.

When compared to supersport model, the Ninja 1000 offers a relatively upright position for both control and comfort for riders. Separate, raised clip-ons are mounted on top of the forks, for relaxed arm position, while maintaining a sporty and comfortable riding position. Add to this, the redesigned rider seat has a wider seat area, offering greater support, and enabling longer stretches without having to stop due to discomfort.

The passenger seat is longer with thicker urethane padding and a design that swells at the front, resulting in a larger seat area that keeps passengers from sliding forward. Dampers on the underside of the seat also help reduce vibration. Ergonomically sculpted passenger grips are easy to hold and naturally positioned, contributing to even more passenger comfort.

A new 5-way adjustable clutch lever can be set to suit the size of the rider’s hands, aiding in rider comfort. Mirrors are positioned 20mm farther outward and have a greater range of movement, offering easier adjustability.

The fairing design also covers part of the frame, contributing to a good ergonomic fit and helping to protect the rider from engine heat for added comfort.

Supersport-style full-fairing bodywork gives the Ninja 1000 ABS motorcycle a distinct, head-turning look. The sleek styling also offers a good measure of wind protection, aiding to reduce rider fatigue. Front cowl design is much sharper, giving the 2017 Ninja 1000 ABS a much sportier appearance and greatly increasing its Ninja family resemblance. Chin spoilers similar to those on the Ninja H2™ and Ninja ZX-10R motorcycles strengthen the resemblance.

Turn signals are built into to the fairings to aid in the slim profile and sporty look. Supersport-style front fender contributes to both aerodynamics and racy looks.

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Tech stuff

Looking at the technical side of the new features, the 2017 Ninja 1000 ABS motorcycle utilizes technology previously reserved for the Ninja ZX-10R sportbike, a 6-axis Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that includes electronic rider aids such as: Kawasaki Cornering Management Function, Kawasaki TRaction Control (KTRC), and Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS).

Aside from featuring a lot of acronyms, the system uses minimal hardware but complex Kawasaki proprietary software. The strength of Kawasaki’s cutting-edge electronics has always been the highly sophisticated programming that gives the ECU an accurate real-time picture of what the chassis is doing. Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modeling program makes skillful use of its formula as it examines changes in multiple parameters, enabling it to take into account changing road and tire conditions.

Essentially, it’s a lot of technology coming together to invisibly offer the perfect ride in a variety of conditions.

The new Bosch IMU enables inertia along five degrees of freedom (DOF) to be monitored: acceleration along longitudinal, transverse and vertical axes, plus roll rate and pitch rate. While the sixth axis, yaw rate, is calculated by the ECU using Kawasaki original software. All this technology doesn’t penalize the motorcycle or its handling as Bosch’s latest IMU is compact and very lightweight, weighing only 40 g.

Using the latest evolution of this advanced modeling software, KCMF monitors engine and chassis parameters throughout the corner. From entry, through the apex, to corner exit, its modulating brake force and engine power to facilitate smooth transition from acceleration to braking and back again, and to assist riders in tracing their intended line through the corner.

Three modes cover a wide range of riding conditions, offering either enhanced sport riding performance or the peace of mind to negotiate slippery surfaces with confidence. Modes 1 and 2 prioritize maximum forward acceleration, while Mode 3 provides rider reassurance by facilitating smooth riding on slippery surfaces. For those wanting to be in touch with the road, riders may also elect to turn the system off.

In Modes 1 and 2, highly sophisticated programming allows a degree of slip, a certain amount of slip is required to maximize acceleration. The ideal slip ratio varies according to conditions. The system looks at a number of parameters to get an accurate real-time picture of what is going on: front and rear wheel speed (slippage) and various engine, machine and rider input parameters are monitored. The IMU-enhanced feedback allows even more precise management than on the previous model.

KIBS is a multi-sensing system, using the input from numerous sources, to provide the best braking possible. In addition to front and rear wheel speed sensors such as those used for any ABS system, KIBS also monitors front caliper hydraulic pressure and various information from the engine ECU. This would include throttle position, engine speed, clutch actuation and gear position. High-precision brake pressure control enables the system to avoid reduced brake performance due to excessive pressure drops, allows lever feel to be maintained when KIBS is active, helps ABS pulses feel smoother and not heavy.

High-precision brake pressure control also offers a number of sport riding benefits: less rear lift under hard braking, minimal kickback during operation and accounting for back-torque. With the addition of the new KIBS systems comes improved rear brake pad material and optimized spring.

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Engine

Delivering exhilarating power from the powerful 1,043cm3 liquid-cooled, 4-stroke in-line four-cylinder engine pulls strongly from all rpm. Hoping to add to rider exhilaration, Kawasaki promises the engine delivers superb engine response, a strong mid-range hit and what they call ‘an intoxicating intake howl’. Revised engine settings offer even smoother power delivery, facilitating control and contributing to rider comfort and confidence.

Downdraft throttle bodies allow for the shortest path to the engine, helping for ideal low-mid range power. The throttle bodies are oval sub-throttles allowing for a slim profile of the engine as well.

The Ninja 1000 ABS features many enhancements that allow for a smoother engine feeling and less vibration to the rider. One major feature is the secondary balancer on the engine crankshaft, which eliminates excessive vibration.

Speaking of which, a rigid, lightweight aluminum frame and compact engine design keeps the weight not only low and centered inside the motorcycle, but the overall profile is also slim. This centralization allows for sharp handling, neutral steering and a light turn-in. Lightweight and highly rigid, the frame uses the engine as a stressed member.

The frame is a 5-piece cast aluminum construction, consisting of steering stem, left and right main frames, and two cross pieces. The front part of the rear frame is an example of form and function combined, allowing the side covers to be eliminated. This also allows the width under the seat to be narrower, offering riders a shorter reach to the ground.

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Suspension

The 2017 Ninja 1000 ABS features 41mm inverted front forks with stepless compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability. Settings offer both sporty performance and comfort, contributing to light handling on the street and in the hills.

Rear suspension positions the shock unit and linkage above the swingarm, allowing for greater mass centralization. The rear shock features rebound and preload adjustability, with a remote preload adjuster facilitating setting changes to suit tandem riding, luggage or rider preference. This is ideal for quick, on-the-go adjustability when traveling.

Everything else

An all-new instrument panel layout features a large analogue tachometer flanked by warning lamps on one side, and a gear position indicator and multi-function LCD screen on the other. The LCD screen features a negative-lit display, adding to the instrument cluster’s sporty, modern appearance. Gear position indicator increases shifting precision and confidence, while also lending to the Ninja 1000 ABS’s sporty image.

Complementing the gear indicator is a new shift light, the tachometer’s needle changes color, from white to pink to red, to indicate the rider-selectable shift-up timing. During normal operation the shift indicator lamp is off, and the tachometer needle is white. When engine speed is within 500 rpm of the selected shift-up timing, the shift indicator lamp flashes, and the tachometer needle turns pink. When the pre-chosen rpm is reached, the shift indicator lamp flashes rapidly, and the tachometer needle turns red. Riders can set the shift-up timing between 5,000 and 11,000 rpm in 250 rpm increments. The shift indicator function can also be turned off completely.

In addition to the digital speedometer and gear position indicator, display functions include: odometer, dual trip meters, remaining fuel range, current and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature, clock and the Economical Riding Indicator. New for 2017, the external temperature.

Coming in the color combinations of Candy Lime Green / Metallic Graphite Gray and Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Graphite Gray, the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 has a MSRP of $12,199. It will be in dealerships starting March, 2017.

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