Despite the enduring affiliation many of us have with motorcycles, some of life's priorities can fight their way to the forefront, pushing two-wheeled activities into the background. Eventually, sanity re-establishes itself and motorcycling returns to its rightful precedence. One would be hard-pressed to select a more viable re-entry bike than the Kawasaki Ninja 650R. Powered by a spirited parallel twin, the 650R is lightweight, agile and, most importantly, forgiving of rider error.
The mid-priced Ninja does suffer from suspension compromises, but a Works Performance fork kit and fully adjustable UltraSport rear shock resolves that issue. Equipped with these properly tuned suspension components, the Ninja 650R's ride is first rate—pliable, but resistant to in-corner instability.
To further enhance the Ninja's cornering skills, we mounted Pirelli Diablo radial tires. Lighter turn-in of the 650R is the most-notable improvement, though the increased consistency in faster turns is also welcome.
To subtract some weight and add a more muscular sound, a Two Brothers Racing V.A.L.E. Slip-On M2 titanium canister exhaust replaces the anvil-like stock muffler. The P1-R PowerTip reduces sound output, though the exhaust tone remains boisterous.
In this configuration, the Ninja 650R might well remain in the garage of a rider moving up to a more challenging machine. It is inexpensive enough to retain as a backup vehicle that also stands ready to introduce a new rider (a significant other, perhaps) to motorcycling.
SHOCK Superior road irregularity compliance and composure in the corners make the Works Performance UltraSport shock a must-have Ninja 650R accessory.
TIRES Pirelli's new Diablo tires raise the level of confidence for a Ninja rider. Turn-in is significantly enhanced, and the stability of the 650R does not falter as triple-digit speeds are registered.
EXHAUST Lighter and more visually appealing than the stock muffler, the Two Brothers Racing V.A.L.E. Slip-On M2 titanium canister unit (with quiet insert) gives the twin an aggressive bark.
www.kawasaki.com | 949.460.5688
www.worksperformance.com | 818.701.1010
www.us.pirellimoto.com | 706.368.5826
www.twobros.com | 714.550.6070
JACKET and GLOVES Icon Motorsports' female-only Tuscadero jacket mixes style with security. Leather destined for more masculine jackets is appropriated, but the form and fit is unmistakably feminine. Pursuit gloves serve the same purpose, with the armor tastefully hidden.
HELMET Icon's Hooligan Mainframe helmet may not be named with women riders in mind, but the version with the pink paint scheme leaves little doubt about the gender of the rider. (Click image to enlarge)
PANTS Icon's Standard women's pant features reinforced knees, heavyweight denim and triple-stitching, as well as a cut designed to flatter the figure.
BOOTS Sidi's Ladies Vertigo boots are the ideal footwear for the performance-oriented female rider, with the full protection required at speed.
Icon Motorsports www.rideicon.com
Sidi Boots www.motonation.com