Motorcycle Racing News 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 650R | Preview

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 650R | Preview

2011 Ninja 650

Some motorcyclists just need more. But some don’t want a few motorcycles of various styles collecting dust in the garage, and would rather spend their cash on one bike.

Well for sportbike fans that still want a comfortable commute, the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 650R would be the ideal choice. The 650R provides a friendly commute, but also the ability to carve up canyon roads like a full-fledged sportbike.

The 2011 650R motorcycle has no major upgrades from the 2010 model, mostly due to Kawasaki already knowing its machine is more than capable as is. The parallel twin with fuel injection provides low-end power needed in the real world, but still provides that high-rpm whine needed for the twisties.

This motor combined with the side-mounted shock distinctive of the Kawasaki 650R motorcycle, triple petal disc brakes and light weight provide for a great-handling, all-around machine. The bike also features a very slim profile due to the liquid-cooled, 8-valve 649cc Twin. The 650 R Ninja is has tuned ignition settings to smooth the low-to-mid rpm range.

Kawasaki says routing the engine coolant internally to the cylinder and head through the engine cases reduces the number of external hoses. The motorcycle engine also meets stringent emissions regulations thanks to its precise fuel injection and a three-way catalyst system with a 300-cell catalyzer.

The non-intimidating twin cylinder appeals to new riders, and has an excellent mid-range that offers enough pizazz to thrill more advanced riders. With a natural shift lever position, selecting gears is very easy. The manageable power delivery and superb roll-on response enable the Ninja 650R motorcycle to make short work of the morning commute or perform as an entertaining track day companion – all while delivering good fuel economy, Kawasaki says.

This spirited sportbike’s frame, swingarm and suspension are all designed for minimal vibration and light, quick handling. Rubber upper-rear engine mounts in the signature trellis frame, and rubber-insulated handlebar mounts result in low vibration, for all-day comfort along with great handling.

Rider and passenger footpegs are also rubber coated to reduce the amount of vibration transferred to the rider. The natural riding position and ergonomics are enhanced by a slim, low seat which makes reaching the ground easy for increased confidence, Kawasaki says.

Surrounding the Ninja 650R’s chassis is unquestionably sporty styling. Avoiding unnecessary design flourishes, the Ninja 650R’s sharp lines flow throughout the bike, giving it an aggressive appearance. The fairing’s integrated turn signals and a sharp tail cowl highlight the motorcycle’s compact dimensions. From its windscreen and dual headlights to the high-quality finish of its sleek minimalist fairing, there’s little room for doubt about this Ninja’s supersport genetics, Kawasaki says.

Beyond its exciting appearance, MotoGP-inspired multi-function instrumentation and controls, the Ninja 650R is rolling proof that a performance motorcycle can be practical and comfortable. The rider may notice the slimness of the chassis, low seat height and minimal effort controls first before recognizing the true aim of Kawasaki’s design efforts – the rider. The Ninja 650R’s friendly ergonomics provide a versatile cockpit that both novice and experienced riders can use to employ its fullest, from the daily commute to a weekend canyon run. In other words, this real-world overachiever easily demonstrates its versatility and everyday usefulness, Kawasaki says.

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 650R | Motorcycle Specs

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve, parallel twin
  • Displacement: 649cc
  • Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
  • Compression ratio: 11.3:1
  • Cooling: Liquid
  • Fuel injection: Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
  • Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • Final drive: O-ring chain
  • Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
  • Rake / trail: 25 degrees / 4.2 in.
  • Wheelbase: 55.5 in.
  • Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 4.7 in.
  • Rear suspension / wheel travel: Single offset laydown shock with adjustable spring preload / 4.9 in.
  • Front tire: 120/70×17
  • Rear tire: 160/60×17
  • Front brake: Dual 300mm petal discs with two-piston calipers
  • Rear brake: Single 220mm petal disc with single piston caliper
  • Overall length: 82.7 in.
  • Overall width: 29.9 in.
  • Overall height: 47.2 in.
  • Seat height: 31.1 in.
  • Curb weight: 449.8 lbs.
  • Fuel capacity: 4.1 gal.
  • Colors: Candy Burnt Orange / Flat Super Black,
  • Metallic Spark Black / Flat Super Black
  • Warranty: 12 months
  • MSRP: $7,199

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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