2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 (ABS) | Preview

2012 Kawasaki Motorcycle

When the Ninja 1000 debuted last year, Kawasaki regained a stronghold on the open class of comfortable sportbikes.

The Ninja 1000, which featured the frame and engine of its naked-brother, the Z1000, but arrived with full sportbike fairings, was immediately praised by the media. This helped propel the Ninja 1000 to the top-selling list at dealerships across the nation.

Much of the praise came from the do-it-all streetbike’s rideability paired with race-bike technology. And for 2012, there will likely be more praise – not much has changed on the Ninja 1000, which is available with optional ABS.

Kawasaki says "Here’s a sportbike that delivers an aesthetic uppercut the instant you lay eyes on it – and then follows up the punch with brilliant all-around performance you’ll quickly learn to love."

Kawasaki’s formula for the Ninja 1000 is simple – take the already comfortable and powerful chassis/engine of the Z1000, and add some stylish bodywork. That’s it. And the resulting product is a machine that is capable of any type of sport riding.

And the Z1000 was designed with ZX-10R aspects in mind. The 1043cc DOHC inline-four features 16 valves and a long stroke, which helps provide instant power. The motor that pushes over 100 horsepower utilizes electronic fuel injection (38mm Keihin downdraft throttle bodies) hooked to an advanced ECU, oval sub throttles and a cool-air intake for smooth throttle response. All this is hooked to a six-speed transmission optimally geared for real world riding.

Kawasaki says "but this engine’s magic is more about flexible and easy-to-use oomph than simply peak horsepower numbers. This dead-reliable inline-four produces the sort of power that launches you out of corners and away from stops in a way that’ll keep you entertained – and your riding buddies impressed – for years to come. At seemingly every rpm level, the Ninja 1000 engine produces smooth, instant-on thrust many hardcore sportbikes simply can’t match."

This smooth power is transmitted smoothly to the rider due to a balance shaft driven off the crankshaft that reduces vibration. The 2012 Ninja 1000 also features a stylish 4-into-2 catalyzer-equipped exhaust system, which provides a "pleasing growl without being overly loud" and reduces emissions.

The Ninja 1000’s lightweight aluminum frame is similar to Kawasaki’s famed liter bike, the ZX-10R. The frame cradles the engine from above, and bolts to the motor solidly in three spots, with the final mount rubber-backed for added vibration isolation and torisonal rigidity.

The 2012 Ninja 1000 features a fully adjustable, 41mm inverted fork with a preload- and rebound-adjustable single-shock system in back, "the ideal scenario for dialing in the perfect settings for your weight and riding style."

Kawasaki says "the single-shock system features a damper mounted nearly horizontally above the swingarm for optimal mass centralization and heat resistance."

The Ninja 1000’s chassis rolls on lightweight six-spoke supersport rims, which are the latest in lightweight production technology.

And when it’s time to apply the brakes, the 2012 Ninja 1000 uses race-spec brakes – 300mm petal-type rotors up front squeezed by ultra-rigid radially mounted calipers fed hydraulic pressure by an equally race-spec radial pump master cylinder. Out back is a single 250mm petal-type disc. And the 2012 Ninja 1000 is offered with ABS as an option.

As for styling, the Ninja 1000’s fairings were designed with the spirit of the ZX-6R and ZX-10R in mind. It also features a manually adjustable 3-positon windscreen, faired front turn signals, a ZX-6R-spec front fender, a stylish tail-section and a full-featured instrument panel right off the Ninja ZX-6R with custom graphics.

The comfortable ergonomics on the Ninja 1000 can be attributed to high handlebars and low foot pegs, which helps achieve pleasurable hours in the saddle.

For 2012, Kawasaki offers the bike in two color combinations – candy lime green/ebony, and metallic black/grey. And if touring’s in mind, Kawasaki offeres many accessories, including hard saddebags, a top case and heated grips.

The formula used to design the Ninja 1000 helped Kawasaki develop the ultimate everyday sportbike. Whether the rider wants to take on the twisties, commute or go on weekend tour, the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 will tackle the task at hand.

And the best part? It’s all offered under $11,200 (without ABS).

2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 (ABS) Specs:

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
  • Displacement: 1,043cc
  • Bore x stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm
  • Compression ratio: 11.8:1
  • Fuel injection: DFI with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
  • Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • Final drive: X-ring chain
  • Rake / trail: 24.5 degrees / 4.0 in.
  • Frame type: Aluminum Backbone
  • Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
  • Rear tire: 190/50 ZR17
  • Wheelbase: 56.9 in.
  • Front suspension / wheel travel: 41 mm inverted cartridge fork with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.
  • Rear suspension / wheel travel: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 5.4 in.
  • Front brakes: Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers, optional ABS
  • Rear brake: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper, optional ABS
  • Overall length: 82.9 in.
  • Overall width: 31.1 in.
  • Overall height: 48.4 in.
  • Seat height: 32.3 in.
  • Curb weight Ninja 1000 / 1000 ABS: 502.7 lbs./ 509.4 lbs.
  • Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
  • MSRP Ninja 1000 / 1000 ABS: $11,199 / $11,899
  • Warranty: 12 Months

2012 Ninja 1000 (ABS) Color Options/MSRP:

  • Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Micron Gray / $11,199
  • Candy Lime Green / Ebony / $11,899