In an alternative universe, right now we’d be providing you with a ride review of the new 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX. However, due to interruptions of our preferred routine, we’re going to give you a first look at this SX version of the upright Ninja 1000 platform, and there are quite a few upgrades.
1. Integrated riding modes come to the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX. Kawasaki keeps it simple, with Sport, Road, and Rain modes. Sport and Road offer full power, though the Road mode has a less aggressive throttle response. Traction control is at a minimum in the Sport mode, and kicked up a bit for the Road mode. The Rain mode, as you would expect, has the most active traction control, and a lower power mode with gentle throttle response. There is also a customizable Rider mode that allows you to set the power (full or low) and the traction control level (1, 2, 3, and off) in whatever combination suits you.
2. To improve the performance of the riding mode, the 1000SX has a Bosch IMU and ride-by-wire technology. That allows the power delivery and ABS to be cornering aware. Along with the IMU, ride-by-wire is now part of the package.
3. With ride-by-wire comes electronic throttle valves. This means the air/fuel metering can be more precise than ever. The setup continues to be a downdraft design for maximum efficiency.
4. There are now two intake funnel lengths for the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX’s throttle bodies, plus a single muffler. The two inside tubes are full length, with the outer tubes 1.8-inches shorter. The new intakes work in conjunction with a new exhaust system—a single-muffler 4-2-1 setup. The primary reason for this is emissions reductions, though the new system also sheds 4.4 pounds from the 1000SX. Maximum torque of 82 ft-lbs @ 7800 remains unchanged.
5. To keep the motor quieter, the camshaft profiles have been revised. This is done to tamp down the tappet noise.
6. An up/down quickshifter has been added to the mix, along with an adjustable clutch lever. As long as the motor is running at a minimum of 2500 rpm, you won’t be needed the clutch to shift the six-speed transmission. Although the clutch lever won’t get as much use, you can now adjust how far it sits from the grip.
7. Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 tires are standard equipment on the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX. We’re big fans of the S22s, as they have outstanding street performance, as well as impressive wear patterns. They are an excellent choice for a sport-touring platform such as the 1000SX.
8. The Showa suspension gets some minor tweaking. A passage was added to the damping pistons to reduce negative pressure inside the fork tubes on the compression stroke. This smooths out the action and softening the suspension on small bumps. Other settings were also adjusted. The fork remains fully adjustable, while the shock makes do with spring-preload and rebound-damping adjustment.
9. There are several sport-touring enhancements. The 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX has cruise control, denser padding for the seats with dampers to reduce vibration, a more vertical four-position windscreen (no-tool adjustment), vents to move engine heat away from the riders, and mirrors that give a better view to the rear.
10. The TFT display is new, and incorporated Rideology The App—Kawasaki’s proprietary app. Rideology allows the rider to keep tabs on the Ninja 1000SX via a smartphone. It enables the owners to make adjustments to the motorcycle, and be aware of maintenance needs. Additionally, it can track the 1000SX on a trip, as well as record data such as lean angle and G-force. The TFT has multiple display options, including the choice of a white or black background.
11. That’s a new three-piece fairing on the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX, and there’s also a new front fender. This all gives the 1000SX a sportier look, even as its touring credentials are enhanced. Mounted in the fairing are new LED headlights.
12. Amazingly, the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX is only $200 more than the standard Ninja 1000 it replaces. Those are quite a few updates for a pair of C-notes. To say we can’t wait to throw a couple of saddlebags ($1130 accessory) on the Ninja 1000SX and go for a very long ride is an understatement.
2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX Specs
- Type: Inline-4
- Displacement: 1043cc
- Bore x stroke 77.0 x 56.0mm
- Maximum torque: 82 ft/lbs @ 7800 rpm
- Compression ratio: 11.8:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC, 16 valves
- Fuel management: EFI w/ four Keihin 38mm throttle bodies
- Transmission: 6-speed w/ up/down quickshifter
- Final drive: Sealed chain
- Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable inverted 41mm Showa cartridge fork; 4.7 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted, spring-preload and rebound-damping adjustable Showa shock; 5.4 inches
- Tires: Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 190/50 x 17
- Front brake: 300mm semi-floating discs w/ radially mounted monobloc calipers and radial pump
- Rear brake: 250mm disc
- ABS: Standard, cornering-aware
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 56.7 inches
- Rake: 24 degrees
- Trail: 3.9 inches
- Seat height: 32.3 inches
- Fuel capacity: 5.0 gallons
- Curb weight: 514 pounds
- Color: Metallic Graphite Gray/Metallic Diablo Black
2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX Price: $12,399 MSRP
2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX First Look