Kawasaki’s Upgraded 2014 Ninja 1000 ABS: FIRST LOOK

Paul Carruthers | September 6, 2013
The 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS with optional saddlebags.

The 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS with optional saddlebags.

Kawasaki unveiled an updated 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS to its dealers and members of the motorcycling media today at the San Diego Convention Center, the pseudo sport-touring bike getting traction control, more useable power, better brakes and a host of other upgrades – including some that will make it even more of a sport-tourer.

Engineers went to work on the new Ninja 1000 ABS with a goal of making it more useable. In this day and age, that means traction control and the bike gets the KTRC Traction Control System that uses three different modes (combined with a two-mode power selector system – full power and 70 percent power) to give the rider options based on the conditions he/she is riding in. The first two modes are for maximum acceleration like the ZX-10R’s while the third mode is set-up for low traction conditions, similar to that found on the Concours 14’s system. The rider can turn off the KTRC system and it’s all controlled entirely via a handlebar-mounted switch. The settings also all show up on the LCD instrument display so there’s no confusing what level of traction control you are using.

The Kawasaki’s 1043cc inline four has also been uprated with revised intake cams to boost low-to-midrange torque. There’s also added air vents and cylinder connecting passageways to help with the rest of the bike’s performance by improving breathing and reducing pumping losses.

The upgraded Ninja also gets a taller sixth gear that will allow for less rpm and thus a smoother ride at highway speeds.

While work has been done to improve the Ninja 1000 ABS’s powerplant, engineers also went the distance to improve the stopping power of the updated bike by fitting one-piece “monobloc” radial-mount front brake calipers to grip the 300mm petal-type rotors. The rear brake is a single 250mm petal-type disc with a single-piston caliper.

The chassis on the Ninja 1000 also underwent some changes with a new subframe designed for Kawasaki’s new accessory saddlebag mounts. These are designed to house the option Kawasaki Quick Release 29-liter hard saddlebags. According to Kawasaki, the hard bags can be removed in seconds. Another bonus is that the new sub-frame no longer needs side covers so it’s a bit narrower between the legs, allowing for a shorter reach to the ground (the seat height is still 32.3 inches).

To help riders fine-tune their ride, the 1000 ABS gets a new rear spring preload adjuster that allows for quick tuning based on passenger and/or luggage weight.

Instrumentation on the bike has been changed to include the KTRC and power model levels, ABS and the Economical Riding (ECO) indicators. The dash retains the other necessities: speedometer, odometer, dual-trip meter, clock, instant and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature and low-fuel warning lights.

Curb weight, which means its full of fluid – including the five-gallon fuel tank – on the Ninja is 509.4 pounds.

The Ninja 1000 ABS will be offered in Candy Lime Green and Candy Cascade Blue and will carry a suggested retail price of $11,999.

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