2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS Upgraded With More Power, More Practicality

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Not only is the 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS restyled and tuned to deliver more power, but it’s also fitted with traction control, hard panniers and superbike-spec brakes. All that makes it faster, safer and more practical. Not bad considering it’s $100 cheaper.

The Ninja 1000 was already an impressive package, combining superbike speed with upright ergonomics, a big fairing and an affordable price. For 2014, that price is reduced from $12,099 to $11,999 while the spec sheet grows with new features. Traction control needs no explanation; it’ll make it easier to exploit the now 140bhp motor in confidence and safety. That’s switchable between three levels of intervention and fully off, combining with two riding modes — full and 70 percent power — to individually tailor the riding experience to current conditions.

The brakes are also upgraded, bringing not only ABS, but also a radial master cylinder, one-piece radial calipers (a similar arrangement to Brembo’s fancy Monoblocs and 300mm wavy rotors. That’s a higher specification braking package than Suzuki fits to supposedly faster bikes like the 2013 Hayabusa and GSX-R1000.

The already smooth, already torquey 1,043cc inline-four has been breathed on as well. Pumping losses are reduced, cam profiles are revised to boost low and mid-range power and new equal-length velocity stacks should help move power lower down the rev range too. Outright power is now 140bhp and torque is 82lb-ft. 6th gear also becomes longer, reducing revs at highway speeds, a change made possible without reducing acceleration thanks to that stronger low-down power curve.

Most noticeable, though, are going to be the edgier plastics and the inclusion of (optional extra) hard panniers. Those each hold 29 liters of socks and undies. Those fit closer-in than aftermarket panniers previously available, a change made possible by a new subframe. Other changes at the rear include a knob for remote preload adjustment and larger grab handles for passengers.

  • Justin McClintock

    Sounds appealing. I wish it were a few pounds lighter, but it’s not horrible. I think I’ll need to catch a ride on one the next time the demo truck is in town. Also need to see how the ergos actually feel for somebody 6’2″.

    • Stuki

      I’d like it a bit lighter as well. But even the 10R is around 450; and this one likely has a bigger, stronger, heavier subframe for heavier people with passengers and luggage, larger tank, pannier mounting hardware, and just larger dimensions to be more suitable for twoup all around. And those cans cannot possibly be designed for light weight.

      Perhaps the next Z1000 will be more differentiated from the Ninja, with a stronger focus on solo performance; less compromised by the need to serve as a sport tourer as well.

      All in all, though; it’s still plenty lighter than the two latest VFRs. And it does have one heck of a motor. In LoPo mode, it looks like it should do a decent job of mimicking the VFR800, which was widely hailed as the greatest thing on two wheels back not to long ago.

      • roma258

        For sure the true spiritual successor to the VFR800. You don’t hear much about these bikes, but I’ve always thought they were pretty legit.

        • Mark D

          They kind of remind me of the 1st gen Concours. Take a 1000cc sport bike, stretch out the ergos, tweak the engine, add hard bags and big windscreen. “There, its a touring bike. Enjoy.”

          • roma258

            I thought both the engine and the frame for the Ninja/Z1000 were purpose made (not warmed over sportbike parts).

  • Ayabe

    That’s really a sharp looking package, I’m diggin’ it.

  • Stuki


    I do have to wonder if there was any communication at all between the guys who decided to offer panniers, and the guys that styled the exhaust system…… At least in this picture, it looks like the cans are designed for the specific purpose of roasting the panniers. Or perhaps the idea is to have a prewarmed set of change to put on, when it gets cold…

    I wonder how this will stack up to the Multistrada for those 99% of MS riders who don’t need the ground clearance and added travel? There seems to be lots of overlap, as big gun sport tourers designed with a mixed emphasis on healthy performance for solo riding, and two up sport touring. Will the lower, more compact design of the Ninja (and lower price and less crazy stuff that can go wrong) make up for the active suspension and presumably even higher spec kit on the MS? The less-is-more demon in me kind of wish fr a return to the halcyon days when people rode (and drove) paved roads without handicapping themselves by putting on stilts.

  • DucMan

    Best do-it all machine????? As I rarely venture off road, when it comes time to replace my 2004 V-Strom 650, it might come down to this bike or the new V-Strom 1000. Hmmmmm……….

  • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

    Looks like a great, all around bike. Something you can ride to a track day, then do a bit of a long weekend on, and then commute to work with on Monday.

  • Sean

    I have a 2012 Ninja 1000 along with my Thruxton. The Ninja is a great “do it all” bike. Plenty of power, great ergos, and handles just fine. The improvements to the 2014 model make this a tough bike to beat, considering the actual price most will have to pay for it. I was well under MSRP when I bought mine, as were most other people I know that picked one up.

  • Piglet2010

    Nice that the bike does not get ridiculously wide with panniers, unlike the Connie 14.