2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000: MD Long-Term Test, Part Three

May 25, 2011

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Our Ninja 1000 has gone through a few changes since our last report (follow this link to Part Two), including the addition of an Akrapovic slip-on system (including two mufflers). The beautifully finished titanium units dropped more than 11 pounds (11 lbs. 5 oz. to be exact) from our test bike, and added noticeable increases in power and torque. We do think the bike is running a bit lean, now, and will be doing our own tuning and dyno report in the next installment of this test. For the time being, here is the dyno chart from Akrapovic’s website (note that torque is expressed in newton-meters, rather than foot-pounds), which shows a substantial increase in power for slip-ons, undoubtedly related to the removal of the exhaust valve system in the right muffler of the stock unit.  Note that the sound level is not louder than stock (we left in the removable sound baffles), and the dyno chart below has the sound baffles installed, not removed.

Also new is our battery. We removed the stock unit and replaced it with the lightweight Shorai model LFX18A1-BS12. The Shorai weighed in at 964 g (see the photo), a total of 2 lbs. 2 oz. This compares with the stock battery that weighed roughly 6 lbs. 15 oz. on the same scale, for a weight savings of nearly 5 pounds. Altogether, the Shorai battery and the Akrapovic mufflers have reduced the weight of our Ninja 1000 by more than 16 pounds!

Our Shorai battery had been sitting unused for a month and a half, or so, before we installed it. True to Shorai’s claims, we did not experience the type of power drain we would have experienced had we treated the stock battery in a similar fashion.  The battery kit includes spacers to fill in the dead space in the battery box.  The Shorai fired our bike right up, and has done so every time since we installed it a few weeks ago. We noticed virtually no change from the performance of a well-charged standard battery. In fact, the Shorai seems to start our bike a bit quicker, and we believe the Shorai offers increased cold cranking amps (CCA) when compared with the stock Yuasa unit.

Gas mileage has actually improved a bit, with our worst measurement at 37 mpg, our best at 40 mpg, and an average of slightly more than 38 mpg. We typically see the tank gauge flashing, and warning about low fuel somewhere around the 160 mile mark.

Finally, in an effort to improve the handling, we replaced the stock 190/50 Bridgestone BT-016 with a 180/55 Bridgestone BT-016. Interestingly, the stock tire is not a dual compound. The off-the-rack BT-016 is a dual compound tire, with softer, grippier rubber off-center, for better grip when leaned over. The narrower 180 section rubber is also slightly taller, and our bike has become noticeably easier to turn … feeling more fluid. The stock 190/50 is not only a bit more difficult to lean over, it seems to transition to its side in stages, whereas the 180 section tire does so in a linear, smooth fashion. A definite handling improvement, in our opinion.

Stay tuned for part four of our long-term test, where we will adjust the air/fuel mixture, and provide our own dyno chart, as well as get into greater detail about suspension tuning.

The manufacturer provided Motorcycle Daily with this motorcycle for purposes of evaluation.em>

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