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2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX: a fairly substantial upgrade

The Ninja 1000 SX is one of Kawasaki’s most popular big bikes in India.

This sports tourer, which has received a fairly substantial upgrade for 2020, including a Euro 5/BS6-compliant motor, has a set of thicker, higher and cushy seats paired with a 19-litre fuel tank; it also weighs in at a hefty 238kg kerb weight. The open riding position and generous turning radius also makes it much easier to live with. There is a half degree reduction in the steering rake angle, which has resulted in a front end that doesn’t feel quite as heavy and requires noticeably lesser effort at the bars.

The Ninja 1000 SX’s motor feels almost electric at low RPMs; at gentle speeds, the Ninja just hums along. The new ride-by-wire throttle system works smoothly regardless of the different riding modes. Delivering 142hp and 111Nm of torque, the spec sheet still reads pretty much the same as before.

  • Engine 1043cc, in-line four-cylinder, liquid-cooled
  • Power 142hp at 10000rpm
  • Torque 111Nm at 8000rpm
  • Kerb weight 238kg
  • Wheelbase 1440mm
  • Ground clearance 135mm
  • Seat height 820mm
  • Fuel tank 19 litres
  • Suspension (f/r) 41mm USD fork/ monoshock
  • Tyres (f/r) 120/70-R17 / 190/50-R17

But Kawasaki has put in a lot of work — like the addition of new camshaft profiles, redesigned intake funnels and a completely new exhaust system (with one big exhaust replacing the previous dual-exhaust design) — to get the 1,043cc motor Euro 5/BS6 compliant. The redline is set at 10,500rpm and the motor packs a walloping mid-range. It is also really nice to ride a bike that doesn’t hide its true speed like many 1,000cc machines tend to do; 100kph feels like 100kph on the Ninja 1000 SX.

When you do get hard on the gas, the bike accelerates with ferocity. But no matter how you choose to ride, the new up/down quickshifter is a welcome addition: the upshifts are great but downshifts can occasionally be hesitant.

What also makes this bike gel with our riding environment is the suspension setup. The hardware is the same. So you get a fully adjustable 41mm USD fork and a rebound/preload adjustable rear shock. However, Kawasaki has worked on the damping setup within the fork resulting in a bike that feels truly plush. There is softness to be felt throughout, be it the suspension, seat, quickshifter, or even the initial bite from the twin-disc Nissin front brakes.

Keeping the rider safe throughout is a refined, IMU-aided electronic assist package that now brings three riding modes in addition to the previous three-stage traction control, two power modes and cornering ABS. With the switch to ride-by-wire, Kawasaki has also included a cruise-control feature. A considerable addition, for most customers, is the new 4.3-inch TFT colour display, which can be connected to Kawasaki’s Rideology app to access a number of Bluetooth-enabled features. The indicators, switchgear and side fairing have all been redesigned; the mirrors and windscreen, besides the head and tail lamps, are new, too.

At ₹10.79 lakh, the Ninja 1000SX has made a sizable jump in price, but it remains the best VFM proposition in the big-bike space.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 12:25:57 PM |

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