2011 Ninja 1000 adds bodywork and features to Z1000 base


In creating the 2011 Ninja 1000, Kawasaki combined the frame, engine and suspension of its Z1000 standard motorcycle with the bodywork of an open-class sportbike. MSRP is $10,999.

The manufacturer revealed the model today at the Intermot show in Germany, and will do the same later today at its dealer meeting in Las Vegas. The company also will reveal to dealers the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, ZX-10R ABS and the Vulcan 1700 Vaquero bagger.

In the press release for the Ninja 1000, Kawasaki notes that the bike’s type is nothing new: a sportbike that blends top-shelf engine and handling performance with comfort, practicality and good looks. Kawasaki has built plenty over the years, from the original Ninja 900R of the 1980s, to the ZX-11 of the ’90s, and the ZZR1200 of the past decade.

“For 2011, an all-new model slots into this legendary and ultra-capable category,” Kawasaki says. “Like the original, which debuted to an amazing chorus of press and customer kudos back in 1986, the new Ninja 1000 offers an alluring blend of capability and technology, from the very latest racetrack components, to astounding engine and chassis performance, and to cutting-edge styling.”

Again, the core motorcycle — frame, engine, suspension — is the Z1000. Kawasaki engineers then added bodywork along with a host of features.

The 1,043cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 16-valve inline four-cylinder has a long-stroke design and is mated to a six-speed gearbox and electronic fuel injection. “The real magic of this engine is its flexible, midrange-heavy thrust,” Kawasaki says. “At seemingly every rpm, the Ninja 1000 engine produces the sort of smooth, instant-on thrust many hard-core sportbikes just can’t match.”

The digital fuel injection features a quartet of 38 mm Keihin downdraft throttle bodies that work with an advanced ECU, oval subthrottles and a cool air intake system that routes fresh air to the airbox via ducts at the front of the bike. Kawasaki says a balance shaft driven off the crankshaft keeps the solidly mounted engine smooth, while a 4-into-2-into-2 catalyzer-equipped exhaust system offers “a pleasing growl without being overly loud along with the cleanest possible emissions.”

Like the Z1000, the Ninja 1000 features an aluminum frame similar in design to that of the ZX-10R. The lightweight cage curves over the engine, cradling it from above and bolting solidly to it in three places, with a rubber-backed fourth mount provided for added vibration isolation and torsional rigidity. This design allowed engineers to keep the waist of the bike very narrow for “superb rider interface and high levels of comfort and control.” The main frame and swingarm pivot pieces are cast as a single unit, with welds eliminated wherever possible for seamless aesthetics.

Up front is a stout 41 mm inverted fork that’s fully adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping. In back is a horizontal back-link shock system featuring a damper mounted nearly horizontally above the swingarm for mass centralization and heat resistance. The gas/oil shock is adjustable for both spring preload and rebound damping. “As a package, the Ninja 1000’s suspension is designed to provide the rider with clear communication of what’s happening at the contact patches, while still taking enough edge off the bumps to provide a comfortable ride on longer trips,” Kawasaki says.

Race-spec dual 300 mm petal-type rotors up front are squeezed by radially mounted calipers pressurized by a race-spec radial pump master cylinder. In back is another high-tech disc setup.

Kawasaki combines the racy, full-coverage bodywork with a manually adjustable, three-position windscreen. Integrated front turn signals, a ZX-6R-spec front fender, a stylish tail section, a wildly styled exhaust system and a full-featured instrument panel help complete the look.

Comfortable ergonomics result from handlebars mounted higher than on a supersport machine. Also, the pegs a touch lower. “All of which makes the Ninja 1000 a capable medium-haul tourer, and certainly a sportbike you could spend the day aboard without undue strain,” Kawasaki says. “To sweeten the day- or weekend-trekking deal even more, Kawasaki offers a line of optional touring-oriented accessories, including hard-case saddlebags, a top trunk, heated grips and more.”

Click here (or go to page 2 below) for Kawasaki’s summary of the Ninja 1000’s features and benefits, as well as its list of specifications.

Posted by Arlo Redwine

2011 Kawasaki Ninja® 1000

Features and Benefits

Key Features

  • 1,043cc inline-four with DFI® offers serious torque
  • Lightweight aluminum frame is narrow and tuned to transmit optimal feedback to the rider
  • Fully adjustable inverted front fork has settings designed for sporty performance and ride quality
  • Placement of horizontal back-link rear suspension contributes to mass centralization
  • Radial-mounted front brake calipers combine with the radial-pump front brake master cylinder to offer superb control and feel
  • Sleek, supersport styling gives the Ninja® 1000 a distinctive look
  • Relaxed, upright riding position contributes to all-day comfort
  • Larger fuel capacity offers substantial range
  • Windscreen is adjustable to three positions, allowing for optimum wind and weather protection

DOHC, 16-valve, 1,043cc Engine

  • Liquid-cooled inline-four offers true open-class power from idle to redline, making it easy to harness for experts and novices alike
  • Bore and stroke dimensions of 77.0 x 56.0mm offer an ideal balance of peak power and low- and mid-range flexibility
  • 38mm Keihin throttle bodies cram the air/fuel mixture directly into combustion chambers via downdraft intakes for maximum power
  • Oval sub-throttles help keep the engine slim, and a slim midsection allows an ideal bike/rider interface for maximum comfort and control
  • Engine’s rev limiter comes into play “softly,” providing usable overrev character since power doesn’t drop off suddenly at high rpm
  • The engine’s relatively low crankshaft position allows a moderately long stroke without adding engine height
  • A secondary engine balancer, driven off a gear on the sixth web of the crankshaft, eliminates excess vibration and contributes to rider comfort

Cool Air System

  • Intake system routes cool air to the airbox via ducts in the fairing, minimizing performance loss due to heated intake air
  • Duct positioning – close to the rider – allows the intake howl to be heard and enjoyed
  • Airbox resonator reduces noise at low rpm and enhances intake sound at higher revs

Exhaust System

  • The exhaust system features a 4-into-2-pre-chamber-into-2 layout. Silencer end-caps maintain the quad-style image
  • Main and pre-catalyzers ensure cleaner emissions
  • Thanks to the under-engine pre-chamber, silencer volume is reduced, and silencer weight is low. Exhaust system offers excellent mass centralization and contributes to a low center of gravity

Slim-type Fuel Pump

  • Slim-type fuel pump features an integral fuel gauge
  • Fuel tank design and slim-type fuel pump minimizes dead volume inside the tank; fuel capacity is 4.0 gallons


  • Supersport-style full-fairing bodywork gives the Ninja 1000 a distinctive, head-turning look, and also offers plenty of wind and weather protection for short-tour ability
  • The fairing’s slat-style leading edges direct wind around the bike, allowing the fairing to be narrower at the middle
  • The fairing flares at the rear, keeping hot engine air from hitting the rider’s legs
  • Original design front turn signals are integrated into the fairing and are attached to the inside of the fairing with rubber mounts that minimize damage if the bike falls over
  • ZX-6R-spec front fender contributes to excellent aerodynamics and racy looks
  • Slim and compact tail cowl moves mass physically and visually toward the front of the bike
  • LED taillight features red LED bulbs and a red transparent lens
  • Slim rear fender gives the bike a light-looking rear end
  • Windscreen is manually adjustable for optimum wind/weather protection
  • Windscreen has three available positions spanning approximately 20 degrees and ranging from sporty to maximum wind protection. Adjustment can be done by hand (no tools required) by depressing the release button below the instrument panel. Windscreen adjustment should always be done with the bike stopped

Aluminum Backbone Frame

  • Aluminum backbone frame is similar in concept to the Ninja ZX-10R’s, and helps make the bike narrow and easy to grip with the knees for maximum rider comfort and feedback
  • The frame is lightweight and highly rigid, and uses the engine as a stressed member for solid handling and optimum stability
  • Frame elements are tuned to transmit optimal engine feedback to the rider
  • The frame’s five-piece construction consists of steering stem, left and right main frames, and two cross pieces. The two main frame components have open C-shaped cross sections
  • Welds were eliminated wherever possible for simplicity and appearance; the frame beams and swingarm brackets are single die-cast pieces
  • The new frame uses four engine mounts, three of which are rigid, one of which (the upper rear crankcase mount) is rubber
  • Rear subframe is a three-piece aluminum die-casting assembly that’s light, strong and optimizes mass centralization
  • The sub-frame is an example of form and function combined, negating the need for side covers and allowing underseat narrowness for a shorter reach to the ground

Horizontal Back-Link Rear Suspension

  • All-new rear suspension design positions the shock unit and linkage above the swingarm where it’s less exposed to exhaust heat and contributes to mass centralization
  • Visible from the outside, the horizontal monoshock contributes to the Ninja 1000’s ultra-sporty appearance
  • Linkage characteristics are the same as those of a standard Uni-Trak® system: Wheel movement versus shock stroke is the same ratio
  • The shock features stepless rebound damping and spring preload adjustability for a custom-tuned ride

Fully Adjustable 41mm Fork

  • The Ninja 1000’s inverted fork is adjustable for compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload – and is protected from harm by a cool-looking shroud
  • Settings are designed for both sporty performance and ride quality
  • Separate, raised handlebars contribute to the sporty, comfortable riding position; bar stays are mounted to the fork tube tops, which extend above the top clamp
  • A thick urethane seat provides a high level of rider and passenger comfort
  • Tapered-type grips, like those used on supersport models, offer a more direct feel
  • Ninja ZX-10R-style footpegs with knurled surfaces offer good grip, direct feel and control, and no-nonsense looks
  • The passenger footpeg brackets incorporate convenient luggage hooks


  • 300mm front petal-type brake discs are gripped by opposed four-piston radial-mount calipers. (Caliper piston size is 4x30 mm)
  • A radial-pump front brake master cylinder contributes to the superb control and feel offered by these high-end calipers
  • The rear brake is a single piston, pin-slide caliper gripping a 250mm petal-type disc. The caliper is mounted below the swingarm, and located by a torque rod

Large-Volume Fuel Tank

  • Five-gallon (19L) fuel tank offers substantial range
  • Steel construction facilitates use of magnetic tank bag
  • Tank shape (flared edges and a trim shape at the back) allows riders to easily grip tank with their knees


  • Sporty instrument panel features a large analog tachometer and multi-function LCD screen. It’s a design based on the ZX-6R’s unit, but which features original graphics and coloring
  • Functions include speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, odometer, clock, dual trip meters and warning lamps
  • Hazard switch located on left bar pod

2011 Kawasaki Ninja® 1000 Specifications*

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
  • Displacement: 1,043cc
  • Bore x stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm
  • Compression ratio: 11.8:1
  • Fuel system: DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
  • Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • Final drive: X-ring chain
  • Rake / trail: 24.5 degrees / 4.0 in.
  • Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
  • Rear tire: 190/50 ZR17
  • Wheelbase: 56.9 in.
  • Front suspension / wheel travel: 41 mm inverted cartridge fork with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.
  • Rear suspension / wheel travel: Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 5.4 in.
  • Front brakes: Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers
  • Rear brakes: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper
  • Overall length: 82.9 in.
  • Overall width: 31.1 in.
  • Overall height: 48.4 in.
  • Seat height: 32.3 in.
  • Curb weight: 502.7 lbs.
  • Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
  • Color choices: Ebony, Candy Fire Red / Ebony
  • MSRP: $10,999
  • Warranty: 12 Months

*Specifications are subject to change.