Brought home a Kawasaki Ninja 1000: Initial impressions

The thought of an upgrade had crossed my mind several times over the past decade. When the CBR250 and the first gen Duke 390 came out, I had serious thoughts about upgrading.

BHPian deerhunter recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


The Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX is the do it all bike for me. The one bike to conquer all my biking dreams.

It is good looking.

Can do a fast sunday morning ride.

Can do my kind of off-roading (read minimal).

Can do a solo weekend trip.

And can do a multi-day two-up trip too.

Before I continue further, my huge thanks to bhpian KarthikK, whose ownership review s the Bible for everything related to the Ninja 1000. Also, my gratitude to bhpian dkaile, whose review has helped me tide over many of the conundrums in an otherwise blissful ownership experience.

The Story

I have been into automobiles, especially motorcycles, for as long as I can remember. Being from a middle-class salaried family from rural Kerala, with not much in terms of generational wealth, there was no vehicle at home. My parents were more concerned with giving me the best education possible, and not so much with the convenience that a vehicle could provide for them. Because of that, I never really got a chance to ride or experience the thrill of being on a motorcycle during my childhood. But the love for bikes never faded, and the pictures of R1 and Fireblade adorned my bedroom wall, as well as the covers of my notebooks.

I still have those notebooks.

The turning point came after I finished my 12th. I cracked the entrance exams and had the option of going to any of the top colleges in the country, all of which had negligible fees. With that out of the way, my parents were relieved by the fact that the educational expenses they were expecting, for which they were saving up, was not there. They bought their first car shortly afterwards. And me being me, pestered them for a bike, and thus got my first bike ever.

Didn’t take a picture during delivery. The first picture I took was from my hostel parking lot.

The 2010 Yamaha YZF R15.

I had never ridden a bike until that point. I learned the theoretical aspects of riding from a few friends and went and took delivery of the bike. I learnt to ride properly only after I got the bike. I already took a learner’s license a week before I took delivery of the bike, went for the test after a month with the R15 and got my license. Almost every weekend, a 100km trip was the rule. She served as my main commuter all through my college years. The R15 has been with me for nearly 13 years now, with over 1 lakh kms covered (not sure about the exact number because the console was changed twice).

On a trip to Valparai, sometime in early 2013.

The thought of an upgrade had crossed my mind several times over the past decade. When the CBR250 and the first gen Duke 390 came out, I had serious thoughts about upgrading. But nothing came to fruition due to various professional and personal reasons. My running had decreased drastically after the 5th year of ownership, with professional commitments forcing me to use my car more often. Meanwhile, I got a Vespa for the local runs, which further reduced R15’s mileage. The runs were limited to a couple of kms every few months. All the short solo commutes have now shifted to the Vespa.

The 2016 Vespa SXL 150.

2018 and 2019 were quite challenging for me, both personally and professionally. As I was slowly trying to build back, 2020 came and the pandemic struck. With people dying like flies and the realization of the impermanence of life, I had sort of an enlightenment. I started enjoying motorcycling again and the R15 got a new lease of life.

Sunday ride in between the lockdowns and the restrictions.

The Big Step

The R15 was already a decade old by 2020 and the age was showing. The bike which hit 135+ km/h,when new, was struggling to hit even 110 km/h. Overtaking fast cars became impossible. Long distance touring became a chore. My 10 year old bike was struggling to keep pace with a much faster world than she was used to. The upgrade became a necessity for me. Nevertheless, I plan to keep the R15 in running condition as long as I am able to.

My view about the perfect bike has also changed over the years. Even though I enjoyed looking at the R1s and Fireblades, I realized that I don’t really want to ride them, given their impracticality. Even though the R15 v1 was considered a sports bike when launched, the ergonomics were more like a sports tourer and nowhere nearly as aggressive as the R15 v3/v4 or the KTM RCs. So I wanted something similar to my R15, but bigger.

It was around this time, in early December 2020, that I came across bhpian KarthikK’s thread about his Ninja 1000. I decided to get the Ninja and didn’t really consider any other bike. The ergonomics of the Ninja was similar to my R15 v1, and it had the inline 4 engine which I wanted. The next day, I went to Kawasaki Kochi and booked the bike. The delivery was on the 17th of December, 2020.

Ready for the unveil.

Continue reading BHPian deerhunter’s review for more insights and information.

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