2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R Released! New Ninja 650, Updated Ninja 1000 and Voyager2011-10-10 05:00
For 2012 the big Ninja gets 89cc bigger and gains an R thanks to all that new power. It also gets new bodywork, lighter wheels, a slipper clutch, traction control, and revisions to nearly everything else. The Ninja 1000 benefits from the addition of an ABS option. The Ninja 650 gets a major overhaul including a new frame and bodywork, and donates its R to the 14. The Voyager gets GPS connectivity and smart heat management.
Click below the jump straight to each bike:
2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS
2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650
2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager
2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
The ‘R’ Designation Equals More Race Winning Power and More Refinement for the Ultimate Open-Class Sportbike
It’s gotta be ugly competing against the ZX™-14 year after year. When it arrived on the big-bore sportbike stage in 2006, the big Ninja® blew everyone’s minds – owners, journalists and competitors – with its incredible thrust, sport-tourer comfort, agile handling and aerodynamic full-coverage bodywork. Continuous refinement has kept the 14 a step ahead of the competition, all while filling enthusiasts’ face shields with wild, ear-to-ear grins.
Fortunately for Kawasaki fans (and unfortunately for the competition), there’s no let up for 2012. Not only is the newly R-designated Ninja ZX-14R massively more powerful, it’s also almost entirely new, with more of the character, design excellence, and finesse you’ve come to expect from Team Green™ – the company that’s been building legendary open-class motorcycles for more than 40 years.
Big power delivered smoothly has always been a big Ninja hallmark, so the changes for 2012 begin in the new ZX-14R’s engine bay. First off, there’s more displacement via a 4mm stroke increase; to 65mm (up from 61mm), with displacement now registering 1441cc (up from 1352cc). Combustion chamber shapes are newly optimized for 2012, and they’re surface-milled now, not cast. Intake ports are reshaped and polished for maximum flow while working in concert with longer and more durable intake valves. Yep, the new Ninja ZX-14R really does come “ported” right from the factory.
The camshafts working those valves are more radical, with increased lift and revised profiles, while a stronger cam chain and revised tensioning system maximize reliability at the stratospheric rpm levels this engine is capable of. Newly designed forged pistons with thinner crowns offer increased durability and less weight, and are cooled by a new oil-jet cooling system that pumps a continuous stream of lubricant at the underside of each piston. (Testing shows the engine runs considerably cooler with this system.) There’s more: Compression is up from last year; connecting rods have beefier small ends, and are made of a stronger material; crankshaft main journals are thicker, from 38 to 40mm; a new air-cleaner element is larger and thicker, with 10% more surface area and 40 percent more airflow capability; and transmission gears have been heat- and surface-treated to be even more durable and shift more smoothly.
Feeding this class dominating new engine is a revised fuel injection system that offers automatic idle adjustment and reduced emissions. Burned hydrocarbons exit through a heavily revised exhaust system with reshaped, larger-diameter tapered header pipes and larger-volume, reshaped mufflers, each with an advanced catalyzer to minimize emissions.
The benefits of all this hot-rodding are substantial, as there’s more power virtually everywhere across the rev range. The increases are most profound in the mid-high rpm range, with notably stronger acceleration from 4,000 rpm onward. This translates into the sort of thrust riders can appreciate in a wide variety of situations, whether it’s powering up a freeway on-ramp to merge with fast-moving traffic or cruising along a deserted backroad on a sunny, Sunday-morning ride. On the ZX-14R, total domination is just a twist of the throttle away.
But the ZX-14R’s new engine is more than supremely powerful; there’s plenty of polish and panache to go along with it. The engine’s dual gear-driven counterbalancer setup, for instance, has been optimized to work with the new mill’s longer-stroke dimensions and crankshaft changes. The result is smoother power across the rev range.
That power is more manageable than ever, too, thanks to the addition of a slipper clutch assembly and a KTRC traction control and ignition management system that features three different riding modes – full power, medium power and a third mode for low-traction (wet/slippery) conditions. The KTRC system is controlled by a bar-mounted toggle/push switch, and the system’s effects can be monitored on a seven-segment bar graph in the cockpit’s LCD info-screen. The slipper clutch technology comes directly from the racetrack, and helps eliminate the wheel-hop and stability-eroding torque effects of energetic downshifting and braking while cornering, or during spirited – or emergency – stops. It also helps protect the bike’s drive train, for optimum durability.
The result of all this refined and high-tech hot rodding is arguably the finest open-class streetbike engine ever built – and an engine this capable needs a similarly competent chassis in which to live and thrive. The 2012 ZX-14R is up to the job, and then some. Kawasaki engineers strove to retain the previous ZX-14’s light-handling and maneuverable demeanor, using the existing chassis design as a starting point for the new 14R and its increased power production. To maintain this sweet-handling character but also pump up the sportiness quotient, engineers modified more than half of the previous frame’s aluminum castings and forgings, all of which have different flex and rigidity characteristics than the parts they replace. So while the new alloy frame bears a distinct resemblance to the previous unit’s over-the-engine, monocoque design, it is vastly different: stiffer in some places and unchanged in others, the net result forming an ideal balance for the bike’s weight, power and cornering ability. In back, the swingarm is 10mm longer than before and features more gusseting to effectively match the new frame’s rigidity balance.
Front and rear suspension revisions help maintain this balancing act of wheel control, ride compliance and maneuverability. Both the 43mm fully adjustable inverted fork and multi-adjustable single shock have improved bottoming resistance and revised internal settings, while new lighter and beautifully machined 10-spoke wheels look great and reduce unsprung weight by a whopping 3.3 pounds, further aiding acceleration, handling and suspension action. The new ZX-14R’s triple disc brakes are updated, as well, with more rigid disc material and revised pads for powerful, fade-free stops and a progressive feel at the lever.
Of course, with this much top-shelf performance, you also have to look good. Dynamic styling has been a Kawasaki hallmark since the days of H1s, H2s and Z-1s, so it’s only fitting that this latest addition to a long line of sportbikes looks the part, with new bodywork tip-to-tail honoring the imposing, angular and flowing shapes that have made recent Ninjas some of the most attractive sportbikes in existence. The nose is especially imposing, with a more aggressive nose fitted with a quad-headlight assembly and a large ram-air duct stuffing cool atmosphere into the intake system. The traditional 4-fin theme along the fairing’s sides has a more pronounced 3D design this year, while great effort was expended to hide hooks and fasteners as much as possible. The bike’s tail section is especially well-sculpted, with faired-in turn signals and a cool seat cover – standard on all U.S.-spec models – boosting aesthetic performance.
The body package offers functional benefits as well as aesthetic ones. The reshaped seat, for instance, offers more thigh support and makes it easier for vertically challenged riders to reach the ground. The bodywork’s venting system is better at extracting heated air from the engine bay and away from the rider and passenger.
The new ZX-14’s instruments and controls have been reworked as well, with a newly finished gauge cluster and a new multi-function switch on the left handlebar that handles all system functions; you can toggle the LCD screen using the upper/lower buttons, and easily scroll through fuel consumption, remaining range, battery voltage, external temperature, traction control, etc., choosing and adjusting functions using the ‘select’ button in the center of the toggle switch. There’s even an “eco” indicator on the LCD screen that lets riders know when they’re getting maximum economy and fuel mileage.
The end result of all this technology and all these features is a dominating open-class ride – a supremely smooth, powerful and refined sporting motorcycle that’ll gladly go anywhere there’s asphalt and do it with an uncanny level of competence. High-aggression Sunday-morning rides? No worries. Two-up along the coast for the weekend? Easy. Commuting to and from work? Simple. Weekend bracket racing at the local dragstrip? Cake.
See? It’s difficult to compete with an open-classer this good at so many things. It’s a fact our competition knows all too well.
New for 2012
- Massively more powerful 1,441cc inline-four engine features a 4mm longer stroke, reworked cylinder head assembly, polished ports and lighter, stronger pistons for more power across the rev range
- KTRC traction-control system features three different modes for varying conditions and is controlled by a handy switch assembly on the left handlebar
- All-new slipper clutch assembly controls rear-wheel torque effects while braking and downshifting
- All-new exhaust system features tapered and reshaped head pipes and an all-new muffler assembly for low noise and emissions
- Redesigned aluminum monocoque frame is narrow, strong and rigid
- All-new swingarm assembly is longer and features strengthening gussets to cope with the engine’s newfound power
- Transmission gears are more durable thanks to new temperature and surface treatments
- All-new bodywork package builds upon the slick aesthetic image of the previous machine and adds better air management to the mix for improved rider and passenger comfort
- All-new 10-spoke wheels are more than 3 pounds lighter in total than the previous machine’s units; this reduces unsprung weight, which aids handling and maneuverability
- New disc material and pads improve the 14R’s radial-mount braking system
- Revised suspension settings front and rear add wheel control and compliance to an already plush ride
- Higher overall finish quality than before, including hidden bodywork fasteners
New 1,441cc Four-cylinder Liquid-cooled DOHC Engine
- Longer-stroke design, revised (and ported) cylinder heads, lighter pistons, higher compression and more radical camshafts provide more torque and power throughout the rev range
- Piston jet system sprays a continuous stream of cooling lubrication to the underside of each piston for cooler running temperatures, more constant power production and better durability
- Stronger cam chain and tensioning system offers a higher degree of durability at stratospheric rpm levels
- Crankshaft main journals are 2mm thicker (now 40mm) for added durability
- More durable temperature and surface treatments allow the transmission gears to better harness the new engine’s prodigious power production
- Chrome composite-plated aluminum cylinder bores are lightweight, durable, and quickly carry heat away from the combustion chamber and piston for supreme durability at high power outputs
- Newly designed engine is compact and narrow, which allows the rest of the machine to be smaller, lighter and more nimble
- Low mechanical noise via special piston profile and urethane insulation sheet on the inside of the magnesium chain cover
Revised High-flow Exhaust System
- All-new header assembly has tapered-diameter pipes for optimal power production and power delivery characteristics
- Newly designed mufflers offer lower noise emissions and, due to the dual catalyzers, are cleaner than before
- Airflow into the exhaust from the large secondary air ports in the cylinder head and head cover, plus a third honeycomb catalyzer in the collector, help meet strict Euro III emissions standards
- Internal silencer construction minimizes impact of emissions regulations while maintaining impressive top-end power
Gear-driven Dual Engine Balancers
- Revised balance weights keep the newly dimensioned engine (more stroke) in ideal balance, resulting in improved comfort for riders and passengers
- Already in perfect primary balance, the 14R’s engine design features dual secondary balancers that virtually eliminate unwanted vibrations for extremely smooth operation and reduced rider fatigue
Ram Air Induction
- Central ram air duct in the newly shaped fairing draws cooler, higher-pressure air from the face of the fairing and efficiently guides it through the larger and more efficient air cleaner and into the reworked engine for maximum power output
Digital Fuel Injection
- New throttle body assembly featuring 44mm throttle bodies is fitted with ISC valve and sub-throttle valves controlled by the ECU. They provide precise response, smooth DFI® performance, automatic idle speed adjustment, and help the bike meet Euro III emissions requirements now and into the future
- Revised intake tract porting optimizes flow characteristics
Injectors deliver lateral spray at a 20-degree angle to disperse the finely atomized fuel over a wide area
- Fine-atomizing injectors produce a 75-micron droplet size
- 32-bit ECU works with dual throttle valve system to further enhance throttle response and control
2-Mode Digital Ignition
- Rider selectable High & Low maps offer a choice between full power and approximately 50 percent power output to help suit changing conditions
- Digital Timing Advance enhances low- and mid-range power
- Individual spark plug-mounted ignition coils fire each of the four spark plugs independently to achieve the optimum timing for that cylinder
- ECU includes an idle speed control system for easier starting and warm-up
KTRC Traction Control
- KTRC traction-control system features three different modes for varying conditions
- Modes are controlled by a handy switch assembly on the left handlebar
- Modes are indicated on the LCD cockpit display
New Back Torque Limiting “Slipper” Clutch
- All-new “slipper” clutch assembly controls rear-wheel torque effects while downshifting or coasting to minimize wheel hop, chatter and reduce rider stress
- Radial-pump hydraulic clutch master cylinder offers smooth and precise engagement and optimal feel at the lever
New-generation Monocoque Aluminum Frame
- Lightweight monocoque frame is a hollow aluminum box that arches over the engine from the steering head to the swingarm pivot. It is narrow, strong, rigid and very light
- Many of the frame’s new cast aluminum sections – steering head and swingarm pivot areas – are produced via a die-casting process for weight savings
- Rigidly mounted engine is a stressed frame member, which increases the frame’s torsional rigidity and saves weight vs. traditional designs
- Engine is positioned forward in the frame, with the slightly longer wheelbase and front/rear weight balance carefully designed to achieve high-speed stability and responsive handling
- Longer swingarm adds high-speed stability and is gusseted to better cope with the new engine’s power production
- Massive head pipe casting contributes to frame rigidity
- Frame houses the air box and air filter in a space-saving design that simplifies air cleaner maintenance
- Battery is also housed within the frame and is easily accessible through an aluminum frame cover
- Revised internal settings for the inverted and multi-adjustable 43mm cartridge-type fork allow more wheel control and improved ride compliance
- Stepless damping adjustment improves suspension performance
- Excellent control and feedback from the fully adjustable bottom-link Uni-Trak® rear suspension
- Linkage rates allow linear suspension action and greater wheel control
- Bottom-link design helps create a lower center of gravity, which makes the motorcycle more nimble
Reshaped Petal-type Discs with Radial-mount Calipers
- Reshaped petal-type design brake discs provide better cooling and enhanced warp resistance
- Radial mounted four-piston front brake calipers use improved brake pads and offer greater rigidity than traditional caliper mounting to improve brake feel
- A separate brake pad is used for each piston. Individual pads provide increased cooling efficiency and can absorb more heat without deforming so they maintain a consistent brake feel longer
- Radial-pump front brake master cylinder improves brake performance and lever feel
Aggressive New Bodywork
- Monocoque frame is positioned over the engine so the sleek new fairing is uninterrupted by protruding frame spars, adding to the extremely long and low styling
- New fairing venting offers improved engine-heat control for more comfort for rider and passenger
- Standard rear-seat cowl adds aesthetic appeal
- Both the front and rear turn signals are integrated into the bodywork and have clear lenses to enhance appearance
- Quadruple projector beam headlights in the new fairing give the ZX™-14 a distinctive new look. The outer lights contain position lamps and high beams, while the low beams are located in the center lamps
- Lightweight Denso radiator with dual fans and high-density cores provides maximum cooling efficiency
- New black-faced dual analog speedometer and tachometer are easy to read
- Multi-function LCD digital display includes an odometer, two trip meters, fuel gauge, gear position indicator, clock, and many other variables, including traction-control information via a 7-segment LCD indicator
- Programmable shift indicator lamp illuminates at pre-set rpm to signal rider upshift
- Programmable clutch engagement lamp illuminates at pre-set rpm to signal the rider to engage the clutch
- Controller Area Network (CAN) interface between the gauges uses fewer wires yet allows a greater volume of information, such as estimated fuel mileage, to be exchanged
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four
Bore x stroke: 84.0 x 65.0mm
Compression ratio: 12.3:1
Fuel system: DFI® with four 44mm Mikuni throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Final drive: X-Ring chain
Rake / trail: 23 degrees / 3.7 in.
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 190/50 ZR17
Wheelbase: 58.3 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 43mm inverted cartridge fork with adjustable preload, 18-way compression and 15-way rebound damping adjustment / 4.6 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Bottom-link Uni-Trak® and gas-charged shock with adjustable preload, stepless rebound and compression damping adjustments, adjustable ride height / 4.9 in.
Front brakes: Dual semi-floating 310 mm petal discs with dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers
Rear brakes: Single 250mm petal disc with twin-piston caliper
Overall length: 85.4 in.
Overall width: 30.3 in.
Overall height: 46.1 in.
Ground clearance: 4.9 in.
Seat height: 31.5 in.
Curb weight: 584.3 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 5.8 gal.
Color: Metallic Spark Black, Candy Surf Blue, Golden Blazed Green with special graphics (SE)
MSRP standard / special edition: $14.699
Warranty: 12 Months
*Specifications are subject to change.
2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS
Max Street Performance Meets Max Rideability and Control
From the earliest days of Japan Inc.’s legendary chokehold on the open-class streetbike category, Kawasaki has been right there, building motorcycles that have blown away the press, the public and nearly every performance record of note. From the original Z-1 to the ZZR®1200, these do-it-all motorcycles combined the power, handling, comfort and aesthetic appeal that repeatedly dominated their categories.
And in the case of the ultra-capable 2012 Ninja® 1000, little has changed.
Like the original – and highly acclaimed – Ninja 1000 of 1986, the 2012 version delivers a dominating mix of power, handling, looks, technology and rideability. Here’s a sportbike that delivers an aesthetic uppercut the instant you lay eyes on it – and then follows up the punch with brilliant all-around performance you’ll quickly learn to love. And for those who want the ultimate in braking technology and performance, Kawasaki offers an ABS version of the Ninja 1000 for 2012. This system offers confidence-inspiring braking action on all types of surfaces.
The Ninja is blessed with rideability – an incredible blend of ability on the street and extreme ease of operation. The source of all this two-wheeled goodness is Kawasaki’s own – and now legendary – Z1000 super standard, the engine and chassis platform upon which the Ninja 1000 is based. The Z1000 has earned some of motorcycling’s highest accolades, including a slot in Cycle World’s Ten Best collection as Best Standard for 2010 and 2011. With guts like that, it’s easy to see where the big Ninja’s impressive chops come from.
With the Z1000’s new-tech engine and chassis package as a starting point, Kawasaki engineers added beautifully swooping bodywork and a handful of brilliant features (including optional ABS this year), all of which combine to make the 2012 Ninja 1000 an amazingly capable all-around sporting machine.
Power comes by way of a highly advanced inline-four – a 1,043cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 16-valve engine featuring a long-stroke design for instantaneous power, a smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox with ideal ratios, and no-fuss electronic fuel injection for absolutely seamless throttle response – warm or cold. There’s plenty of power, too – way over 100 rear wheel horses.
But this engine’s magic is more about flexible and easy-to-use oomph than simply peak horsepower numbers. This dead-reliable inline-four produces the sort of power that launches you out of corners and away from stops in a way that’ll keep you entertained – and your riding buddies impressed – for years to come. At seemingly every rpm level, the Ninja 1000 engine produces smooth, instant-on thrust many hardcore sportbikes simply can’t match.
Kawasaki’s perfectly calibrated electronic fuel injection helps make this so. The four 38mm Keihin downdraft throttle bodies inject a perfect mix of fuel and air into each combustion chamber with help from an advanced ECU, oval sub-throttles and a cool air intake system that routes fresh air to the airbox via ducts at the front of the bike. A balance shaft driven off the crankshaft keeps the solidly mounted engine operating smoothly, while a beautifully styled 4-into-2-into-2 catalyzer-equipped exhaust system offers a pleasing growl without being overly loud. It’s a perfect engine for a road-going sportbike – smooth, powerful, flexible and blessed with the legendary reliability Kawasakis are known for.
Like the superb-handling Z1000, the Ninja 1000 features an advanced aluminum frame similar in design to the Ninja ZX™-10R’s. The lightweight assembly 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 bike’s waist narrow for superb rider interface and maximum comfort and control. The main frame and swingarm pivot pieces are cast as a single unit, with welds eliminated wherever possible for seamless aesthetics.
The wheels, brakes and suspension bits that allow the Ninja to move so gracefully and swiftly are truly state-of-the-art. Suspension is handled by a fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork up front and a preload- and rebound-adjustable single-shock system in back, the ideal scenario for dialing in the perfect settings for your weight and riding style. The single-shock system features a damper mounted nearly horizontally above the swingarm for optimal mass centralization and heat resistance. The gas/oil shock offers superb wheel control whether you’re hammering along some deserted backroad or bopping along a pothole-infested city street. On the Ninja 1000, you’ll always know what’s happening at the contact patches.
Stopping power is provided by race-spec brakes – 300mm petal-type rotors up front squeezed by ultra-rigid radially mounted calipers fed hydraulic pressure by an equally race-spec radial pump master cylinder. In back is another tech-savvy disc. Braking power and feel at both ends is amazing, giving rookies, pros and everyone in between a feeling of supreme confidence. And new for 2012, the Ninja 1000 is available with confidence-inspiring optional anti-lock brake system (ABS).
The wheels working with those brakes – lightweight six-spoke supersport-style units – are also the latest in lightweight production technology. They not only reduce unsprung weight, which allows the suspension to function optimally, but carry the latest in radial tire technology. The result is superb grip, precise handling and reasonably long tread life.
But easily the most stunning aspect of the Ninja 1000 is its sleek, wraparound bodywork. Designed with an eye on Kawasaki’s race-ready ZX-6R and ZX-10R, the Ninja offers a thoroughly radical look, but one that’s unique and memorable. Despite the edgy, rakish look, the bodywork carves a surprisingly large hole in the atmosphere, giving riders a quiet cocoon in which to work. A manually adjustable, 3-position windscreen helps, allowing riders to pick just the right setting for their height and riding style. Faired-in front turn signals, a ZX-6R-spec front fender, a stylish tail-section and a full-featured instrument panel right off the Ninja ZX-6R (with custom graphics, of course) complete the look.
And despite its radical look, the Ninja 1000 offers surprisingly comfortable ergonomics. The handlebars are mounted higher than on a true supersport machine, the pegs a touch lower, all of which makes the Ninja 1000 a capable short-haul tourer, and certainly a sportbike you can spend the day aboard without undue strain. To sweeten the day- or weekend-trekking deal even more, Kawasaki offers a line of optional touring-oriented accessories, including hard-case saddlebags and top trunk, heated grips and more.
It’s rare to find such all-around functionality in a sporting motorcycle today. But the 2012 Ninja 1000 is a different beast – one with wide-ranging talent in sport, sport-touring and commuting roles. As Motorcyclist magazine wrote recently: “In the real world we ride through every day, it doesn’t get much better than the Ninja 1000.”
- 1,043cc inline-four with DFI® offers prodigious torque for effortless passing and backroads entertainment
- Lightweight aluminum frame is narrow and tuned to transmit optimal feedback to the rider
- Fully adjustable inverted fork has settings designed for sporty performance and ride quality
- Design 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
- Easily accessible torque offers instant thrust for maximum rider satisfaction
- 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 because 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
- 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 5.0 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 off the rider’s legs
- 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 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 secure grip, direct feel and control, and no-nonsense looks
- The passenger footpeg brackets incorporate convenient luggage hooks
- 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
- 300mm front petal-type brake discs are gripped by opposed four-piston radial-mount calipers. (Caliper piston size is 4x30mm)
- 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
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
- Small and lightweight ABS unit with a high-spec ECU is capable of detailed calculations for ultra-smooth operation
- A low-battery mode maintains ABS function as best as possible when the battery charge is low. In this mode, ABS timing and pressure relief functions are maintained to help preserve brake effectiveness (although riders will notice that ABS operation is less smooth than in normal mode)
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
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Bore x stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm
Compression ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel injection: DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Final drive: X-ring chain
Rake / trail: 24.5 degrees / 4.0 in.
Frame type: Aluminum Backbone
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, ABS
Rear brake: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper, ABS
Overall length: 82.9 in.
Overall width: 31.1 in.
Overall height: 48.4 in.
Seat height: 32.3 in.
Curb weight: 509.4 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
Color choices: Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Micron Gray
Candy Lime Green / Ebony
Warranty: 12 Months
*Specifications are subject to change.
2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650
All-new Chassis, Bodywork and Improved Power Delivery Make the Best Mid-sized Sportbike Even Better
They’re known as “sweet spot” motorcycles: streetbikes so balanced, user-friendly and all-around capable that they stand well above their two-wheeled counterparts, forging lasting reputations as exciting, practical and stylish machines.
There aren’t many such overachievers in today’s narrowly focused two-wheeled world. Since its debut back in 2006, the multi-talented Ninja® 650R has been a bona fide member of this elite group, winning accolades from owners and media alike. But for 2012, the massively reworked Ninja 650 is better than ever.
This practical sportbike features a raft of new technology and design elements, including a totally new perimeter-style frame, revised suspension, more angular bodywork, new instrumentation, improved engine performance, a more comfortable saddle, lower seat height and much more. The new-and-massively-improved version promises even more of the all-around capability that suits beginners and veterans alike.
It all starts in the engine bay, where an advanced, highly compact, liquid-cooled 649cc vertical twin works its magic with help from a digital fuel injection system featuring 38mm throttle bodies and sub-throttle assemblies for optimum response and precise fueling. The ultra-narrow engine produces substantial power with plenty of character – especially down low and in the mid-range – from an impressive array of technology, including double overhead camshafts acting on eight lightweight valves. Lightweight pistons run in plated, linerless cylinders, while a 180-degree crank assembly – coupled with a balancer shaft – maintains a surprising level of engine smoothness.
This has always been a brilliant streetbike engine – torquey, smooth, and blessed with impressive top end performance, yet enough satisfying low- and mid-range oomph to please novices and experts alike. But this year it’s even better thanks to key exhaust system changes, including a header-section connector pipe and a three-chamber muffler design. The high-rpm rush remains, but Kawasaki engineers have pushed additional power down into the mid-range zone, which results in even more all-around usability and in-town responsiveness. Figure in the Ninja 650 engine’s estimated 50-mpg* fuel economy, precise fuel injection and its pleasing twin-cylinder throb, and you’re looking at what just might be the most flexible and satisfying streetbike engine on the planet.
Wrapping around that wonderfully usable engine is an all-new twin-pipe perimeter frame that offers increased rigidity vs. the old Ninja’s trellis layout, yet retains the narrow-waisted design that results in a comfortable reach to the ground. The new frame is slim, light, compact and aesthetically pleasing, while a swingarm with forged axle holders lets the rear wheel arc through its suspension travel in style. The new backbone-type subframe also offers a 10 percent increase in maximum carrying capacity. Combined with revised suspension settings front and rear (there’s more ride comfort for 2012 from the 41mm fork and single-shock rear end) and a slight increase in braking power versus last year’s model, the overall chassis setup – which includes Dunlop’s new Roadsmart II tires – amplifies the “sporty-yet-comfortable” ethos that’s won the Ninja 650 model so many fans over the years.
It’s a more comfortable machine, too, with a 20mm wider handlebar than the previous version and a 2-piece seat assembly topped with foam that’s wider and thicker than before. Both bar and saddle are rubber-mounted, along with the footpegs, for even more vibration-free comfort. And while enjoying all that ergonomic goodness, you’ll gaze upon a new instrument panel featuring an analog tachometer situated above an LCD info-center showing speed, trip meters, fuel consumption, remaining range, etc., with a swath of info-lights to the right.
Folks watching you ride by will see a sleeker and more aggressively styled motorcycle, as well. The all-new bodywork is more sharply defined and more like our race-winning supersport machines, with flowing lines and a tapered brow that blends nicely with the rest of the bike. The new body parts make the 2012 Ninja 650 more slippery from an aerodynamic standpoint, while an adjustable, 3-position windscreen allows riders to tailor the cockpit’s still-air cocoon for maximum riding comfort. Engine heat is routed rearward more effectively than before, as well, further adding to the comfort level.
It all adds up to one sweet mid-sized sportbike, one that works superbly for novices and vets – not an easy feat. Pull away from a light and the 650’s torquey engine, light-pull clutch and perfect throttle response make quick work of the job. Crisp, linear brakes make slowing down a simple affair, while the low seat height gives riders max confidence once stopped. And light steering and maneuverability keep novices grinning all day long. Experts will love the new Ninja’s powerful yet flexible engine, modern suspension, disc brakes and nimble handling. And the new more aggressive styling looks like it’s going 100 mph, even when sitting still.
The 2012 Ninja 650 really can do it all – whether it’s commuting, cruising, touring or apex-strafing. Just like we said at the beginning: Sweet.
New For 2012
- Redesigned twin-pipe perimeter frame offers proper rigidity, stable handling, a low seat height and improved aesthetics
- Twin-pipe swingarm assembly offers improved rigidity and maximum style
- Redesigned exhaust system features a new connector pipe, a higher-volume 3-chamber muffler assembly for improved mid-range while maintaining peak top-end power, and a higher quality finish
- Redesigned bodywork features better aerodynamics, improved engine-heat dissipation and sharper looks that identify with the flagship ZX™-14R
- Easier-pull clutch cable design for reduced fatigue and enhanced control
- Revised suspension settings and increased wheel travel front and rear offer improved ride comfort while offering excellent compliance in varying situations
- Improved brake pads offer better braking performance and control
- New instrument cluster assembly features an analog tachometer and a digital readout module for at-a-glance information transfer to the rider
- 20mm wider handlebar offers improved rider comfort and control
- Redesigned 2-piece seat assembly features thicker and wider foam for improved comfort for rider and passenger
- Dunlop’s grippy yet durable Roadsmart II tires are standard
- Increased fuel capacity and more compact battery
Smooth, Torquey, Quick-Revving, 649cc Parallel-Twin Engine
- Liquid-cooled, DOHC, eight-valve fuel-injected twin cylinder engine delivers smooth, responsive performance, especially in the low- to medium-rpm range
- Additional mid-range power for 2012, produces exceptional roll-on response and impressive passing performance, to help make even commuter traffic enjoyable
- Minimal vibration via a 180-degree crankshaft-driven balancer shaft, which in turn drives the water pump
- Oil jets on the connecting rod big ends spray oil on the underside of the pistons to aid cooling
- Lightweight plug-mounted ignition coils deliver a hot spark and save space
- High-capacity radiator for increased cooling efficiency
- Engine coolant travels directly to the engine cases, then follows internal passages to the cylinder and head for minimum external plumbing and a simplified cooling system
Digital Fuel Injection
- Fuel injection settings boost the engine’s bottom-end power while letting it rev more quickly
- Sub-throttle valve equipped 38mm Keihin throttle bodies offer optimum performance and rideability
- Located behind the main throttle valves, the sub-throttles are controlled by the DFI® system’s ECU for a precise throttle response, similar to a constant velocity carburetor
- Auto fast-idle system simplifies starting and helps ensure that the catalyzer reaches optimum temperature quickly
- Lightweight fuel pump is mounted inside the fuel tank
Compact Engine Design
- Powerful twin-cylinder engine is the most compact in its category, which helps reduce the dimensions of the entire motorcycle and allows use of a slim (and all-new) twin-pipe perimeter frame
- Triangular setup of the crankshaft and transmission shafts makes the engine dimensionally short front-to-back
- Transmission input shaft, output shaft and gear-change drum are contained in a cassette-style package that allows a compact layout and eases transmission maintenance
- Semi-dry sump design reduces engine height
- Plated, linerless aluminum cylinders with a narrow cylinder pitch keep the engine light and slim
- Efficient fuel injection and a three-way catalyzer inside the exhaust produce very low emissions, able to pass stringent Euro III emissions regulations
- 300-cell catalyzer is compact and light
- Under-engine muffler placement aids mass centralization and yields a low center of gravity
- Rubber-mounted seat, handlebar and footpegs (rider’s and passenger’s) keep vibration low and comfort as high as possible
Rigid Twin-pipe Perimeter Frame
- Slim, low, lightweight, rigid and compact frame design is narrow at the knees and footpegs (50mm narrower for 2012) for optimum rider comfort and control
- The strong steel perimeter frame wraps around the engine for optimum rigidity, rivaling that of all-aluminum designs
- Optimal frame rigidity is achieved through extensive computer analysis, which translates to superb handling and wheel control
- The new frame and swingarm designs flow together well aesthetically, and work with the revised suspension settings to offer maximum wheel control
- Short front-to-back dimensions of the engine allow for a longer swingarm and a shorter wheelbase, which contributes to the new Ninja’s light and nimble handling
- Clean frame joint weld finishes highlight the bike’s overall quality and attention to detail
Stylish Twin-pipe Swingarm
- New swingarm is tuned to complement the new frame’s flex and rigidity characteristics
- Swingarm’s upper right tube has a D-shaped cross section for strength and light weight
- Swingarm shape and design contributes to the Ninja 650’s high-quality appearance
- Revised settings on the 41mm conventional fork and preload-adjustable laydown shock offer more travel for improved ride comfort and exceptional wheel control
- Fork lower ends around the axle shaft add to the bike’s performance and enhance its high-quality image
Comfortable, Confidence-inspiring Ergonomics
- A 20mm-wider handlebar, new 2-piece seat (wider and thicker foam for 2012) and optimal footpeg placement result in a comfortable and natural riding position suiting a wide range of riders
- New backbone-type subframe offers a low seat height and a narrower footpeg placement for improved control and comfort, making the reach to the ground even easier
- The offset single-shock rear suspension layout along with a smaller battery for 2012 allows a lower seat height as well
- This low seat height and slim overall design make it easy to plant both feet firmly on the ground when stopped – a bonus for newer riders
- Triple Disc Brakes
- Dual 300mm front petal-shaped disc brakes with twin-piston calipers and a single 220mm rear petal-shaped disc deliver plenty of braking power, especially with the addition of grippier brake pads for 2012
- Front brake master cylinder features a 14mm piston for smooth actuation
Sleek, Supersport-inspired Bodywork
- A dual headlight design within the new fairing’s angular snout features multi-reflector bulb hoods and twin position lights – like its Ninja supersport brethren
- A 3-way adjustable windscreen deflects air away from the rider, creating a still-air envelope and reducing wind buffeting at higher speeds
- Redesigned – and larger-capacity – fuel tank meshes perfectly with the radically shaped new fairing
- Distinctive Ninja supersport design elements enhance the new Ninja 650’s sporty image and compact appearance
- Integrated front turn signals feature clear lenses and amber bulbs
- A sleek tail cowl featuring a thin LED taillight accentuates the new bodywork’s radical appearance
- Inner rear fender helps keep the underside of the tail cowl clean
- Turn signals also function as flashing hazard lights
- A redesigned front fender minimizes water splash, while its shape matches the Ninja 650’s new bodywork package
- Supersport-type mirrors – like those on Kawasaki’s ZX-10R and 6R – accentuate the new bike’s aggressive positioning and aesthetics
6-Spoke Aluminum Wheels
- Attractive six-spoke supersport-style wheels augment the bike’s lightweight look and reduce unsprung weight for superb suspension action
- All-new multi-function instrumentation includes a fuel gauge, digital speedometer, clock, odometer, dual trip meters, economical riding (ECO) indicator, and an analog tachometer above the LCD info-pod
- Clock and trip meter can be viewed simultaneously
- Easy-to-read LCD screen offers riders quick, at-a-glance information on a variety of systems
- Ignition switch is now located at the top of the tank assembly, which gives a clearer view to the Ninja 650’s newly designed instruments
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve, parallel twin
Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.8:1
Fuel injection: Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Final drive: O-ring chain
Frame: Twin-pipe perimeter design, high-tensile steel
Rake / trail: 25 degrees / 4.3 in.
Wheelbase: 55.5 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 4.9 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Single offset laydown shock with adjustable spring preload / 5.1 in.
Front tire: 120/70x17
Rear tire: 160/60x17
Front brake: Dual 300mm petal discs with two-piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 220mm petal disc with single piston caliper
Overall length: 83.1 in.
Overall width: 30.3 in.
Overall height: 46.5 in.
Seat height: 31.7 in.
Curb weight: 460.8 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.2 gal.
Colors: Metallic Spark Black, Candy Lime Green, Passion Red
Warranty: 12 months
*Specifications are subject to change.
2012 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager
- New for 2012, Navigation Audio Prompt Capability can play navigation voice prompts from Garmin Zumo 600 or 665 series GPS devices through the motorcycle’s audio system or Kawasaki Genuine Accessory helmet headsets
- New for 2012, Kawasaki Air Management System (KAMS) maximizes rider and passenger comfort when stopped or at very low speeds in warm weather
Source: Kawasaki USA
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Tags: 2012, Kawasaki, new models, Ninja ZX-14R, Ninja 1000, Ninja 650, Vulcan Voyager
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