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2018 Kawasaki Ninja ABS Matte Black
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Hi everyone,

I am thinking about upgrading to a 1000cc Ninja 1000 SX for sport touring and would love some input on this.
Anyone has any experience moving from a 400 to a 1000 cc? What are your thoughts? Worth doing or waste of money?
I am a little scared of the power bump. I ride responsibly but sometimes in a straight I do like to open it a little. Although I enjoy 0-60 significantly more than 60-90 if you know what I mean [Torque lover, not HP].

---- Context ----

I live in upstate New York, so we have all seasons here.

I have been riding my 2018 Ninja 400 ABS (first bike) for 1.5 years now and absolutely love the bike. I have done around 4,5k miles, 2000+ miles of which is just riding around nature and mountains and at least 500 miles on the racetrack. I also ride a lot with my girlfriend or others on the back for little excursions, but it gets uncomfortable for us a little quickly and the power starts really becoming an issue when going 2 up. I am 6'2" and 220 lbs so generally on the taller/ heavier side. I have heard it said that you get your first bike as a good all-rounder and then figure out what kind of riding you want to do and then get the bike to do it. I am now sure I want to focus more on the leisurely/ meditative/ nature focused riding, maybe also a bit more with a passenger or even some longer range/ highway touring. Stereotypical 40-year old dad riding essentially in spirit, even though I am 24.

The two main reasons I see for going from an essentially perfect bike for beginners like the N400 to something like the N1000SX is mainly:
  • The suspension and adjustability. Because I am heavy and I like to take friends on the bike, suspension non-adjustability is becoming an issue. The N1k has essentially fully adjustable suspension. Having better suspension on the rougher roads would also help with comfort and ride length, at least in my mind. when pushing 2 hours, general body fatigue does begin to set in on the N400, which I can only do so much on with preload adjustment and tire pressures.
  • Power: Again, passing on the highway is tricky or going 2-up significantly reduces torque conversion on the N400 for me and makes the experience less enjoyable. I'd like something that nearly pulls as fast when I am on it as when I have another person with me (I know this doesn't make sense physics etc but you know what I mean).
  • Heated Grips, Quick shifter, Safety Features / IMU(!), Better wind protection from touring windscreen, better headlights are also all relevant in my calculation because they become important for the type of sport/adventure riding I want to do, which on the N400 is a little tricky with (headlights not good!!!).

It's a big investment, but I can see myself using this for many years to come. Thoughts?
 

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One engine, 2 wheels, reformed squid rider 馃槀馃悪
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Do it.
You've already talked yourself into it with a list that suits your needs by the bike you're choosing. 馃憤

That 1,000 cc will give you everything you want as far as power and torque go and there's a ton of aftermarket to suit your every need to have a companion go along for the ride.

Like any big bike smooth inputs are necessary and never lose that respect of how a big bike can get away from you quicky if you abuse it's power.

Rock on and enjoy. 馃
 

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I have a 2011 N1K, and it is a blast to ride.
It is a little cramped for long 2 up runs, if that is high priority on your list.
I am 48, and can do 250-300 mile days without too much pain.
If you plan to ride long distance with a passenger, get a top box or backrest for them.
If you plan to do much longer days than 300 miles(especially 2 up), a Concours 14 is the ticket for spirited sport touring.
Our 400s were in the shop this past weekend for the ABS recall, so I took the C-14 and my wife rode the N1k for the first time.
We rode probably 150 miles.
She couldn't believe how different the two bikes handled.
She commented that she never had to think about putting the bike where she wanted it in the corner on the 400.
The N1k was a different story. The power was eye opening for her too.
 

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I did the 400 to 1000SX "upgrade" this year. Here are my thoughts:

  1. I wish I'd kept the 400 too. The 1000SX is big and powerful and heavy - a little bike is just more fun to ride zipping around town.
  2. The power is smooth, the delivery linear, so you'll use as little or as much as you want or need.
  3. Cruise control is a godsend on the highway.
  4. If you tip the 1000SX over you may have trouble righting it by yourself. Not so with the Ninja 400.
  5. The adjustable windscreen is nice but I've just kept it fully up to combat wind on the highway.
    Tire Wheel Jeans Fuel tank Vehicle
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I made a similar move 40 years ago, going from a 400cc Honda Hawk to a GS1000.
The added power wasn't hard to manage, but it did take me a while to get used to the extra weight.

Definitely try to hang on to the 400 if you can. Much as I liked the GS I did miss an easier-to-toss-around bike. A couple of years later I added an RZ350, and after that the GS didn't get ridden so much. :)
 

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I made a similar move 40 years ago, going from a 400cc Honda Hawk to a GS1000.
The added power wasn't hard to manage, but it did take me a while to get used to the extra weight.

Definitely try to hang on to the 400 if you can. Much as I liked the GS I did miss an easier-to-toss-around bike. A couple of years later I added an RZ350, and after that the GS didn't get ridden so much. :)
My first street bike over 150cc was a 1978 Honda Hawk 400(150cc limit until age 16 in Alabama).
I still own it, although it isn't running at the moment.
My friend upgraded his Suzuki SP125 to a GS1000 when I got my 400.
Good memories of kicking his butt in the corners, to get passed on the longer straights.
Not much different than my recent track days on the N400.
My 1978 400cc parallel twin would do an indicated 112mph, while my 2019 N400 does 122 mph indicated.
Not much difference in 40+ years IMHO.
 

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It sounds like the N1K will meet your needs better than the N400. Especially when you mention two-up riding. You will be giving up flickability in city traffic and the mountains.

Have you considered going partway between these two with the Versys 650LT and its hard luggage?
 

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My first street bike over 150cc was a 1978 Honda Hawk 400(150cc limit until age 16 in Alabama).
I still own it, although it isn't running at the moment.
My friend upgraded his Suzuki SP125 to a GS1000 when I got my 400.
Good memories of kicking his butt in the corners, to get passed on the longer straights.
Not much different than my recent track days on the N400.
My 1978 400cc parallel twin would do an indicated 112mph, while my 2019 N400 does 122 mph indicated.
Not much difference in 40+ years IMHO.
Pretty cool, not often I run into someone who even remembers those bikes, let alone owns one. :)
 

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2022 Ninja 400
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MaxSpieler,

So I have went with the following bike in the following order ( * ) denotes I still own :

Honda XL75 -my Learning bike
Yamaha RM100 - Dirt to learn fundamentals
Suzuki GS 650 G - my daily commuter to high school for 2 years, Probably did about 50K miles on that bike
Honda Hawk NT650GT (LOVED THIS BIKE). - Owned my last year in High school
Suzuki Bandit 1200 - Did a lot of canyon carving in Arizona. Runs cold and shifts like a dream. Very Comforatblle
Kawasaki GPz900R - Many mountain curve riding in Japan. Dated and a bit heavy but sweet sound from stock pipes.
BMW R1200GS - This bike is so versatile as tourer or adventure but. Most comfortable for long rides.
Kawasaki Concours 1400 - Ok for sport touring, but you don't want to be on bumpy roads. Too much power.
BMW R1200GS Adventure. - Too tall, emphasized the weight up high. Large gas tank added a lot of Lbs.
BMW F800GT - Too buzzy at highway speeds, wasn't fun as a tourer two up.
BMW F800GS * - Good balance not as buzzy, but comfortable. Gearing feels better than F800GT.
BMW K1300S. - NICE!!!! But with 175HP you run out of road before you run out of gears. Comfy for what it was.
Bimota Tesi 3D 1100 * Lighter than Ninja 400 but with 100hp and loads of torque
BMW K1200GT. - Same as C14, too heavy. Great on the road. Wind make bike wonder.
and now Ninja 400 * - It is fun for the track and riding through the mountains. For me needs more HP ( lets say 65hp would be golden).

Of all the bikes I sold, I wish I still had the Honda Hawk NT650GT. It was light, torquey and handled great. Looking at my list of bikes owned since 1989 to now, there are only a few that stand out as far as a good balance of comfort and power. The Bandit 1200, R1200GS, F800GS are excellent bikes for touring or two up riding. Pletty of torque for hillclimbing twisting and never struggled with a passenger. I have also been longing to get another Bandit 1200 or 1250. My worse bikes were the Kawasaki C14, BMW K1200GT and BMW F800GT. The C14 and K1200GT were just too heavy and you always dread slipping in a parking lot on gravel, dropping and not being able to pick up. The power of the C14 was also a bit excessive for sport touring.

Would I recommend going to a Ninja 1000SX? If the Ninja 400 was your first bike....."No". Going from 45Hp to 142HP doesn't contribute to good learning via progression. Having progressed through the models with different HP and engine types, I learned there are some characteristics I like when riding for different styles and it has helped me pick the correct bikes for certain styles of riding (ie, adventure, touring, commuting). I have hit 145mph on track and through the deserts, but what is the most fun I have found is a bike that you can use all the power on the street or have a little in reserve for a passenger and luggage with being burdened by much more weight for the HP gain. My K1300S had way too much power, and although I used it for track days and could handle it, riding it was tiring and not as much fun as lighter bike I could get though all the gears on the track. I would recommend a larger twin or triple like the Tracer 9 GT.

As for me, I am 188 lbs and a guy in his late 40's that rides adventure, sport touring and race track days. I love riding and always try to give my honest opinion, especially to newer riders.

BTW, if you aren't riding keeping you bike in the power band like 7K and up to redline through twists then you definable are not ready for a big bore bike. Learn to use most of your bikes power before upgrading.
 

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...Of all the bikes I sold, I wish I still had the Honda Hawk NT650GT. It was light, torquey and handled great...
The Hawk was a great bike, my brother bought one new and I rode it a fair amount. But it you liked that you really ought to try an SV650, all the goodness of the Hawk with 20 more horsepower.
 

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MaxSpieler,

So I have went with the following bike in the following order ( * ) denotes I still own :

Honda XL75 -my Learning bike
Yamaha RM100 - Dirt to learn fundamentals
Suzuki GS 650 G - my daily commuter to high school for 2 years, Probably did about 50K miles on that bike
Honda Hawk NT650GT (LOVED THIS BIKE). - Owned my last year in High school
Suzuki Bandit 1200 - Did a lot of canyon carving in Arizona. Runs cold and shifts like a dream. Very Comforatblle
Kawasaki GPz900R - Many mountain curve riding in Japan. Dated and a bit heavy but sweet sound from stock pipes.
BMW R1200GS - This bike is so versatile as tourer or adventure but. Most comfortable for long rides.
Kawasaki Concours 1400 - Ok for sport touring, but you don't want to be on bumpy roads. Too much power.
BMW R1200GS Adventure. - Too tall, emphasized the weight up high. Large gas tank added a lot of Lbs.
BMW F800GT - Too buzzy at highway speeds, wasn't fun as a tourer two up.
BMW F800GS * - Good balance not as buzzy, but comfortable. Gearing feels better than F800GT.
BMW K1300S. - NICE!!!! But with 175HP you run out of road before you run out of gears. Comfy for what it was.
Bimota Tesi 3D 1100 * Lighter than Ninja 400 but with 100hp and loads of torque
BMW K1200GT. - Same as C14, too heavy. Great on the road. Wind make bike wonder.
and now Ninja 400 * - It is fun for the track and riding through the mountains. For me needs more HP ( lets say 65hp would be golden).

Of all the bikes I sold, I wish I still had the Honda Hawk NT650GT. It was light, torquey and handled great. Looking at my list of bikes owned since 1989 to now, there are only a few that stand out as far as a good balance of comfort and power. The Bandit 1200, R1200GS, F800GS are excellent bikes for touring or two up riding. Pletty of torque for hillclimbing twisting and never struggled with a passenger. I have also been longing to get another Bandit 1200 or 1250. My worse bikes were the Kawasaki C14, BMW K1200GT and BMW F800GT. The C14 and K1200GT were just too heavy and you always dread slipping in a parking lot on gravel, dropping and not being able to pick up. The power of the C14 was also a bit excessive for sport touring.

Would I recommend going to a Ninja 1000SX? If the Ninja 400 was your first bike....."No". Going from 45Hp to 142HP doesn't contribute to good learning via progression. Having progressed through the models with different HP and engine types, I learned there are some characteristics I like when riding for different styles and it has helped me pick the correct bikes for certain styles of riding (ie, adventure, touring, commuting). I have hit 145mph on track and through the deserts, but what is the most fun I have found is a bike that you can use all the power on the street or have a little in reserve for a passenger and luggage with being burdened by much more weight for the HP gain. My K1300S had way too much power, and although I used it for track days and could handle it, riding it was tiring and not as much fun as lighter bike I could get though all the gears on the track. I would recommend a larger twin or triple like the Tracer 9 GT.

As for me, I am 188 lbs and a guy in his late 40's that rides adventure, sport touring and race track days. I love riding and always try to give my honest opinion, especially to newer riders.

BTW, if you aren't riding keeping you bike in the power band like 7K and up to redline through twists then you definable are not ready for a big bore bike. Learn to use most of your bikes power before upgrading.
I can agree to a point(especially with your last statement), but it also depends on riding style and how people progress as riders.
A Ninja 400 will help a new rider achieve a higher level of corner speed and entry speed over a big cc bike.
It will not teach throttle modulation and control like a higher HP bike requires, unless riding on the limit at the track.
It won't teach someone how to brake at max either IMHO, unless on the track.
Taming 142hp is easily controlled by the right wrist, but you have to have the power on tap to learn how to respect it.
My C-14 is a great sport touring machine. I have modded suspension, but it was decent before the mods. I have never complained a bike had "too much power".
Ever.
My right wrist controls the power, my N1k or my C-14 can accelerate just like my N400 with right wrist control.
The reverse isn't true, and my 400 is pinned way more than the others.
My wife rides my Ninja 1000 now, and has a new appreciation for the throttle control required for bigger bikes
The fundamentals don't change though. Don't ride over your head, learn how to slow the bike before you learn how fast it will accelerate or go, ETC.
YMMV.
 
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