2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

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2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000
2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000
2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000
2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

– 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Review

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 the prestigious Motorcycle of the Year “MOTY” award from Motorcyclist magazine and a slot in Cycle World’s Ten Best collection as the “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 impressive 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.”




2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Features and Benefits

Key Features

• 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

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 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

Rider Interface

• 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

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


2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 – USA Specifications/Technical Details
US MSRP Price:
$11,199.00 USD

Engine Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four

Displacement 1,043cc

Bore x Stroke 77.0 x 56.0 mm

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 deg / 4.0 in.

Front Tire Size 120/70 ZR17

Rear Tire Size 190/55 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

Fuel Capacity 5.0 gal.

Seat Height 32.3 in.

Curb Weight 502.7 lbs.

Overall length 82.9 in.

Overall width 31.1 in.

Overall height 48.4 in.

Color Choices Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Micron Gray, Candy Lime Green / Ebony

Warranty 12 Months

Good Times™ Protection Plan 12, 24, 36, 48 months


2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 – Canadian Specifications/Technical Details
Canada MSRP Price:




2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 – UK/European Specifications/Technical Details
See UK/European Kawasaki Dealer for pricing.


Fuel system
Fuel injection:?38 mm x 4 (Keihin) with oval sub-throttles



Forced lubrication, wet sump

Engine type
Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke In-Line Four

1,043 cm3

Bore x stroke
77.0 x 56.0 mm

Compression ratio

Valve/Induction system
DOHC, 16 valves

Wet multi-disc, manual

Primary reduction ratio
1.627 (83/51)

Gear ratios: 1st
2.600 (39/15)

Gear ratios: 2nd
1.950 (39/20)

Gear ratios: 3rd
1.600 (24/15)

Gear ratios: 4th
1.389 (25/18)

Gear ratios: 5th
1.238 (26/21)

Gear ratios: 6th
1.136 (25/22)

Final reduction ratio
2.733 (41/15)

6-speed, return

Final Drive
Sealed chain

Frame type
Aluminium twin-tube

24.5°/ 102 mm

Wheel travel, front
120 mm

Wheel travel, rear
138 mm

Tyre, front
120/70ZR17M/C (58W)

Tyre, rear
190/50ZR17M/C (73W)

Steering angle, left / right
31° / 31°

Suspension, front
41 mm inverted fork with stepless compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability

Suspension, rear
Horizontal Back-link, gas-charged, with stepless rebound damping and cam-style spring preload adjustability

Brakes, front
Dual semi-floating 300 mm petal discs
Dual radial-mount, opposed 4-piston

Brakes, rear
Single 250 mm petal disc

Dimensions (L x W x H)
2.105 x 790 x 1.170/1.230 mm

Ground Clearance
135 mm

1,445 mm

Seat height
820 mm

Fuel capacity
19 litres

Curb Mass
228 kg / 231 kg (ABS)

Maximum power
101.5kW {138 PS} / 9,600 rpm

Maximum torque
110 N?m {11.2 kgfom} / 7,800 rpm




2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 – Australian Specifications/Technical Details
Australia MSRP Price:


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