The Kawasaki Ninja 650R
has been a loyal performer since coming to market. It also has provided tons of fun to owners. When you have a winning recipe, there's no need to change it. All you have to do is to improve it -- and that's exactly what the Japanese manufacturer did for 2009. The Ninja 650R comes back with significant upgrades and a more aggressively-styled bodywork. What's more, there's an all-new naked variant of the twin-cylinder sport bike. Called ER-6N
, it will take on other medium-displacement streetfighter-type machines.
|The Ninja 650R comes back with significant upgrades and a more aggressively-styled bodywork.
A compact engine design and an innovative chassis with an horizontal single-shock rear suspension are the main attributes that have allowed the Ninja 650R to stand out from the competition. For 2009, Kawasaki engineers considerably improved the singular architecture. Both the frame and swingarm have been revised; the former is now less rigid for better torsional flexibility, while the latter is stronger to ensure an overall chassis rigidity that's similar to previous models. Meanwhile, the suspensions have been recalibrated to match exactly these new changes. Elsewhere, more flexible rubber mounts for the engine help reduce unwanted vibrations.
In terms of ergonomics, the narrower frame just aft of the fuel tank enables a slim seat design, making the reach to the ground even easier. The good news is that the riding position stays the same; in fact, in my opinion, it's the highlight of the Ninja. Neither too high nor too low, it offers a sporty riding feel and surprising comfort. Also, from now on, the passenger will benefit from added support thanks to improved seat padding and longer aluminum grips. No ABS brakes
With regard to braking, the 2009 Ninja 650R features dual 300-mm front petal discs and a 220-mm rear petal disc. Also in the mix are a new front brake master cylinder with 14-mm piston and 27-mm twin-piston front brake calipers. Unfortunately, there is no antilock braking system on the menu, as opposed to its European counterpart and its arch nemesis, the Suzuki SFV 650
From a design standpoint, the new Ninja boasts a more dynamically-styled fairing. The body sides and steering head are much wider than the previous model's, contributing to a big-bike look. The new styling is the product of a cross between the ZX-10R and the 2005 ZZ-R1200. With such a redesigned bodywork, protection against the elements as well as lighting should be improved. Moreover, there's an all-new MotoGP-style digital instrument panel.
|With regard to braking, the Ninja 650R features dual 300-mm front petal discs and a 220-mm rear petal disc.