Developing a brand-new motorcycle is a difficult undertaking to say the least. Attempting to improve upon an existing platform that has an existing and loyal following is an even more difficult proposition. Team Green clearly had their work cut out for them when they set out to revamp the new-for-2011 Ninja 1000
|A truly phenomenal bike in every respect, the ZX-10R is purpose-built for one thing – speed. (Photo: Dustin A. Woods)
I doubt that there are many Canadian motorcycle enthusiasts who wouldn’t enjoy trading places with Jordan Szoke for a weekend. Second in Parts Canada Superbike Series on his Kawasaki, there aren’t many who could actually fill his riding boots, for a myriad of reasons. Not only from a talent standpoint, but most riders larger than a jockey who are old enough to shave are generally beyond the point where riding a supersport for more than a few hours is even an option.
A truly phenomenal bike in every respect, the ZX-10R
is purpose-built for one thing – speed. Ergonomics aren’t entirely an afterthought, but they also aren’t the top priority. Enter the Ninja family of motorcycles; a selection of steeds that offer race bike styling and technology that is better suited for the street.
The old adage of “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” is as true today as it ever was, but the performance capabilities of contemporary race bikes have far outpaced those of the typical rider, not to mention the speed limits of our fair nation. Aside from competition or the occasional lapping day at the track, you can hardly skim the surface of their power potential before risking incarceration, and they aren’t exactly comfortable on the long haul.
Why would manufacturers even bother making bikes that are capable of speeds well into the triple digits? Racing isn’t just about entertainment and marketing, it allows for valuable research that carries over to consumer products. Advancements in engine refinement, handling and aerodynamics can all trace their origins to race programs around the world.
Having the chance to log some serious miles on the Z1000 last summer, I fell in love with the torquey yet manageable 1,043-cc powerplant that also calls the Ninja 1000 home. Feeling like it could pull for days, the liquid-cooled, fuel injected inline-four runs out of road long before running out of torque. The Ninja 1000 rings in at $13,699, or five Sir Robert Borden’s more than the Z1000.
|The Ninja 1000 rings in at $13,699, or five Sir Robert Borden’s more than the Z1000. (Photo: Dustin A. Woods)