The Kawasaki Ninja is one of the world’s most popular and loved motorcycle names.
It is available in a wide range of engine sizes, each carrying different specific attributes but also equally celebrated with the Kawasaki signature reliability.
They are often held up as great examples of sportbikes suitable for beginners to use.
This article answers the question: Is The Kawasaki Ninja Comfortable?…
Is The Kawasaki Ninja Comfortable?
In general, the Kawasaki Ninja is frequently praised for its comfortable seating for the driver, especially on all models up to the most recent model years in 2020 and 2021. Some have criticized the latest models because the seat is marginally narrower.
That has benefits when being used as a performance bike, but makes it somewhat less comfortable over distance.
Older models are very comfortable over long distances, though.
It is not so comfortable at a distance, however, if you are riding on the pillion.
This has been described as very uncomfortable at distance.
Is Ninja Good For A Road Trip?
Generally speaking, yes the Kawasaki Ninja is good for a road trip, as long as you take at least the Ninja 400 or 650 or above.
The smaller units are good for city and hobby riding, but not so good over distance.
First, the Ninja 400 and above are suitable (and legally able) to ride on the freeways and expressways in the US.
They are not limited to road types.
In fact, neither are the smaller 250cc engines, but they don’t have as good a cruising speed.
With a Ninja 400 and 600, you get comfortable seating as the driver.
As we mentioned above, however, an extended road trip would be very uncomfortable for a pillion rider.
Second, the Ninja has a comfortable seating height of between 31-33 inches.
Even the high-cc models are between 32 and 33 inches.
This makes a comfortable riding position over distance with most riders not feeling too cramped.
Next, the length of the bikes means most riders can find a comfortable body and arm position when riding, either leaning forward or sitting more upright.
The 400 is 1,990mm in length, and the 1000 is about 2,110mm in length.
Such a range makes for a good and comfortable distance for handlebar reach.
What’s more, you can easily attach luggage to the rear of the bike for an extended road trip.
Finally, the Ninja range is great for road trips because they are powered by Kawasaki’s signature 4-cylinder engines which are among the most reliable of any motorcycle out there.
For all of these reasons, people often call the Kawasaki Ninja a “Sport Tourer.”
What Are The Most Comfortable Seating Positions?
As we mentioned further above, the Kawasaki Ninja models have differing seat heights, but all within a close range.
Below you’ll find the heights of current models (excluding hypersport):
- Ninja 400 ($4,999) – Seat height: 30.9 inches
- Ninja 650 ($7,599) – Seat height: 31.69 inches
- Ninja 1000 ABS ($12,999) – Seat height: 32.1 inches
- Ninja ZX6R ($10,199) – Seat height: 32.7 inches
- Ninja ZX10R ($16,399) – Seat height: 32.9 inches
- Ninja ZX14R ($15,199) – Seat height: 31.5 inches
Because the Kawasaki Ninja bikes are “Sport” bikes by their main category, their seating heights are higher than the typical cruiser bikes.
A normal cruiser – like the Kawasaki Vulcan, for example – has a seat height between 26 and 29 inches.
The Vulcan we just mentioned is 27.8 inches.
So, what are the best and most comfortable seating positions for bikes at this height?
When riding for a longer distance, a standard upright position with a very slight forward lean of about 6 degrees is the most comfortable.
This position is suitable for bikes with seating heights similar to the Ninja models mentioned above, especially the 650 and higher.
It gives your legs a wider 108-degree angle.
You’re a bit less aerodynamic, but for a long road trip, comfort has to be the goal.
If you’re traveling short distances, then the more suitable position is the tucked sport position.
In this position, you have a 25-degree forward lean and your knees are almost at right angles.
The tucked position is more comfortable when you have a higher seat height to work with, such as 33 inches or more.
It gives more room to be tucked by not too tightly, especially if you’re a taller rider.
This position is also great for taking fast corners and when you’re in a high-performance situation but is not well suited for distance driving because maintaining the position for a long time is hard on the body.
Relaxed Cruising Position
Besides the standard upright and tucked sport positions, other bikes with lower seat heights are best suited to the relaxed cruising position.
If you have a seat height of about 27-29 inches, as many cruising bikes do, then you can sit absolutely upright with no forward lean.
Your knee angle is very wide and your feet are out to your front.
This more open position is what gives the cruiser rider their superior comfort.
Their forearms are virtually flat meaning there’s no strain as they hold the handlebars comfortably for mile after mile.
Is Kawasaki Ninja Easygoing In Heavy Traffic and Small Streets?
The Kawasaki Ninja range is quite well known for its fuel efficiency, which makes it quite a good bike for environments in which traffic might be slow and fuel consumption goes up.
- Ninja 400 averages about 60mpg in the city (25.5km/l)
- Ninja 650 averages about 49mpg in the city (21km/l)
- Ninja 1000 averages about 44.6mpg in the city (19km/l)
This level of efficiency means that even in the heavy traffic of the city, you are not guzzling away the gas as you do with some other motorcycles.
On small streets, the bike is also very comfortable with a width of just 710mm for the Ninja 400 up to 825mm on the Ninja 1000.
Combine that with great and responsible handling and you have a bike that’s very comfortable on small streets just as it is on large avenues and even freeways and expressways.
The typical turning circle on a Kawasaki Ninja is also around 3m (9.8ft), which makes it capable of maneuvering well even when it finds itself in a tight position.
Models That Are Comfortable Vs. Models That Are Less Comfortable
The Kawasaki Ninja has a long history.
In general, the most comfortable models are the older ones, and the somewhat less comfortable ones are the newest, especially if you are the passenger.
Below are some examples of the most and least comfortable:
- Ninja GPZ 900R – The original Ninja not only looked cool and was powered by a 16-valve liquid-cooled engine, but it also had a wide and comfortable seat for both rider and passenger.
- Ninja ZX10 “Tomcat” – This one enjoyed only a short production run in the 1980s, but had very supportive contoured seats for the rider and passenger which made for comfortable riding.
- Ninja ZX7R – This model featured a large 749cc engine that wasn’t for beginners, but at least the seat was broad and supportive for both rider and passenger.
- Ninja 1000 (Z1000) – While some have put this model down for various reasons, the seating on it was perfect for when you wanted a comfortable upright riding position, which makes a very comfy choice for distance riding.
- Ninja 500 – This Ninja featured seats that looked pleasing from the outset, but were not well contoured to rider or passenger. It certainly wasn’t comfortable on long rides.
- Ninja 250R – For a rider starting out, this bike is good in many ways, but nobody bought this one to be comfortable. The sharp corners and narrower seats showed this bike was built for dynamism. At least it wasn’t further impacted by rough suspension.
- Early Ninja 1000R – This bike was mostly a problem because of its ungainly size, especially the rear wheel. The size and narrow seat didn’t make it very comfortable, either. It was mechanically reliable, and perhaps built for a certain kind of performance fan, but for any kind of cruising or distance, it was problematic comfort-wise.
- Ninja ZX10R (2011) – The 2011-2012 model year was not a good one for the Ninja ZX10R. The bike experienced oil leaks, which led to a huge recall involving some 55,000 bikes. On top of the danger, factor was the angular and less-than-comfortable seating for distance riding. The bike had great racing dynamics, though.
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