Ninja 650 goes on a power trip

A 5% gain in power mar­ried to a 4.5kg re­duc­tion in mass add up to a big dif­fer­ence

MCN - - This Week In MCN - JAMES ARCHIBALD james.archibald@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

KAWASAKI NINJA 650 Price £6549 Fuel 15 litres @ 50mpg = 165 mile range Weight 193kg Seat 790mm Power 63bhp Torque 49ftlb

It’s a com­mon prob­lem. All new mo­tor­cy­cles these days are fes­tooned with heavy, and of­ten un­sightly, ex­haust sys­tems that fea­ture ever-grow­ing cat­alytic con­vert­ers. In­stalled by man­u­fac­tur­ers as they bat­tle to meet ever more strin­gent emis­sion reg­u­la­tions, they’re a nec­es­sary, and power-sap­ping, evil. And so the hunt com­menced for a new sys­tem for the Ninja 650. Af­ter con­sid­er­ing the usual sus­pects – the Akrapovic sys­tem from Kawasaki costs a meaty £1029.95, while a Yoshimura stain­less Al­pha sys­tem is cheaper at £752 – I fi­nally set­tled on an Ar­row sys­tem, at just £655. The new Ar­row sys­tem does away with the cat­alytic con­verter, and in los­ing the Euro4 re­stric­tions the en­gine is able to breathe more freely. The man­i­fold pipes are stain­less steel and the si­lencer fin­ished in car­bon fi­bre and Ni­crom (an al­loy with stain­less steel). Help­fully, it puts the Ninja on a diet – los­ing a hefty 4.447kg over the stock sys­tem (8.02kg stock, com­pared to the Ar­row’s 3.573kg). I had the sys­tem fit­ted at Chris Walker’s Kawasaki deal­er­ship in Gran­tham while the bike was hav­ing its sec­ond ser­vice. I’d cho­sen CWK as the place to go, be­cause they also have a dyno, al­low­ing me to mea­sure any gains and changes. The re­sults proved to be in­ter­est­ing, too. Kawasaki claim 67bhp at the crank for the 650 and the dyno re­vealed 60.38bhp at the back wheel. With an av­er­age loss of around 10% be­tween the crank and rear wheel – pretty much what I ex­pected.

‘The Ninja feels more re­spon­sive through­out the rev range’

With the Ar­row sys­tem fit­ted, we got a mea­sured 63.48bhp at the wheel, mean­ing an in­crease of 3.1bhp, which doesn’t sound im­pres­sive, but that’s a 5% power gain – and you can feel it. There were gains across the whole rev range that av­er­aged be­tween 2-3bhp, and there’s more to come by cre­at­ing a be­spoke fuel map – as it’s run­ning a lit­tle lean on the Ar­row sys­tem. So a fuel mod­ule went on the shop­ping list, but there isn’t one avail­able for the 650 right now. That means that the only route open to me at the mo­ment is get­ting the ECU re­flashed to ad­just the orig­i­nal fuel map. The ex­tra gains, though small, are no­tice­able. The Ninja feels that lit­tle bit more re­spon­sive through­out the rev range, and even the 4.5kg loss is tan­gi­ble, mak­ing the bike feel a lit­tle more nim­ble now it doesn’t have to lug the ex­tra weight around. It’s been an all-round boost for the nifty Ninja.

UPDATE7 4832 MILES Ar­row are right up there amongst the most de­sir­able af­ter­mar­ket ex­haust sys­tems

Big mileage rider who en­joys be­ing on a bike what­ever the weather or sea­son Height 5ft 11in Weight 80kg

You’ll be do­ing a lot of this if you’re a high-mileage Ninja rider – it has 3500 mile ser­vice in­ter­vals

MCN’s Ninja gets put through its paces on the dyno at Chris Walker Kawasaki

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