THE GLOVES ARE OFF
With the first service done, James is getting to grips with the Ninja 650
After a week of gentle riding, the Ninja 650 reached its first service interval, and with the bike checked over and the oil and filter changed, it was time for some proper fun.
The 650 is proving to be a great machine. And, while it won’t give you the performance or specification of a full-on sportsbike, I’m finding it more than enough for everyday riding with plenty left in reserve for some decent thrills on the backroads.
I decided to take a blast over to Donington via the excellent A6006 for the opening MCE British Superbike races. The weather was glorious and the roads empty enough to encourage a heavy-handed approach to the throttle. Perfect.
I found the suspension a little wallowy, especially when pressing on. The lack of adjustment on the forks and the simple-but-awkwardto-get-to, preload-adjustable rear shock highlight the Kawasaki’s budget attitude.
It’s to be expected and certainly doesn’t detract from what is a very capable bike. For city riding and my commute, it’s perfectly adequate and doesn’t feel like a bike that costs just £6.5k. It still feels better than the suspension on some more expensive machines.
One area that highlights the cost saving most though is the Dunlop Sportmax D214 rubber that come as standard on the Ninja. The tyres really don’t suit the machine very well at all, giving poor feedback on dry days and even less when riding in the wet.
To see if I could improve matters, I’ve replaced them with a set of Metzeler Roadtec 01s (£261.75) and