‘What’s it like, mis­ter?’

3000 miles and eight weeks later, James an­swers your Ninja queries

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garagae - james.archibald@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

I’ve done just shy of 3000miles on the Kawasaki Ninja 650 in the last eight weeks. I’ve used it for ev­ery­thing from short com­mutes, to long trips, to sunny(ish) Sun­day blasts. So now I’m build­ing up quite a good idea of what the bike is like to live with.

The Ninja has been get­ting quite a lot of in­ter­est with MCN read­ers and peo­ple have been in touch with ques­tions, so I thought I’d post some of the com­mon ones I’ve been asked.

Do you find the sus­pen­sion a bit wal­lowy and can you ad­just it? Heidi Smith As a bud­get ori­en­tated bike, the sus­pen­sion is pretty ba­sic on the 650. The forks have no ad­just­ment at all and the rear has preload ad­just­ment only – which is awk­ward to change and in­volves taking off a side­panel.

I was pleas­antly sur­prised to find that the sus­pen­sion is ac­tu­ally more ef­fec­tive than some units I’ve tried on bikes that cost more, which I think says quite a lot for the bike given that it only costs £6500. When push­ing on, it starts to strug­gle on en­ter­tain­ing back roads and I plan on re­plac­ing the rear shock and the fork in­ter­nals later in the year to see what im­prove­ments can be made.

In ev­ery­day rid­ing sce­nar­ios and for com­mut­ing though, it is per­fectly ad­e­quate. Over­all, I think Kawasaki have done OK with the sus­pen­sion.

How are you find­ing the Ninja over­all and how is it on the mo­tor­way? John Allen It might not have the grunt of a proper ZX-6R but I’m find­ing that it’s enough for ev­ery­day sce­nar­ios and does the job of of­fer­ing heaps of fun on twisty roads. Also, its semi-sport­ing feel is great for help­ing egg you on when you get on some belt­ing B-roads.

Thank­fully there’s not as much weight on your wrists as on a nor­mal sports­bike, mak­ing it com­fort­able for mo­tor­way miles too. I’ve done a few big­ger trips on it now with a trip to

Dart­mouth be­ing the long­est so far. It was about four and a half hours and I was com­fort­able for the whole ride.

It’ll eas­ily sit at 70mph at about 6000rpm, and will top out at about 120mph. And its torque of­fers enough grunt to get you there with ease. How far will a full tank of petrol get you? Ni­tish Nair Good ques­tion! In the­ory the 15-litre tank ought to re­turn a range of 163 miles based on the 49.41 av­er­age mpg the bike has been re­turn­ing – which isn’t too bad.

What’s less wel­come is that the fuel light starts wink­ing at me af­ter as lit­tle as 100-120 miles. If I pull over and fill up at this point the tank will only take be­tween ten and 13 litres, mean­ing there is plenty left be­fore I am forced to start push­ing!

What I don’t re­ally un­der­stand is how a re­serve tank should last 50-60 miles, in my mind it should surely be used for maybe half of that range as I find it quite un­nerv­ing to find that the re­serve light is flash­ing at me, even if it is do­ing so un­nec­es­sar­ily.

I’ll have to strap a ready can on the back and do a proper test of the range.

How good is the bike at stop-go traf­fic speeds? Does the en­gine feel jerky and heavy? Joshua Ryan The Ninja 650 makes a bril­liant commuter bike. The mo­tor is fru­gal and very easy to live with. It’s very for­giv­ing and friendly when you are us­ing the bike in slow mov­ing traf­fic, mak­ing it a dod­dle to get on with when ne­go­ti­at­ing four-wheeled ob­sta­cles in the city.

The clutch ac­tion is light which makes it easy to feather with­out putting too much strain on your fore­arms – the re­laxed seat­ing po­si­tion helps too. It’s also a nice bike to fil­ter on. The pro­file of the Ninja is pretty nar­row, mean­ing that its sim­ple to thread be­tween cars.

‘The sporty feel is great for egging you on when you find belt­ing B-roads’

‘That cor­ner was so good, I’ll do it again’

Ped’s sit­ting on his fet­tling stool… UP­DATE 3 2943 MILES

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.