Kawasaki Unveils Two New 2013 Ninja Models At Times Square Event

Kawasaki shut down New York’s Time Square on September 13 to reveal their 2013 Ninja lineup, including two brand new models, the Ninja ZX-6R and Ninja 300.  Both models are available with optional ABS.  Yes, technically the Ninja ZX-6R has been in production since 1995.  But for 2013, it gets a brand new 636 cc engine, up from previous models’ 599 cc.  And, yes again, the ZX-6R has been offered with the 636 cc displacement, but not since 2006, and that was nothing like this year’s model.

Dubbed the “Ninja Times Square Takeover,” the event shut down Broadway from 45th to 47th streets.  Also on hand were the 1984 Ninja Tom Cruise rode in the movie Top Gun and the 1973 Ninja Z1, known as the world’s first superbike.  Kawasaki snarled New York traffic from 10am to 8pm and streamed the event on their website.

Team Green divides the Ninja lineup between two classifications, Sport and Supersport, the latter the home of the Ninja ZX models.  Powering all of the 2013 Ninjas is a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC engines and have six-speed transmissions.  The Ninja ZX models have inline four-cylinder engines, as does the Ninja 1000.  The Ninja 650 and the new Ninja 3000 have parallel twin-cylinder engines.  All of the 2013 Ninja models are available with anti-lock brakes.

The New 2013 Ninjas

Kawasaki has been the leader in Sportbike sales in the U.S. for the past few years and the introduction of these two new models seem to be a move to retain that spot, especially in light of increased competition.  The most notable element in each of the new Ninja models is the increased displacement from previous models, but there is more to both of these bikes than bigger engines.

2013 Ninja ZX-6R and Ninja ZX-6R ABS

To get the Ninja ZX-6R engine up to 636 cc from last year’s 599 cc Kawasaki stretched the stroke of each cylinder by 2.6 mm to 45.1 mm while the bore remains 67 mm.  The additional displacement improves both low- and mid-range torque.  Other enhancements to the engine include redesigned input and exhaust ports that improve throttle response.  Camshafts, pistons, airbox and fuel injectors also were improved.  A new high-tech F.C.C. clutch helps manage the increased power of the 2013 Ninja ZX-6R with slipper and assist functions.  The new clutch is lighter and serves to reduce rear wheel hop when downshifting.

The new Ninja ZX-6R gets two engine power modes, “Full” and “Low,” which can be selected by the rider via a switch on the left handlebar.  “Full” mode, as you might guess, allows the engine to operate to the full capacity of available power.  In “Low” mode the engine output is limited to 80 percent of max as the bike gets into mid-range rpm.  Softer throttle response is another aspect of operating in “Low” mode, which is helpful in dealing with slippery road conditions.

An upgraded, three-mode traction control system, Kawasaki TRaction Control (KTRC) debuts on the 2013 Ninja ZX-6R.  The KTRC switch is on the left handlebar and allows the rider to choose between Mode 1, maximum racetrack performance; Mode 2, sporty street performance; and Mode 3, wheel spin reduction on slippery surfaces; or the rider may turn the system off.

In Mode 1 and 2 the KTRC prioritizes maximum forward acceleration by predicting when traction is about to be compromised and kicks in before slippage exceeds the optimum acceleration range.  Modes 1 and 2 regulate ignition timing to adjust power output.  In Mode 3, the system will adjust ignition timing, fuel delivery and the intake tract’s sub-throttles to allow the rear wheel to regain traction.  Front and rear wheel-speed sensors and complex software monitor and confirm operating parameters 200 times per second to determine when to intervene.

Combining the KTRC and engine power modes gives the rider eight combinations to choose from, depending on experience level, ride location and road conditions.

New bodywork gives the 2013 Ninja ZX-6R a more aggressive look.  Increased airflow and heat dissipation come via larger fairing openings.  The new body gets a one-piece front fender with projector beam headlights and semi-flush turn signals.  In the rear are a compact LED taillight, compact turn signals and “hugger” fender.  Instrumentation includes an analog tachometer and an LED multi-function screen with indicators for Power Mode, KTRC setting and Economical Riding (ECO).  There are also a digital speedo, odometer, dual trip meters, clock, instant and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature, low-fuel warning light and shift indicator.

2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Specs  

A 636 cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, fuel-injected, inline four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder powers the Ninja ZX-6R.  Compression ratio is 12.9:1.  The bike has a six-speed transmission with a chain final drive.  Dual 310 mm petal rotors with dual radial-mount four-piston monobloc calipers in front and a single 220 mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper in the rear provide braking power.  Anti-lock brakes are optional.

The suspension system includes an adjustable 41 mm inverted front fork with 4.7 inches of travel and an adjustable rear shock with 5.3 inches of travel.  Seat height is 32.7 inches and wheelbase is 54.9 inches.  The fuel tank holds 4.5 gallons and wet weight is 423.4 pounds on the base model, the ABS model weighs in at 427.8 pounds.  Color choices are Pearl Flat Stardust White and Flat Ebony, Metallic Spark Black and flat Ebony or Lime Green and Metallic Spark Black.  The bike comes with a 12 month limited warranty with additional coverage available up to 48 months with a Kawasaki Good Times Protection Plan.  MSRP on the 2013 Ninja ZX-6R is $11,699. Sticker on the ABS equipped model is $12,699.

2013 Ninja 300 and Ninja 300 ABS

Increasing the displacement of their entry-level Sportbike, from 249 cc on the venerable Ninja 250R to 296 cc on the brand new Ninja 300, signaled Kawasaki’s intentions to maintain its leadership in the American Sportbike market.  The Kawasaki press release stated it pretty plainly, “After years of unchallenged domination, the best-selling Ninja 250R Sportbike had finally begun to see competition from other manufacturers.”  Most notably Honda’s CBR250R.  “Make no mistake – it still outperformed the challengers…but why outperform, when you can totally dominate?”  (Emphasis is Kawasaki’s)

The increase in displacement on the Ninja 300 came through much the same manner as that of the Ninja ZX6R, by stretching the stroke, from the 41.2 mm of the Ninja 250R to 49 mm.  But Kawasaki didn’t stop at increased size on this engine; almost half of the parts on the powerplant have received upgrades.  That includes new intake ports and valves, a friction-reducing cam chain, lighter pistons, new crankcases, a larger volume oil pan and easy-access spin-on oil filter. Kawasaki revised the compression ratio, to 10.6:1, to allow the use of regular gasoline and lower operating temperatures.

Thicker gears on the six-speed transmission help handle the extra torque generated by the new, beefier engine.  Riders will have an easier time finding neutral when stopped thanks to a positive neutral finder.  The Ninja 300 also benefits from the F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions that reduce lever effort by about 25 percent.

The lightweight Ninja 300 also gets a new, stronger frame made of high-tensile steel main tubes that are 150 percent more rigid than those used in the Ninja 250R.  New bodywork features include a floating windscreen design that reduces buffeting, a dual-headlight design and separate rider and passenger seats.  Two helmet holders are tucked under the rear seat, there’s a two-stage under-seat storage compartment and four hooks that act as anchor points for securing more items to the bike.

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 Specs

Kawasaki gave the new Ninja 300 a 296 cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, parallel twin-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 10.6:1.  A six-speed transmission with chain final drive delivers power to the rear wheel.

There’s a single 290 mm petal-type disc brake with two-piston hydraulic caliper in the front with the same set up in the rear except the disc is 220 mm.  Rear suspension is a five-way adjustable Uni-Trak with 5.2 inches of travel.  The 37 mm hydraulic front fork has 4.7 inches of travel.  Anti-lock brakes are an available option.

Seat height is 30.9 inches, wheelbase is 55.3 inches and the Ninja 300 has a wet weight of 379.3 pounds.  The ABS equipped model weighs in at 383.7 pounds.  Fuel capacity is 4.5 gallons.  Color options are Pearl Stardust White, Ebony or Lime Green and Ebony.  The Ninja 300 comes with a 12 month limited warranty with the option to extend it up to 48 months with an optional Kawasaki Good Times Protection Plan.  The MSRP on the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 is $4,799.  The ABS equipped model retails for $5,499.

Returning 2013 Ninja ZX Models

Kawasaki brings back the rest of the Supersport Ninja ZX lineup for 2013.  The top-of-the-line Ninja ZX-14R and the Ninja ZX-10R.  Both of these bikes are available with optional anti-lock brakes.

2013 Ninja ZX-14R and Ninja ZX-14R ABS

Kawasaki gave the Ninja ZX-14R an almost total redesign for 2012.  For 2013, they add optional anti-lock brakes.  The Ninja ZX-14R has a massive 1,441 cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, sixteen-valve, inline four-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 12.3:1.  Chain final drive and a six-speed transmission transfer power to the rear wheel.  The Ninja ZX-14R also features Kawasaki’s KTRC traction control.

The suspension system includes a 43 mm, inverted-cartridge front fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping with 4.6 inches of travel.  There’s a Bottom-Lin, Uni-Trak, gas-charged rear shock with adjustable preload, rebound and compression damping and 4.9 inches of travel.

The front brake is a dual, semi-floating 310 mm petal disc with dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers.  A single 250 mm petal disc with twin-piston caliper provides rear braking.  Anti-lock braking is an option.

Seat height is 31.5 inches and wheelbase is 58.3 inches.  The Ninja ZX-14R holds 5.8 gallons of fuel and has a curb weight of 584.3 pounds.  Color options are Passion Red, Pearl Flat White, or Metallic Spark Black and Golden Blazed Green.  A 12 month limited warranty is standard and optional extended coverage up to 48 months is available with a Kawasaki Good Times Protection Plan.  The base model 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R MSRP is $14,999.  With ABS, the base price is $15,999.

2013 Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja ZX-10R ABS

2013 Kawasaki ZX-10R

Right in the middle of the Ninja ZX lineup is the Ninja ZX-10R.  It has a 998 cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, sixteen-valve, inline four-cylinder engine with a 13.0:1 compression ratio.  The transmission is a six-speed with chain final drive.  The Ninja ZX-10R gets the sport version, S-KTRC of the Kawasaki traction control system and Power Mode selector.

Adjustable suspension, a 43 mm inverted Big Piston Fork in the front with 4.7 inches of travel, and horizontal back-link with gas-charged rear shock and 5.5 inches of travel, provides the rider with a customized ride.  Front brakes are dual semi-floating 310 mm petal discs with dual four-piston radial-mount calipers.  In the rear, there’s a single 220 mm petal disc with aluminum single-piston caliper.

The Ninja ZX-10R has a seat height of 32 inches and wheelbase of 56.1 inches.  Fuel capacity is 4.5 gallons and wet weight is 436.6 pounds, ABS equipped models tip the scale at 443.2 pounds.  Color options are Lime Green and Metallic Spark Black or Pearl Flat White and Metallic Spark Black.  Kawasaki offers their standard limited 12-month warranty or extended coverage up to 48 months with a Good Times Protection Plan.  The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R base model has an MSRP of $14,299.  With ABS, the base price is $15,299.

Returning 2013 Street Ninja Models

The rest of the Kawasaki Ninja lineup is back for 2013.  There’s the Ninja 1000 and Ninja 650, both with optional ABS.

2013 Ninja 1000 and Ninja 1000 ABS

The liter version Ninja has a 1,043 cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, sixteen-valve, inline four-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 11.8:1.  It has a six-speed transmission and chain final drive.

Suspension on the Ninja 1000 is adjustable, with a 41 mm, inverted, cartridge front fork and a horizontal rear monshock with 5.4 inches of travel.  Front dual 300 mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers and a single rear 250 mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper provide stopping power.

Seat height on the Ninja 1000 is 32.3 inches and wheelbase is 56.9 inches.  Fuel capacity is 5 gallons and the wet weight is 509.4 pounds.  The Ninja 1000 is available in Metallic Stardust White or Candy Lime Green.  It comes with a standard, limited 12-month warranty and optional coverage of up to 48 months with a Good Times Protection Plan.  The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 has a base MSRP of $11,399.  The ABS equipped model is priced at $12,099.

2013 Ninja 650 and Ninja 650 ABS

Rounding out the 2013 Ninja lineup, the Ninja 650 sports a 649 cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, four-valve, parallel twin-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 10.8:1.  Like the rest of the Ninja family, it has a six-speed tranny with chain final drive.

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650

A 41 mm, hydraulic, telescopic front fork with 4.9 inches and a single offset, laydown shock with adjustable spring preload and 5.1 inches of travel provide the bike’s suspension.  The front brake is dual 300 mm petal discs with two-piston calipers and the rear brake is a single 220 mm disc with single piston caliper.

Seat height on the bike is 31.7 inches and wheelbase is 55.5 inches.  The fuel tank holds 4.2 gallons and wet weight is 460.8 pounds.  The ABS equipped model weighs 465.3 pounds.  Color options are Pearl Stardust White, Candy Thunder Blue or Metallic Flat Spark Black.  The standard Kawasaki limited 12-month warranty and optional coverage up to 48 months with a Good Times Protection Plan are available.  For 2013, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 has a base MSRP of $7,599.  The 2013 Ninja 650 ABS is priced at $8,099.

More Information On The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja Lineup

You can research the entire line of Ninja models, compare them to similar motorcycles from other manufacturers and find dealers in your area right here on PowerSportsTV.com.

The Supersport Candy Store

The best part about surviving the Great Recession is the opportunity to reward ourselves to a bit of the sweet life. For the sake of this article, let’s say you want to buy the supersport you have always wanted. Unfortunately, it’s not a cake walk when trying to decide which sport bike to choose as there are plenty of options to give you pause: color & design, speed & performance, comfort & rideability. In the end however, the final decision will not depend on the bike, but rather on you.

First off, just put aside the thought that you want the “fastest one”. As far as which model is faster within its own class, this is a matter of splitting hairs…we are not talking about seconds, try milliseconds. You would need the equipment NASA uses to measure photons to determine which manufacture has the fastest machine. Your decision should be based on something more personal, let’s explore what I mean by this.

We all remember being kids and walking into our local candy store. Our eyes would light up with all the delicious morsels of shiny wrapped chocolates and sweets that would beckon to us until we began to salivate. Well, if you would like to experience a little déjà vu, just walk into your local motorcycle dealership. Just bring a bib because all the delicious morsels wrapped in shiny-stickered ABS plastics will be beckoning to you until you salivate. Once you conclude your little flash back, you are going to have to decide which one to take home.

Now there are a number of practical guidelines one can use to narrow the field down. As with any new relationship, the first thing you are going to notice is appearance. Now, tastes are as diverse as the people who have them, so lucky for us those crafty graphic design studios considered this before introducing the 2012 models. There is something for everyone, Yamaha’s Blue, Honda’s red & pearl white, Kawi green and Suzuki yellow. The color schemes are phenomenal and the aggressive styling of these machines serves both function & form.

2012 Honda CBR 600RR

The majority of this decision will be in the details, such as where you prefer your exhaust to sit. For example, all three of the Gixxers have the stock exhaust (like you’re not going to upgrade) sitting rightside low.  In contrast, the YZF-R1 carries an under-seat exhaust and the R6 brandishes a stubby-shotgun style. Each exhaust system serves its function, creating back pressure and expelling the waste from the combustion chamber, but are designed differently with one purpose in mind; to give each model a distinct look. Headlights are another feature that is geared towards aesthetics. While three of the brands, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda all provide duel headlights on their supersports, the Gixxer alone retains a single housing.

2012 Yamaha YZF R1

Now when considering all the options, don’t panic, you have been here before. As that kid in the candy store you were eventually successful in choosing between caramel nougat or chocolate-covered orange peels. This is the same thing, just with a lot less calories. The next thing you should consider is performance. This can be broken down into two categories: the 600’s and the 1000’s (also known as the literbikes). There is one exception to this categorical separation and I’ll touch on that later. To decide which class is right for you, there are some simple questions you should ask yourself. Things like: is it on my bucket list to break the sound barrier? Or, how many Mclaren F1 owners do I want to send crying home before having to get gas? There are also insurance premiums to think about and experience should play a role in this decision as well.  If you said yes and 8 to the first two questions, then a literbike (1000 class) maybe right for you.

Literbikes are absolute hammers. These machines accelerate faster than almost anything else on the planet. They are not only fast, they are powerful. How powerful you ask? If you were to purchase a car with the same power/weight ratio as say the R1, which is an estimated 152hp/454lbs, you would have to purchase a car with 1018hp weighing 3000lbs. As a base of reference, at the mere asking price of $650,000, the Ferrari Enzo is a little more than halfway there. It produces 660 ponies and weighs a slender 3010lbs. So, in essence you would have to strip down the car and drop it out of an airplane with a cement block on the accelerator to produce the same results as the R1.

You will hear time & again that literbikes are not for novice riders, I’m not so sure about that. The R1 mentioned above is only 152hp at a certain rpm. If a novice had the self-control to respect the throttle, I don’t see a reason why he/she couldn’t grow with the bike. There are plenty of advantages to riding a literbike. This class tends to feel more stable and planted mostly due to the extra weight. The liters have exceptional power throughout the entire ban so you’ll never be without enough throttle. I personally spent 2 of my 3 years riding an R6 wishing for something w/a little more torque. That’s not to say there was anything disappointing about the 6, I was just ready for something bigger.  When I bought my 929, I knew right away that this was the class for me.

As far as the 600 class goes, these bikes are ideal for those who enjoy ridding without the urge to escape earth’s gravity. The 6’s are exceptionally agile, light and quick. All are responsive to the riders every movement and phenomenal for some curb-hugging action. The 6 class is also more economical then their big bothers. Not so much in fuel economy, as 1000RR gets the same MPG’s as the 600RR (depending on how you ride it) but rather in insurance premiums and total costs. As far as sex appeal goes, the 6 class isn’t short on looks. They are as hot & bothered as their liter counterparts…in fact, GSXR family of supersports are triplets; only a trained eye can tell them apart.

This brings me to the bastard of the bunch, the GSX-R 750. Many riders find a happy medium with this model as it combines the power of the liters w/the agility of the 6’s. Being only $600 dollars more than its 6 class understudy makes it an attractive option as well.

2012 Suzuki GSX-R 750

In the end, there are no wrong choices here. Some of us prefer Snickers while others dream black licorice (yuck!). Whatever your flavor, enjoy the sweet ride that comes with the mouth-watering recipe of a supersport.