KAWASAKI NINJA 1000 SX AND VERSYS 1000 - TOURING TORPEDOS
Overdrive|October 2020
The Kawasaki Versys 1000 is an accomplished tourer, but the new Ninja 1000 SX will make you rethink your affinity for adventure tourers
ROHIT PARADKAR

The photos you see here are from the beautiful Malshej ghats near Mumbai. If you agree that Maharashtra completely transforms into green heaven during the monsoons, then places like Malshej are like the upper tier of that heaven. During that season, this place looks magical as the clouds descend on the peaks of the Kalsubai mountain all through the day, there is a mist around the vegetation and many flowing rivulets along the route add a sense of calm. A calm that is best enjoyed when you actually break it. Break it with the sound of a big engine howling down the mountain road. This time we had the right bikes for this green heaven too – a glitzy green Ninja 1000 and a sophisticated white Versys 1000.

The last time I rode a Kawasaki on these roads it was my own 2011 Ninja 650, which I used to call Fiona. I called her that because the size, colour, grunt and those giant mirrors mounted on the fairing always reminded me of Fiona, the lady-ogre from Shrek, and her peculiar ears. Somehow the Ninja 1000 reminded me of her too, maybe for the exact same reasons. But compared to the 650, 1000 sounds so much better, handles so much sharper and those ogre-eared mirrors on this one also feel like the crosshairs when gunning through the winding switchbacks. Surprisingly, the large, heavy, and tall Versys 1000 doesn’t fall too far behind when attacking these roads either. I would certainly call it Shrek if I had one (and only if it was green).

In fact, the Versys and the Ninja 1000 are tied together by the common thread of their engine and if you were to walk into a Kawasaki dealership to get yourself a touring machine for exploring roads like these, both could appeal you in their own unique ways. What would make the buying decision tougher is the marginal price difference between the two. In fact, that is the idea behind this story – figuring out which is the better buy.

The Ninja has lost a bit of design flair in the transition to the SX. Blame it on the fat and conventional single-sided exhaust can that replaces the four-pot unit similar to the Z1000. The petal brake rotors are gone too. But the sharp styling more than makes up for it all

Design

The designs are the first big distinguishing factor between the two motorcycles. The Ninja casts the silhouette of a forward-biased, sporty machine, while the Versys stands tall and wide like an adventure motorcycle. It is so big in fact that it even makes a set of sportbike-sized 120/180-section tyres look skinny. That gives it a very unique stance – one that might repel riders who are wary of top-heavy motorcycles or attract those who enjoy a large size on their touring machines. Over its three generations, the Versys has shed its bulbous design for sharper styling and the current one is the sharpest looking adv out there even without wearing a beak. That is thanks to its sports bike inspired nose section, the massive bits of fairings and shrouds behind it, and the rounded off-tank with the pronounced knee recesses.

But speaking of sportbike inspiration, the Ninja 1000 certainly looks the part with its sculpted fairing, the step-seats, clip-on bars, an exposed perimeter frame, and a sharp tail section. If you are transitioning from a supersport body style to something a bit more practical for sport touring, the Ninja 1000 would be a good bet. What you see here is the Ninja 1000 SX, which is slightly different to look at compared to the Ninja 1000 it replaces. Gone are the exhaust canisters on either side and in comes a more conventional, single-sided can. It’s interesting to see Kawasaki take this route, knowing that the system would incorporate all additional emissions curbing hardware required for the Euro V/BSVI norms – and the older setup would certainly allow more leeway. In taking this design direction, the SX seems to have lost a bit of its imposing stance, but on the other hand, it now looks more like a practical supersport than a faired-Z1000 and that’s a very good thing for its target audience.

Chassis and peripherals

While the perimeter frame is more or less similar on both motorcycles, there are obvious changes to the steering geometry for their respective riding styles. But the downside to this sharing, however, is that the steering yolk sits pretty low on the Versys and to compensate for it, it uses very tall handlebar mounts taller than most aftermarket handlebar risers that you will see on most advs. But despite that, the handlebar is still a tad bit low for standing up and riding, and the sportbike inspired tank makes it difficult to grip onto when standing. Furthermore, riders with adventure boots greater than size 11 could also find their right toe hitting the clutch casing often. The sum of this always gives you the feeling that the bike is going to throw you over the ‘bars when you stand up for the harsher stuffon the road.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM OVERDRIVEView All

BMW iX - First-Ever All-Electric Luxury Car

A close look at BMWs revolutionary new electric vehicle

4 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

Maruti Suzuki's Big Fightback

Maruti Suzuki will launch four SUVs in three years, priced between Rs 10 to 20 lakh along with upgrades to all its popular models

2 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

Rewriting The Rules With The MG Astor

The MG Astor’s great packaging makes it one of the top contenders in the mid-sized SUV segment

4 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

YAMAHA AEROX 155

Just when you thought the scooter segment in India was getting very intense, serious and slightly boring, Yamaha comes along with a bundle of joy

7 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

WE ARE INVESTING IN EVS NOT FOR THE CURRENT VOLUMES BUT FOR THE FUTURE

In an interview with Storyboard18, Santosh Iyer, VP - sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz India, spotlights the challenges of marketing an electric future and the key trends to watch for in 2022

3 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

HERO XPULSE 200 4V

Hero’s had yet another go at the Xpulse and have given it more “purpose” as a dual-purpose motorcycle

5 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

BRAKING MODES

Never have we ever had so much choice while braking!

3 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

SR 160 - 2022 APRILIA

Aprilia doll the SR range up with some new cosmetic bits in an attempt to keep it fresh and relevant

3 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN FACELIFT

Essentially the Tiguan Allspace, with two less seats and a brand new face

6 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021

2022 KIA CARENS

Set to breach 4 lakh sales in two years, Kia debuts the Carens to cover a gap in the MPV market

3 mins read
Overdrive
December 2021
RELATED STORIES

How Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader compares to the old one

Amazon’s latest revamp of its mid-tier e-reader is out now. Here’s what you get compared to the previous version.

3 mins read
PCWorld
December 2021

GIG APPS FOR A PANDEMIC ECONOMY: PART-TIME, NO COMMITMENT

For months, Gabrielle Walker had been looking for a part-time job. She applied to restaurant chains and retailers like Nando’s and Primark, and she scoured the job search site Indeed.

6 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #513

NOW CLOSED!

Carrera models encasing the manufacture Calibre Heuer 02 have been available since 2018, but the series lacked a classic version with a closed dial. Now TAG Heuer has closed that gap in the line in an attractive way.

7 mins read
Watch Time
March - April 2021

The Great Indoors

Hilton Carter thinks you should buy a plant.

9 mins read
Baltimore magazine
February 2021

Fiona Campbell

Based in Somerset, UK, Fiona Campbell creates largescale sculptural installations, which she approaches as drawings in space.

2 mins read
ArtTour International Magazine
Spring 2020

EUROPEAN DOCTORS WARN RARE KIDS' SYNDROME MAY HAVE VIRUS TIE

Doctors in Britain, Italy, and Spain have been warned to look out for a rare inflammatory condition in children that is possibly linked to the new coronavirus.

3 mins read
Techlife News
May 02, 2020

THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO GOING OFFICIAL

First there were the all-weekend texting marathons (your fingers are still aching).

2 mins read
Girls' Life magazine
April/May 2020

Fiona Fuss - Singapore's Next Leading Actress

Meet Fiona Fussi the femme fatale spy, bond-worthy bombshell and old Hollywood ingenue all adorned in the latest pieces from the world of high jewellery. Meet Fiona Fuss, Singapore’s next leading actress. Noelle Loh goes in for a close-up.

2 mins read
Female Singapore
March 2020

Could You Use an Apprentice?

The old plumber and electrician trainee model has been reimagined for the new world—and could be exactly what a bootstrapped, growing startup needs.

5 mins read
Entrepreneur
March 2020

When We Need A Friend

Fiona Beer, 65, found a rewarding way to spend her retirement

4 mins read
WOMAN'S WEEKLY
January 14, 2020