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Old 07-30-2006, 04:51 PM   #1
Grainbelt OP
marginal adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Minnyhappiness
Oddometer: 27,178
Ninja 650R ride/ownership report

*Really old thread alert: 30,000km update in last post*

Also, who is the young skinny bastard at the bottom of this post?

*Old thread alert. 20,000km update in last post*

Decided its time to give you folks an update on the Kawasaki Ninja 650R I purchased a few weeks ago. Yes, break in is completed, I've done a 300 mile day, and I feel compelled to share my opinions on the mount.

Following is a pictorial/editorial of my 8 hour round trip for a bacon sammich in the lakes of northern Saskatchewan. Specifically, Candle Lake, a 240 km ride from the grainbelt garage in Saskatoon.

As always, the needles sweep through their range when the bike is switched on. Starts right up -- fuel injection is a beautiful thing. Stock exhaust reverberates around the stucco hell that is my townhouse complex.
Tourmaster Cortech Mini-Magnetic mounts right up, even fully extended it is not obtrusive. Ready to rock and roll.

1.5 hrs later, I'm entering Price Albert, SK. My ass hurts, and I need sustinence. Stock seat is hard, and slopes forward enough that I frequently slide my butt back, then it rolls forward to crush my junk, then I slide back. As for the sustinence, queue Timmies!!! Raspberry filled powdered sugar donut holes. Oh yes, they are as good as they sound.

I make quick work of the last 80 km, using the plentiful power available in 6th gear to move around RV's and churchgoers. One time I downshifted to 5th at 70mph, only to be aware moments later that I am shifting into 6th at 95mph. Very pleased with the power, both roll-on and more specifically the 7-9k RPM range. Redline is 11, but its all overrun after 9ish.

Soon enough, I'm in Candle Lake, dodging potholes and riding on rutted gravel 'roads' provided by the Saskatchewan Provincial Parks. People were swimming and fishing. I just kept riding. Obligatory lake shot:

I forgot to take pics of my bacon sammich - thank doG this isn't Jo Momma. Mid-ride thoughts over lunch are
-can't fault the fueling, power, or delivery
-transmission is still snatchy, lets hope it smooths out over time
-suspension does not like frost heaved, bumpy, pothole-repaired highways. Preload is the only available adjustment, I have it on setting 3 of 6. May mess with that later.
-low speed handling is tremendous, and I think the low CG gets the credit - weight is the same as my GS500, both are parellel twins, but the 650R is much more forgiving at low speeds. I don't notice a full tank/empty tank difference w/the Kawasaki, whereas the ancient suzuki was sure to let me know.
-high speed handling is unknown, as there are no twisties. I took a few 40mph sweepers at 70+, and she was stable and composed. Not much of a test, but there is plenty of clearance, mid-corner adjustments are tolerated, and all is done with no drama.

On the road again, my ass hurts sooner this time, and I'm trying to find room for my 33" inseam legs. So I gas up in PA again. 30km later, I'm restless. Luckily there is a sweet old grain elevator, colourmatched to my bike, that I want photos of. This reminds me - dual disc brake setup is very effective. Feel isn't great, even compared to my 13 y.o. single disk suzuki, but a pad compound change may help. I think the ride reports forum has a mandatory barn clause - again, luckily this is in road warriors, as elevator /= barn.

A little over an hour later, home again. Still very pleased with my purchase, but I definitely have some fine-tuning to do before it is a comfortable all-day touring mount. Seeing as that is how it will spend about 5% of its time, I can't complain much. Commuting, cruising, flogging, and errand-running are accomplished in stock form.

One last pic, so you know to ignore this n00b and leave the reviews to the professionals.

- Mike

P.S. Just walked out to the garage. The shorty fender has got to go! dirt and whatnot all over the lower fairing and exhaust. Reminds me, aftermarket support starting to pick up, but a lot of things need to be imported from the UK. Corbin wants $700 for a seat, the available huggers are lame, and Sargent doesn't have a seat out yet. They'll likely have mine this winter for a custom fit.

Grainbelt screwed with this post 09-01-2009 at 11:06 AM Reason: Updates
Grainbelt is online now   Reply With Quote


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