How I bought my 2023 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX: Ownership & ride review

If you have the budget, there is no better sports tourer currently on offer in India in this 1000cc category.

BHPian N1Krider_R recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello TeamBhpians, welcome to my thread on the ownership report of Kawasaki Ninja 1000sx!

Today I want to share with you my passion for motorcycle touring and how it has changed my life. As a young boy, I always had the urge to explore places on my bicycle, which eventually translated into riding motorcycles. I have been riding motorcycles for 12+ years now, having explored many beautiful places in India with some close friends and my wife (my forever pillion). We have covered the South Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, where we enjoyed the scenic landscapes; rich culture; and delicious local cuisine. We have also ventured into the Northern-most states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh (UT), where we experienced the thrill of riding on high-altitude roads, breathtaking views of the Himalayas, and the warmth of the local people. Motorcycle touring has given us so many unforgettable memories, challenges, and adventures; it has taught us humility, resilience, and – the best part – to appreciate the diversity and beauty of our country. I have always been a fan of this format, and I am glad my other half joined in on the party, although a little late due to a conservative house that would not allow her to venture out much for obvious reasons.

We want to tell you a bit of our story and how we became the proud owners of a KTM Duke 390 BS3 2015. You can skip this part if you want, but we think it’s worth reading.

We met in 2012 and instantly bonded over our love of exploring new places on two wheels. Our first bike was a Yamaha Fazer153, which served us well for four years and 75,000 kms. We rode to many destinations in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu and had a blast. Don’t tell our parents, but we did this before we got married, so it was kind of a secret adventure.

But as time passed, we felt the need for more power and performance. We wanted a bike that could handle any terrain and challenge us as riders. That’s when we decided to upgrade to a KTM Duke 390 BS3 2015, which was the best option available at that time. It had everything we wanted: technology, power, speed, and style. It was a beast of a machine that could unleash 43 bhp and 35 Nm of torque. We were blown away by the test ride and instantly knew we had to get it.

The Duke, fondly called the Duchess by my pillion rider, became our loyal companion for many epic trips, including Ladakh (twice for me, once for her). The first time, I rode from Mumbai, covering more than 6000 kms in 18 days, with two of my closest friends. The second time, my wife and I did it after we got married in 2018, which was our official honeymoon trip. Missus bravely did the 18-day trip riding pillion on the Duke’s tiny pillion seat using a detachable gel seat. I have many more stories to share about our adventures on the Duke, but I’ll save them for another post. For now, I just wanted to give you a glimpse of our journey and how much we love our bikes.

The year 2020 was a bummer though. As we all know, Covid-19 made us lock ourselves up in our homes for two freaking years. We had to deal with boredom, anxiety, and the occasional urge to strangle our family members (just kidding ). The only thing that kept us sane was dreaming of riding our bikes again. But life is full of surprises, and not always the good kind.

Before moving further, here’s a short poem on our beloved KTM who is no longer with us. I took ChatGPT’s help to write it, with the necessary inputs from the Home Minister (who, btw, is an English literature buff and a linguist by profession, and has proofread this post).

Jokes aside, I cared for the motorcycle and gave it all the love and attention it deserved. We even did a top rebuild at 35K kms, but I guess the high compression ratio and a tightly packed engine do take a toll on the reliability aspect of this beautiful machine. Mind you, it never stranded us on any of the tours; I reckon the idle sitting during the pandemic did her bad. Nevertheless, we miss her.

Moving on, it was October 2021 – enter Yamaha FZ25. I was searching for the most bang on for the buck motorcycle; we were on a tight budget as we had to save money for the big purchase – the mandatory “buy your own house” bucket list item, which was swiftly checked off in 2022. In the meanwhile, the FZ was carrying on the commuting and touring duties. I got myself new Rynox apparel, riding shoes, hydration pack and did a few small rides on it too. However, the feel of riding this motorcycle was not quite right, since the reference point was always the KTM. Eventually, tours started dwindling, and breakfast rides were very few and far between. You get the gist; the excitement was lost. One area where it shined was the maintenance and fuel economy; it had become an excellent workhorse for city commuting. It was not that I wasn’t aware of this while buying it; I knew what I was doing. The bike had half the ponies and a missing 6th gear, not ideal for touring as it maxed out easily when loaded. Mind you, it was no slouch and could easily do triple-digit speeds.

It was the beginning of 2023, and I had a strong urge to get a new bike. So, like any sane person, I dove headfirst into the glorious world of YouTube videos and online forums. TeamBHP, XBHP, you name it – I was there, soaking up every bit of two-wheeled wisdom these corners of the internet had to offer. The dream? An inline 4, the kind of machine that makes your heart race just thinking about it.

But reality hit, and my budget wasn’t exactly screaming “inline 4” at the top of its lungs. So, compromise mode engaged, and we test-rode the Ninja 650. Not a bad choice, right? Well, hold your horses. Enter Mr. Shubhabrata Marmar, aka Shumi, dropping knowledge bombs on a PowerDrift podcast as usual. His advice? Don’t settle. Wait for the bike you want, not just the one that fits your budget right now. My wife, brother, and some close friends encouraged me to do the same.

That made sense to me, so I started looking at the new Triumph bikes with inline 3 engines: the Trident660 and the Tiger660. They looked awesome, but they were also pricey. Around 10 lacs OTR.

And then there was the Z900, with its 123 horses and 98nm of torque. It was a beast; 2.5 lacs more for an extra cylinder and all that accessible power. To rival it there was the Street Triple, another Triumph with an inline 3, but I was wary of the Triumphs. I had a KTM before, and it was a hot mess. Literally! And I wanted to tour on my bike, not just do breakfast rides. Some of my friends suggested the big, bulky, pricey ADVs, saying they were ideal for touring in India, but I didn’t like their style or feel. They were too heavy for me. Hence, they were not on my list, as it was not a format that I enjoyed even if they screamed confidence for riding on Indian roads and conditions.

Suddenly, decisions got tougher than choosing your go-to pizza toppings.

Should I go for the Tiger 660, the new kid on the block with the Triumph pedigree? Or should I unleash the mighty Z900, a powerhouse that promises to make every ride an adrenaline-fueled adventure?

I plunged into the wild world of bike comparisons and test rides, knowing that in the end, it’s not just about the machine – it’s about the soul-stirring journey that awaits on two wheels.

Love at First Ride: The Z900 Dilemma

Ah, the allure of a powerful motorcycle can be irresistible. To my delight, the bike was fitted with a full-system Akrapovic exhaust, and I found myself captivated by the sleek design and raw power of the Kawasaki Z900 after an exhilarating test ride. Convinced that this was the bike for me, i.e., 3 times the power of Duke 390 and familiar ergos, I eagerly placed the booking amount and excitedly shared the news with my wife. Little did I know that my journey with the Z900 was about to take an unexpected turn though; I had kind of forgotten the angelic beast about whom I had dreamt a few months (or a year) back.

The Deed is Done… Or Is It?

With the booking amount securely paid, I believed my fate was sealed with the Z900, but destiny had other plans. My wife, intrigued by my enthusiasm, requested a test ride of her own. Of course, she had all the rights to; after all, she was going to be with me on most tours. I agreed, nervously confident that the Z900’s aggressive nature might not appeal to her.

The Unexpected Test Ride:

The next day, we found ourselves at the Anzen Kawasaki showroom for a pillion test ride, and the staff graciously prepared the Z900 for the same. I couldn’t help but grin as the engine roared to life, anticipating my wife’s reaction.

The Uncomfortable Reality:

As we embarked on the test ride, my elation began to wane. The brick-like seat designed for the pillion rider proved to be a major drawback. Despite the powerful engine and thrilling performance, my wife’s discomfort became evident after just a few kilometres. The joy of the ride was overshadowed by cramped legs and backaches.

Returning to the showroom, I couldn’t ignore the discomfort she experienced during the ride, although she wasn’t showing it. It was a stark reminder that practicality often trumps sheer power. The Z900’s seat design, while suited for solo rides, fell short in accommodating a pillion comfortably.

The bike may have captured my heart with its mind-blowing performance, but it brought a dose of bitter reality. Sometimes, compromises are inevitable in the pursuit of shared joy on the road. While the Z900 remains an exhilarating option for solo riders, the search for the perfect balance between power and comfort continued for us, but not for long. She reminded me of the angelic beast!

Kawasaki Anzen Showroom

The Unexpected Joyride: Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX – A Symphony of Power and Comfort

The guys at the showroom witnessed the slowly unfolding drama with the Z900’s pillion discomfort, and they supported my pillion’s alternative – the formidable Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX. I kind of agreed to take the test ride, as otherwise I would have had to go to Triumph for the Tiger660 as the last resort. Intrigued and open to new possibilities, we got ready for the test ride, unknowingly stepping into a world of magical power with an unmatched comfort level of the N1KSX.

The moment the Ninja 1000 SX was rolled out, I couldn’t help but be awestruck by its sheer size. Everything about it was massive – the tank, fairing, tires, and notably, the pillion seat. Adorned with a throaty slip-on Arrow exhaust, the bike emitted a deep, sweet, bassy sound that was a stark contrast to the Z900’s full system Akrapovic.

Mixed emotions swirled within me as I swung my leg over the Ninja. The weight of the bike, coupled with the anticipation of a pillion and a full 19-litre tank – easily surpassing 300 kgs – weighed heavily on my mind. As I manoeuvred the beast out of the showroom, my confidence took a hit, evident in the fact that I had to seek assistance in opening the main gate due to its wingspan (read: wide RVMs) and size. (For perspective, I took out the Z900 from the small pedestrian gate easily; however, for this beast, I had to ask the watchman to slide open the main gate.)

To my surprise though, as I eased out onto the main road and shifted through all the gears into the 6th, the weight seemed to magically disappear! Riding a little above speed limits on the rare and sparse afternoon traffic of Mumbai Western Express Highway, the Ninja showcased its nimbleness on the move. The motor was silky smooth, literally carrying speeds of low 40s in the 5th and 6th gears. The bike pulled linearly without upsetting the pillion. The dash, all those buttons and the wide rear-view mirrors felt like a cockpit – the ergonomic comfort was through the roof; the same was conveyed by the missus.

Grinning Inside the Helmet

Despite initial reservations about the bike’s weight, the joyride of 6 kilometres was an absolute delight. The symphony of the inline-4 engine, the responsive handling, and the comfort offered by the spacious design left me grinning inside my helmet the entire time (a key selection criterion, which I ask my friends as well when they come off a test ride for their bike selection journey). My pillion was also smitten by this angelic beast. The Ninja 1000 SX had not only surpassed expectations but had also become a serious contender for our next two-wheeled adventure.

The journey to choosing the perfect superbike is often filled with excitement, dilemmas, and unexpected twists. After an eventful test ride on the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX, my wife and I found ourselves handed a proforma invoice with a staggering INR 15,00,000/- on-road price. Unsure of the immediate next step, we humorously uttered the quintessential Hindi phrase, “soch ke batate hai” (we will think and confirm) and embarked on a metro ride back home, leaving the decision hanging in the air.

The Nightmare Week:

Little did we know that the superbike dream had just begun its evolution. The following week became a whirlwind of contemplation and research. Back to the drawing board, our first task was to gather all possible reviews of the Ninja 1000SX. As we delved into the online world, one name stood out – Sagar Sheldekar, or Sarge, whose YouTube review left us mind-blown (we had watched it a few months back as well, but I completely forgotten about it). His description of the Ninja 1000SX as an “intercontinental ballistic missile” resonated with our experience, highlighting its power, electronics, and comfort.

From Soch Ke Batate Hai to Superbike Dreams: The Evolution of the Ninja 1000SX Decision

A Detailed Dive:

The search for more insights led us to TeamBhpian KarthikK’s extensive ownership log of his Ninja 1000 – Ninja1000 (Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!) This proved to be the most detailed review we had ever come across, requiring days and nights to absorb. KarthikK’s insights delved into every aspect, from the bike’s performance to long-term ownership experiences, solidifying our decision to choose the Ninja 1000SX.

Strength in Decision, Anxiety in Wallet:

As our determination to finalize the purchase grew stronger, so did the anxiety. The on-road price tag, nearly double our initial budget, loomed over us. There was also the added tension of explaining this seemingly extravagant purchase to our parents. Interestingly, while people around us were comfortable with splurging on overpriced apartments and cars, the idea of a motorcycle purchase triggered scepticism. The suggestion of opting for an SUV instead of a motorcycle floated around, questioning the necessity of such a purchase. But we were strong-willed.

After riding the emotional roller-coaster, April arrived, bringing with it a decisive moment. To my surprise, the missus stood strong behind me on the purchase, reinforcing her belief in the shared dream. With unwavering resolve, we put down the remaining amount, signalling the culmination of months of contemplation, test rides, and anticipation.

With the paperwork in motion for registration, I couldn’t resist the urge to capture the first moments with our new companion. The Ninja was there, gleaming and ready for its new home – I approached the sales representative, inquiring if I could take a few pictures. His response was, “This is yours, sir,” it hit me – a wave of mixed emotions surged, excitement, gratitude, and fear – “What the heck have I done with my finances?!” and also “Chuck it yaar, abhi nahi toh fir kabhi?!”

The day for delivery was set, and what better auspicious occasion than Akshay Tritiya on the 22nd of April 2023. In anticipation of this significant day, I sent out invites to my close set of friends to accompany me for the momentous delivery. And so, on that special day, my clan gathered, bringing with them an infectious energy. I could feel their support and enthusiasm, turning this event into a celebration of shared passion. I’ll let a few pictures do the talking now.

Continue reading BHPian N1Krider_R’s ride report for more insights and information.

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