Sunday, February 13, 2011

kawasaki motorcycles 2008 pics

One pays a bit for this added performance – in terms of gas mileage that is. The Kawasaki averaged 49.1 mpg over our term of usage while the Honda is some 15 mpg superior, averaging an impressive 64.7 mpg. When it comes to stopping distances things get much closer – exactly the same actually – with both bikes getting hauled down from 60 mph in 143 feet.

Another benefit of this added performance is freeway composure, as the Kawasaki runs almost 2000 rpm lower at 70 mph and will keep going to well over 90 mph whereas the Honda runs out of steam. This gives the rider an easier and safer time passing other traffic, as the Ninja isn’t nearly as strained at left lane cruising speeds.

“The Ninja is more suited to riders who will need to log miles on the freeway or go on longer riders,” Hutchison comments. “Same goes for longer commutes – this is an area the Kawasaki has an advantage over the Honda because the engine just feels like it isn’t working so hard over extended periods at 70 mph.”

The Ninja’s only noted downfall on the freeway was a high-frequency buzz. Though the Honda Single vibrates more throughout the range, the Kawasaki is very smooth down low but as revs build a light hand-tingling sensation comes to the forefront, something some riders minded more than others.

Adds Hutchison: “This motorcycle feels more buzzy to me than the Honda. Both have vibration but the Kawasaki makes my hands tingle and the Honda did not. I feel the difference is similar to the way a Ducati Twin vibrates compared to the way an Inline-Four engine buzzes.”

But not everyone agreed with Hutch, Dawes commenting he felt less overall vibration from the Kawasaki compared to the Honda, something Waheed and I also agreed with.

kawasaki motorcycles 2008kawasaki motorcycles 2008
kawasaki motorcycles 2008kawasaki motorcycles 2008
Once off the freeways and onto the back roads the Kawasaki continues to shine. Handling from the quarter-liter Ninja is very planted and stable, the bike changing direction with minimal effort and holding a line extremely well. Stability is also quite confidence inspiring, as while it may not be as sharp-edged as the Honda, the Kawasaki feels quite a bit more solid. Both come equipped with IRC Road Winner tires, which aren’t horrible, but if you plan to take one to a trackday we highly recommend changing out the rubber for something a bit stickier.

“It feels a little bigger, more like a motorcycle; where the Honda feels kind of small like a scooter,” says our largest test rider at 5’11” at 200 pounds. “It just seems to handle a little better and doesn’t flex as much on bumps in the corners.”

Overall ergonomics are somewhat similar to the Honda, both seats sitting 30.5 inches off the ground with an easy reach to the raised up clip-ons and pegs not overly cramped. As for overall comfort, the Honda’s cozier seat gave it the nod over the Kawasaki, if ever so slightly.

“I like the way the Honda looks and it is a lot more comfortable than the Kawasaki,” says Hutchison. “The bike is smaller overall but more roomy and doesn’t cramp up the rider as much. Also, the seat is great, definitely way more comfortable than the Ninja seat. It seems to be a perfect

kawasaki motorcycles 2008kawasaki motorcycles 2008
kawasaki motorcycles 2008kawasaki motorcycles 2008
kawasaki motorcycles 2008 kawasaki motorcycles 2008
And while the Honda has the Kawasaki’s number in terms of transmission and slow-speed running, as well as gas mileage, the speed and handling abilities of the Kawasaki are impossible to overlook. By virtue of a 3-1 decision among testers, we have to give the Kawasaki the nod as shootout winner; surprising considering how much older the basic technology is. But Kawasaki has had over two decades to get it dialed in, and when it comes to the lightweight sportbike market, it’s done its homework. The real winner in this are beginner sportbike riders all over the world, as now there are more than one high-performance quarter-liter options, which will hopefully encourage more people to share in the sport we all love so dearly.

kawasaki motorcycles 2008kawasaki motorcycles 2008