Kawasaki Ninja 1000: the grand master
Before you start the bike and head off, take a few steps back and notice the big three-way-adjustable windscreen, and the bug-eyed fairing with its protruding indicator lights and gill slits – the Ninja 1000’s styling is somewhere between the nimble ZX10 and the power-monging ZX 14, while its posterior recalls the smaller Ninja 650. The dash houses a handy trip computer, fuel gauge and large analogue tacho. There’s no gear-position indicator, but this isn’t really a problem, seeing as the tall sixth gear often puts down enough torque to haul you off to speed from as low as 45kph.
In addition to some ABS plumbing that’s ever so helpful on long-distance rides, the Ninja 1000 comes with three levels (and off) of traction control settings for variations in road surface. There are two power delivery mode settings: F – or feisty-green-demon-at-full-blast, and L – or leisurely 70 per cent of power with milder throttle response.
On F-1 (power-TC) setting, you can feel the rear slide around a bit after which the mechanicals jump in and spoil the fun, but the way the ECU handles matters is just fantastic.