Is the Cost of an Iconic Ninja Motorcycle within Your Budget?
How Much Does a Ninja Motorcycle Cost
The Kawasaki Ninja has claimed one of the top spots among street sport bikes for decades, particularly for newer motorcycle riders. The original Ninja debuted in 1984, and back then it was the Ninja 900R and was the fastest bike ever at that time with a top speed of 151 miles per hour.
It took Kawasaki a bit to gain footing in the market, but the Ninja massively influenced sport bikes—perhaps starting with Tom Cruise riding the Ninja GPz900R in Top Gun—and it became one of the best-selling bikes in its segment.
The Ninja is a master of its demographic—this is no trials bike, 3-wheel motorcycle, or huge adventure touring hog. Kawasaki has its roots firmly in racing, and it shows with the Ninja. It’s a somewhat youthful, sporty street bike that works well for beginners and more seasoned riders alike.
The Iconic Ninja
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the Ninja was first released in the United States before it went international. Kawasaki’s Director of Marketing in the United States, Mike Vaughn, actually gave it the name Ninja. Not only was it the fasted bike on the market in 1984, but it was also the first to utilize a Ram Air system back in 1990.
The Ninja 250 was already an iconic motorcycle and underwent a complete re-styling back in 2008. The Ninja 300 came around a few years after that and was the next progression of this Kawasaki bike. Many people consider the ninja one of the best motorcycles for beginners, but even for those with a bit of experience, it’s an incredibly fun ride.
It appeals to beginners not only because of its construction but the fact that it doesn’t initially look like an amateur his bike. Not all versions of the ninja are in fact just for beginners. The 600 cc, 700 cc and up go far faster and have more power—enough that a first-timer should avoid them.
Distinctive and Appealing
There is also something unique in the appearance of the Kawasaki Ninja. Even with varying styles and models, the iconic bright green appearance is natural to recognize, and no doubt has some of the familiar appeals for those purchasing a first-time bike.
The Kawasaki Ninja also often comes in black, but the body style has the signature sleek, almost mean look that makes even a first-time rider feel like they have control of the road.
Why It Appeals to New Riders
The Ninja is massively popular for first-time and newer motorcyclists. A significant reason for this is that if you over throttle it, the Ninja will not punish you the way other bikes will. Riders need to wind it out a lot to get a significant amount of power, which is actually ideal for bikers will less experience.
Also considering many new drivers in this era of vehicles are unfamiliar with manual transmissions, part of the appeal of the Ninja for new motorcyclists is the features of clutch assist and slipper clutch.
Kawasaki says that the assist function utilizes the rotation of forces within the hub of the clutch as well as the pressure plate “to force the clutch together during acceleration” so that fewer clutch springs can be used for a “lighter feel at the lever.”
During rapid slowing, the slipper function permits some clutch slippage to assist in thwarting the engine from locking-up or stalling out. This can help those new to clutches drive the bike without as much anxiety.
Essentially, it is an exceptionally forgiving bike, has enough power to be fun, but not so much that control is difficult to manage. The clutch makes it much more straightforward to learn and can also be shifted with just a couple of fingers rather than a full grip.
The Kawasaki Ninja is also a pretty lightweight bike, making it even more forgiving and maneuverable for newer riders. A lighter motorcycle is typically easier to corner, gets better fuel economy, and even cheaper to ship if you buy one from another state. Part of the reason it has such a lightweight design is the aluminum construction of the perimeter frame, which was used to shave off pounds from the motorcycle.
The one notable downside to the construction, especially for the rider with less experience, is that some of the fairings (the outer shell) are plastic components. These can be easier to crack if you drop the bike, which is a pretty common occurrence for beginning motorcyclists.
Most 2019 versions of the Ninja come with anti-lock brakes (ABS) which is a significant safety feature on motorcycles. Enough so, that some insurance companies will give you a lower rate for a bike with ABS.
Kawasaki Ninjas tend to be a little higher in price than some comparable bikes. While many motorcycles range between $6,000 and $10,000, a Ninja tends to start around the $12,000 range.
The prices for used 2019 models can already be under $10,000 depending on the trim level and the location. For Ninjas a few years old, the cost can drop down to around $5,000 give or take a bit, again also dependent on your region and the condition of the bike.
As the 2020 Ninja enters the market, 2019 Ninjas can still offer exceptionally modern features will a significant drop in the price. One exact amount can’t be nailed down for the Ninja, as another aspect of this ride is the variety of levels and models. This year, there are 19 different versions if you include varying engine sizes and options of features such as ABS.
The Ninja is not only for the first time in beginner riders, though. For example, the 2020 ninja ZX-10R offers 203 horsepower with 13,500 RPM. This is a boost of 10 hp from the previous year‘s model.
In current additions of the Kawasaki Ninja, several enhancements make these models worth considering over much older versions, even with some of the incredible used motorcycle values you can find. The 2020 Ninja has traction control, a quick shifter feature, balance-free forks on the front, and intelligent ABS. The 2019 ZX-10R has an average retail value of around $13,000 to $14,000, but this depends on your location.
There are higher levels such as the Ninja H2R, the fastest version, which is a hyperbike designed for tracks and racing. Some of these are not street legal, so check on this if you look into bikes for sale. The H2R has even been banned on some racetracks, with a top speed of 255 mph. Not all Ninjas are created equal, and not all of them are for drivers with less experience.
Many of these levels will give away their enhanced performance in the price. The H2R is quite expensive, for instance, averaging around $50,000 retail.
Trying the Ninja
As with any motorcycle, you should always try them out before purchasing. One of the fantastic things about the popularity of a Kawasaki Ninja is that there is an abundance of used Ninjas for sale. Impulsive, first-time buyers who decided that riding was not for them means there are plentiful options on the market if you are looking at a used Ninja.
The excellent thing about this is that you can often try out a couple of different Ninja models before settling on the one that works best for you. Even if you end up purchasing from another location out of state to get a better deal, it’s worth checking out a few and taking them for a spin to make sure it suits your comfort level.
You might think you can handle a more powerful model, but realistically are more comfortable with a Ninja 300 or 400. Conversely, if you have some experience and just are not yet a pro, the Ninja 650 might work for you. The crucial thing is to try it out before you decide on one.
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