In the 15 years since we added Sport-Touring as an annual Ten Best category, a trend has developed. We started off on a light enough note, voting the 1999 Triumph Sprint ST as the year’s best back-road sport bagger and even picked the Ducati Multistrada 1000S as recently as 2005. But, by and large, it’s been bigger, heavier bikes like the Yamaha FJR1300, BMW K1200GT, Kawasaki Concours 14, and BMW K1600GT that have ruled the roost. But if the Ninja 1000 ABS is any indication, we might be seeing a break in this cycle. While the Ninja isn’t equipped from the factory as a bag-carrying road rocket, we’ve accessorized our new long-term unit with an array of Kawasaki accessories that focus on improving its long-distance potential.
Color-matched Quick Release 28-Liter Saddlebags ($ 1,269.75) integrate perfectly with the bike’s aggressive styling. The lockable claimed waterproof luggage appears durable and has proven easy to mount and remove. A bonus is that there are no ugly brackets when the bags are off. Expanding carrying capacity are a magnetic tank bag ($ 134.95) and matching soft top case ($ 89.95). Both are constructed of a water-resistant nylon with reinforced foam body and lid and expand vertically an additional 3 inches (max capacity is 8 liters apiece). Our bike’s accessory seat ($ 324.95), which features gel inserts for rider and passenger, has already proven to be a favorite among the add-ons. Whether the Ninja’s loaded like a pack mule or ridden bareback for a Sunday canyon run, the sporting travel and adventure has just begun.
|MAINTENANCE COSTS||$ 0|
|REPAIR COSTS||$ 0|
|AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE||37 mpg|
|PRICE AS TESTED (2014)||$ 11,999|