The CBR clocks are better. There’s a large central tachometer, digital speedo and it gets more vibrant colours too making CBR’s instrumentation more inviting. It also gets a fuel gauge which is missing on the Ninja.
Get the engines running and one can instantly tell that the Ninja has something superior. Compared to the slightly hollow large capacity sound of the CBR’s single cylinder engine, the Kawasaki has a stronger, more purposeful rhythm to its twin cylinder unit. The Ninja is also more powerful, but is high strung compared to the torque-packed CBR.
The Honda is quite the opposite. It feels fantastic in the low and mid range, which makes it not just easy to ride, but fun too, especially in the city and even for short commutes on the high way.
As is the case with the engines of the two bikes - the Ninja’s being more for hard and fast riding and long distance commute while the CBR’s being the easier, more comfortable and more userfriendly of the two – the dynamics too follow a similar path.
The Kawasaki is clearly the better handling of the two, especially at the limit. Be it going around fast sweeping bends at three digit speeds or hard charging into tighter corners, it feels sharper, easy and more stable. It also feels more planted in a straight line and even though it doesn’t get ABS as on the CBR, brake bite, progression, feel, you name it, are so good, one can bring the Ninja to a stop in almost the same distance.
But there’s just no way one can play down the benefi ts of ABS on a bike. On the Honda, one can just grab the brakes without caution, and the bike sorts things out by itself and comes to a clean stop be it on dry or wet tarmac, gravel or dirt, or even around a corner! Though, it’s best to avoid the last bit, as it can be very scary.
As for the CBR’s handling, it turns in well, doesn’t feel nervous and its chassis manages the power well too. But, after the Ninja, it’s easy to pick up the Honda’s wallowing nature, the twitchiness of its handlebar and the slight lack of feel from its chassis and tyres. All of which doesn’t allow you to push as hard as you can on the Kawasaki.