Connect With Us!

Early-Release 2013 Kawasakis – First Look

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650

Greg Drevenstedt
July 26, 2012
Filed under Kawasaki Motorcycle Road Tests: Reviews on Kawasaki Motorcycles & Sportbikes, Latest News, Top Stories

Confident that neither the Mayan calendar nor the contentious presidential election will bring the world to a grinding halt later this year, Kawasaki is celebrating the new year ahead of schedule with six early-release 2013 models.

Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-10R was completely overhauled for 2011 with new styling, standard traction control, optional ABS, Showa Big Piston Fork and much more. It returns unchanged except for a new electronic steering damper that replaces the previous mechanical one. Jointly developed with Öhlins, the damper is controlled by a dedicated ECU located under the gas tank cover and reacts to the rate of acceleration or deceleration, as well as rear wheel speed, to provide the ideal amount of damping force. The result is said to be light and nimble steering feel at low speed, and superior damping at higher speeds or during extreme acceleration/deceleration. The anodized damper unit uses Öhlins’ patented twin-tube design and is mounted horizontally at the front of the fuel tank. It requires very few additional components and adds very little weight. The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is available in Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black or Pearl Flat White/Metallic Spark Black for $14,299, or $15,299 for the ABS model.

2013 Kawasaki KLR650

2013 Kawasaki KLR650

One level down on the sportbike pyramid is the Kawasaki Ninja 650, extensively updated for 2012 with new styling, a broader powerband, less vibration, better suspension and more comfort (read our 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650 review). One wouldn’t expect changes so soon, and there aren’t any to the base-model machine. But Kawasaki has expanded its lineup with an ABS version. The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650 is available in Pearl Stardust White, Candy Thunder Blue or Metallic Flat Spark Black for $7,599. Add $500 for ABS.

Kawasaki’s two dual-sport models, the KLR650 and KLX250S, are the two top-selling on/off-road bikes in America, and they return unchanged except for new colors, graphics and prices. The 2013 Kawasaki KLR650 is available in Ebony, Pearl Solar Yellow or Candy Lime Green/Ebony for $6,499 (read our comparison of the KLR650 and the BMW G 650 GS Sertão). The 2013 Kawasaki KLX250S is available in Lime Green or Bright White for $5,099.

For more information, visit

2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

2013 Kawasaki KLX250S

2013 Kawasaki KLX250S

Related Content

Last 5 stories in Kawasaki Motorcycle Road Tests: Reviews on Kawasaki Motorcycles & Sportbikes

Other stories that might interest you...


3 Responses to “Early-Release 2013 Kawasakis – First Look”

  1. robert on October 10th, 2012 5:23 pm

    You completely missed the 300 Ninja.


    Rider Magazine Reply:

    The Ninja models were released a couple weeks later, so they were not in this article. Below are links to the stories about the 2013 Ninja models.


  2. Mike on November 14th, 2012 9:01 pm

    It is really a bummer when they make ZERO changes to IMPROVE the dang bike, and just put some fluff colors on it, and say buy it! They should read some quibbles that reviews and customers have made during the year, and try to tweak some of the stuff to make a better bike. Dang it anyway.


Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!