The Ninja 650 is a mid-weight sportbike with a parallel-twin engine designed for ripping city streets.
It debuted in 2006 and was known as the 650R up until Kawasaki dropped the R in 2012 and is one of the most recognizable bikes in the world due to its candy green color and sharp styling.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at the Ninja 650’s average lifespan.
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Here is the Short answer to How Long Kawasaki Ninja 650s Lasts:
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 can last for well over 75,000 miles before requiring an engine rebuild. This is dependent on several factors such as maintenance, style of riding and ownership habits. Based on an anual mileage of 5,000 miles per year a well-kept Ninja 650 could last over 15 years.
How Many Miles Can a Kawasaki Ninja 650 Last?
The Ninja 650’s class-leading, two-cylinder, fuel-injected engine, and fully-usable 6-speed transmission is hyper-qualified to move its lightweight steel trellis frame without causing excess stress, giving it the potential to last a very long time.
Generally speaking, the bike is of high-build quality and this should come as no big surprise as Kawasaki are one of the world leaders when it comes to motorcycles, especially sportbikes.
Like any bike, how long a Ninja will last is directly proportional to how well the owner looks after it.
If it’s not ridden overly aggressively, stored correctly and serviced by a competent technician according to the intervals outlined in the bike’s owner’s manual, and broken in correctly – then the bike has every chance of hitting high numbers.
The primary variable on the lifespan of a Ninja 650 is how it’s ridden and the quickest way to shorten its life is by redlining it like it’s a 1-liter race bike.
The Ninja 650 is a practical sportbike built to hit the city streets and roast up highways; it’s not the track bike’s bigger Ninja-sibling.
Conversely, if you ride it responsibly and keep up with maintenance, your Ninja could last even longer than our 75k projection.
But don’t take our word for it; here are two real-life examples of Ninja 650s with high miles on the clock:
- “I used to do 35K a year at one time, keeping my [Ninjas] for over 100K miles as long as their previous owners reasonably well maintained them. Keep an eye on things like chains, tires, and [brake] pads – the main issues were cosmetic. Split seats were the main thing after 70 or 80,000 miles, and you had to keep on top of corrosion during winter. There were also electrical failures, coils being the most common.”
- “I found a 44k mile ’09 650 at a dealer today. They planned to send it straight to auction, but I asked to look at it. I’m looking for something cheap but more powerful than the 250. [All]It needs a new chain, the previous owner chopped the seat (I guess he was super short), and it has minor rust on some bolts but nothing jumping out at me as terrible.”
For any readers considering a brand-new Ninja, you’ll need to break your bike in properly to get the most life from it.
The break-in period is generally the first 500 miles an engine is operational, but you’ll have to consult the owner’s manual for your specific model year.
We’ll cover more on proper break-in procedures in the reliability section below, but for now, here are a few quick tips for adequately breaking in your Kawasaki Ninja:
- Avoid high engine speeds.
- Avoid high revs in low gears and low revs in high gears; keep your Ninja 650 in the appropriate RPM range of each gear.
- Avoid twisting your throttle past the three-quarters mark for the first 1,000 miles.
- Avoid hard stops and aggressive starts.
- Avoid rapid RPM acceleration.
- Use all gears to their rev limit for short periods, never exceeding the redline.
- Keep your Ninja 650’s gearbox in the appropriate gear per Kawasaki’s spec guidelines.
How Reliable Are Kawasaki Ninja 650s?
The Kawasaki Ninja 650 is one of the most reliable mid-weight street bikes on the moto market to date. That said, its long-term reliability depends greatly on owner riding and maintenance habits, proper storage, and how the original owner broke in the Ninja 650.
Kawasaki made the Ninja line their staple over the past three decades and the Ninja 650 itself has earned a solid reputation for reliability in the mid-sized street bike market.
These bikes would never have achieved such huge popularity worldwide if they were breaking down all the time.
There’s no shortage of forum examples from Ninja-nerds proclaiming their bike is the most reliable thing from here to kingdom come.
That said, take a closer look into the owner maintenance patterns, and you’ll see more than a few commonalities – things like proper storage, responsible riding, regular oil changes as well as breaking in the bike properly.
Breaking in any bike is vital for ensuring long-term reliability, but its’ especially critical on medium-sized sportbikes like the Ninja 650.
- The Ninja 650’s engine is a powerhouse in a medium package. The metal components are built for high revs while being close in proximity to one another.
- The alloys from which the engine parts are fabricated from will expand over time. Your Ninja’s 649cc motor is engineered to perform reliably once the components have expanded to spec dimensions.
- Suppose you ride it as you stole it straight off the factory floor. In that case, you’re pushing your Ninja’s parts to their limits before they’ve grown into spec dimensions and seated or settled into place, impacting your Ninja’s reliability for years to come.
In general, a new bike motor takes between 500 and 1000 miles to break itself into the point of friction reduction.
Check your Kawasaki’s owner’s manual for specific instructions on your year-model Kawasaki Ninja 650 to ensure it runs reliably for years to come.
Tip: Always check with your dealer to see if there are any recalls for your bike, alternatively check on the Kawasaki website, you’ll need the bike’s VIN.
What is Considered High Mileage for a Kawasaki Ninja 650?
The used market considers a Kawasaki Ninja 650 high mileage after 20,000 miles based on the assumption that all street bikes are pushed hard past the redline and ridden like stunt bikes. The truth is that mileage has little bearing on a Ninja’s lifespan.
If the owner who had your Ninja last before you stored the bike properly and serviced it regularly, chances are it will last for well over 75,000 miles.
You might even get a better deal on a Ninja 650 because of the used market’s inaccurate assumption.
When assessing the longevity of a Ninja 650, ask the owner a few questions.
- How often did they ride their Ninja 650? Did they wash it and dry it off well to keep dirt and debris from contaminating your engine operation?
- Did the previous owner store it indoors or under a big tarp to avoid corrosive elements?
- Did they ride it correctly, or did they rip it aggressively and stunt it?
- Did they use ethanol-free gas to reduce engine grime buildup?
In short, while the used market considers a Nija 650 to be high mileage after a measly 20,000 miles, there’s no reason why a well-kept mid-sized street ripper can’t last for over 75,000 miles.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Yamaha R6 Last?
What Are the Best Model Years to Buy and Avoid?
While there are plenty of great year models to choose from on the world’s most celebrated medium street sport, the latest generation stepped the bike up in a whole new way.
Kawasaki sharpened the neo-Ninja 650’s angles in the cowl and fairing.
They vented the front fender like always but cut it down to look more aggressive and reduce front-end weight.
2020 marked an update for the Ninja’s stealth-ready night vision via twin LED lights to cut the night with, alongside LED turn signals sunken into the cowl’s edge future-style.
2020 also birthed the racing-style bubble shield to pierce the wind more effectively than ever before.
Coupled with the wider fairing and sharper angles, the upgraded bubble screen not only adds to the sleek aesthetic, it also increases its aerodynamics.
While it’s not a bad street bike, we had to choose the worst year to do our job, and the worst year Ninja 650 is 2007.
More than a few of the ’07 year models left the factory with a leaky oil gasket.
I didn’t find anything about a recall, but there’s no shortage of forum proclamations on the subject; it seems like most of the instances of leaky oil gaskets were caught and covered under warranty.
Still, there’s a chance the original owner never upgraded the used one you’re eyeing, so be wary about the faulty gasket on the ’07 Ninja 650s just in case.
Another hot-topic regarding the 07-year model was its chassis weight.
Apparently, the 2007 year-model Kawasaki Ninja 650 is the heaviest rendition to date, a spec that costs it points as far as the online Ninja-nerds are concerned.
What Usually Breaks First on a Kawasaki Ninja 650?
The first thing to break on an older Kawasaki Ninja 650 is technically its fairing, as Kawasaki’s original fairing design tended to develop a rattling vibration between 4,000 and 8,000 RPMs.
While this is only an issue on early models, it was a popular complaint about long enough to warrant recall at one point.
To rectify the loosening fairing, Kawasaki strategically installed foam pads into the fairing to absorb the vibration.
Later year-model Ninja 650’s received upgraded fairing concepts to rectify the issue further.
Kawasaki Ninja 650 Maintenance Costs
The Maintenance costs of a Kawasaki Ninja 650 are average considering it’s a state-of-the-art street sportbike. The more you keep up with the maintenance, the cheaper the ownership costs are long-term.
Here are a few examples of Ninja 650 maintenance prices:
- $350 for a set of tires
- $150 for a stator replacement
- $80 for a new battery
- $150 for fork seals, bushings, snap rings, washers, seals, and fluid
- $100 for the wheel bearings front and rear
- $60 an oil change
- $200-$500 for a full-service inspection(recommended)
There are other ownership costs to factor in, such as:
- Jacket = $200
- Gloves = $100
- Winter riding gear = $200-$500
- Rain gear = $75-$300
- Helmets = $100-$500
- Fuel = $15 a tank
- Storage = $?
- Insurance = average cost of motorcycle insurance for a mid-sized v-twin street bike like the Ninja 650 is $721 a year.
How Long Will a Kawasaki Ninja 650 Last Compared to Other Motorcycles?
|Model||Longevity (miles)||Base Model Price|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||<75,000||$7,599|
|Yamaha MT 07||<80,000||$7,599|
|Harley Davidson Street 750||<70,000||$7,599|
4 Tips to Make Sure Your Kawasaki Ninja 650 Lasts Long
1. Clean your Ninja 650 with Kawasaki-Approved Cleaning Products
Cleaning your Ninja 650 to keep it free of debris and grime is an effective way to increase longevity.
However, a corrosive cleaning chemical can cause corrosion.
Ensure the cleaning products you are using are safe for use on a Kawasaki Ninja.
2. Ride your Ninja 650 Often and Per Owner Manual Guidelines
A Ninja 650 sat around rotting, likely has old fluids corroding in its lines and tank. Expired fuel and brake fluid can deteriorate your sport bike’s lines.
- Don’t start your Ninja in below-freezing temperatures.
- Don’t idle it for long periods in sweltering weather.
- Don’t rev your Ninja past the redline.
- Don’t ride it like a stunt bike.
3. Follow Kawasaki’s Suggested Schedule For Regular Service Maintenance
Your Ninja 650 should be maintained according to its service schedule outlined in the owner’s manual. And always service it before storing it for long periods.
Kawasaki has amended the major service interval, which includes the oil change, from 7,500 to 12,000 miles. As long your annual mileage is less than 12K, then an annual oil change should be fine although you should always check the owner’s manual.
A genuine Ninja 650 service includes:
- Changing oil and filter
- Replacing or cleaning the air filter
- Refilling fluids
- Inspecting tire pressure and tread, replacing when worn
- Checking brake pads and lines
- Inspecting and replacing old batteries
- Greasing chains
As you can see, a proper service entails more than just an oil change but a close inspection of fluid levels and quality and the lubrication of every component on the bike.
4. Store Your Bike Properly
Store your Kawasaki Ninja 650 away from dirt and corrosive elements like rain, UV rays, and moisture when not in use.
If your only option is outdoors, utilize a high-quality tarp.
That said, it’s ideal for keeping your Ninja bike indoors.
If you have access to a garage, take care not to store your Ninja 650 close to acidic chemicals, as airborne acids can corrode things.