Long-Term Kawasaki Ninja 1000: Mirror Options

Mirror, mirror! A forward look at the best options for seeing what's behind you.

WRIST: Kevin Smith
MSRP (2014): $11,999
MILES: 15,808
MPG: 40
MODS: Mirrors, mirrors, and more mirrors
UPDATE: 11

I've never liked the Kawasaki Ninja 1000's rearview mirrors. They favor styling over function, which I don't. So I explored three alternatives: stick-on blind-spot mirrors, bar-end mirrors, and conventional mirror mounts on the handlebar controls.

The Maxi View Blind Spot mirrors from the excellent Whitehorse Gear catalog (whitehorsegear.com; $30) have a nifty adjustment ball-joint. Mounted at the innermost corner of the Ninja's stock mirrors, they show everything alongside me and to the rear quarters. Cars can no longer hide, which was the goal. The "two-part" view does take some getting used to, and it's not very useful after dark.

The Ninja 1000 looked like an extra from the movie Quadrophenia until Mr. Smith settled on the best solution (below), a combination of mirror extenders and multi-adjustable articulating mirror arms to put the lenses exactly where he wanted.

Next, bar-end mirrors. Clicking around the Internet turned up some machined-aluminum mirrors made to clamp onto existing bar-end weights. They promptly arrived from KT Motorsports (ktmotorsports.com; $100) and included inserts to adjust their fit to a range of end-weight diameters. Fortuitously, the clamps fit right onto the replacement weights/spacers Acerbis provided with the hand guards I'm using. (But note they're too small to fit over the stock bar-end weights.)

I like the clean installation, the vibration-free view, and the location of the mirror faces, but those faces are too small to give all the improvement I want. Maybe there’s something bigger out there?

Finally, I mounted some mirrors the old-fashioned way, on the handlebar controls. True, the Ninja isn’t set up for this, but the clutch and brake lever clamps from Kawasaki’s fairing-less Z1000 (called “holders,” about $20 each from your dealer) have the necessary threaded mirror bosses.

There would be interference with the Ninja’s windshield on full steering lock—the reason Kawasaki relocated the mirrors to the fairing—but I dodged that with a set of aluminum extenders that move the mirrors’ mounting points out by more than an inch. These things are all over eBay; I bought mine for $18 from “Gas Cap Dude.” (Wouldn’t you?)

For mirrors themselves, I wanted flexibility since I was prototyping. The 6904/05D set from Moto-Science (moto-science.com; $110) can vary its "elbow" angle and stem length, and together with the "swingability" of the extenders, you can adjust things forever. I found positions that avoid the stock windscreen in all its three positions. (The MRA windscreen I have accommodates this change—the wider V-Stream not quite.)

An upside of this mounting method is the wide range of mirrors you can experiment with, including common 10mm-threaded aftermarket and OEM pieces. (A pair off the new CB300F in our shop looks and works great; Z1000 mirrors would keep it in the family.) A minor downside is a little extra vibration in the multi-piece mounts that can blur the images slightly. But the much better view gives confidence and safety I find well worth the trouble.

The Ninja 1000 looked like an extra from the movie Quadrophenia until Mr. Smith settled on the best solution (below), a combination of mirror extenders and multi-adjustable articulating mirror arms to put the lenses exactly where he wanted.