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MCN Fleet: Frugal, fun and first service done for the Ninja 650

Published: 29 March 2017

Updated: 21 March 2017

My first week with Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 has been purely about running the bike in and getting it to its first service as quickly as possible so I can start having some proper fun on it – resulting in me using the bike for a trip to the English Riviera of Dartmouth to help load some miles. 

The Ninja has been returning a fairly respectable 52mpg at the moment, with frugal motorway riding getting up to 59mpg. There is a slight bugbear in the range of the bike though. The 15-litre tank isn’t massive by any means and should be good for a theoretical 170 miles, however the reserve warning is regularly coming on after only 110 miles. Filling up at this point only brims the tank with between 10 and 11 litres of fuel too, meaning that there’s still nearly a third of a tank left in reserve.


Even when playing fuel roulette with the reserve tank and letting the range indicator fall to less than 10 miles after riding 138 miles, the tank still only took dead-on 12 litres. I can understand the need to keep a little in reserve for badly judged fuel stops, however, leaving three litres of fuel in the tank even after the range has counted down to nearly zero has left me a little confused. In the coming weeks, I plan to run it completely dry to see just how far you can take it.

The ride to Dartmouth and my subsequent commuting though took me to my first service with ease. Just a week after I received the Ninja, I found myself riding it to Kawasaki’s UK HQ in Bourne End on a glorious sunny morning, excited to finally have the bike ready to be used without restraint.

The first service is just the routine changing of oil and checking that everything is well with the machine, all of which were fine with the Ninja meaning that it’s all good to go now.

The return journey saw me click over my first thousand miles with the bike. I’m well on my way to hitting my MCN  #ride5000miles target and more importantly, I’m now all set to make the most of the Ninja through this summer. Bring it on.

Drop James an email at if there's anything you'd specifically like to know about this bike.

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