Here’s my 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list. It’s a list of all modifications and upgrades I’ve done to my Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS. As of now, at least.
Some are easy bolt-on parts, and others are full-blown custom installations. And keep in mind that most will also fit the 2017 Kawasaki Z650, too. If you’re interested in seeing what I chose to install, take a look at my Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list below. It wouldn’t be practical to show pictures of all of them here, so to seem them you might want to check out my DIYs.
Also, if you are looking for parts for this exact model, you might want to take a look at the 2017+ Kawasaki Ninja 650 parts compatibility list. Sometimes you’ll find that the same exact part advertised for a different model is cheaper, so it’s worth checking.
My 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 Mods List
Here’s a list of the upgrades I’ve installed on my bike and liked enough to keep. Where possible, I’ve linked to the exact item I installed. As ridiculous as it seems, this list isn’t even exhaustive.
Bodywork & Exterior Upgrades
- Fender Eliminator Kit – It may not be the cheapest option, but they are certainly among the best made. I installed the MotoDynamics one, but it’s very similar to the Vagabond MotorSports kit which tends to have better availability. It’s also plug and play, and works with the OEM turn signals. Finally, it installs quickly, too.
- Aftermarket Radiator Guard – Even though it might protect the radiator from small impacts, I’ll confess I installed it mainly for looks. The Z650 version is the same as that of the 2017+ Kawasaki Ninja 650.
- Aftermarket Rear Single-Seat Cowl – I went with the aftermarket version (instead of OEM) since it was about 60% cheaper. I didn’t regret it. The color match was spot on and the quality was perfectly acceptable. To boot, it’s a direct fit with no modification needed. Just take off the seat and put this one on.
- CNC Aluminum Extra-Wide Kickstand Plate – Totally worth it for how it helps avoid the motorcycle falling over when parked on grass or dirt. It also makes the kickstand easier to put down.
- Real Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame – Nothing like ditching the dealer’s branded license plate frame and installing a nicer genuine carbon fiber one.
- Genuine Carbon Fiber Tank Pad – This is the nicest real carbon fiber tank pad I could find. For the price, at least. Quality is great, and you can install the pieces however you like best. And as with all tank pads, remember to use an adhesion promoter when installing.
Aesthetic & Miscellaneous Accessories
- Aluminum CNC Fairing Screws (M5x15mm) – Titanium Color – I’m a sucker for titanium/gun-metal colored parts. Just for aesthetics I changed all the visible fairing bolts.
- Rim Tape – Factory Effex reflective Black Rim Tape – I mainly installed this for safety (increased visibility) and to be able to better see my bike via the security camera that keeps an eye on it.
- Smoked Front Turn Signal Housing – It might just be my opinion, but I think that smoked turn signals look so much better on this bike.
- CNC Oil Filler Cap (20×2.5mm) – Gun-metal Color – I like this model in particular because it requires a hex key to remove. That makes it at least marginally more tamper-resistant.
- Clutch Lever Adjuster Upgrade – CNC Anodized Aluminum (Titanium) – Just a pretty and cheap bolt-on accessory. Nonetheless, it does make the adjuster a lot easier to use with gloves on.
- Front CNC Brake Fluid Cap – For looks. One can be vain like that.
- Carbon Fiber Vinyl Key Cowling Protector – To keep the keys from scratching the cowl surrounding them. I just cut the vinyl as I installed it.
- Replacement Key PN#27008-0596 – You can’t imagine how many people lose both original keys before ever getting a copy – And that’s an expensive mistake. The Ninja 650 is super picky with keys, so you might want to read bout key compatibility here. Any locksmith will cut it for around 5 bucks since the N650’s key doesn’t have a transponder .
- Guardian Bell – Because you never know when you might come across some gremlins.
- 6x Titanium Sprocket Nuts M10x1.25mm – Titanium nuts look great, don’t rust and reduce sprung/rotating weight (albeit by little).
- Frame Sliders – OES Carbon Fiber Frame Sliders – Thankfully, the new Ninja 650 is designed for frame sliders. These are the ones I chose to go with due to aesthetics and price. A single standstill tip-over can cost you hundreds to repair in scratches. These days, I’d seriously question the judgment of any new rider that didn’t install them as soon as possible. After a friend’s tip over before making it a mile away from the dealership, I’m a believer.
- Fork Brace – Black – Another part installed mainly to justify not making a deposit into my savings account. To see how to install it, click here – Ninja 650 Fork Brace Stabilizer DIY.
- Front Axle Crash Slider Protector – Since the front axle is hollow, I thought why not?
- Quick-Release Reusable Lynch Pin – The benefit of this part is not having to replace the original cotter pin every time you adjust the chain. It did require a quick pass with a drill bit to enlarge the original hole.
- CNC Anodized Aluminum Extended Rear Swingarm Spools (8mmx1.25mm) – I personally prefer the models which extend slightly from the swingarm and have “side plates” to avoid scratching the bike. These are the ones I went with.
- Adjustable Folding Extendable Brake & Clutch Levers – You can install them for looks or for functionality. Regardless I like having them for the improved ergonomics. You can see them better in my control cable lubing how-to.
- Cruise Control – Kurakyn Cruise Assist P/B 6218 – Basic cruise control on a motorcycle! I love it for long rides (do I hear SaddleSore?) or simply adjusting a zipper while riding. It’s definitely my favorite ergonomic accessory on the Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list.
- Ram Mount Ball for a Smartphone/GPS Mount – Another must have, for me at least. To see how I installed it for use as a GPS holder, checkout my Kawasaki Ninja 650 smartphone mount DIY.
- Anti-Slip Knee Grip Tank Pads – Though I’ve typically used StompGrip Tank Pads in the past, this time I went with generic knee grip pads. To be honest, it’s much cheaper and works just as well. I’d definitely do the same again if I had to.
- EZ-109 Oil Drain Valve – I can’t conceive not installing this on any bike I own. It makes oil changes so much cleaner and easier. For more info and how to install it check here.
Electronic & Electrical Upgrades
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – Keeping an eye on tire pressure is a big PITA on this bike, thanks to the straight valves and double disks. I installed a TPMS to avoid altogether the hassle of having to check tire pressures monthly. The ability to take a glance at tire pressures before aggressive riding is certainly confidence-inspiring.
- Coban GPS303G GPS Tracker Alarm with Remote Engine Kill – One of the first things I did was install a GPS Tracker Alarm to help avoid thefts. I also wired a way to cut the engine remotely from my phone. See it in my detailed guide of the alarm install.
- Air Horn Upgrade – Stebel Nautilus Compact Air Horn – This is my favorite upgrade so far! There’s nothing like watching the cars swerve back into their lane because they think they are about to get hit by a truck. See the DIY motorcycle air horn install.
- Turn Signal Relay Adapter Harness – Taken from a Motodynamic LEDFR-01 Relay Kit to adapt the odd 3 pin blinker relay to the more ubiquitous 2 pin style. You can see it here.
- Brake Light Modulator – GS-100A – I really like this mod for safety and visibility. To see a detailed guide on how to install it, checkout the motorcycle brake light modulator DIY.
- Backup Phone Mount X-Grip Charger – Any experienced rider knows that their phone charger always fails when they most need it. That’s why I installed a backup. More info here.
- Decoy Alarm – There’s no point in installing a GPS Tracker Alarm if the thief quickly rips it out.
- MICTuning In-Dash 4.2A Dual Port USB Charger w Voltmeter – To keep my phone/GPS charged while riding. To see a detailed “How-To” on installing it click here.
- NOCO Genius GC015 12V Eyelet Battery Indicator – Used for both charging the battery and to jump-start if necessary. Noco would surely not endorse that, but the starter only takes 30 or so Amps.
- Front Position Light Bulbs Upgrade – 2x JDM ASTAR Extremely Bright 30-EX T10 – After testing a handful of T10 white bulbs, this turned out to be the brightest, reasonably priced bulb I could find. I measured them with a Lux meter so the test was somewhat objective. Plus, JDM ASTAR has great customer service.
- Front Turn Signal Bulbs Upgrade – JDM ASTAR 5730 Chipsets BAU15S Led Bulbs, Amber – Like the previous upgrade, I also compared a few amber turn signal bulbs and found this one to be the brightest LED bulb that wasn’t overpriced.
- Headlight Bulbs Upgrade – Philips H7 X-TremeVision +130% Bulbs – While far from being HID-grade, the options were limited to begin with. This is the best compromise I could find.
- Rear Turns Signals Upgrade – Spirit Beast LED Rear Turn Signals, Amber – I initially tried some Action Turn Signals (with a suspicious similarity to the Rizoma model) and was unimpressed with the light output. I swapped them for these and now I’m much happier with the aesthetics, quality and brightness. Combined with the adjustable LED Turn Signal Relay, it helps with visibility.
- Yoshimura Alpha Carbon Fiber Full System Exhaust – To be honest, I installed this more as an aesthetic and acoustic upgrade rather than a performance upgrade. If you want more power, the gains are mediocre. Nonetheless it’s a hard upgrade to resist and it does work okay without a Power Commander. Plus it definitely has the best looking muffler out there.
Upgrades pending installation
These are things I’ve bought but still haven’t had a chance to install. Nonetheless, I have previous experience with them on other bikes so it makes my Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list.
- UltraGel Motorcycle Seat Gel Pad – TR Series (7.5″x9″x7″) – After installing this in my Kawasaki Ninja 300, I knew I had to have this upgrade. The Ninja 650 is a vast improvement in comfort, but this is still a worthwhile upgrade if you are upholstering the seat.
- Carbon Fiber Vinyl Upholstery – To cover the UltraGel Pad, plus add custom upholstery.
Upgrades not worth the hassle
There are items that shouldn’t have made it to this Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list. They aren’t worth your money.
- Ninja 650 Dash Display Protector Film 6H TPU Sticker – I initially thought this was a great idea to protect the screen from UV or scratch damage. I was wrong. While the protector is nice, the display is not perfectly flat so it will invariably lift up on the edges. Sadly it isn’t worth it.
- Red Light Changer Magnets – I mean those magnets you stick under your bike to make intersections detect it. No one should spend their money on this. They’re junk. It was worth trying to clear any doubts, but I was more than happy when I returned it.
Other motorcycle accessories worth keeping around
The following are accessories I always keep around. They might not mount directly to the bike, but they sure come in handy when you need them. I still think they’re interesting enough for new riders for me to include them in my Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list.
- First Aid Kit – I really hope there’s no need to explain why carrying a First Aid Kit in your backpack or under the seat is important for a motorcyclist.
- Dynaplug Ultralite Tubeless Tire Repair Tool Kit – Nothing sucks like being stranded on a bike. To boot, it’s harder to find a tow truck willing to take you to a shop. I keep this kit under the seat to plug any punctures that may happen. It’s already saved me a few times in the past.
- Bestek 300A Portable Lithium Jump Starter – Either for charging your helmet intercom at a rest area, or jump-starting your bike if the alarm drained it down. You definitely want someone in your riding group to have a lithium jump-starter at hand. In mine…well, I guess that’s me.
- Nelson-Rigg Deluxe Motorcycle Cover, Large – A nice, compact, quality cover. For both indoor and outdoor use. Size Large fits the Ninja 650 quite nicely.
- NOCO Genius G1100 UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger – I use this charger to keep the bike’s battery charged, or recharge it whenever I forget to plug it in. Every vehicle owner should have a decent smart battery charger. If you have an alarm, it’s a must-have.
- Front and Rear Sport Bike Stand – I can’t conceive not having a rear stand to use for basic maintenance tasks, like oil changes, chain lubrication or even cleaning the bike. I have had a few different units over time. Depending on how much you use it, you can go with a cheaper or more expensive one. I’d definitely take a more affordable unit over none at all.
- Kryptonite High-Security Chain – A quality chain (attached to a secure object) is the number one thing that you can do to keep your bike from getting stolen. This is what’ll keep the rest of the things on this Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list safe. I’ve tried a lot of Kryptonite chains (which are the best), and this one is the best compromise between safety and convenience. Though there are “safer” chains, they are way too heavy to carry on your sport bike. Trust me, I’ve tried.
But…What about performance upgrades?
To be honest, I’ve back-tracked a bit over the years on performance upgrades. These days I try to avoid most engine-related projects for the sake of reliability. The fact that most engine upgrades provide marginal performance benefits at best don’t make them more tempting, either.
To see more on that topic, check out why I think motorcycle performance upgrades are seldom worth it. Just about anything else on this Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list is a more effective way to make your bike better.
Well, that’s all of it! Hopefully this Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list has been helpful for anyone looking for some inspiration on their next upgrade. If you’re thinking about adding an upgrade to your bike or have any recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading! If you’ve found my Kawasaki Ninja 650 mods list interesting, check out what other projects I’ve been up to. Here are a few you might like. Many of them are specifically for the Kawasaki Ninja 650.