Firstly, know that your owner’s manual has information regarding oil and the oil change procedure in pages 114 to 118.  If you’ve misplaced your owner’s manual you can download the .pdf version for free here:  2014 Ninja 1000 ABS Owner’s Manual Link

ninja manual

Your first oil and filter change is scheduled to take place at 600 miles.

Secondly, there are a ton of threads on every motorcycle and car forum about oil and oil filter choices.  Everyone has their opinions.  My dad was known to say:  “Opinions are like assholes:  Everybody has one, and they all stink!”

So with those elegant words of wisdom in mind, here’s my opinion:

-Stick with Dino oil (non-synthetic) until after the motor has had time to fully “break-in”.  I feel this is 5000-6000 miles if ridden hard.  More like 10,000 miles if you tend to be gentle on it.
-After that mark, it’s up to you if you want to go synthetic.  However, if you do, be careful it doesn’t contain “long life” or “high mileage” additives which could actually make the oil “too slippery” for our clutch plates, and cause you issues.  (I ran Rotella T6 synthetic in my FJR 1300 that already had 25K miles on it, and had absolutely no issues).
-When you’re picking your oil there are various certifications like JASO and others that indicate various additives to the oil are included, and that they’ve passed certain friction tests.  Rotella T (Dinosaur oil – Not synthetic), is a pretty tried and true oil, with good qualities, certifications, and decent price that has been used by lots of motorcyclists over the years.  (That’s what I’m putting in)

Rotella T Oil

-There are some truly crap brands of oil filters out there, and I would suggest that if you’re interested, you do some internet sleuthing, as they’ve been tested and compared, and torn apart for years.  My 10 second summary is:  Avoid FRAM and K&N oil filters.  Don’t use FRAM, because 90% of their models have really poor performance in tests, and a lot of anecdotal reports of failure as well.  (They have 1 model, like “extended life” or something, that isn’t so bad, but why risk picking the wrong one?).  K&N oil filters prioritize “flow rate” over “particle filtration”, and while this may give them impressive “numbers” in a marketing statistic, you really want to stick with a filter that balances “flow rate” and “particle filtration” as optimally as possible.
-Purolator are the king of oil filters.  They may not appear on the very top of each test criteria, but they are always second or third and have been since the oil filter was originally created by them.
-The part number you want to use is:  Purolator PL14612, which is the same size as the OEM Kawasaki filter.  I’ve read about guys using the Purolator PL14610 which is longer and will have greater filtering capacity, and while it does fit, I question the idea of prioritizing filtering over flow rate in these high revving, dynamic motorcycle engines.  (I used the larger filter in my FJR 1300)

purolator pl15612 oil filter

-To best protect your motorcycle engine, and save money follow these rules:
1.  Do your own oil changes (not only to save cost, but so that you know it was done correctly)
2.  Use known good oil and filters, they don’t need to be “the best”, as you will be changing them more often
3.  Consider not jumping into synthetic at all with a motorcycle.  At least consider holding off on the move to synthetic until the motor has several thousands of miles on it.  (Some riders prefer synthetic oils for the “feel” of the clutch action and shifting…they acknowledge they aren’t using synthetics to try and get extended oil change intervals)
4.  Change your oil every 3000 miles, and change your oil filter with every second oil change after the first one.  (The caveats here would be if you ride less than 3000 miles in a year, change oil every spring.  If you do a trackday, change your oil and filter after the trackday).  The idea here is to change the oil more frequently to reduce the time you are circulating “less than ideal” oil, which offers excellent protection.  Since you’re not paying top dollar for long life synthetics and super expensive oil filters, you’re saving yourself money as well.  Remember if you’re not replacing the oil filter, that you only need 3.4 quarts, not the usual 4 quarts of oil

Below are the steps I took to change my oil.  Even though I pre-filled the oil filter twice, I still had the “Air-lock” issue with the oil pressure light, and had to use the “burp” procedure.

(1)  Warm up the bike for a few minutes.  (Warm oil flows faster)

(2)  Put the bike on the stand

ninja on stand

(3)  If needed, let the bike cool just a bit so you don’t burn yourself

(4) Rub a bit of new oil on the rubber gasket of the oil filter. (Optional: Fill up the new oil filter with new oil and let it sit)

presoak the oil filter

(5)  Remove the oil filler cap  (This will help the oil drain faster)

oil filler plug

(6)  Have a rag nearby for oil spills

(7)  Place your oil pan which you are using to catch the drained oil underneath and towards the left side of your motorcycle. Remove the oil drain plug 17mm bolt.  The warm oil will drain about 6-8″ out from the hole itself at first, so be prepared

oil drain plug

oil draining

oil drain complete

(8)  After the oil stops draining, loosen the oil filter just a bit. These rubber strap wrenches work best.  The stock filter may be stupid-tight on there, be patient and know that it is ok to dent the crap out of the old oil filter in your attempts to remove it

strap wrench

(9)  Move the oil pan back over so that it is under the oil filter and remove the oil filter carefully, as it will have oil in it.  Be careful not to drop the oil filter into the oil pan, creating a mess

oil filter removed

(10 Optional)  Go back over to see that your new oil filter has absorbed nearly all of the oil.  Go ahead and top it off again (slowly)

(11)  Put the oil drain plug back in (replacing the washer if you’re anal retentive, though most of us don’t bother unless it looks damaged).  Torque the bolt to:  21ft lb or just slightly more than hand tight. (Dont use any thread locker here, and don’t over tighten this bolt)

(12)  With the oil pan still underneath, tip your new filter in and tighten it “hand tight”.  It doesn’t need to be anywhere near as tight as it was stock

(13)  Grab your funnel and ensure it is clean, then add your slightly less than 4 quarts of oil. (Since we are replacing the filter the measurement is 4 quarts rather than 3.4 quart with no filter change…however we have also preloaded the oil filter to try and avoid the “air lock” problem, so it won’t need a full 4 quarts to be at good level)

(14)  Replace the filler cap and check the sight glass:  It should read just a little high because it is on the stand

oil level on stand

(15)  Ensure bike is in neutral and start your bike and watch for the oil pressure light.  It should promptly go off, and if it doesn’t then turn off the bike and prepare for the “burp” procedure

oil pressure light on after oil change

(15 *burp*)  If you need to “burp” the oil filter, this is what you do:
-Loosen the oil filter so that you will be able to easily unscrew and then screw it back in quickly by hand, without burning yourself on the exhaust or motor while the engine is running.
-Do the following in one set of motions, with the bike still in neutral and on the stand:

  • Start the bike
  • Back off the oil filter just enough so it no longer has a seal (maybe 1/4 inch)
  • Wait a couple of seconds, where it will actually “burp” out air, and then you’ll see oil come out and down into your oil pan
  • Thread the filter back in as best you can until it seals
  • Stand up and check to ensure the oil pressure light is off:  Yes?  Good, turn off the bike.  *phew*

-Go back down and re-tighten your oil filter “hand tight” and wipe up any oil that may have spilled around the filter.
-Start the bike back up again and let it run for a minute, ensuring the oil pressure light now stays off as expected.

oil pressure light off after burp procedure

(16) If no issues with oil pressure, then go ahead and shut off the bike, and add your oil change to the back of your owner’s manual in the maintenance section. (attach receipts if you’re anal-retentive, but most of us don’t bother)

(17)  Dispose of the old oil properly.  It’s easiest to simply dump it in the now empty oil container(s) you used to fill.  As you get to the bottom of the old oil in the pan, inspect it for shiny filings, which could be pieces of gears from bad shifts, or clutch material, or potentially worse.  (I did the “ride it like you stole it” hard break-in method, and was pleased to see I could only find 1 or 2 “visible” flakes in the old oil, likely from the gears and shifting, or clutch material as they were brass colored.  The oil consistency was ok, not overly runny, didn’t smell of fuel, and while dark it still looked good)

dispose of old oil

This is hard to see, because my camera kept focusing on the reflection of my bike hanging above me…

metal speck in old oil

(18) Take the bike off the stand and carefully re-check the oil level in the sight glass by balancing the bike by hand. (due to the air in the system and oil filter soaking in oil, you will likely need to “top off” the oil level. You can top off the oil so it reaches the top line in the sight glass once it is off the stand). Double check around the oil filter and drain plug for any leaks, and if none:  You’re finished!


Note:  Below is another oil/filter change method I found that indicates it would avoid the air lock issue.  (I will try this method on my next oil/filter change and if preferable I’ll switch my method):

*Method 2:

  1. Drain the oil, but don’t remove the Oil filter
  2. Prime the new oil filter with new oil so it has time to soak in
  3. Reinstall the oil drain plug
  4. Add 3.4 quarts of new oil into the bike
  5. Re-prime the new oil filter if it needs more oil
  6. Now remove the old oil filter
  7. Install the new oil filter
  8. Start the bike, and if the oil pressure light goes out promptly, you’re good to let it idle for a minute to circulate the oil
  9. Let it sit turned off for a few minutes, then re-check oil level and top off if needed.

*end Method 2