Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R: First Ride
We spend a day aboard Kawasaki’s flagship to see whether the ZX-14R has only the thrill of speed on offer or does it have any surprise stored underneath its monstrous soul
Since the inception of combustion engines, one aspect has always remained vital in the advancement of automobiles, and motorcycles on the whole and that is top speed. Year after year engineers have strived hard to make their motorcycles go faster than ever before and when it comes to the crown of the fastest production motorcycle the stakes get raised considerably.
The roots of the Kawasaki ZX-14R can be traced back to the era between mid 1990 and early 2000, when the Japanese trio of Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki were engrossed in a dogfight for the tag of the fastest production motorcycle manufacturer. Kawasaki was ruling the roost till mid 1990’s with its ZX-11 before Honda clinched the crown from its grasp with the Super Blackbird. The boffins at Kawasaki didn’t take it too kindly and fought back with the ZX-12R to regain its crown.
When most motorcycle enthusiast thought that the fight for the crown would be restricted between Kawasaki and Honda but that wasn’t to be as suddenly out of the blue Suzuki entered the fray with its Hayabusa in 1999 and was swiftly crowned the fastest production motorcycle in the world.
Also around this time there was a growing impetus in both Europe and America to place import limitations or ban open-class motorcycles due to their ever expanding speed ceiling. Fearing backlash, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers and their European counterparts penned down an agreement to limit their bikes top-speed to 300km/h and it was labeled as the “gentleman’s agreement.” But Kawasaki didn’t take the success of the Hayabusa munificently and came out with its latest flagship, the ZX-14R to topple the Busa from the top in 2006.
Suzuki was quick to counter and released the updated Hayabusa in 2008 and it appeared the bird would rule the roost in the near future. It seemed Kawasaki wanted to end this skirmish once and for all with the 2012 ZX-14R.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R: First Ride Pics!
We spend a day aboard Kawasaki’s flagship to see whether the ZX-14R has only the thrill of speed on offer or it has any surprise stored in its monstrous soul
The roots of the Kawasaki ZX-14R can be traced back to the era between mid 1990 and early 2000, when the Japanese trio of Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki were engrossed in a dogfight for the tag of the fastest production motorcycle manufacturer
The ZX-14R was given an up-date to maintain its reign at the top by embracing excess in 2012 by hiking its displacement and endowing it with more power
we got an opportunity to spend a day with the beast and to judge ourselves whether it really stands up to its reputation of a machine which was built with only one principle and that was SPEED
The first visual that strikes your mind as your eyes scrutinize the bike is that it’s big and it has no qualms about its size and bulk
The most striking feature of the bike is the front of the bike with its quartet of projector beam headlamps, flanking a large, gulping air-intake, redefines the word menace
Behind the headlamps, one finds the side-by-side tachometer and speed gauges along with a LCD information center
The four ribs along the side fairings are finished in a contrast of black, which apart from adding to the bikes visual appeal are also instrumental in channeling the hot air away from the bikes motor
The rear of the bike is tapered down from the front and houses a V-shaped LED taillight below the grab rail
The Kawasaki ZX-14R is an attention-grabber wherever we went and it isn’t hard to notice among the crowd too with its shade of sparkling green
The 1,441cc, in-line four-cylinder motor along with ram-air came to life pumping out 213PS @ 10,000rpm and an astounding torque rating of 164.2Nm @7,500
If you want to go berserk and feel that you have the control skills of Ricky Gadson, well you can switch off the traction control completely and try to tame this bull by its horns
The 14R isn’t one of those breed of bikes which makes you feel at home the moment you sit on the saddle as one has to slowly adapt to the firepower on tap and it requests you judicious use of the wrist to stay out of trouble
Hooks have been provided to clamp the luggage to the rear seat using bungee chords for touring
The ergonomics of ZX-14R are an apt compromise between strict performance on the quarter-mile, and long distance comfort and the bike really comes in its element while smooth and fast cruisingas it gobbles up miles after miles effortlessly
To keep all the firepower in control, Kawasaki has provided with radially mounted Nissin calipers to grasp on twin semi-floating 310mm discs at front
Kawasaki has endowed the 14R with a three-mode S-KRTC (Sport Kawasaki Traction Control), which can be altered on the move via thumb control
The massive 22-litre tank along with the ECO mode means that one can ride for close to 300km on a full tank
If acceleration, top speed, intimidating looks and comfortable touring capability are what you are looking for in your next big bike then look no further as the ZX-14R is the bike for you
- Kawasaki VN 1700 Voyager Motorcycles
- 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom Specifications eHow
- The Kawasaki H2-R
- 2003 Kawasaki Bayou 250 and the Prairie 360 ATVConnection.com
- 2001 Kawasaki ZR-7S