Kawasaki ZX-14 Ninja Review
Kawasaki ZX-14 – Specifications, History and test ride review: This page is all about the Kawasaki’s latest flag ship motorcycle the also known as the ZX-14R or ZZR1400. Released in early 2006 to certain parts of the world the new bike indeed lives up to the Kawasaki name of the past I.e. Lots of power and good handling.
Claimed to be the most powerful production motorcycle to date its specifications and reviews have all been positive. It is what it’s predecessor the ZX-12R should have been from the start. Further more I think I’m going to buy one…
The only thing about the ZX-14 that isn’t top spec is the overall look of the bike. It doesn’t look daring enough and where the design is different, namely front on it looks odd. (That said some of the color schemes work really well) Sure it follows the Kawasaki design concept and attempts to differentiate its models from the other manufacturers but I don’t think they have done enough.
That said we should be thankfully that they have tried to do something different with the motorcycle but why do you think Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Lamborghini are bespoke cars? It’s not just their performance but also they look great.
Note that it is 1352cc so it should really be called the ZX-13! However I’m sure I don’t need to explain why they didn’t call it that – though I don’t see the point. Speaking of which I have a problem with its advertising PR. Their heavily promoting their aviation experience in the design of this bike – why didn’t they do that with the ZX-12 then?
A monocoque frame has more to do with cars than aeroplanes – bikes, buyers in this category are generally enthusiasts – we know the difference difference between ‘planes, trains and automobiles’. Apart from the dubious PR I love the multi-media movies and wall-papers that have now been released. Nice to know they’ve made the effort and we should support this sort of stuff.
The best part is that the pricing is finally competitive!
First off I felt the the new ZX-14 was a comfortable motorcycle which I rate higher than the Hayabusa. However as you should know by now that every body is different. Neither are near the original ZZR1100 or Blackbird – comfort wise I feel. The most disappointing thing about the ZX was that it feels slow. Despite the ads saying how powerful it is, ex-Hayabusa owners will not be impressed.
The riding environment is the next issue I have. Why? does a range topper use materials from it lessor models? I think the instrumentation could have been so much better. I also noticed a few rough edges that you won’t find on a Hayabusa built in 1999! Yes the ZX looks newer but not 7 years worth newer.
Finally – what’s with all the shiny bolts?
Despite the power issue the ride feel was great and similar but different ‘planted’ feelings and slight more vibration. Like hitting the Hayabusa’ vibration zone but at all revs. In isolation you wouldn’t notice. Cornering and handling around town is really good and on equal footing.
It in unfortunate that my ZX’s suspension was turned to ‘hard’ and it felt and was skittish. When turned down it was very much Hayabusa in feel.
As for the design – each to his/her own. Some like it some don’t but the one thing was clear that it certainly doesn’t attract or hold attention of passer-bys.
Overall I came away smiling but without a big grin like I expected after the first ride. Maybe in the long term this might change but for now this is it. (Or a chance to red line the bike!)
Would I recommend the ZX14 over the Hayabusa? This is difficult – The Hayabusa is a proven and genuine 300kph+ production motorcycle – if you add the TRE to new ones it still holds true. The ZX-14 is the most powerful production motorcycle but does not feel that way – yet it has that solid feel of a better or indeed newer design.
Sure its got the on paper power but street cred takes time to develop and hopefully it does get there – quickly.
So my recommendation: If you want the original get the Hayabusa for a genuine fastest motorcycle before the new model arrives. If you want the latest and just as good get the ZX. If you want the next generation wait for the Honda – 2012 and till waiting BTW)
No I won’t be developing a site for the ZX – just too much work but I will be publishing up to date news related to the ZX 14 and certainly cool stuff you won’t find even on dedicated sites.
Specifications for the Kawasaki ZX-14 Ninja
- Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Review
- Kawasaki KX 125 – First Test – Review – Dirt Rider – Dirt Rider Magazine
- Retrospectve: Kawasaki KLX650: 1993-1996 Rider Magazine
- Canadian Kawasaki Motors Inc.