|Year of specifications
in-line 4 cylinder
||200 + mph
/ 566 lbs
/ 31.5 inches
For 2006 Kawasaki introduced the new Ninja ZX-14, their most
powerful sportbike ever at 1352cc.
The flagship sportsbike is a fitting rival for the Suzuki Hayabusa, with improved aerodynamics and
an a power output nearing 200 hp, topping the double ton seems
inevitable. Note the similar bulbous nose shared with the Hayabusa,
not exactly beautiful but if it works...
The Kawasaki ZX-14's all new in-line four engine has evolved
from the ZX-12R and features a bore and stroke of 84mm x 61mm
packed into a purposefully designed compact package that minimizes
engine width, leaving it virtually the same width as the 12R.
The engine uses a secondary balancer to tame unwanted vibrations,
and a direct-actuation shift lever is lighter than conventional
linkage-type set-ups, offering a more direct feel for the rider.
The ZX-14's chassis design is every bit the equal of its power
plant. It is an advanced version of Kawasaki's unique aluminum
frame -- lightweight and very strong.
Offering a very relaxed sport riding position, it is compact
without being cramped. The foot pegs are low-set to give ample
leg room, and the low seat height and narrow seat front make
planting feet on the ground a cinch when stopped.
Review by: Jesse:
Recently I bought and added another bike to my collection of
experiences, the ZX14 Kawasaki. This is the fourth Ninja I have
owned, starting with a 600, then a 900, and a ZX11 which I still
have. In total, this is the 8th bike I have owned and as I've
been able to own most all the Ninja's, the 14 is by far an accumulation
of Kawasaki's biggest quest to reach a balance between power,
beauty and advanced handling, with more emphasis on power and
handling, letting subjective beauty ride third. I say subjective
beauty because there are arguable differences between the wide
cat-like ZX14 nose when compared against the sleek, rocket-sled
face of a Hayabusa, but what the ZX14 lacks in that area it
for me personally, it more than makes up in raw power out of
the corners and into the straight-away with simply more horsepower.
This is not the ZZR12 reformed: this represents a new direction
for Kawasaki and the new frame, motor, handling geometry and
power band all reflect that. It is like being strapped on the
back of a missle and there are no words to describe the raw
surge of power on acceleration to a glass smooth 120 mph in
seconds. With certain easy mods, it can be re-tuned to even
greater bottom-end blast-offs but realistically, if you are
not drag-racing, how much power do you need?
I've been riding bikes since I was 9 years old, starting with
a Sears Moped I used for a newspaper-route. My long and winding
journey to the bikes I own today has been a testimony on how
to subdue and endure this passion as I matured and began to
drop the need-for-speed and re-new my motorcycle-riding experience
into a more enjoyable adventure out into the world. I think
it's simply: you either have motorcycles in your blood or you
don't, and once that experience is there, it never fades away.
It can be pushed back and down, but it never goes away. I have
seen past memories revived into a smile as people who use to
ride come over and talk to me about this bike: it has mystique
and a bad-boy reputation and I can't go out on it without someone
invariably sticking up a thumb in approval or giving me a big
grin as I glide by or pull up to a light.
A word to the wise reader: this is not a bike for a beginner,
and because of it's light weight and nimbleness, can easy be
mistaken for a less-powerful 900-1000 cc bike. I purchased my
06 used zx14 from a guy whose wife, after seeing him ride it
for a week, easing slowly up into those high rpms, said to him,
"Sell the bike or the kids and I are moving back to my mother's.
I am not raising these children without a father." It is that
kind of bike that begs to be opened up out on the highway and
only a seasoned rider who understands how to be one-with-the-force,
or power, in this case, can remain unaffected.
(disclaimer: Don't work for Kawasaki, never talked to anyone