The new Concours™ 14 and Concours 14 ABS combine breathtaking engine performance, impeccable handling and a comfortable riding position with clean, convenient shaft drive, locking hard luggage, an electrically adjustable windscreen and a host of other features to create the most impressive long-distance, high-speed machine on the market today.
An aluminum monocoque chassis, radial-mount brake calipers, inverted fork, and ram air induction are all features riders expect to find on top-of-the-line supersport machines. However, instead of riding a high-strung racetrack missile, they can enjoy these high-performance features on Kawasaki’s new Concours 14 sport touring motorcycles. They are the first representatives of an entirely new genre of high-performance motorcycle: the Transcontinental Supersport.
Because it’s a Kawasaki, the Concours 14 is naturally designed to do much more than just take a rider from point A to point B. Thanks to its sporting heritage, the new Concours 14 is not only an awe-inspiring road burner, it can also carve up mountain roads like a true supersport bike. For those riders who cross state lines the way others cross town, this machine offers more excitement than anything else in its category.
The Concours 14 may be a physically impressive machine, but as soon as riders flip the side stand up, they’ll be astonished at the bike’s lightweight feel. The confidence-enhancing ABS brake system (Concours™ 14 ABS) features radial-mount front calipers operated by a radial-pump master cylinder, for the superb control and powerful, reliable braking performance that continent-crossing sport riders expect. Belying its tourer-like appearance, the Concours 14’s phenomenally responsive handling characteristics make the other bikes in its category seem like transports by comparison. This provides the Concours 14 rider with a feeling of complete control for spirited, confident journeys.
In addition to an incredible level of sporting performance, the new Concours 14 has the functional touches of a Grand Touring machine. Features include KI-PASS (Kawasaki’s Intelligent Proximity Activation Start System), the first “smart” key ignition system in its class, and an accessory power outlet located near the cockpit for powering portable electronics, grip heaters and other accessories. There’s also an electrically adjustable windscreen, shaft drive and detachable, locking side cases, so the Concours 14 is always ready for a high-speed ride to the local hangout or that favorite spot... fifteen hundred miles away.
The Concours 14 is much more than a sportbike with tacked-on touring features; it’s an integrated high-speed touring system. Wind protection for rider and passenger is based on a supersport-style design philosophy, aerodynamically curving wind around the riders to reduce buffeting that occurs when wind curls around screens that simply “block” the wind. Additionally, maintenance chores on long-distance trips are minimized thanks to quiet and reliable shaft drive. Featuring a special four-link design, the Tetra-Lever shaft drive system significantly reduces driveline lash during sport riding and helps ensure smooth acceleration when exploiting the engine’s incredible power output. In fact, power delivery to the rear wheel is so smooth and so direct that it gives the same natural ride quality as a chain.
The Concours 14’s touring prowess doesn’t stop there. The included hard luggage features a slim, integrated design which mounts the cases closer to the machine’s centerline for excellent mass centralization. Sensors in the front and rear wheels monitor tire pressure and display this information on the instrument panel, giving riders peace of mind during two-up high-speed riding or when carving up a mountain road.
With all the equipment needed for safe and exciting long-distance riding mated to a decidedly supersport core, the new Concours 14 amplifies all the best riding features that motorcycling has to offer. Motorcyclists carry a driver’s license, but Concours 14 riders should bring their passports, too.
Power Characteristics For Long-distance Sport Riding
Power comes from a ZZR1400-based engine tuned for more low- and mid-range torque. This liquid-cooled, 16-valve, In-Line Four features variable valve timing for high torque output at low and medium rpm. Acceleration off the line and when overtaking are simply spectacular, and the engine spins up effortlessly in the higher rpm range. Thanks to a finely tuned fuel injection map, off-idle throttle response and throttle response across the rev range is smooth and natural.
Ram Air Just like a supersport bike, the GTR features Kawasaki’s Ram Air System. Dual Ram Air ducts located on the upper cowl feed the engine the steady flow of cool air needed for high performance. Resonators located near the inlets reduce intake noise for quiet running.
Airbox The backbone of the monocoque frame doubles as an airbox, contributing to the GTR’s compact and narrow dimensions.
Fuel Injection The FI system features sub-throttles, and the diameter of the throttle valve has been reduced from 43mm (ZZR1400) to 40 mm for more linear low and mid-range throttle response and for increased driveability. Because the smaller diameter throttle bodies give increased intake velocity, throttle response is very crisp from low rpm to high. Ultra-fine atomising injectors contribute to the GTR’s sensitive throttle response, enabling minute throttle adjustments. The combination of the new fuel injection system that makes use of feedback from O2 sensors, and the variable valve timing reduce exhaust emissions, allowing the GTR to clear the stringent Euro-III emissions regulations.
Variable Valve Timing With variable valve timing (a category first), the camshaft timing varies in response to rpm and throttle position. The result is high torque output in the low and medium rpm ranges and awesome high-rpm power at the top end. Combustion efficiency is also improved, contributing to enhanced fuel efficiency. An ECU-controlled OCV (Oil Control Valve) changes the pressure of oil in the chambers of an actuator located at the end of the intake camshaft. As the pressure changes, oil is fed into or out of the chambers via holes in the camshaft. The changing volume of oil causes the actuator to move, rotating the camshaft, thereby advancing and retarding the valve timing. The intake timing is retarded at low rpm, reducing the valve overlap for cleaner, more efficient combustion in the low-rpm range.
Camshafts Special cam profiles are used to suit the variable valve timing. The new cams have less lift than those of the ZZR1400. Lightweight, highly rigid forged camshafts are used for precise valve timing at high rpm. Pistons Complementing the variable valve timing are new pistons with reshaped crowns. Compared with the ZZR1400, compression has been lowered from 12.0:1 to 10.7:1.
Connecting Rods Super-strong sintered connecting rods (same as those of the ZZR1400) are used to ensure high durability and long-term reliability.
Cylinder Head Magnesium valve cover contributes to weight reduction.
Crankcase To ensure high crankcase rigidity the cylinders are cast integral with the upper crankcase. Plated cylinders reduce operating friction, and along with revised piston clearance, contribute to extremely quiet engine operation.
Crankshaft ACG flywheel mass has been increased to enhance the low-rpm torque characteristics.
Exhaust System GTR-specific stainless steel exhaust pipes are fitted which are tuned for sporty yet very responsive power characteristics. A 4-2-1 layout is used, and a catalyser and O2 sensor are fitted to ensure that the GTR meets the stringent Euro-III emissions regulations. A single tri-oval muffler replaces the dual oval units used on the ZZR1400 for reduced weight and less noise.
Engine Balancer Like the ZZR1400, the GTR features dual balancer shafts ensuring a super-smooth ride quality.
Radiator For high cooling efficiency the radiator is fitted with dual radiator fans of different diameter. (The ZZR1400 uses a single fan.)
Electric Accessory Power Supply To power grip heaters and other electrical accessories, the ACG output has been increased. (The battery is the same as that of the ZZR1400.)
Transferring Power To The Tarmac
Clutch The 1400GTR is not called the Transcontinental „Supersport” for nothing. Like Kawasaki’s Ninja supersport bikes, the GTR comes standard with a back-torque limiting clutch that helps minimise rear wheel hop when downshifting at high rpm. Dampers fitted to the clutch cam reduce shock loads to the clutch and transmission, contributing to smooth and seamless power delivery. Operation of the hydraulic clutch is equally smooth and very light, thanks to a radial pump master cylinder.
Transmission The 1400GTR comes equipped with a 6-speed transmission. The sixth gear is an overdrive gear that allows engine speed to be reduced when cruising for high comfort and low fuel consumption.
Tetra-Lever Rear Suspension To ensure that the GTR’s massive torque is transmitted to the tarmac as efficiently as possible, a highly rigid, dual-sided, 4-link swingarm is used. Kawasaki calls this the Tetra-Lever. It is designed to offset the lifting/squatting tendency of shaft drives when the throttle is opened/closed. Two-point jointed shafts are used, ensuring a smooth power delivery to the road surface. The ride quality and chassis behaviour are very natural and feel similar to chain drive, with added benefits of the very direct „shaft drive feel.” The high rigidity of this swingarm design gives excellent rider feedback, contributing to the unique GTR sport riding experience.
Handling-focused Chassis Design
Aluminium Monocoque Frame For a combination of light weight, slim design and sporty handling characteristics, the 1400GTR is equipped with a high-rigidity aluminium monocoque frame. This unique frame is a more advanced version of the frame first used by the Ninja ZX-12R and ZZR1400. It delivers very stable yet very responsive handling characteristics, just what is needed for a transcontinental supersport bike. To reduce the influence of increased weight on the bike’s handling characteristics, the steering head, upper plate and swingarm bracket were made stiffer, giving the GTR’s frame 20% more torsional stiffness than the ZZR1400’s frame.
Front/Rear Weight Balance Compared with the ZZR1400, the GTR’s frame has a greater caster angle, moving the front axle 30 mm forward. The swingarm was also extended, moving the rear axle 30 mm further back. The result is a front/rear wheel weight bias only marginally different from the ZZR1400. And because the GTR was developed primarily with luggage attached, when riding two-up or with luggage, fine tuning the suspension is simply a quick twist of the remote preload adjuster away.
Mass Centralisation The fuel tank is centrally located in the chassis and extends vertically below the seat. The battery and ABS unit are also centrally located, ensuring both excellent front/rear and vertical mass centralisation. The electrically adjustable windscreen and panniers are also mounted as close to the bike’s centre of gravity as possible, contributing to the GTR’s nimble handling, and ease of manoeuvrability when off the bike.
Frame Geometry Thanks to the Tetra-Lever swinging arm, the virtual swinging arm pivot location remains ideal, reducing the up/down movement associated with conventional shaft drives. Compared with the ZZR, the castor angle was increased from 23¢X to 26¢X for superb straight-line stability.
Wheelbase Ride stability is excellent, thanks in part to a wheelbase which is 60 mm longer than the ZZR’s. In spite of this, the GTR’s sporty cornering performance rivals that of many pure supersport bikes.
Precise Control And „Natural” Handling
Inverted Front Fork Sturdy 43mm inverted fork complements the high-rigidity frame and delivers brilliant high-speed handling performance, whether on winding roads or on high-speed expressways. The fork is adjustable for rebound damping and preload.
Tetra-Lever Rear Suspension The Tetra-Lever rear suspension is supported at four points on the left and right side and mounts to Kawasaki’s unique Uni-Trak suspension system. This system almost completely eliminates the up/down movement associated with shaft drives during acceleration and deceleration, resulting in a very natural ride feel. On any motorcycle the opposing forces of the inertia of the bike pushing backwards on the swinging arm and the road surface pushing forward on the rear tyre results in torque that tends to rotate the final drive. With conventional swinging arms, this rotation occurs about the swinging arm pivot. By using jointed levers, the Tetra-Lever system creates a longer effective swinging arm, moving the point of rotation (or „virtual swinging arm pivot”) forward. The benefit is that vertical movement that results from this rotational force (the cause of „shaft effect”) is minimised. In a perfect scenario Tetra-Lever would completely eliminate this effect, but a certain amount of rotation was desired to offset the shift in weight balance that occurs under acceleration and deceleration. With the GTR, settings were designed to deliver those characteristics closely resembling those of a chain-drive motorcycle. To ensure both high comfort during long-distance touring and sporty handling performance, the link characteristics, linkage ratios, stroke length, spring rates and damping characteristics were specially calibrated for the GTR. The suspension offers excellent bump absorbing performance, and is only minimally affected when riding with pillion or with luggage on board. The rear suspension has rebound damping adjustability, and is fully adjustable for preload via a remote hydraulic adjuster that negates the need for additional tools.
Single-piece Swinging arm One-piece cast aluminium swinging arm is lightweight and rigid. The dual-sided Tetra-Lever design has much more torsional rigidity than single-sided swinging arms, an essential component of the GTR’s sport riding potential. Using a construction which makes the torque rods on top of the swinging arm stressed members reduces the loads on the swinging arm. Locating the swinging arm pivot inside the frame (as on a chain drive bike) results in a very rigid structure. In addition, the cover bolted on the left side of the drive shaft contributes to the shaft’s rigidity.
Wheels The lightweight front and rear wheels feature the same sporty design as the ZZR1400’s. However, to meet the increased loads associated with the weight of the shaft drive and luggage, the rear wheel is stronger and more rigid.
Tyres The GTR runs on the same size tyres as the ZZR: Front=120/70ZR17; Rear=190/50ZR17, however the tyre treads and compounds were specially formulated to the unique requirements of the GTR.
Tyre Air Pressure Sensor System To warn riders of any tyre pressure irregularities, tyre pressure sensors are fitted as standard equipment (a first for a motorcycle). The system allows the rider to monitor tyre pressure while underway. When tyre pressure falls below 220 kPa, a low pressure warning is displayed. The ability to take into account temperature changes and display values recalculated for 20¢XC helps prevent false warnings when air expands as the tyres warm up.
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Supersport Braking Performance
Front Brakes The front brake uses the same radial-pump master cylinder as the ZZR1400, but with a newly designed reservoir. Like a supersport bike, the GTR runs radial-mount, opposed 4-piston calipers gripping semi-floating 310 mm petal discs. Braking performance is simply outstanding.
Rear Brake Because touring riders tend to rely more heavily on the rear brake, the GTR is fitted with a 270 mm rear disc, 20 mm larger than the ZZR’s. The brake pedal surface area is also larger for ease of operation. Like the front brakes, a petal disc is used at the rear. It is operated by an opposed 2-piston caliper.
ABS The 1400GTR features independent front and rear wheel ABS. ABS settings (when the ABS commences working) were designed to offer riders the most natural feel possible.
Continent-crossing Ergonomics And Riding Position
Riding Position A spacious and comfortable riding position reduces fatigue during long rides and makes it easy for the rider to shift his weight forward and rearward.
Handlebars Compared with the ZZR, the GTR’s grips are located 96 mm further back and 100 mm higher, giving a more relaxed and upright riding position than a pure supersport bike, but a sportier riding position than conventional sport touring bikes.
Seat The riders seat is relatively firm and uses thick cushion material, providing excellent comfort during long-distance tours. The passenger section of the seat is specially shaped and cushioned for comfortable tandem riding. To ensure a deep lean angle while offering improved comfort (thanks to less bend at the knees) during long hours in the saddle, the seat height is 15 mm higher than the ZZR’s. The tandem seat is stepped to allow the passenger better forward vision and to make the passenger feel closer to the rider, all of which improves the passenger’s enjoyment.
Footpegs The footpegs are lower and further forward than on the ZZR, which, together with the higher seat, create a more relaxed riding posture. The passenger footpegs are also designed for less bend at the knees and a more relaxed posture.
Fuel Tank The fuel tank extends beneath the seat, contributing to mass centralisation. This layout results in an overall slim design and a more natural, more comfortable riding position.
Electrically Adjustable Windscreen For an added measure of protection against windblast and turbulence, the GTR features a supersport style windscreen specially shaped for supersport touring. The screen’s height and angle are steplessly adjustable. The screen has minimal distortion, allowing superior forward vision.
Concours14 Adjustable Windscreen
Leg Shields Detachable leg shields ensure laminar airflow around the bike while diverting engine heat away from the rider’s legs. Removing the shields allows heat from the radiator to more easily warm the riders legs on cold days.
Capacious Panniers Fitted as standard equipment, the capacious panniers are integrally designed to complement the GTR’s overall styling package. The panniers are easily detachable. Water-resistant, each will easily hold a full-face helmet. The panniers are mounted as close as possible to the bike’s centreline and as close as possible to the bike’s centre of gravity. Their lightweight construction was designed to minimise their influence on the bike’s centre of mass. Maximum capacity for each pannier is 10 kg.
Handy Glove Box A handy glove box located on the top of the tank is ideal for stowing small items like sunglasses, folding maps and toll fees. It features a one-push release mechanism.
Rear Carrier A lightweight resin-construction rear carrier (10 kg maximum capacity) is fitted as standard equipment. It was designed to be compatible with a Kawasaki Genuine Accessory top case.
Bodywork Designed in a wind tunnel, the GTR’s cowling and bodywork are highly aerodynamic and are specially shaped to contribute to the bike’s superb high-speed stability. The wide upper cowl gives excellent wind and weather protection, and its design features the aggressive styling that makes the GTR instantly recognizable as a Kawasaki.
Lights Bright multi-reflector headlight throws a broad beam of light for confidence-inspiring night riding. Special „light-guiding lenses” at the sides of the headlight make the bike more visible from the side. The sporty LED taillight is located high for improved visibility from behind. The front turn signals are integrated into the front cowl, while the rear signals are easily visible, even with the side bags attached.
Sporty Instrumentation Sporty, multi-function instrumentation is the same type as found on the ZZR1400 and features an easy-to-read black instrument panel. In addition to the fuel gauge, odometer, trip meter, etc, the instruments display fuel consumption and tyre pressure.
KIPASS KIPASS (Kawasaki’s Intelligent Proximity Activation Start System*) is a master key system that allows remote activation of the bike’s main switch. This is the first application of an electronic authorisation system to a touring machine and greatly enhances rider convenience. For added security, an immobiliser function is incorporated into the ignition system. This product contains the encryption algorithm "MISTY" developed by MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORPORATION.
Accessory Support An all-purpose DC socket makes it easy to use grip heaters and other electrical accessories. Its capacity is 70W.