Kawasaki’s been a force to be reckoned with in the sport touring category for a quarter of a century now so it’s no secret that they’ve always been considered as one of the pre-eminent bike manufacturers in the world.
One model that has spurned a cult following of its own amongst the Kawasaki family of bikes is the Concours, which made its debut in early 1986 and ushered in a new era of motorcycles that featured experienced performance and long-distance functionality blended so successfully in a single motorcycle.
Fast forward 25 years and the Concours is still standing strong, taking all the elements that turned it into a classic and translating them with a 2011 model that still features the ideal mix of function and performance. The 2011 Concours 14 ABS is a sport-oriented tourer that can pile on the highway miles with the best world-class touring rigs yet still negotiate the twists and turns of America’s backroads in fine, Ninja-inspired tradition.
Find out more about the 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS after the jump.
Shortly after its debut in 2008, Kawasaki gave the Concours 14 a significant make-over that emphasized on improving the bike’s comfort, convenience, and safety, thus ushering in a completely redesigned model that put great importance on those three elements.
The new bodywork, one that features an amazingly solid foundation, has been augmented by a carefully sculpted and highly comfortable saddle and all the creature comforts you’d expect from a top-shelf sport-tourer. Among the other pertinent changes made on the Concours 14 include routing more heat away from the rider and passenger, adding a taller, electrically adjustable windscreen to create a calmer cockpit experience with help from ducts above the instrument panel, installing standard handgrip heaters, and including a pair of beautifully integrated, spacious and waterproof saddlebags all add to the Concours 14’s upstanding design DNA.
The heart of the Concours sport-touring package remains as before – an amazing and thoroughly modern 1,352cc DOHC inline-four sourced from the legendary ZX-14 sportbike. The Concours 14 engine generates excellent low- and mid-range power, all followed by a top-end rush that would turn most open-class sportbikes green with envy. A big part of its tremendously wide power delivery is due to its variable valve timing (VVT) system, which automatically alters camshaft profiles according to rpm to boost low-end and mid-range power without sacrificing top end. Advanced fuel injection, ram-air induction and decades of experience building the world’s most potent motorcycle engines add up to a simply amazing powerplant, one that makes the Concours 14 ABS forces to be reckoned with in the performance sport-touring segment – just as the original Concours was 25 years ago.
Chassis and Suspension
The Concours 14’s unique monocoque frame provides massive stiffness along with excellent handling characteristics and a high degree of rider feedback, allowing for a smooth ride on almost any surface. Cradling the engine from the top, the frame’s compact structure allows the bike to remain narrow where it needs to be and allows optimum packaging of the bike’s vital systems. The Tetra-Lever shaft drive, which routes all that power to the rear wheel, uses a four-link design to offset the lifting and squatting tendencies of lesser shaft drive systems when the throttle is opened and closed, all of which results in true sportbike handling. Plus, the Tetra-Lever system is almost completely maintenance free.
Add all of these elements together and it’s no mystery why the Concours 14 has earned the praise and critical acclaim from people all over the world for its silky smooth power delivery.
|Engine||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four with VVT|
|Bore x stroke||84.0 x 61.0mm|
|Maximum torque||102.0 lb-ft @ 6,200 rpm|
|Fuel injection||Digital Fuel Injection w/ 40mm throttle bodies|
|Ignition||TCBI with Digital Advance|
|Final drive||Tetra-Lever shaft drive|
|Rake / trail||26.1 degrees / 4.4 in.|
|Front tire||120/70 ZR-17|
|Rear tire||190/50 ZR-17|
|Front suspension / wheel travel||43mm inverted, telescopic fork with adjustable|
|rebound damping and spring preload / 4.4 in.Rear suspension / wheel travel||Tetra-Lever with stepless rebound damping adjustment and remote spring preload adjuster / 5.4 in.|
|Front brakes||Dual floating 310mm petal discs with four-piston calipers (optional ABS)|
|Rear brake||Single 270mm petal disc (optional ABS)|
|Fuel capacity||5.8 gal.|
|Seat height||32.1 in.|
|Overall length||87.8 in.|
|Overall height windscreen lowered / raised||50.8 in. / 57.7 in.|
|Overall width||39.4 in.|
|Curb weight Concours 14 ABS||688.0 lbs.|
|Color||Atomic Silver / Flat Super Black|