For more than 40 years, Kawasaki has shocked and awed the motorcycle world with its big-bore streetbikes. From the arm-stretching 500cc H1 of 1969 to the legendary 903cc Z-1 of 1973, all the way to the high-tech Ninja ZX-10s and 11s of the ’80s and the ZX-12s and 14s of the new millennium, Team Green has continuously kicked butt and taken names in the large-displacement sportbike category.
Fast forward to 2011 and Kawasaki has another storm brewing with the new Ninja ZX-14. Looking as menacing as ever before in its lime green set-up, the Ninja ZX-14 takes the tradition of its predecessors and antes up to cater to the demands of the new-age riders.
Packing a technologically-advanced powertrain set-up to go with a sublime finish and carefully-constructed body, the ZX-14 will be as in demand as any Kawasaki bike that has come out of Japan in recent memory.
Not that we’re surprised considering that the motorcycle brand has been doing this for well over four decades, and they’ve established a reputation as one of the best in the biz in that time.
Find out more about the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 after the jump.
The Ninja ZX-14’s body was carefully built using the advantages of wind tunnel testing. The monocoque frame is positioned just over the engine so the sleek fairing is uninterrupted by protruding frame spars, enhancing the bike’s long and low styling. The frame’s cast aluminum sections are then produced through a die-casting process that allows for great reductions in overall weight that serve well to make it as fast it is.
Integrated into the bodywork - it comes with a choice of two paint finishes: Candy Lime Green and Ebony - are the front and rear turn signals, which come with clear lenses so as to enhance the appearance and visibility of the lights when they’re turned on. The headlights feature quadruple projector beams that give the ZX-14 a distinctive front fairing that speaks aggression on two wheels. The bike also comes with a lightweight Denso radiator with high-density cores, providing maximum cooling efficiency whenever the situation calls for it.
Talking about the instrumentation panel, the ZX-14 has a white-faced dual analog speedometer and tachometer are easily readable. This goes well with a multi-function LCD digital display that includes an odometer, two trip meters, fuel gauge, gear position indicator and clock. A programmable shift indicator lamp is also present to illuminate at a pre-set rpm to signal rider upshift. In addition, there’s a programmable clutch engagement lamp that illuminates at a pre-set rpm to inform the rider whenever it’s time to engage the clutch. Finally, the Controller Area Network (CAN) interface between the gauges allows a greater volume of information to exchanged.
The Ninja ZX-14 is powered by a compact and narrow 1,352cc four-cylinder, DOHC Engine that’s been tuned to provide incredible amounts of power spread across a wide rev range while also producing ample amounts of pony power to get it off the block. The engine comes with lightweight and durable chrome composite-plated aluminum cylinder bores that serves the purpose of carrying heat away from the combustion chamber and piston.
The bike’s high-flow exhaust system also allows airflow into the exhaust from the large secondary air ports in the cylinder head and head cover. Combine that with a third honeycomb catalyzer in the collector and the Ninja ZX-14’s powertrain is ripe and ready to meet strict Euro III emissions standards. Other important parts of engine include an internal silencer construction that minimizes impact of emissions regulations while maintaining impressive top-end power, an exhaust connecting tube entrances that have been designed to enhance low-rpm response, and a
44mm Mikuni throttle bodies that are fitted with sub-throttle valves and controlled by a 32-bit ECU to provide precise response, smooth DFI performance and help meet Euro III emissions requirements.
Suspension and Brakes
The bike carries an inverted 43mm cartridge-type front fork that utilizes damping rates, the Ninja ZX-14 offers a sturdy initial action to resist front-end dive whenever the rider decides to brake. Suspension performance further improves by adjusting the stepless damping system while the fully adjustable, bottom-link Uni-Trak rear suspension offers plenty of control and feedback to the rider.
The braking system has also been improved in the form of radial-mounted four-piston front brake calipers that offer increased rigidity compared to traditional caliper mounting. This not only improves brake feel, but also allows the rider to carefully gauge the time where it should be applied. A separate brake pad is also used for each piston with these individual pads serving the purpose of increasing cooling efficiency and absorbing more heat without wearing off prematurely. The petal-type design brake discs provide better cooling and warp resistance as does the radial-pump front brake master cylinder improves overall brake performance.
Interested buyers for the Kawasaki Ninja ZM-14 will need to dig in to their piggy banks and come up with $13,599 for the privilege of owning one.
Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four
Bore x stroke
84.0 x 61.0mm
DFI® with four 44mm Mikuni throttle bodies
TCBI with Digital Advance
Rake / trail
23 degrees / 3.7 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel
43mm inverted cartridge fork with adjustable
preload, 13-way compression and 11-way rebound damping adjustment / 4.6 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel
Bottom-link Uni-Trak® and gas-charged shock with adjustable preload, stepless rebound and compression damping adjustments, adjustable ride height / 4.8 in.
Dual semi-floating 310 mm petal discs with dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers