2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R Ninja


Wouldn’t you like to brag that you own the most powerful production motorcycle ever produced? Well you certainly can now by simply buying yourself the new Kawasaki ZX-14R. But is it too much for some, read on to find out?

kawasakizx14armsupThere once was a British historian called John Emerich Edward Dalberg who was also labeled the 1st Baron Acton. He lived for 69 years and invented the same numerical sexual position we all giggle about at one time or another. Actually he didn’t, I just made that up when I saw his lifespan, sorry, but it did raise your eyebrow, right? Anyway, he lived from 1834 to 1903 and surely he must have seen the arrival of the Kawasaki’s 2012 ZX-14R during a clairvoyant type act/moment. You see he apparently coined the phrase ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’, and I can’t think of any better way to describe this big new Kawasaki flagship. So thank you Mr. Baron Acton for your input over 100 years ago.

But he is right, even though his bit is probably aimed towards evil dictatorships of the time. When you have this much power only a light twist of the throttle away you tend to use it and sod the consequences from the officers of the law. It’s a form of corruption of a different manner and oh so rudely addictive. So thanks big ‘K’ for your obscenely powerful new bike and my suspended jail sentence is in the post as we speak.

kawasakizx14 exhaustSo how much power are we talking about you ask? Well how does close to 180 rear wheel horsepower grab you and a massive 145Nm of torque! To put that into perspective the previous ZX-14 made a full 20hp less and only 133Nm of torque. It’s also at least 10hp more than Kawasaki’s new ZX-10R and about the same goes for the BMW S1000RR and even a Yamaha V-Max. Even that huge torque figure is 50% more than the new ZX-10R. So Kawasaki can now proudly puff out their green chest and shout ‘we have the most powerful production motorcycle ever made’, nice one and **** you all.

Kawasaki also claim that the ZX-14R is the fastest accelerating production vehicle on the planet, including cars like the Bugatti Veyron but to what speed I’m not too sure and Kawasaki don’t say either. I would imagine they mean over the quarter mile though because the ZX-14R will never reach a Veyron’s 450km/h plus top speed unless it was bolted to the back of the NASA Space shuttle, which is what it feels like when you first launch the green beast hard.

kawasakizx14 sideviewI’d imagine that a nine second quarter mile is simply there for the taking helped by the now longer wheelbase than the previous model, by 10mm. A superbike like the ZX-10R is hard to get off the line because of a short wheelbase and gearing issues, but not the ZX-14R. Just hold the analogue rev-counter needle at 6,00rpm and dump the clutch, if you dare that is! The acceleration though the first four gears is astonishing and by the time you glance down at the speedo 250km/h seemingly appears in a matter of seconds and this was around town, gulp! Perhaps one should have their lawyer’s number permanently attached to the top of the tank. Top speed is a ‘restricted’ 300km/h but predictably some tuning dude will find a way around that to easily surpass the iconic 200mph mark (320km/h), fast enough for yer?

kawasakizx14 clocksThis dramatic increase over the previous ZX-14R is due to many things and in fact the 2012 version is basically a completely new bike but still retains the unmistakable visual attributes of any former ZX-14. The engine is now a gargantuan 1,441cc achieved by increasing the stroke by 4mm. There’re also bigger valves, new cam shafts, new pistons, new crank and accompanying balancer shafts, new bigger throttle bodies and the list goes on. Obviously a bigger engine means more heat so the radiator now has two cooling fans, which do come on in traffic, a lot. Interestingly, or not, on the side of the fairing are ‘thematic quadruple fins’, or vents to normal people. Quite handy though because when the heat pours out from this huge power plant you can lay the bike down and have an instant braai at the roadside, how considerate.

kawasakizx14 frontbrakesThe frame is also a new aluminium monocoque affair, stronger for better stability and lighter 10-spoke wheels should make it turn a bit quicker. But the 2012 ZX-14R does weight a substantial 270kg, which will swing past 300kg with fuel and stuff onboard, add a rider and you’ll be over 400kg so it’s not a light rocket ship in anyone’s book. And if you use the new radial Nissin brakes hard and regularly they do tend to fade and generate excessive lever travel, especially after a couple of brisk laps at Kyalami.

This weightiness will certainly help while launching though and there’re also three traction control settings to play with derived from the ZX-10. I personally switched that off so it didn’t interrupt my aircraft carrier catapult addiction, but the choice is all yours. 

You’ll also find two power mode settings where one lops off 25% of full power for rain riding perhaps, or spineless wimp mode to some. I bit like ‘I only want to drink 75% of my beer in case I get too drunk’, if you know what I mean? Still the revised clocks and new onboard computer add additional fun to the new giant green, with green flames, flagship.

The ZX-14R isn’t really billed as an outright sports bike it’s more of an outrageous hyper-tourer with a comfort level to match, for both you and a pillion. The matching green cover comes with the bike and can easily be removed to terrify the poor person who gets on behind you. Something I would fiendishly do on a regular basis if I owned this bike. But when riding alone you soon inherit this serene feeling of wanting to tour and conquer the earth, albeit at a very fast rate of knots, which is primarily what the ZX-14R has always been designed to do (also called a ZZR 1400 in other countries).

So for a mere R174,995 you can become king of the road and destroy anything and I mean anything in a straight line, a drag racers dream for sure. The new ZX-14R also attracts all in a pimp like manner with its flamboyant paint and sheer presence. If you want absolute power absolutely there is nothing else that comes close to the new Kawasaki ZX-14R, enough said I think.

To find out about finance repayments and insurance costs go to www.bikefin.co.za and get moving

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