We review 2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX14-R. Read on..
Superbikes in India were not so famous until the movie DHOOM hit the theatres. The mighty Suzuki Hayabusa made everyone literate about its iconic history and the fact that it’s the world’s fastest production bike till year 2000. The race of being the fastest production bike started long time back in 1894. Top speed that time was 45kmph on a 1500cc parallel twin ‘Hildebrand & Wolfmuller’. As years passed, the size of the block decreased and top speed number increased. Since 1984 Kawasaki dominated its flagship bikes for the icon of ‘fastest production bike’. It all started from ZX11R in 1990 which lasted as the fastest production bike till 1999 until Suzuki introduced Suzuki Hayabusa that could go 303kmph mark. Kawasaki entered again with a heavily engineered, aerodynamic ZX12R and then the flag remained with Kawasaki with mighty Kawasaki Ninja ZX14R. 2014 Kawasaki ZX14R was launched in India at a price of Rs. 17 lakhs. Kawasaki India made its presence with bikes from 300cc to 1400cc. Team AutoColumn was eager to know how the latest machine 2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX14R (read as missile) from Kawasaki feels on Indian roads where market is yet to mature for big bikes above 10 lakhs and roads too.
It’s the fastest production motorcycle in the world and what you expect it to look like? Well, some motorcycles don’t even need introduction because of their popularity, ZX14R is one of them. Its not just another Ninja. Looks are way ahead than Kawasaki’s other bikes. The first and foremost impression of this bike when you look at it is its size. In pictures it might not appear that big but when you see it in flesh, the muscles look fully pumped up like the ones just out of gym. Front end is low and fearing incorporates quad projectors and above it a big V shape ram air intake to inhale fresh air for the bike. If you know a bit of aerodynamics of bikes the highest pressure zone for the bike is fearing which disperse away the air at high speeds to ensure sleekest profile of the bike cutting through air. ZX14R’s air intake is placed at the highest pressure point to get two benifits, ram air intake to inhale for the bike at the fastest rate and to keep bike’s aerodynamically sleeker profile. Remaining dispersed air moves from front wheel on to the radiator. Unlike most of the liter class bikes, the radiator gets concave shape to incorporate more air directly into fins for efficient cooling of engine.
The side profile of the bike is purely of a sports tourer where there is enough of fearing and fuel tank space occupied before the rider. When looked from side, the riding positioning looks a bit away from bike fearing. This is mainly because the huge 1400cc engine sits in between. The side profile is dominant with claws on body panels reminding me of X-men wolverine. These fins help to direct the hot air from engine away from the rider and even at slow moving speeds your legs wont feel baked up. Rear end of the bike is accompanied with V shape LED tail-lamp along with indicators on the body panel and twin aerodynamic exhaust defines the stance of big bike.
Catagorised as a sports tourer, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is one of the faster production bike in the world and it has a serious reputation on drag strips. Remember the 2014 Valley run where drag racing champion Ricky Gadson clocked 9.8 seconds for quarter-mile on a stock ZX14R in India. It is also known as one of the fastest accelerating production bike, why not? It is powered by 1441cc 4 cylinder engine that outputs 207 bhp and 0-100 mark can be reached within 2.9 seconds. The top speed of bike is electronically limited to 299kmph. The bike weighs 268 kg and there is 194 Nm of torque to move this bike from stand still which comes out from a 6 speed gearbox. Every figure for this bike is extra ordinary and this is surely because of heavily engineered Kawasaki’s engine. The refinement levels are the best and you can notice even minute differences while riding about this free revving motor. Even when you hit 11000 rpm the engine has the same refinement and you won’t feel harshness from the free revving engine. On a highway you can cruise at speed of 140kmph on 6th gear and you still have half throttle remaining. The boost from 0-60 kmph might not be felt by the rider (though its quick) but as soon as you cross 4000rom and hit the powerband the power oozes out holding the ground to make this bike a pure missile. So if you want more performance from ZX14R, you might run out of courage way before Kawasaki runs out of juice.
Ride and Handling:
The big proportions of the bike excel the stability on straight lines with 1480mm wheelbase, monocoque frame and kerb weight of 268kg. Yes, a monocoque frame, that scraped off chassis and a lot of unwanted mass from the earlier generation. To hold the ground thoroughly grip is available from pair of bridgestones. Bike doesn’t feel heavy around the corners, but the bike size when you are on it makes you feel it big and heavy at start. Few rounds later you can surely bring your knee down to ensure precise line around the corner to go faster and faster and faster. As you go faster around corners the KTRC kicks in with its 3 modes of setting ensuring that the rider is on the bike and not on the vegetation around. Stopping power comes from 310mm disc brakes and ABS that can hold this massive bike down from three digit speeds to stand still.
Front USD forks are fully adjustable and so are the rear mono. The power modes are two, low and high. Lowe power gives only 75% of available power and high mode gives a complete 100% performance from the bike. This can be attained from a flick of a switch. The suspension setup on the bike is so well achieved that even on bumpy roads you wont feel it harsh and on highways not too soft giving a baloon ride comfort. The seat is single unit and really wider than any of the 1000cc bike to ensure saddle comfort over long rides.
Though ZX14R may not have the iconic status like Hayabusa, it feels better and more enjoyable machine for all kinds of rides. Ninja ZX14R is not for everyone, it is big and has got tremendous performance. This might be the only reason that some people will love it. If you do like that kind of motorcycle, this is really accomplished one. The bike will shrink distances keeping 3 digit speeds easily for long comfortable rides, it got a bunch of electronics to make it easier for rider and on top of that it looks fantastic. Kawasaki Ninja ZX14R returns 13-15kmpl from a 22 liter fuel tank. The only question remains is whether you have got Rs. 18,56,490 (On road Pune) to spare on this beast or not.
|Engine||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four|
|Bore x Stroke||84.0 x 65.0 mm|
|Fuel System||DFI® with four 44mm Mikuni throttle bodies|
|Ignition||TCBI with Digital Advance|
|Final Drive||X-Ring Chain|
|Rake/Trail||23 degrees / 3.7 in.|
|Front Tire Size||120/70 ZR17|
|Rear Tire Size||190/50 ZR17|
|Front Suspension / wheel travel||43mm inverted cartridge fork with adjustable preload, 18-way compression and 15-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 / 4.9 in.|
|Front Brakes||Dual semi-floating 310 mm petal discs with dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers|
|Rear Brakes||Single 250mm petal disc with twin-piston caliper|
|Overall length||85.4 in.|
|Overall width||30.3 in.|
|Overall height||46.1 in.|
|Ground clearance||4.9 in.|
|Seat Height||31.5 in.|
|Fuel Capacity||22 lit|
Metallic Spark Black, Candy Surf Blue, Golden Blazed Green with special graphics (SE)
Photo Credits: Anis and Arjun