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Kawasaki Introduces All-New Concours Built Around ZX-14 Motor

The current Kawasaki Concours has been around a long time (would you believe two decades?) without significant changes. Nevertheless, the 997cc machine has developed quite a following (I’ve even used the word “cult” to describe it). It is a bike generally loved by its owners, but those owners have patiently waited for something new from Kawasaki for too long. Wait no more.

Kawasaki has just announced the Concours 14 (and Concours 14 ABS) sport touring machine — which will be designated a 2008 model when it is released next year.

Yes, the number 14 means something special. It means the 1352cc heart of this beastly sport tourer is derived from the almighty ZX-14. In sport tourer tune, it could prove to be the most powerful sport tourer ever. Can you say the words “effortless acceleration”?

Make no mistake, this is a purpose-built sport tourer from the ground up. As the naked photo below demonstrates, this is a shaft-driven machine designed for long distances and low maintenance. The comfortable perch is complimented by extensive instrumentation (speedometer, tachometer, odometer, two trip meters, fuel gauge, gear position indicater and clock), tire pressure sensors, electrically adjustable wind screen and standard hard luggage.

If the massive displacement of the new engine were not enough, consider that it is digitally fuel injected, and features variable valve timing to spread the engine’s power as far as possible across the rev range. Dual balancers, according to Kawasaki, “virtually eliminate unwanted vibrations for extremely smooth engine operation and enhanced rider comfort”.

Although long-distance comfort was clearly one of Kawasaki’s design goals, high performance was another. Aside from the powerful engine, the new Concours 14 and 14 ABS feature ram air induction (rare for a sport tourer) and brakes worthy of a cutting-edge sportbike. Radial mounted four-piston front brake calipers feature a separate brake pad for each piston — claimed to increase brake feel at the lever and to better resist brake fade.

The Concours 14 ABS model will be available in both Neutron Silver (pictured) and Metallic Diablo Black, while the standard Concours 14 model will only appear in Neutron Silver. Pricing and date of availability are unknown at this time.