– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Ready for a New 14?

There are plenty of rumors floating around about a new Kawasaki ZX-14 for 2012. We think there will be a bike revealed in early October, but it is not the bike you see in numerous pictures floating around the Net currently. Yes, the picture above is the face of the current model.

What can we expect? I doubt the chassis or suspension will be substantially revised (short of spring rates and valving in the shock and fork). More likely, Kawasaki will give the bike new bodywork, the latest electronic safety devices (traction control included) and slightly different engine tuning to extract more performance. Cam timing, compression ratio and other tweaks might find their way into the new bike, but I would expect the basic architecture, including bore and stroke (and displacement, of course) to remain unchanged.

We’ve always liked the ZX-14 here at MD.  It has effortless power, of course, but it is also very comfortable to ride on Southern California freeways.  It is big, relatively heavy and long of wheelbase, but it still handles pretty well.

We had a long-term test unit back when the first generation arrived, and we extracted 185 hp at the rear wheel with some basic tuning techniques. We can’t wait to see what Kawasaki has done to this Icon.


  1. dream bikes says:


    The last teaser about new ZX-14 / ZZR1400 coming on October 10…


    Dream Bikes

  2. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    The four-eyed look is derived from the bike it replaced: the ZZR 1200. Long live the bug look!

  3. Eric says:

    I like the ZX14, but it’s just a little to tight for my crunchy bones. Why not get the C14 you ask? It’s an entirely different animal – the ZX would probably do well for me if I did the bars.. lowered the pegs, and got the Connie seat..Unfortunately.. I don’t have the $$$ right now 🙁

  4. moonbandito says:

    “I see you with my six eyes”. Bikes with the most projector beam lights win!

  5. ziggy says:


  6. ryan says:

    Didnt a modified Busa run 278 mph??How fast in the modified ZX 14??

  7. ze says:

    my current bike is a zx14. The owner of a bike shop let me try the old busa and the zx14 at a road; i disliked the busa’s position, turning and brakes, after that was almost giving up to try the zx but he insisted and i bought it after the test. It’s one the best bikes for open roads, very stable, excellent turning for it’s weight, perfect aerodynamics, the engine is powerful but progressive and brakes are almost perfect, the weight is a problem only at tight roads, but for me (65kg) on open roads it helps against bad tarmac and strong wind. The looks i don’t like but don’t care, the busa i think is horrible, the zx is so so. I’d like to see a new design but wouldn’t know how to make it honestly, i believe they will put new electronics like TC and map switching and change a little the design, the mcn site reported they are planning a version with a compressor after the 2012 upgrade.

  8. Mr. Mike says:

    I for one really like the look of the multiple headlights. It reminds me of some sort of alien machine. I would be sad if they departed from that look.

  9. Ruefus says:

    I rode the original when it came out in 2006. A friend of the Kawi dealer I was working at brought it in for its first service. When it was done he said to the sales guys “take it for a spin if you like……”

    I will never forget it. The liquid power was expected, the exceptional brake feel was not (seemed like you could ride the last molecule of traction for as long as necessary). The smoothness on the freeway was and remains second only to a Gold Wing. That includes FJR’s, ST13’s and a smattering of other ‘refined’ machines I’ve ridden. The ’14 is still I bike I’d very much like to own. I’ve never found the headlights homely like so many others.

    All in all an exceptional motorcycle. As soon as the wife heard “… of the world’s fastest and most powerful…..” daddy’s chances got exceedingly slim. Power corrupts.

  10. MikeD says:

    Please, no more “Banana Seat”…this ain’t no Budget Ninja 650. Make it look SPORTY…for the money KHI suggest to be charged a 2 individual seats layout won’t brake their budget.
    I believe the outcome of its shape was dictated by the wind tunnel ? if memory serves me right…but i wouldn’t mind if they went a bit more for sharp edges and for less of the “BLOB Styling”…and loose the Jorge Foreman/TestaRossa strakes on the side. Also those “Wider than Life” Tail section Plastics must go, make it shrink from the sides, don’t mess with the seat’s area tho.

    Other than that…VVT on BOTH CAMS! DGI is too much to ask at this point in time yet.
    ABS,TCS standard and switchable on/off by rider at any time…a switch to FIX the “FLYs” in WFO position by riders will…but i guess Kawi’s lawyers won’t agree.

    Less weight is always good but not a must here. That Monocoque frame might the Cat’s Meow at Kawi but im sure it must be a Bee-atch to perform a Valve adjustment job…don’t the engine have to be partially loosened and tilt forward? or was that only on the ZX-12R ?

    Nuff ranting…(^_^ )

  11. ROXX says:

    I like what Kawasaki has done with the Ninja 1000, high handlebars, optional saddlebags, an adjustable windshield, etc., in order to make the bike comfortable for sport touring and keeping the emphasis on ‘sport’. All the while, keeping the bike light!
    That is what I wish they would do with this bike.

  12. Vrooom says:

    I have to admit I’d sort of forgotten about this bike, do they still make the Hayabusa too? That rivalry was all the rage 5 years ago.

  13. Phil K says:

    I’ve seen flies with fewer eyes.

    • MikeD says:

      LMAO…(^_^ )

    • Mototk says:

      This thing reminds me of the boss from Monsters, Inc.

    • gurney says:

      lol..Actually for the 06 and 07 it was advised to pull said ‘flies to unleash the beast from idle on up to redline.

      I had a 2007 ZX14, I have a modest stable of bikes that I enjoy. I’ve said it about the zx14 before and I’ll say it again. It is the most ‘perfect’ bike I have ever owned. Versatile, comfortable, ball-peened hammer reliable. Without want for more power, handled everything I could throw at it considering I exclusively used it on the street. There was simply never anything wrong at all with it. Alas, I got into an accident, totally the other drivers fault, ye-olde making a left turn across my lane with the claim that they didnt see me and that was the end of it. I remarkably walked away act of god btw.. But I was not inclined to replace the bike, it was financed, the economy was looking iffy and I wasnt certain about long-term employment so I simply paid off the loan amount and decided to be content with my other steeds until another time. This time might now have arrived, I’ll wait and see. Not interested in the drag-strip war at all, this was simply an all around superb bike.

  14. Denny says:

    ZX-14 is my kind of bike – the ultimate. Not street legal racer, something more. It is imposant, it is statement on itself. Pity I am not 20 years younger…

    • SensibleSteve says:

      I had a Mk1 Busa and currently have 2008 zx14 (both from new). I preferred the handling of the Busa but the zx14 is hard to fault also. Both bikes share equally the weight issue. the ZX14 has great brakes, much better than the Busa. The mirrors on the zx14 are also excellent – you can see who you’ve passed at pretty much any speed. ZX14 has better fuel economy. I get about 48mpg(UK) on a run and I’m not shy with the throttle when abroad. The 4 lasers fitted to the ZX14 make for easy night riding.

      now if they just made a Busa with decent brakes they’d be fixing it’s major weakness IMHO.

  15. Tom R says:

    It looks like the face of some kind of spider.

  16. Mickey says:

    Not picking on Kawasaki but mfgs in particular…. it would be nice, if instead of updated body work (never heard anyone complain about their bodywork) or increasing their horsepower (never heard anyone say this POS only will only go 186 mph)if they would instead work on things that are really important…like a comfortable seat, mirrors in which you can actually see behind you instead of just reflecting your elbows, or suspension that doesn’t need reworking or outright replacing right out of the box. Are these things mystical to the Japanese?

    • Spoxxter says:

      Apparently you aren’t the target customer for a bike like this. You won’t find a “comfortable” seat on any supersport Fix: live with it. As for the mirros, it’s physics – the longer and heavier they are, the more vibration there will be. Also, aesthetically no one would want them that long. A motorcycle is a light vehicle, so it will be more sensitive to vibration, road conditions, and engine. The engine is already about as smooth as they can make it and if you change the suspension, it will only make it worse. Fix: squint your eyes and squeeze your elbows in like everyone else on a supersport [only important detail you need to see is if there are flashing lights behind you]. Lastly, the suspension is where I agree whole-heartedly with you, but you have to realize they have to try and accommodate everyone when they setup the suspension and balance cost somewhere. I am 5’7″ and weigh 155lbs, so a lot of bikes ride fairly well for me in stock form on the street [track is a different story]. Fix: spend more $$$ on revalving and springs or all new setup.

    • David says:

      C’mon man, you are arguing for practicality on a 1400cc crotch rocket. This bike is the definition of excess. People vote with their pocketbooks and these type of uncompromising machine sell a heck of a lot better than the practical ones.

      • Mickey says:

        LOL..I just test rode a Yamaha R1 with the cross plane motor. Helluva motor with great sound. Put that motor in a Gen 1 FZ-1 type bike with upright ergos and I’m there. As is, I was good for about 8 miles of sheer torture. Most uncomfortable bike I’ve ever ridden. I have new respect for Moto GP riders that can race bikes like that for an hour. They have big balls and apparently no spinal columns.

  17. zrx4me says:

    with all the teasers from kawasaki about this bike I hope your wrong and the bike is much more would be a BIG letdown otherwise.

  18. jeff s says:

    Phil K you cracked me up. Thankx i need it. what’s it got 4 or 6 eyes now? Like a green bugthingreptilefreakride with a central feeding maw. Sort of comical the mirrors look like antennae, and that heart shaped intake is weird with all those eyes looking at me. Is it laughing at us? My 81gpz550 was a square one eyed beasty of 58hp. This thing with all those numbers(hp) could have 12 eyes and 5 mirror stalks as long as it kicks some Busa into the weeds.How about lamps in a circle all around a central intake,like a lampry fish with many eyes. Japan does have some weird deepwater fish from the Japan Trench with some of those deepsea critters… Yes it looks like a Critter! if a Critter was a motorcycle. Do they work? Genes 93’zx-11d had a terrible headlight. It didn’t illuminate the road at all. I had to use other vehicles lamps to see on the rt 95 in Miami going north to Fuddruckers in Ft. Luaderdale. As long as they work at speed who cares function equals beauty in this world. Get real Ducati air cooled motors look gross. And the waterpumpers need to be behind plastic. Ugly all of them. We see beauty because form follows function and when the form wins championships we attach an intrinsic value that was not there before. It becomes pretty. Only when we understand how the parts fit and work together do they look beautiful. When I first saw the old 750 air cooled duc of the 70’S I was revulsed at that thing jutting out in front. It was gross. To me a motor was a 45 degree upright v twin. Or a parallel twin, Norton, Triumph, The ducati L motor,back then I did not get it as a 10 year old. So now as a 50 year old I see funny stuff with the multiple lamps, All I care to know is do they work? If so, pure beauty,Give me enough lumens on the road at night for a 185hp serpent Cool!

  19. Profe says:

    I think the only thing that is ok in the ZX-14, and that don’t need to be changed or modified is the engine. I think that somehow Kawasaki has to make it much lighter (like 50 pounds lighter), and with a lower center of gravity. Better suspension components, and better brakes are a must. It does not need traction control. But anti-lock brakes as an option is a good idea. But only as an option.

  20. Phil K says:

    I hope they give us a couple of more headlights. It would be a shame to leave the space below the mirrors empty!

  21. GIT-R-DOUG says:

    I hope that it’s better looking than that ugly sob.