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.