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2015 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS: MD Ride Review, Part One

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Following the press launch of the redesigned Kawasaki Concours 14, we got our hands on a longer-term test unit. This is Part One in a series of reports on our testing of this powerful sports tourer from Kawasaki.

This past weekend we took a fairly long one day (roughly 150 miles) ride with a passenger aboard to test two-up comfort and handling. Our passenger reported that the broad seat, together with a sensible foot peg placement, provided a nice perch for the pillion.  The only niggle is the gymnastics required of the passenger when boarding the machine due to the relationship between the passenger pegs and the saddlebags.  This is a bike on which you could take a longer trip with a passenger, without serious complaint.

Interestingly, the excellent wind protection offered by the adjustable windscreen was felt by the passenger, as well. We have to say, once again, that the redesigned, power windscreen installed by Kawasaki this year is one of the best, if not the best, we have experienced thus far. It creates a very comfortable, buffet-free zone of still air for the rider, and even benefits the passenger. Keep in mind that our test rider is approximately 5’11” tall, and the passenger is 5’2″.

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This trip also underscored how powerful the big Concours really is. With roughly 350 pounds of rider and passenger on board, the big Kawasaki shrugged it off. Acceleration and braking were hardly impacted by the extra load, as the bike remains extremely quick, both to accelerate and to stop.

Interestingly, we noticed that the right rear view mirror buzzed slightly (still usable), while the left mirror was completely still at freeway speeds (70 mph +).

The stiffer shock spring this year also kept things well-balanced. Here, of course, the remote preload adjuster came in handy as we dialed in the extra preload necessary to handle a passenger. The bike continued to handle well, both in a straight line and through turns.

We will have more to report soon.

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49 Comments

  1. Alllen N. says:

    Still can’t get used to all the new bikes with their on board vacuum cleaner.

  2. vato_loco_frisco says:

    Nice bike but that exhaust absolutely ruins the big Kwack. Of course, there are aftermarket fixes but still…

  3. Bill says:

    This is the machine to ride, the only one better is BMW.

  4. Rick says:

    Dirck, Good on you for showing picture of it with bags off.

    • Tom K. says:

      Agreed, the bike looks much better sans the bags. Unless I were going for an over-nighter, the bags would likely be in the grudge anyway. If they could only get rid of that big honkin’ tuba of an exhaust, plus the black plastic lower fairing thing, my gripes on the looks would disappear. Personally, i think the Yamaha 1300 is the better looker by far, but maybe the 14 has it beat in functionality, perhaps it’s time for an updated shootout?

  5. Hot Dog says:

    Are these things being made into cop bikes? The C14 seems bigger in real life than when you see pictures of them. The color sure is bright but some distracted station wagon driving nut will still not see it.

    • TimC says:

      Yes I am fairly positive I’ve seen a couple (I’m in the Denver area, not sure which dept).

  6. Pete says:

    THAT’S ONE BIG MUFFLER

  7. Jamo says:

    Most people don’t have a size 2 wife/girlfriend.

  8. Alberta Bootlicker says:

    If you look closely you will see it is exactly the same color scheme as the green 2012 ZX14 in virtually every respect, carbon copy.

    The green suits the ZX14 better, in part because there is not as much plastic up front, and it is a sport bike which can stand up to the green bling. I like the C14 in the more elegant black on black 2012 paint scheme.

    • PepDawg says:

      It is close. However, the 2012 ZX14r Golden Blaze Green model has flames. I did not like the flames. My 2013 ZX14r Golden Blaze Green has no flames and is closer in paint scheme to this new Concours.

      The new Concours is Candy Lime Green.

  9. HS1-RD-CX100-VF says:

    I think I saw a man in a silver Arai straddling a snow-cone cart.

  10. Provologna says:

    It’s growing on me. The bike I mean. No reference to green mold, which generally lacks the metallic flake of this Kawasaki.

    (My best Norm impression, till he returns from his daily ride.)

  11. Krisd says:

    Man, those headlights are HUGE!

    • Grover says:

      The better to see you with,

    • Provologna says:

      What the hell? Did Norm die? Someone call and make sure he’s OK!

      An actual question posted, with a question mark, and no quotes with smart aleck reply from Norm? Someone take a screen shot of this!

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “What the hell? Did Norm die?”

        not yet, but soon.

        re: “Someone call and make sure he’s OK!”

        no worries, he’s just strategically lulling you guys into a false sense of security. 🙂

    • MGNorge says:

      Anyone else seen the cost of LED headlight upgrade kits getting very affordable these days. For some example, head over to Amazon and see some of their offerings. A 2pc 80W kit for $100.

      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QWVGRU8?psc=1

      The biggest concern to me is that most depend upon a small fan to help cool each bulb. If those fail, so does the bulb.

  12. Grover says:

    So what’s this gonna cost me, with all the bells and whistles?

  13. mickey says:

    Dirck convinced some petite little thing to climb on the back and go for a ride? Cool.

  14. Matric says:

    150 miles is considered a long one day ride? Maybe for a 50 cc scooter. Did you ride in school zone all day? Lol.

    • Vrooom says:

      That’s probably how long they could coax a passenger on the bike for one those “cold” Southern California rides!

  15. Chessie says:

    The green aside, it’ rocks because it’s UJM, and not break-my wallet Bavarian.

  16. pete Rasmussen says:

    Good on you for reporting on the pillion comfort.

    • Starmag says:

      +1

      • Stickman says:

        Agreed! I was seriously looking at a C14 3 years ago but at the dealer, my wife found that she had trouble finding a comfortable spot on the passenger pegs due to the saddle bags being in the way. Could have been a deal breaker but I was more serious about a Multistrada and got one of those instead.

  17. mechanicuss says:

    In 2nd pic it looks like a giant angry green cicada killer….

  18. Gary says:

    Actually, I like the green color, it’s about time Kawasaki came with some bright colors. The black, silver, brown for god’s sake, and I believe one was a dull maroon are simply boring in my opinion. I do like brighter, but not gaudy colors. For someone who does a lot of highway travel, cruise should definately be available whether you’re a “real man” or not. I wouldn’t mind a audio system either. Yea, I know some might say get the Voyager 1700 if you want all this, but I don’t want a V-twin- too many of those around now.

  19. ABQ says:

    I like the high visibility green. Add some reflective stickers and tape. Plus it matches my vest (made by Bravo Victor). I am done with not being seen. The last guy that hit me, and ran, apparently couldn’t see me or the ambulance that I had stopped for. But at least I didn’t have to wait for a ride to the hospital. Anyway, bring on the high visibilty colors, reflectors, lights, pipes, vests, gloves, jackets, helmets, back protectors, whatever you got.

  20. Garry says:

    Wait till they try to set the cruise in a long ride??????Sport Bike,yes…..Tourer…Not so much!!!!

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Real men don’t need “cruise”. 😉

      • WSHart says:

        It should have cruise control, especially at this price, with the relative low cost of said device and the intended use of the bike, i.e., touring.

        All riding is touring, just some trips are longer than others. For those that claim to be sporting riders, don’t use the cruise.

        Most of the bikes I see all have one thing in common. The wear pattern on their tires is clearly right down the middle. We spend most of our time on our roads in the upright position. On a long trip a cruise control would be a welcome addition and again it is far easier not to turn it on than it is to use what is not there.

        Regardless, I would prefer q black or candy red version to the Kawigreen but since I also prefer the advantage that a cruise control offers on long, boring stretches of highway, I will once again pass on this bike (nearly bought a first year model and decided not to due to a lack of electronic cruise control).

        • DaveA says:

          The cost to add cruise is only ‘relatively low’ if the bike has throttle-by-wire, and this one doesn’t. I am 100% certain that when Kaw chooses to completely re-do this bike it will have the electro-gas, and CC will come along with it.

          The good news is that there is a company in Australia that makes an electronic CC for this bike. I think it’s about $900, which if you get a good discount on the bike (and you will…IMO they won’t sell well…still), isn’t too bad.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “I will once again pass on this bike (nearly bought a first year model and decided not to due to a lack of electronic cruise control).”

          ok that was your “dealbreaker”, so what did you spend your money on instead…?

          talk to me goose.

          • WSHart says:

            Nothing yet. I just decided to keep the Wing until something with what I want comes along. It’s long paid for.

            I like the Kawasaki and would use it like my Wing, for longer rides of 400 to 1000 oor so miles per day.

            I can wait. Maybe Kawasaki will give the Connie a larger fuel tank too. The previous generation 1000 had a 7.5 gallon tank. Sweet.

        • todd says:

          http://throttlemeister.com/
          Never heard of these?

          • WSHart says:

            Yes, but I don’t care for them all that much. A fat rubber O ring between the grip and the bar might do just as well at holding the throttle open but neither maintain constant speed like a CC.

            For the money (that of a nice small car) the bike should come with CC.

            I think its because I am getting old.

  21. Tommy See says:

    Read an article years ago where a rider painted his K100RS Day Glow Orange. Loud Proud and be seen! Might save your life .

  22. Dale says:

    Actually, the green is starting to grow on me. I wasn’t sure at first, since it is such a big bike with a lot of surface, but after a month of absorbing things, it looks better by the day. Dirck, what are your thoughts on the color now that the bike is in the MD garage?

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Of the 2 colors, I think I prefer the Black (see press report), but this green is a signature Kawasaki color (sort of like Ferrari red), so I appreciate it for what it is. The actual paint quality is excellent, by the way.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “the green is starting to grow on me.”

      re: “this green is a signature Kawasaki color (sort of like Ferrari red)”

      it’s what we call the “colour of mid life crisis”. LOL

      and let’s be honest, sure we’re on about this, but do we in bike world even know from green…?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxqJZjJU4F8

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgcLij7YSY

      not so much.

  23. Blackcayman says:

    In this shade of Electric Kawi Green, one need not wear the High Viz Vest or Helmet?
    I admit, its too much for me.
    But I’ve got no qualms about anyone else running it.

    Cheers

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Definitely seems an odd color choice considering the demographic that this type of bike targets.

    • Montana says:

      I painted my bike in bright colors and it made an immediate improvement in driver courtesy.
      But this bike is a bit overdone.
      The saddlebags and front fender in black might be just about right.