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Kawasaki's 2012 ZX-14R will be the most powerful production motorcycle ever

By

October 15, 2011

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

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Kawasaki has released details of its 2012 ZX-14R and the Japanese giant has once again gazumped the competition to retake top spot on the motorcycle horsepower ladder.

No horsepower figures have been released, but the company has stated quite clearly that the 2012 ZX-14R will be the fastest accelerating motorcycle in production and that it has the most powerful production motorcycle engine ever built.

The whole "fastest" thing is now getting beyond a joke, even with the normally squeaky clean integrity Kawasaki applies to its claims. Across its press statements and web sites, Kawasaki is claiming the following for this bike "the World's Most Powerful Sports Bike" (from the press release headline), the "most powerful production motorcycle engine ever" (from the press release), and "the fastest production motorcycle on the planet."

For starters, it is not "the World's Most Powerful Sports Bike" because there are thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of more powerful sports bikes in the world.

Even putting the word "production" in the statement is open to interpretation because the definition of production is hardly specific enough, and as you can see below, to say that safely, given the current crop of mega-beasties, means the new ZX-14R has to be putting out a LOT more than 200 horsepower at the crank. Rumor suggests that Kawasaki is talking 210 bhp at the crank for the ZX-14R.

The ZX-10R

So let's look at what else is available.

For starters, there's Kawasaki's own recently introduced ZX10-R (pictured above at its release last October in Koln), which puts out 207 bhp with its ram air effect, and the existing ZX14, which has now been around six years, putting out 190 brake horsepower and 201 bhp with ram air effect at 120 mph (193 km/h).

The Horex CV6

Then there's Horex's triple-overhead camshaft VR6, which is yet to begin production. It's claims of more than 200 bhp are believable given that it is powered by a supercharged 1200cc six cylinder engine. The bike was an instant classic the moment it first appeared at Koln Motorcycle Show this time last last year - a masterpiece of design and mechanical ingenuity that, IMHO, richly deserves success. It's an unknown quantity still, bat has as much right to make such claims as Kawasaki.

Ducati's 200 bhp Desmosedici Racing Replica had a limited run of 1,500 motorcycles and sold out before production. The entire 500 unit allocation for the United States sold out in five hours. It is the only road-going version of a MotoGP race machine ever produced, and sold for US$72,500.

One of the most intricate motorcycles ever assembled in this number, the 197.3 bhp engine was a 90-degree "Double-L-Twin" (four cylinder in non-Ducati speak), with a twin pulse firing order, with two sets of gear-driven Desmodromic DOHC valve gear controlling the four titanium valves per cylinder.

The Ducati Panigale

The bike has not been produced again, and with results not running Ducati's way at the moment, the company's efforts seem to have been focused on the upcoming Panigale twin cylinder road bike, which has the intoxicating raw numbers of weighing 176 kg (388 lb) wet and producing 195 bhp.

Will the Kawasaki ZX-14R accelerate faster than the lighter, similarly powered Ducati Panigale? When the production bikes get here, we'll know. One thing's for sure though - the Ducati will be very close to the ZX14R, despite being a different genre of motorcycle. As the legendary Colin Chapman was famous for saying, "adding power makes you faster on the straights - subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere." He may have been referring to cars, but the basic premise is still the same.

The Ducati Desmosedici RR

Now, some of those aforementioned mega-beasties are limited edition models, and there's also an even more powerful set of VERY limited edition models with claims to more than 200 bhp. We might have missed one or two (let us know and we'll add them to the article), but they include:

Kawasaki's 2012 ZX-14R will be the most powerful production motorcycle ever

The Confederate C3 X132 Hellcat has a V-twin engine with a capacity of 132 cubic inches (2163cc). It produces a monolithic 145 foot-pounds (196.6 nm) of torque and a lot of horsepower, reputed to be in the 200 bhp range. Only 150 will be made, selling at US$45,000 apiece.

Kawasaki's 2012 ZX-14R will be the most powerful production motorcycle ever

The Asphaltfighters' Stormbringer puts out 280 bhp and there's no limit to how many will be produced, but at US$86,000, it's probably not going to be very many. It's based on a production bike (the ZX10R), but I'm not sure if it can be classified as a production bike.

Several others fall into this category of adding forced aspiration to existing production engines to achieve phenomenal horsepower figures, and then wrapping the engine in an exotic frame and the finest aftermarket go-fast and look-good bits and charging a king's ransom to own one.

Icon Sheene

The US$170,000, 257 bhp Icon Sheene is the latest in this genre, and only 52 of the tribute bike to the British roadracer will be produced - one for each year of Sheene's life. It uses a Suzuki gixxer motor with a blower and will be featured in depth on Gizmag shortly. It is not yet in production, though there is a prototype.

The Super Squalo

Still another is the turbocharged Ducati-engined Super Squalo, which also produces more than 200 bhp at a cost of around US$45,000.

The Ecosse Titanium Edition

Two motorcycles that definitely vie for a top three finish in the list of the world's most expensive motorcycles (and hence the more exclusive category) are the US$275,000 Ecosse Titanium, which quotes only 200+ bhp for its own engine, and the US$185,000 jet-turbine-powered Y2K, which has "more than 320 bhp" and a top speed of over 400 km/h (248 mph). You can download the brochure here.

The Y2K

Both are in production, though the Ecosse's price and extraordinary specifications indicate a fair wait, as the bike sports the world's first all-titanium frame and the 2150cc polished billet aluminum v-twin donk is made in the same factory. The there's MotoGP-spec Ohlins suspension at each end, and radially-mounted 6-pot billet ISR front brake calipers (12 individual brake pads) and the price ... US$275,000. If you want to insure one, might we suggest a reputable bookmaker.

For the sake of this article, we'll presume that by production, Kawasaki is talking about readily available motorcycles from a relatively local dealership.

Yamaha VMAX

Which means the main contenders are Yamaha VMAX, MV Agusta's F4RR and Suzuki Hayabusa.

The MV Agusta F4RR costs US$32,500 and, unlike some previous F4 models with limited production runs, the F4RR appears to have no limit to its production run.

MV Agusta F4RR

Yamaha's V-MAX has had many claimed figures on its horsepower output since it was first announced, but the Suzuki Hayabusa is unquestionably the bike that appears most likely to stand between Kawasaki and its claims for the 2012 ZX-14R.

The 2011 Suzuki Hayabusa

Verification of the claims in relation to the Hayabusa can be had in the form of an article written by nine-time World Champion Motorcycle drag racer Rickey Gadson, who ran the bike through the quarter mile at 9.7 seconds with an exit speed approaching 150 mph (240 km/h) on a slow strip - untouched from the crate.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

That puts it well ahead - about half a second behind the 2011 Suzuki Hayabusa over a quarter mile according to Gadson's own figures. On the strength of Gadson's reflections, the claims appear genuine.

I think it's fair to say that now that motorcycle manufacturers have agreed to a limited top speed (the top speed of all motorcycles is now electronically limited to 186 mph (299 km/h) by agreement of the major Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers), we have now entered a new phase of the horsepower race which has been going on in earnest since two-strokes ruled the roost.

The Kawasaki Mach III - 60 bhp

Two-stroke engine technology produced immense power, but spewed hydrocarbons into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. Built in an era before we realized what we were doing to the environment, Kawasaki built its reputation for horsepower with the Kawasaki H1 Mach III 500cc three-cylinder, air-cooled two-stroke.

I had such fond memories of the H1 that a few years ago, while I was building a motorcycle collection, I purchased a mint-condition H1 and restored it to absolutely original. I rode it around the block a few times, but its speed was just not as awesome as it had been in the day, as I'd updated my frame of reference by riding bikes developed decades later. It was also an ecological disaster, had drum brakes, agricultural suspension, and just wasn't all that much fun.

Two stroke engines are simple, light, and can produce remarkable power outputs

It's interesting that the H1 was the fastest thing on two wheels just over 40 years ago with just 60 bhp. Honda's CB750 was a contender with a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). Forty years later, Superstock 600cc four-strokes from all four Japanese manufacturers can run more than 280+ km/h (174 mph+) trap speeds at Monza, indicating how much faster things have become.

The Kawasaki Mach IV 750 cc air-cooled two-stroke triple

After the H1 came the Kawasaki H2 Mach IV 750cc three-cylinder two-stroke. Honda's 750 four of 1968 might have been the king of the road, with its civilized manners and longevity and broad usable power, but the CB750 couldn't hope to compete against the Mach IV for performance.

Kawasaki is very unlike the other members of Japan's big four motorcycle manufacturers. Its roots are in heavy industrial and military machinery. Its factories are still staffed by thousands of people wearing the same green-grey uniforms they have worn for most of the last century.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries is an industrial powerhouse with 30,000 employees and US$15 billion in annual profits. The company is vast, with many divisions producing quite diverse technological systems: the Shinkansen Bullet train, entire energy plants, giant ships, jet engines, tractors, a range of military aircraft, helicopters, simulators, missiles, robots and space systems are just some of the genres of complex machinery that wear the Kawasaki name.

Most of the things Kawasaki builds are not seen as Kawasaki product by the public though because they are not branded. Hence, as the primary outward facing brand wearing the Kawasaki logo, the motorcycle company is required to reflect the company's brand values to the public.

The original Honda CB750 K1

Once the Honda 750 had ushered in a new era of motorcycling, Kawasaki responded with the Z1 four-cylinder 900cc four-stroke, completely redefining the limits of what was possible.

The original Kawasaki Z1

Every few years since, the company has gone out of its way to produce the fastest road bike on the market.

Verification of this thought pattern in Akashi can be evidenced in the company's other "outward facing" showing of the Kawasaki brand, the Personal Water Craft (PWC) marketplace.

Kawasaki pioneered this marketplace in the mid-seventies and the company's proprietary brand name (Jet Ski) is still synonymous with PWC to most folk. Sea Doo might own the category, and sell a lot more units, but it hasn't stopped Kawasaki from spanking them from time to time, in exactly the same way as the motorcycle division had done to the rest of the world's manufacturers.

The Kawasaki Ultra 250X

The Kawasaki's Ultra 250X was a landmark model. The 250 bhp Jet Ski eclipsed all before it in a similar evolution of the PWC to what we've seen in the motorcycle market from Kawasaki.

As there's a similar agreement in place between manufacturers of PWCs and the United States Coast Guard which limits top speed of PWCs to 65-67 mph (104-108 km/h) in the most important PWC market in the world, SeaDoo and Kawasaki have been slugging it out with electronically limited top speeds, and ever increasing acceleration.

Quite remarkably, the old ZX14 motor forms the basis for the 1500cc supercharged Kawasaki motor in the Ultra 300X, so presumably the next version of the 300X will use the same motor too. The needs of a PWC motor are quite different from those of a motorcycle - for starters, the engine is routinely subjected to long periods of sustained full throttle, far longer than you'd get with a motorcycle, and also from the very get-go to its top speed of 65 mph. That the strength is there to sustain such punishment should be very comforting to Kawasaki motorcycle owners too.

Kawasaki Ultra 300X Jet Ski

Mechanical robustness was already one of Kawasaki's brand values, largely due to the strength of the company's four cylinder engines, which have been one of the racing fraternity's favorites since the Z1 arrived nearly four decades ago.

Hence, in upgrading the motor for the next generation, it's interesting to see where Kawasaki has gained power and increased longevity incrementally in dozens of ways in a motor that's technologically unremarkable in its basic layout.

The swept volume has been increased by 89cc from the current model's 1352cc to 1441cc with a 4 mm increase in stroke, giving each of the four cylinders dimensions of 84 x 65 mm. Interestingly, the combustion chambers have been reshaped, and are now surface milled instead of relying on the accuracy of the casting.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

The intake ports have also been reshaped to improve air-flow and for the first time in a mass volume motorcycle engine, the inlet tracts are hand polished - this method of extracting the last bit of flow available is the time-honored process of "porting" an engine, though Kawasaki already has the shape it wants, and the porting is designed to remove any minor production blemishes where they will count most.

Even the intake valves are new, being longer and using different materials than the previous model's.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

The forged pistons are lighter than the old model, and by virtue of a new oil-jet cooling system that keeps the pistons cooled with a constant spray from underneath, the thickness of the piston has been reduced while the the compression ratio has been boosted from 12.0:1 to 12.3:1. This results in less reciprocating mass and higher combustion efficiency and lower temperatures.

The attention to every detail is astounding. The conrods are re-designed from a new metal with bigger small-ends and the crankshaft main journals are now 2 mm bigger at 40 mm.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

The accuracy of valve control has also been increased with a stronger cam chain and the tensioner system has been redesigned, all helping to ensure the engine can run stronger for longer.

The camshafts are all new in both timing and lift and although the fuel and air are still mixed by the same Mikuni DFI, there's now automatic idle adjustment and the mapping has been tweaked to achieve lower emissions. Though 44 mm throttle bodies still supply the air, breathing has been improved by redesigning the air cleaner filter so it not only has 10 percent more surface area for improved cleaning, but 40 percent better airflow, for the improved breathing necessary in producing the world's most powerful motorcycle engine.

Just to complete the process holistically, the exhaust system now begins with all-new tapered header pipes and concludes with larger-volume mufflers with dual catalyzers to ensure emissions are as low as possible.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

The cogs in the gearbox have also come in for a different manufacturing process, with different heat- and surface-treatments from the previous model, while the biggest improvement in the transmission area is in the form of a slipper clutch, which will smooth downshifting and help prevent rear wheel lock-ups when the engine is revving hard and you're on the limits of tire adhesion under brakes.

Though we haven't seen the horsepower charts, Kawasaki says the new engine has more torque at all rpm in comparison to the old ZX14, and lots more power from 4,000 rpm up.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

The torque is apparently robust enough to pull away from standstill in second gear and fuel economy is 8 percent better than the current ZX-14.

The rest of the bike is revised and upgraded in every way.

The inverted 43 mm forks and single rear shock have better resistance to bottoming and entirely revised internal settings to enable better roadholding, which has also been improved with new 10-spoke wheels that each reduce unsprung weight by 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg).

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R

Those massive disc brakes may have the same dimensions, but they're made of a more rigid material and the brake pads have also been improved.

Weight is of course the enemy of performance-related cars, boats and motorcycles, and it's interesting to see that the new ZX-14R weighs 265 kg (584.4 pounds), an increase of 8 kg (17.6 lb) over the current ZX-14. Its new weight is almost exactly the same as the 2011 Hyabusa but it has a fair bit more mid-range grunt.

The ZX14R also features KTRC (Kawasaki TRaction Control) which has three settings other than "off" to cater to different conditions and two stage Power Mode selection offers Full Power + Low Power (about 75% of Full). The ABS has also been improved to work better on bumpy roads.

While the 2012 ZX-14R might look kinda similar to the old ZX14, the whole bike is new and comes with a level of attention to internal detail never before bestowed on a production motorcycle.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R
31 Comments

I'm all for more horsepower, but it's getting crazy. Nobody needs 200+ horsepower in a street bike. Especially if the manufacturers are all limiting top speed to 186MPH, there is no point. When the ZX-12 came out, a box stock version did the flying mile at 176mph and ACCELERATING through the traps. Which means it hadn't topped out.

Better to make a slightly smaller engine and lighter bike so the same think. Now it would be nice to see them make a less expensive fast bike. Doesn't have to have 200 hp.

VoiceofReason
15th October, 2011 @ 01:15 pm PDT

Many decades ago, around the time Benelli prodiced their inline 6, Europe place a max of 100 HP on a production motorcycle as that was too much power for a street bike. Now we have 200+ hp bikes being made. Technology and seuign advancements are great, but the speed limit is still 70 mph and trees still don't give way to bikers bodies flying through the air.

Joseph J Shimandle
15th October, 2011 @ 02:46 pm PDT

from a sneaky ninja it turned to be nasty fat slob. whats happening

Alex Afanasyev
15th October, 2011 @ 08:38 pm PDT

If you were in the motorcycle business, guess what you'd be making? Splash a little reality on the previous comments and they disappear.

What's your marketing angle? "We give you adequate power." "Why go so fast? Buy the Trundle 100."

Who buys bikes, little old ladies? No, I don't think you do.

Back to your knitting.

FastGuy
15th October, 2011 @ 10:49 pm PDT

Remember, this is NOT a motorcycle forum so

ALL comments should be discounted as such.

That said, 200+ horsepower is a bit insane

for a street bike, but for a sane rider this is

not an insanely high output for a motorcycle.

For a 16-year-old n00b rider this is suicide!

Why do sports cars push upward of 500 HP?

Because they can and it showcases their line

and sells product and in this case excitement.

If you think motorcycles should be limited to

250cc's, 70 MPG, then get

yourself a scooter and alleviate your guilt.

If you want the best performing motorcycle

built for the rider and street use, buy this,

. . . otherwise have fun on your Segway !!!

Remember, "Let the good times roll !!!"

BombR76
16th October, 2011 @ 07:50 am PDT

I reckon what we have to understand is the Hayabusa and the ZX14 are both "Sports Tourers" not "Sports Bikes". Having said that, you are more likely to use this power on the open road as opposed to carving it up your local mountain. For mile munching, there is no such thing as too much power. As other long distance riders will attest, the more powerful and weighty the bike, the less "stressfull" it is to do those miles. The other thing to understand is these bikes have a long RPM range, so usability of this power is more lineal compared to say my bike which is a V-Twin and produces all it's power in one big hit like a sucker punch. The ZX and the Busa both punch out around the 200 mark at the crank, which would equate to arond the 170 odd mark at the wheel and you have 10,000 RPM to use this in. My Warrior I've put forced induction on it to achieve 190hp and 211 ft/lbs at the back wheel, but it achieves that in only half the RPM range! Hence if you want to call anyone crazy, would be me. Not your sane Busa or ZX rider. lol.

Anyway, I still believe that it's your right wrist telling the bike what to do, not the other way around. I agree with BombR76, If it frightens you then buy a segway!

Randel Faarkin
16th October, 2011 @ 06:12 pm PDT

The more bits and the more expense - and the bits to explode - even in a minor crash - thus feeding the outrageous spares market, the more inclined I am to get something decent and basic like a 500cc single Enfield with a set of small crash bars - to protect the engine and pedals etc.

The modern mega-bikes are such modern consumerist cash traps....

Most of the speed limits are around 100Kmh - so what is with the 300Kmh limiter - aside from grovelling to the law makers for the irresponsible idiots who ride them flat out through the city streets - look up "ghost rider" and "Paris Ring Road" on Youtube.

Putting other peoples lives in danger like these idiots do - doesn't go down well with me.

Mr Stiffy
16th October, 2011 @ 08:52 pm PDT

I used to have a Hayabusa and found the massive power is exceptionally useful around town. Not in the very CBD where it is dribble forward-stop riding, but certainly everywhere else.

It sounds a lot, to say 180hp or 200+ or whatever, but as was pointed out, the power starts way low and is smooth all the way to the top. I now ride an ST1100 and wish it had more than the 100hp it has because taking off and moving around cars is just that little bit harder. And on the freeway at 100-110km/h you need the power to be able to dodge the "P" plate drivers or those who just don't see you. It is about comfort more than 0-100 times though. On long rides you just don't have to work so hard. I recommend every motorcyclist should try riding a big powerful bike at least once to see how non-insane they are and how useful the power is.

Oh, I also took my 'busa to Phillip Island and blasted it around (260km/h + on the straight) and that is really worth the effort too. For one thing, you quickly discover why you don't pull that crap on the road.

Scion
16th October, 2011 @ 10:37 pm PDT

Oh dear - I see that the "Ban Dangerous Bikes Brigade" are at it again. It's amazing how the mention of a motorbike with an engine larger than 50cc (ca 3 cu in) causes them to mount their high horses and give vent to reams of righteous indignation.

The is NO SUCH THING as a dangerous motorcycle, provided it is properly maintained. As with guns, motorcycles do not kill people, people kill people.

A bike needs to be sized according to the use the rider intends to put it to. For touring, with a pillion passenger and the luggage necessary for a week or two on the road, it's a case of the bigger the better. Mr Stiffy's 500cc Enfield would struggle to carry two people and baggage up a mountain pass. It would therefore be more dangerous than a larger bike as a queue of impatient drivers built up behind him and probably atempted to overtake in inappropriate places. A 200ps machine would be able to maintain a sensible speed and therefore be less of a hazard on the road.

Drivers who travel too slowly are frequently as much of a danger as those who travel too quickly.

Maybe it would be better if people took the time to think about whether it is a bad bike or a bad rider that is the true cause of the problems.

A'Tuin
17th October, 2011 @ 08:27 am PDT

Fastests production motorcycle. Nothing was said about the following...http://green.autoblog.com/2011/08/24/video-lightning-motorcycles-raises-land-speed-record-to-215-960/

Mark Yormark
17th October, 2011 @ 09:27 am PDT

I'D BUY ONE!

Stanley Owens
17th October, 2011 @ 09:37 am PDT

Change of underwear not included.

teeduke
17th October, 2011 @ 09:59 am PDT

The key to usable power is controllability and finesse. Most modern motorcycles have both, and leave the use of that power up to the user. Hence, bikes of any current power are safe with a sensible rider. Unwise riders can crash on anything from a one speed bicycle on up.

The most dangerous bike I rode was the 500cc Kawasaki Mach III. The key to its danger for a first-time Kawasaki rider was a very rapid rise in power output over a narrow RPM range.

Kudos to Kawasaki for building a motorcycle that is both fast and controllable.

Marvin McConoughey
17th October, 2011 @ 11:04 am PDT

I agree with Thevoiceofreason. While no legitimate reason exists to make these, I can only surmise it is strictly for manufacturer's bragging rights. More purposeful bragging rights would be getting xPower from only yVolume or zdimensions or weight.

When a manufacturer gets sued for the death of some fool who just HAD to rise to the "Double Dog Dare" (this being the most litigenous society in the history of the world), this practice will most likely wane.

On another note, it seems sinfully wasteful to spend so much on engineering, etc. to produce such limited numbers of what I can only assume to be kinetic works of engineering art. And yes I do indeed understand the marketing power of exclusivity.

Burnerjack
17th October, 2011 @ 02:06 pm PDT

It's a nice looking bike , sharp and very well put together.

Good luck with trying to get your bike insurance on this one !!

I guess if you want to own a bike that you will not be able to get out of 2nd gear on the roads , streets and highways then by all means plunk down your money.

Most of the cars on the road don't even have 200 Horsepower or 150Kw.

The speed limit in USA on most highways is a posted 70 MPH or about 115KPH and strictly enforced.

Where are you going to ride it ??

I wonder if the brakes work just as well as it accelerates.

With the kind of take-off speeds this bike is capable of , the seat is going to have to look more like it is part racing bucket seat just so you can keep your butt on it when you crack the throttle open.

How are you going to hang on to something like that trying to get out from under you?

Does it come with a factory wheelie bar to keep you from flipping it over when you crack the throttle ????

Jim Andrews
17th October, 2011 @ 04:16 pm PDT

Many of you have voiced your opinion from your point of view based on your level of skill or experience. In my opinion everyone has made a good point. From my point of view as someone who enjoys dragracing in a controlled environment at my local track I couldn't be happier to see a new product released by Kawasaki that pushes the envelope that generally applies to this sport. As an owner of a 2007 ZX14 that has been turbocharged making 350HP to the rear wheel I can only say this...stupid people will always do stupid things...intelligent people can also fall into the same trap when voicing their opinion and not stating all the facts. The 2012 ZX14 will make a great touring bike for the right rider and the same can be said for someone who's intentions are to dragrace the bike. Different bores and strokes are mean't for different folks. Let the good times roll!

Ryan Harrington
17th October, 2011 @ 08:22 pm PDT

Well, I got me an '07 ZX-14 & I love the darned thing. I've commuted on it, drag raced it, toured extensively on it, &, living as I do in an area with great mountain roads, had an absolute ball horsing it around twisty back roads at speed. It isn't the lightest bike on this island Earth but it handles way better than I can ride, accelerates like a turpentined cat, stops likes you drove it into a concrete abuttment, & there ain't enough "o"s in "smooth" to describe how that beautiful lump of a motor runs out. I'm probably never gonna get rid of it. Having said all that, I see the latest iteration of the beast as even more of all the good stuff that makes it so darned cool. If I hit the lottery I'd buy one in a hot second (but I still won't get rid of mine).

Steven Livingston
17th October, 2011 @ 08:43 pm PDT

To all you people who state that there's no reason for 200hp+ -- Please remember that you're not the only kind of person on the planet. I'm six foot six and a lean 240 lbs. I'm sorry but I neither fit on a litre bike physically nor can a litre bike pull me at anything like the speeds that it will pull a 150lb. Japanese factory test rider.

My ZX-14 allows me to ride WITH my friends on their ZX-10Rs, not in the back of the pack with the fat guys.

There are people on the planet who are not like you. This bike is for them.

Mastreb
18th October, 2011 @ 02:57 pm PDT

"197.3" HP? Anyone who has produced more than one of anything, let alone tested something more than once would realize that spec was written by a pack of idiots in marketing.

So what's the tolerance on a lawsuit/warranty engine changeout? +/-0.05HP? Or are they merely trying to outdo a 197HP competitor?

solutions4circuits
19th October, 2011 @ 05:21 am PDT

@solutions4circuits

I'll second that. I remember that from math class as "implied precision;" 10 miles doesn't mean the same thing as 10.0 miles. It's a mistake that's too often overlooked.

It's bad enough to dyno one hot engine and then claim everything in production has 197HP; to put the .3 in there is absurd.

Good call.

FastGuy
19th October, 2011 @ 09:31 pm PDT

Im with Steve Livingston on this one. I owned a 2008 ZX14. The grunt it had for a motorcycle was amazing. It was comfortable (I did fit small risers) for those 1000km+ days, turbine smooth and yet it was pretty chuckable in the twisties and handled the day to day commute well too.

awesome bike.

Sure, you could wind up walking for 3 months without getting out of first gear, but the most dangerous part on any motorcycle is 'the nut behind the handlebars'. to quote spiderman 'with great power comes great responsibility', which is why you dont let the beast loose in a school zone.

John McG
18th November, 2011 @ 10:51 am PST

I have owned large Kawasaki bikes including two Mach IV models. I will say that sometimes smaller bikes are a lot more fun to ride. These days a lite weight four or five hundred CC bike built to be a mule and run under the worst conditions would be a far better product. For example being able to take huge downpours with rain that acts like the monsoon season with everything on the bike being able to get soaked for days at a time without rust or starting issues would be great. Instant starting in very cold weather, and an anti theft system that frightens skilled thieves as well as body parts that don't cost much or ruin if a bike flops over are goals for the industry. The Honda Big Ruckus scooter was sort of on the right path. A bit more engine and a longer version that was home on the Interstates might be just the ticket. And this V-twin stuff needs to go. Give me one cylinder or three cylinders but not this inefficient V-twin stuff where heat is radiated from widely separated cylinders and limited life spans are common.

Jim Sadler
22nd November, 2011 @ 10:06 am PST

All the non-riders who say this is too much, never rode one.. I ride a TL1000, and my first time on the "widowmaker" as nicknamed by some, was a bit scary.. I had no idea after tooling around on 650's 750's and a 900. The instant on of the throttle no matter what gear you are in, the super two finger stopping power. The way it snuggles down in a turn... Probably my first ride shouldn't have been 125 miles through Deal's Gap and 421 IN NC and TENN, but It was.. I got pulled over by TENN highway patrol, he said my front wheel kept lifting off the ground... No ticket, as I explained I was on a shakedown cruise.. That was years ago.. Now My trusty TL and I will thump our way up down and around any mountain road with the greatest of ease... We have become one.. I have never received a ticket.. (though for sure deserved to a few times) Rain, lol even a little snowstorm in the mountains once.. (lol I remember putting my gloves on the exhaust ends and firing her up to dry them... ) And riding two up and STILL having the power to do what you want or NEED to do without a worry is golden!

Karl Dulle
26th November, 2011 @ 11:32 am PST

The real question is why put so much effort into killing your customers. When the first 4 Ninja bikes were sold in San Jose, CA it took less than a month for all four to have been crashed and back in the shop. Not sure what happened to their riders who are less likely to have been repairable.

Calson
30th November, 2011 @ 02:11 pm PST

I have fifty years on bikes and have owned the Z bikes and even a couple of 750 Mach IV two stroke triples. Yet I would not want to come close to full throttle on these bikes. There is a point where human reflexes simply are not sufficient. I know that even in 1980 I could get enough acceleration to distort the shape of my eyes in such a way that gravity was limiting my vision. We had people who would goose their throttle and accidentally chase down and slam into the rear of cars on the interstates due to radical acceleration.

If I were designing these bikes i would go for much greater durability, inexpensive maintenance needs and better mileage. Just about every bike is fast enough these days.

Jim Sadler
19th March, 2012 @ 12:36 pm PDT

To all of the people who have commented on this article and don't live in America, I say I do, and I find odd you'd want to ban this bike, or say it's too fast for the street. Most bikes over 250cc will exceed the speed limit. Banning bikes is just crazy thinking. Last I checked, America was still the land of the free and the home of the brave?

I'm here to say that I own this bike. Got it in green too. It's a baby under 6.5K. It's not edgy in traffic or parking lots and is a great soft ride. OK, so it's not for everyone, but remember - veryone likes to ride them, but no one likes to be seen with them. So, I got the 2012 ZX-14R. I guess if you don't like this bike, buy a scooter.

Why did I get it? Here's why. I ride over 10K per year. I hate riding on the highway at 6K RPM at 65 or 70MPH on a 1000cc bike. I can have a nice comfortable ride at 4K and not feel like I am launching a rocket with this bike. Further, it weighs a lot, so I don't feel like I'm being blown all over the road when I'm being passed or passing a large truck. There's nothing like smooth power across the band.

I've read the comments here and find it funny that when some people don't like something, they want to ban them all instead of just saying, that's not for me and I should live and let live. I'm 40 years old. Just because I own a fast sport bike doesn't mean I have to drive it like an idiot.

MYZX14R
1st April, 2012 @ 02:02 pm PDT

I agree with VoiceofReason above. Smaller lighter bikes with moderate horsepower is the way to go for performance. I have a ZX6R (107hp/170kg) and that is hellishly fast when revved up, but mild around town at low revs. The advantage of these bigger bikes (e.g. ZX14 etc) is that they produce much more horse power at low rpm. The 200+ horsepower figure is sort of irrelevant i reckon, because you only get that when you are at max revs, which is like when you are going 150kph. 99.9% of the time you are using the midrange of the engine. Bike companies should produce hp/rpm graphs showing at what revs the horsepower is produced. For example, the Kawasaki Z1000 produces more hp than the BMW S1000RR superbike throughout its rev range, it's just that the BMW revs higher - going on to produce more (unusable) power. But when would you use that?

Paul Garbett
4th September, 2012 @ 07:25 pm PDT

It was a sad day-my ZX 14 r top speed was 184,this was checked by Gps.

BusaMan Cole
27th May, 2013 @ 08:07 pm PDT

Can you imagine this beast in a streamlined body,with no speed limiter.Faster for sure,at cruise, under light load,it should have double the fuel economy over the non streamlined stock bike.The drag coefficient of the ZX14 is poor at best.It's fast because the power to weight ratio is huge.I purchased a red H-1 in 1970,1104.00 out the door,it was a wild ride,no brakes,flimsy chassis,but it was fast for 1970 production machines,crank on that throttle and at about 6000 rpm,the fuel air mix acted like a shot of nitrous,lifting the front wheel in the first three gears.

Thomas Lewis
29th May, 2013 @ 01:59 pm PDT

Just reading all the comments and had to tell you I live my candy green zx14r. My son and I ride here in Arizona and he owns a 750 Yamaha. He would never ride a bike like mine and this is my ninth motorcycle in my life. I also have a a 1964 Dodge polara 500 with a 440 that I have owned for 28 years. I bought it in 85 and still own it. I love muscle cars and big bikes. they command respect and That what they get. I `love having the power and only run it hard at the track. The bike is a great color with the candy green paint. Simply the neatest motorcycle I HAVE EVER OWNED. Thanks Kawasaki this is my 5th jaw. And my last. I rode it today and my dodge is ready for paint soon as I will be driving it this summer to cruises as well. DRIVE SAFE . See you at the track.

MARCIA D
5th June, 2013 @ 10:19 pm PDT

no motorcycle can defeat Voxan Wattman because it is named world's most powerful bike.. http://www.gizmag.com/voxan-wattman-electric-motorcycle/30014/

Huma Farooqi
15th July, 2014 @ 04:34 am PDT
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