Smooth. Introduced in March 2006, the Kawasaki ZX-14 Ninja is that and more. More power that is. Arguably the world’s fastest superbike, taking the title that Suzuki’s GSX1300 Hyabusa has held since 1999. Of course the original 1999 Busa was also faster than any of its later brethren, since ’99 preceded the Japanese manufacturer’s “Gentleman’s Agreement” which ended the production motorcycle speed wars and limited bikes to 186mph (300kph).
Motorcycle Consumer News (July 2006) reviewed the ZX-14 and compared it to the Busa. They found the ZX-14 to have 12 more horsepower and a little more torque than the ’99 Busa. They also found it to be a little quicker and faster on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway dragstrip. However, on the street, away from ideal conditions, they found the ZX-14 was not quite as fast as the GSX1300.
Cycle World (Sept 2006) also tested and compared the two. They found the ZX-14 to slightly outperform a new Busa in horsepower, torque, 1/4 mile speed and even top speed (ZX-14 at 186 and Hayabusa at 183).
Regardless, if the world’s fastest production motorcycle is what you want, most speedaholics would be inspired with either, although the top Ninja arguably holds the title…for now.
Quadruple projector beam headlights give the front of the ZX-14 a unique look. I took the 2007 ZX-14 out for a spin and eased into its comfortable ergonomics and silky ride. This chunk of technology is destined for sport-touring pleasures. Indeed, in Sept 2006, Kawasaki announced an all-new 2008 Concours 14 sport tourer, largely based on this ZX-14, which will replace the venerable Concours ZG1000 that has been around with only minor modifications since model year 1986 (manufacturing year 1985). These are some flag-waving times for Kawasaki’s premier offerings.
As the history books of superbikes are re-written and as technology presses forward, Kawasaki’s ZX-14 will be prominently featured. And I’m sure we will be hearing more in the not-too-distant future about an updated Hayabusa….