Kawasaki Concours14: Transcontinental Supersport Tourer

Kawasaki Concours Shaft DriveThe first print ads are out for the brand new, 1400cc, Kawasaki Concours14. And…the bikes themsleves are finally in the dealerships as of the first week of July. (According to my local Kawasaki dealer, the launch date has been delayed numerous times). You can see the ads in the August 2007 issues of bike mags including Rider and CycleWorld. The print ads emphasize the bike’s “luxury” and the Kawasaki website promotes the Concours14 as the “Transcontinental Supersport Tourer.”

Kawasaki made the unusual move of announcing the “2008” Concours14 — last September in 2006. That’s right. In “2006” they announced a “2008” model.

Last December, one of the three running “C14” prototypes at the time was on display at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA in the LA metro area: and it was attracting a lot of attention. I checked on it regularly and it never ceased to have a crowd surrounding it.

The bike has caused a stir since its announcement for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s a completely brand-new, 1400cc, sport tourer.
  2. It supplants the two-decade old 1000cc Kawasaki Concours. And although they share the same name, and they both have shaft drives, full fairings and come equipped with hard luggage, they are not evolutionary models: This Concours14 represents a revolutionary, all-new jump in technology for the beloved bike. For years, it has been rumored that the 1000cc Concours would be discontinued to make room for a more modern sport-touring bike, but year after year, it proved to be merely that: a rumor. Very few motorcycle models have been around for over 20 years with only minor changes and the original Concours has a passionate following. So, when the 2008 Concours14 was announced it also marked the end of the 1000cc Concours bikes, which meant that there would be no 2007 model at all with the Concours name.
  3. The Concours14 is based on the Kawasaki ZX14, which is, in itself, an all-new sport bike – its first model year was 2006. It is renowned for speed, power and smooth handling as well as being one of the world’s fastest production sport bikes. With all this underlying the C14, it has been anticipated with high expectations.

Here in the USA, MSRP for the C14 with ABS compares favorably to its primary competition:

  • BMW 2007 K1200GT with ABS, $18,600
  • BMW 2007 R1200RT with ABS, $16,650
  • Honda 2007 ST1300 with ABS, $15,499
  • Kawasaki “2008” Concours14 with ABS, $13,799
  • Yamaha 2007 FJR 1300 with ABS, $13,799

There’s plenty of the latest and greatest techno features on this sport tourer: You can see all the specs at Kawasaki. I’m pretty interested in the “Tetra-Lever Shaft Drive” as well as the sensors on the front and rear wheels that monitor tire pressure and then display the info on the instrument cluster. In particular, Kawasaki says this about the shaft drive:

“Featuring a special four-link design, the Tetra-Lever shaft drive system significantly reduces driveline lash during sport riding and helps ensure smooth acceleration when exploiting the engine’s incredible power output. In fact, power delivery to the rear wheel is so smooth and so direct that it gives the same natural ride quality as a chain.”

Having many coast-to-coast motorcycle tours under my belt with chain and mostly shaft drives, and being a shaft drive advocate for several decades, I consider that Kawasaki description to be quite intriguing: Will the Tetra-Lever live up to those words…?

2 thoughts on “Kawasaki Concours14: Transcontinental Supersport Tourer

  • The new Concours 14 compared to the Concours it replaces is a rocketship both in its power delivery and how far advanced the Concours 14 has set the bar. My 92′ Concours on the other hand is like driving a dump truck. I really enjoy my ’92, but when my brother offered me his keys, oops I mean electronic fob; I was amazed at the lightness, the ultra buttery smooth throttle response, how gracefully the bike entered turns and the brakes! Applying the brakes (non-ABS) was a lesson in reverse thrust dynamics. Shifting is ultra crisp, unfettered, no drama or funny clicks. Virtually impossible to miss a shift. Clutch action equally smooth even when I purposely downshifted at 60 mph into second, the slipper clutch wound the bike down smoothly without upsetting the bike whatsoever. Power; you know what they say about the Concours 14 – I just remember accelerating so fast that I was wondering when the front wheel was going to come off the ground, it didn’t…both tires stayed glued down as it zoomed at tremendous velocity. A true touring bike in my opinion with a slant towards sportbike. If you are in the market for a street bike, and have no need for a dual-purpose bike, the Concours 14 should seriously be considered. Its a high-value packaged bike with technological features that are relevant, and not just mere gadgets. Five to 10 years from now, I don’t know if Honda, or Yamaha will even be close.

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