Big power delivered smoothly has always been a big Ninja hallmark, so the changes for 2012 begin in the new ZX-14R’s engine bay. First off, there’s more displacement via a 4mm stroke increase; to 65mm (up from 61mm), with displacement now registering 1441cc (up from 1352cc). Intake ports are reshaped and polished for maximum flow while working in concert with longer and more durable intake valves. The camshafts working those valves are more radical, with increased lift and revised profiles, while a stronger cam chain and revised tensioning system maximize reliability at the stratospheric rpm levels this engine is capable of. (Testing shows the engine runs considerably cooler with this system.) Burned hydrocarbons exit through a heavily revised exhaust system with reshaped, larger-diameter tapered header pipes and larger-volume, reshaped mufflers, each with an advanced catalyzer to minimize emissions.The result is smoother power across the rev range.
That power is more manageable than ever, too, thanks to the addition of a back-torque limiting “slipper” clutch assembly and a KTRC traction control and ignition management system that features three different riding modes – full power, medium power and a third mode for low-traction (wet/slippery) conditions. The KTRC system is controlled by a bar-mounted toggle/push switch, and the system’s effects can be monitored on a seven-segment bar graph in the cockpit’s LCD info-screen. Kawasaki engineers strove to retain the previous ZX-14’s light-handling and maneuverable demeanor, using the existing chassis design as a starting point for the new 14R and its increased power production. Front and rear suspension revisions help maintain this balancing act of wheel control, ride compliance and maneuverability. The body package offers functional benefits as well as aesthetic ones. The bodywork’s venting system is better at extracting heated air from the engine bay and away from the rider and passenger.High-aggression Sunday-morning rides? Easy. For Kawasaki, that motorcycle is the Ninja ZX-14.
Kawasaki's most powerful motorcycle to date, the Ninja ZX-14 sets new performance standards with the most unbelievable, absolutely-jaw-dropping acceleration you have ever experienced. But what makes the Ninja ZX-14 even more incredible is the absolute finesse with which it commands this power.