Call me biased, but I am a fan of the Kawasaki ZX-14. Maybe because I own one. Perhaps it is because I think it is prettier and better designed than the Hyabuas. Or it could be that I am a fan of speed. Whatever the reason, I love riding my ZX-14. While many people know of the bike, they do not really know what goes into this beefed-up bike.
Introduction of the Kawasaki ZX-14
In 2005, Kawasaki introduced the world to a bike that would change how we thought about road-legal sportbikes. The Tokyo Motor Show was Kawasaki’s chosen stage for replacing the ZZ-R1200. Set for release in 2006, the ZX-14 was the most powerful and fastest sport bike in the world. It would remain the most powerful bike in the Kawasaki lineup until the release of the H2 in 2015.
Kawasaki ZX-14 Model Years
The first generation of the ZX-14 R had a 1,352cc engine. It was capable of hitting 147 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. It could achieve 100+ mph speeds in about six seconds.
The second generation of the ZX-14 got an upgrade in the engine department with a 1,441cc engine. Kawasaki engineers also made several changes to the rest of the bike. These include increased displacement, more horsepower, variable power modes, and an ignition management system. Cosmetically, the bike got a refresh.
The 2014 model year brought ABS braking as a standard feature to all models.
It was such a hit that in 2015, Kawasaki made ABS and P-Mode permanent standard features.
There were no updates for the ZX-14R in 2023. However, it did come in some new colors, so that’s nice, I guess.
There were a lot of rumors flying that the ZX-14R would not be a part of the Kawasaki Ninja lineup in 2024. This was partly due to the discontinuation of the ZX-14R in European countries. There is also the idea that the H2 has rendered the ZX-14R obsolete. Then, there are the changing motorcycle industry trends. Many are no longer obsessed with speed and performance, preferring looks and style instead.
A lot of these rumors are just that, gossip. Many are formed by people who do not really know what they are talking about. Their perceptions are skewed by their immediate surroundings and interactions. In reality, Kawasaki released a 40th anniversary edition of the Ninja Zx-14R along with several other special edition models.
Kawasaki ZX-14 Discontinued
With environmental emissions becoming more of a focus, the Euro 5 emissions standards changed. Unfortunately, this meant that the ZX-14R was no longer in compliance. One option was to rework the bike’s performance to comply. However, this would have resulted in a reduction in performance capability. Rather than hobble a racehorse, Kawasaki took the same route as Suzuki. Both manufacturers pulled the Hayabusa and ZX-14R from the European market in 2020. That isn’t to say that Kawasaki may discontinue the ZX-14R at some point in the future. But for now, it is safe.
Difference Between the ZX-14 and ZX-14R
Some bikes have an “R” signifier after the Kawasaki ZX-14 name. While these bikes look similar, there are slight differences that impact performance and handling. The ZX-14R is heavier and has a slightly longer wheelbase. The engine is also slightly different, with an adjusted displacement and more horsepower.
Famous Hayabusa Rivalry
Asking if the ZX-14R or Hayabusa is better is like asking people to choose Coke or Pepsi. Everyone has an opinion. However, at the end of the day, one isn’t inherently better than the other. It really comes down to your personal opinion and preferences. Over the years, people have put them in head-to-head competition. The outcome varied based on countless changing environmental factors.
There is the model year, bike setup, rider, testing location, etc. Ultimately, all you really need to know is that they are comparable bikes with slight differences that allow them to appeal to different market segments. Some people find the Hayabusa to corner better at higher speeds. While the ZX-14R has a much smoother engine. The Hayabusa has a really long wheelbase. While the ZX-14R can feel top-heavy.
When the Kawasaki ZX-14R and Suzuki Hayabusa first emerged, there was an all-out race to produce the fastest street-legal bike. Even Honda tried to keep up in the race to build a street bike capable of hitting 200 miles per hour. However, this was quickly addressed by government agencies. With pressure, a gentleman’s agreement was put in place. No manufacturer would produce a bike that would have a top speed of over 186 miles per hour. Now, that is not to say you can’t make some at-home adjustments to “fix” this limiter issue. However, it is this gentleman’s agreement that really makes the whole rivalry between the ZX-14R and Hayabusa mute.
It should be no surprise that the Kawasaki ZX-14 has made its way into Hollywood. The Hyabusa and ZX-14 have such a strong legacy of rivalry that it has transcended the bike community. People who have never owned or ridden motorcycles have heard of the ZX-14. You may not have realized it, but the ZX-14 has appeared in several movies and TV shows.
- Season 10 of Fifth Gear on October 30, 2006
- La donna che ritorna, 2011
- Person of Interest, 2011-2016
- Carter & June, 2017
- Blue Bloods, 2010-2023
- Eastbound & Down, 2009-2013
- Line of Duty, 2012-2023
Join the Kawasaki Legacy
The Kawasaki ZX-14 is not just a motorcycle; it is a legend. Whether you are a ZX-14 enthusiast, a Hayabusa aficionado, or simply a fan of two-wheeled marvels, the rivalry between these two iconic machines has left an indelible mark in the motorcycle world. You are in need of engaging and informative motorcycle content that delves deep into the intricacies of these incredible machines or any other aspect of the motorcycling world. As an avid rider and dedicated motorcycle content writer, I’m passionate about translating the thrill of the open road into words that resonate with your audience. Let’s kickstart your content journey, and together, we will take your brand to new heights.
Is Kawasaki making a 2024 ZX-14R?
Yes, Kawasaki is making a 2024 ZX-14R. For 2024, the motorcycle will be a 40th-anniversary edition. It will feature ABS brakes, a slipper clutch, and three-mode traction control. It has a 1,441cc 4-stroke, In-Line Four, DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled engine.
What is faster, a ZX-14 or H2?
The ZX-14R and H2 are similar in power and speed. Depending on who you ask, the ZX-14R beats or comes within a second of beating the H2. However, the H2 is a more agile bike. It has a lighter weight and less body bulk. This leads people to believe that the H2 is faster than the ZX-14R.
How heavy is a ZX-14R?
The Kawasaki ZX-14R is no joke, with a hefty weight of 593.1 pounds. This is a similar weight to the Suzuki Hayabusa at 582 and the Yamaha Super Tenere ES at 584 pounds.
Is the ZX-14R comfortable?
Depending on how you describe comfort, the Kawasaki ZX-14R can be both uncomfortable and comfortable. It is a sport bike, so you are in a leaned forward upper body position with your legs tucked up you. Some people find this ride position uncomfortable. However, it is not as aggressive as some liter bikes that are built for track day. This makes the ZX-14R more comfortable for some people.
What is the tank range of ZX-14?
You can travel for about 200 miles on a single tank of gas. However, this greatly depends on your ride style, traffic conditions, and speed. The fuel tank in the ZX-14R is 5.8 gallons. There are always those outlier guys who claim to get ridiculously high or low fuel economy.