2006 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 Unveiled
By Dirck Edge
For those of you wondering if Kawasaki might someday one-up Suzuki's Hayabusa in the displacement and horsepower categories, here is your answer. Yes.
Kawasaki just announced the 2006 ZX-14, the most powerful Kawasaki ever. Below is Kawasaki's press release on the ZX-14. Quarter-mile junkies can start salivating.
Sleek aerodynamics, unmatched power, acceleration, and stability combine to provide balance to company’s latest flagship.
If ever a brand of motorcycles was defined by the sheer power emanating from its long history of record-breaking sportbikes, Kawasaki would hold that mantel. If ever a brand would be expected to rightfully incorporate the meaning of the word “ultimate” into its newest flagship street carver, Kawasaki fits the bill. That’s just what the company has done with the Ninja® ZX™-14, a 1352cc motorcycle that is its most powerful ever, and succeeds in setting the performance standards for others to follow.
Kawasaki engineers and designers have created a motorcycle that turns its Ram Air and fuel-injected engine into the core of a powerful, torque-producing, aerodynamic stunner that will draw attention from onlookers whether on the road, or parked on the roadside. Wrapped in a choice of Passion Red, Ebony, or Candy Thunder Blue, the new ZX-14 makes blending into the scenery nearly impossible. It accelerates with ease, handles with assurance, and exudes an aura unmatched by anything else on the street.
This most powerful of all Kawasaki-branded motorcycles was created to do everything right. Right from the beginning.
Its aerodynamics reminds users that Kawasaki is indeed an aircraft maker. The blending of form, power, and handling characteristics have delivered a debut unit that is so balanced in all aspects that the word—ultimate—seems barely adequate to describe it.
This all new in-line four has evolved from the Ninja ZX-12R and features a bore and stroke of 84 x 61mm packed into a purposefully designed compact outline that minimizes engine width, leaving it at virtually the same width as the 12R.
A twist of the throttle delivers a seamless spread of torque that is so linear, the “power band,” per se, ceases to exist. Riders will pay particular attention to the impressive response that kicks in once the motor exceeds 6,000 rpm. Those that have ridden this newest Kawasaki flagship marvel at the torque response that makes pulling away from a total stop in almost any gear a possibility.
The engine uses a secondary balancer to tame unwanted vibrations, and a direct-actuation shift lever is lighter than conventional linkage-type set-ups, offering a more direct feel for the rider.
The ZX-14’s chassis design is every bit the equal of its power plant. It is an advanced version of Kawasaki’s unique aluminum monocoque frame, lightweight and very strong. This sophisticated approach gives the ZX-14 a responsive handling quality and incredible highway stability. By utilizing this frame technology, engineers were able to concentrate on delivering, as mentioned, a very slim, compact package. Inherently more rigid than twin-spar frames, and with the engine rigid-mounted, the monocoque’s strength is greatly increased.
With the engine positioned forward in the frame, engineers were able to carefully select the wheelbase and front/rear wheel weight balance to achieve both high speed stability and responsive handling. The ZX-14 uses an inverted 43mm cartridge fork and new Uni-Trak® linkage rear suspension to complement the highly rigid frame, thus offering both great controllability at high speeds and superb road holding when sport riding on twisting hill roads.
Does this ultimate combination of engine performance and chassis design make the Kawasaki ZX-14 rider-friendly?
The engineers and designers sought to combine the utmost elements of today’s motorcycle technologies, yet still provide a package that is both approachable—and usable. The ZX-14 delivers seamless power, a smooth ride, and friendly ergonomics. Together, these characteristics are manifested in a ride that is surprisingly non-intimidating, yet still maintains the heart of the rebel so much a part of Kawasaki’s brand heritage.
Offering a very relaxed sport riding position, it is compact without being cramped, and the bars are positioned so riders don’t have to stretch to reach them. The narrow engine, monocoque frame, and fuel tank make it easy for the rider to keep his knees close together in any riding conditions. Footpegs are low-set to give ample legroom and the low seat height and narrow seat front make planting feet on the ground when stopped a cinch.
And when the rider is stopped, the motorcycle will be the center of attention. Because the monocoque frame goes over the engine and doesn’t protrude through the fairing, the fairing design lines are uninterrupted, giving it a smooth, flowing appearance, from front to rear. Quadruple projector beam headlights adorn the ZX-14’s front cowl, with the outer lights containing position lamps and high beams. Low beams are located in the two center lamps. The front and rear turn signals are integrated into the fairing and rear cowl, and the all new LED tail lamp features a unique “V” design.
Other key features of the Kawasaki ZX-14:
Instrument cluster with easy-to-read, white-faced dual analogue speedometer and tachometer.
Shift indicator light and clutch engagement light.
Multi-function LCD digital display includes fuel gauge, gear indicator, dual trip meters, odometer, and clock.
Large diameter petal brake discs, radial mount front calipers and a radial pump brake master cylinder for impressive braking performance and superb feel.
Hydraulically operated clutch features a radial mount clutch master cylinder for worry-free, silky smooth clutch operation.
Fuel tank features a flush-surface tank cap.
Idling speed control system contributes to easy starting capability.
Lightweight Denso radiator with high-density cores provides efficient cooling.
Massive head pipe casting contributes to frame rigidity.
Airbox located in the frame, contributing to a very compact layout.
Engine and chassis components designed to maximize mass centralization.
Newly designed wheels feature center ribs which are slightly offset so that tire balance weights can be located at the wheel centerline.
All told, Kawasaki has once again brought its engineering and design expertise to the forefront of motorcycle creation. The Ninja ZX-14 lives up to its predecessors, and far surpasses them, as the meaning of the word “ultimate” has found a new definition.
Source: Motorcycle Daily