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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings from Seattle, WA!

My name is Mark and provided the finances hold true through spring, I hope to be the owner and pilot of a new ZX-14 (probably Black, although the blue looks very fast).

By way of background, I am 38 tomorrow (Gosh how time flies) and have ridden mostly cruisers of various flavors since age 16 when Dad taught me how to ride on his Goldwing. Back during those crazy days of endless summer it was an 84' Honda Saber 1100, then a BMW R100R, a 78' Electro-Glide during those days of post college rebellion, and most recently a V-65 Honda Magna (gotta love V-4's). Not a stellar list, but overall fun and very reliable machines.

So, a few years back I ruptured two discs and herniated one (T5-T9) while performing heavy squats in the days leading up to a powerlifting competition. Long story-short, after the fusion and rehab, riding cruisers became a thing of the past, too much impact direct to the spine. So I started looking at the Yamaha FJR last year and even rented one for a few days. What a smooth powerful machine! Problem was the seating position wasn't forward enough on those really long days for me to bow my back inward and avoid "slouching." One of the guys I rode with had a Honda VFR and wanted to trade for a few hundred miles as he was interested in the FJR as well. And that's when I fell in love with the sportbike riding position! Even with my large frame at 6'0" and 275lbs I had very little numbness in my hands and my back felt great. Only cramped part was my legs, so I began searching for a large displacement sportbike without cramped ergos and wola the ZX-14! I knew the minute I sat on one that this was the one for me. Since then everything I have read, looked at, asked Sales persons and other riders has reinforced the decision in my mind.

So, a few questions:
1) With regards to bike stands, does the ZX14 have "spools" on which to support on a rear-stand? What types of rear stands are folks using?
2) Any difficulty with maintainance, (oil changes requiring huge disassembly or annoying access panels, hard to find chains, filters?)
3) Anyone having engine problems requiring siginificant shoptime due to poor craftsmenship or very frequent valve adjustments?
4) This is the first Kawasaki I will purchase and I have heard a few people comment that they wonder about "fit and finish"...from what I have seen it looks damn good, but once you get inside the plastic, how is the fit and tolerances of this machines parts?
5)Any modifications recommended right off the showroom floor?

Thanks in advance for any replies and I look forward to seeing you down the road - Mark
 

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Congrats on your planned purchase... did you just sit on one in the dealer? or take it for a test ride? Trust me... if you think it feels good now.. wait till it's in motion.. I'm stuck in the "please dear" stage atm... but once the missus says yes, it'll be here..

mods: fly removal is very common, though I don't plan on it for myself (I want the easier-to-control lower end).. pipes are recommended too.. for sound and weight loss esp.

As for your back - I couldn't agree more with you. I too find the sporty position much more comfy than cruisers. But the cruiser position IS more relaxing. So both have their plusses and minuses.

How hard can a chain be to find? It's right there, at the wheel.~

Fit and finish, as with any machine, can vary. I haven't heard any major complaints about f&f or maintenance.

Define "frequent maintenance"...?? FWIW - Better than a duck, but not as good as a car~ but you don't buy a bike if you want the upkeep of a car.

btw. discussion on another board has led me to the belief that the 14's engine fairly bulletproof, though the counter-balancers need to sometimes be re-aligned~
 

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1) With regards to bike stands, does the ZX14 have "spools" on which to support on a rear-stand? What types of rear stands are folks using?
There are bosses on the swing arm for spools (doesn't come with the bike)
Pitbulls rearstands are pretty good

I personally have the optional (Kawasaki OEM) centerstand. (I also have lockhart spools (see pic)





5)Any modifications recommended right off the showroom floor?

Thanks in advance for any replies and I look forward to seeing you down the road - Mark
Helibar Risers were my first mod

If you pull the secondary butterflies and add a power commander you'll eliminate the factory throttle/power restriction
WARNING: this mod is not for newbies



It's also hard on tires


BTW...I've got 2 herniated disks myself L4-L5 and L5-S1 .... havent had any problems yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback gang! Richard, I was born in Grand Rapids, MI and know the area well.

As far as mods go, I might consider heli risers, but have no interest in making the machine faster. Nor do I anticipate getting as much wear on the edges of the tires like X08. By the way I have been to Taipei...beautiful!

With regards to your question X08, I have not been able to find a zx14 for rent or know anyone who offers "test rides." I feel your pain about being in "please darlin" land, but we have worked hard for a long time, house, 3 kids, minivan, etc so I didn't have to beg. That said, I have sworn not to be gone EVERY sunny weekend :)
 

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1)You can add spools as needed to the ZX14 Swing arm.
2)So far not to much of a pain to change oil, radiator fluids, etc.
3)No problems with mine so far.
4)Fit and Finish are fine on mine.
5)First mod >frame sliders >remove Fuel canister from beneath the seat to free up room >get a flat fix repair kit with dual 45Gram cartridges install it under seat. Alarm system would be nice, all other mods you will need to decide on for form and fitment. There are some foot peg relocation pieces out there and handlebar risers. Also custom seats...
Also, adjust your suspension, right off the get go.
 

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Still try and get a test ride first... I'm lucky in that I've known the dealer for quite a while and have rented several bikes from them quite regularly..

and what's this about tires? I may intend on my 14 being more of a tourer, but I fully intend to use my tires to the max.. I have a pic here of my current front tire... note how the sides are worn, while the centre is brilliant.. I live in the corners





PS. Taipei sucks...beautiful place, but the traffic is horrendous...I live further south in Taichung... dirtier, but better traffic (and more relaxed authority)
 

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Hello there Proudpop,

Here's my 2 cents..... Please do get the ZX-14, you'll never ever regret in buying it. As for me, enjoying every minute of it. The answers to your questions :-

1. You can opt for the OEM centerstand or install rear stand bobbins and use
pitbull stand. As for me, using the second choice, it suits better.

2. No such thing as difficulty for doing maintenance. No problems in getting
replacement chains, sprockets, filters etc. Get the service manual from
the dealer. It's the single most value for money investment you'll ever get.

3. Done 8500km on mine, and no such hint of engine problem. It does
however emits knockings sounds during engine warming up, but as more
mileage being put through it, the lesser it becomes. I confirmed it with the
kawasaki dealer here in Kuala Lumpur. There are valve clearance interval
checks, but to me, as long as the engine is in good harmony, don't
fix/touch it.

4. Fitment parts tolerances are very good. The ZX-14 has about 25 different
plastic covers for the covers alone with arrays of screw/allenkey sizes, so
be careful.

5. About modifications, it is recommended :-

a) Remove secondary butterflies
- power band comes early starting at 3500rpm compared to
6500rpm

b) Add Power commander
- Better power roll on & increased bhp

c) Put slip-on exhaust (yoshimura/muzzy/akrapovic)
- Further increases bhp and sounds better

d) Put streering damper (hyperpro on mine)
- More stability and confidence

e) Add Scottoiler chain lube
- Eliminates manual chain respraying, wheel cleaning and
it extends chain life.

By the, get the blue colour...... it's the fastest :rofl
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies fellas. A very "global" forum is always fun. I have also been in KL and spent alot of time in Singapore as well. Asia is captivating.

I intend on buying the ZX-14 very likely this summer/fall. While the black has always been my favorite color for bikes, I am toying with the red (my alternate) or blue (wife's preference). Buying the red here in the US means an 06 though. I have heard the black is tough to keep looking clean? I'm pretty particular about my "stuff" anyways, so I don't suppose it matters much.

Anyone know of any significant changes from 06 to 07? Also any nice changes or options being offered on the 08's? I will take a look into the oiler and steering damper, not sure I will have the $$$ right off to be changing exhaust though.

Anyways, thanks for the insights guys, I look forward to sharing more as time permits and as I get into the machine more.

God Bless - Mark
 

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Well I plan on sourcing one in "Metallic Ocean Blue"...it's a very nice, dark blue and looks very touring~ it all depends on how you get your bike... ours are all imported, so I basically have a pick of the crop.. and if I can't get that colour, then I'll buy whatever colour and just import the plastics, or repaint it (the latter probably being cheaper)
 

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I have heard the black is tough to keep looking clean? I'm pretty particular about my "stuff" anyways, so I don't suppose it matters much.

Anyone know of any significant changes from 06 to 07? Also any nice changes or options being offered on the 08's? God Bless - Mark
Black @ white are very nice colours but are easily dirtied. Coincidently my fav colour is blue and dirt & grime are not that visible on it. Anyway, to me colour is irrelevant, it's the proud and joy of owning the most powerful production bike in the world that counts. :rofl

As far as i can tell, there are NO differences between the 06 and 07 models except for body and rim colours and that's it. I've been scouring the web for any changes for the upcoming 08 model but to no avail.

What i am really hoping is that kawasaki will come out with dual radiator mount fan setup compared to the single one currently. The machine get hot pretty quickly and it's a bit too hot for me when the fan kicks in.
 

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Thanks for the replies fellas. A very "global" forum is always fun. I have also been in KL and spent alot of time in Singapore as well. Asia is captivating.

I intend on buying the ZX-14 very likely this summer/fall. While the black has always been my favorite color for bikes, I am toying with the red (my alternate) or blue (wife's preference). Buying the red here in the US means an 06 though. I have heard the black is tough to keep looking clean? I'm pretty particular about my "stuff" anyways, so I don't suppose it matters much.

Anyone know of any significant changes from 06 to 07? Also any nice changes or options being offered on the 08's? I will take a look into the oiler and steering damper, not sure I will have the $$$ right off to be changing exhaust though.

Anyways, thanks for the insights guys, I look forward to sharing more as time permits and as I get into the machine more.

God Bless - Mark
- I had black, it was quite a chore to keep clean and seemed to "scuff" easy. Keep that in mind. Then again, for me personally, a bike can be any color... as long as it's black. LOL.
- I had a GPR damper on it... LOVED IT. Not that there is a any headshake on this bike... AT ANY SPEED (yes, I've been up to the limiter 186-187 range). But I always believed its better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it... and a few times I've been on some bumpy/wavvy roads it was nice to have.
- 06-07 changes? meh nothing major I can think of.
- great bike for your size (I'm 6'3" 275 lbs). Riding position is perfect. I've done 550 miles in one day and it was great.
- I've had the bike all the way over and fully scrubbed left/right on the rear, you will be amazed a bike of this size will handle so well (esp. with your size to 'man-handle' it).

PS Only bitch... same thing what the other guys are saying. Heating. The fan sucks. You will need to replace it with a Muzzy, and add some water wetter. Keep an eye out for a dual fan system (none that I know of... yet).
 
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