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Will the ZX-14 Re-invigorate the 'Hyper-Touring' Class?
By Alex Edge

Most enthusiasts will remember the storm of media attention that surrounded bikes like Suzuki's Hayabusa, Kawasaki's ZX-12, and Honda's CBR1100XX a few years ago. When these bikes were new, it seemed that their names were on every tongue, particularly the Hayabusa.

Oddly, though, for the last few years it's been 'All Quiet on the Eastern Front' - with Kawasaki and Suzuki seemingly content to let their entries in the 'hyper-touring' class stand on their own merits. Perhaps this was due to the 'gentleman's agreement' to electronically limit top speed to 186mph (300 kph) - with no more top speed contests to strive to win, maybe the engineers and marketing departments lost focus? Whatever the reason, not much has happened in this class in more than 4 years.

Now, with Kawasaki's release of the ZX-14, all that has changed. These bikes may not sell anywhere close to the number of 600cc sportbikes or cruisers, but they are important to the manufacturers for another reason - prestige. Bikes like the Hayabusa or ZX-14 are what some journalists call 'halo models' - they sit like a halo (or a crown) at the top of the company's model range, displaying the manufacturers capabilities and engineering expertise for the world to see. For that reason, each company wants its halo to sit higher than that of others.

Now, we never compare bikes to their competitors without riding both models back to back - but unless I'm totally off the mark, the ZX-14 will dominate any shootouts it enters this year. Suzuki, however, has long been rumored to be working on an update to the somewhat dated Hayabusa. In fact, many thought that the new Hayabusa would be released as a 2006 model, but now we're almost certain to see it in 2007.

If Suzuki makes a strong response to the challenge thrown down by Kawasaki and the ZX-14 (and we expect they will), this could be the start of a war of one-upsmanship just like those occuring in the 600 and literbike categories. Even Honda may get in on things with a rumored replacement for the CBR1100XX, although if they stay true to past form, the replacement will probably land at dealers already off the mark of the ZX-14 and Hayabusa.

Still, if the hyper-tourers move over to a two-year developement cycle like their younger siblings, we could start to see some REALLY crazy horsepower and acceleration figures (as if the 9.83 quarter mile I ran on the ZX-14 wasn't crazy enough already)!. Although these types of bikes aren't for everyone, we say bring it on - now that we aren't fighting about top speed, let's see who can build the fastest-accelerating machine while keeping street manners intact...

Source: Motorcycle Daily
 

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Zx-14 (zzr1400)

I'll be getting hold of a copy of MCN when I go into town tomorrow.
They have a report on the ZX-14 (ZZR1400) from the press launch last week.

They will probably follow up with a hyperbike comparison very soon after.
TWO did a compare between the ZX-12R & the other hyper bikes quite recently & the 12R did not fare too well, from what info is going about looks like the 14 is going to be the one to beat this year. :clap
It seems Kawasaki are keeping their promise & building very good new bikes :grin

Keep an eye on the Telegraph website as they usually get reports up quite quick
http://motoring.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/
 
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