The mysterious Ninja emerged from the shadows of Japan in 1984, and since then, it has been a constant presence in the sport bike world. While there are many variants of the Kawasaki Ninja Motorcycle, for 2009, Kawasaki brings us its ultimate Ninja, the ZX-14 Monster Energy Edition. The Monster Energy graphics are complimented by the black plastic bodywork and create smooth and vibrant lines on the bike.
One would expect the engine of one of the most powerful production supersport bikes in the world to be a beast. The 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 certainly does not disappoint in this aspect. The inline four, DOHC, four-valve per cylinder engine is designed to be as light, quiet, and smooth as possible, though it still produces 203 horsepower at 9500 rpm. With 1352cc of displacement and ram air induction, the 2009 ZX-14 is Kawasaki’s biggest and most evolved motor to date. Energy is harnessed by the high-tech digital fuel injection, with four 44mm Mikuni throttle bodies. Although this Ninja weighs 566 pounds, it is still able to reach a top speed of 186 mph, due in part to its dominating engine.
All of the power on the 2009 Ninja is useless if it cannot be transferred to the road in an effective way, a task that is handled by the six-speed manual transmission employed by Kawasaki. The hydraulic clutch features a radial-pump clutch master cylinder for smooth and precise shifting. The final drive chain is an X-Ring design, giving two sealing points, which contributes to durability and efficiency.
Keeping the wheels under control and in contact with the road is a prime concern for riders of any supersport bike, and even more so on the flagship Ninja. Up front, the 2009 Ninja ZX-14 sports an inverted 43mm cartridge fork with adjustable preload, 13-way compression, and 11-way rebound damping adjustment. Bumps are smoothed by the 4.6 inches of wheel travel. In the rear, Kawasaki uses the Bottom-Link Uni-Trak swing arm and a single gas-charged shock with adjustable preload, stepless rebound and compression damping adjustments, and adjustable ride height. The 4.8 inches of wheel travel make long days in the saddle a comfortable affair.
The 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 was designed in the wind tunnel for ultimate aerodynamics of not only the bike, but also the rider position. The low, narrow seat is very comfortable for long hours in the saddle, and the frame and ergonomics provide excellent wind protection, and controllability. The newly designed lightweight, monocoque frame is a hollow aluminum box that arches over the engine from the steering head to the swing arm pivot. All aspects of the frame have been designed to be rigid, light, and narrow. The engine is positioned forward in the frame to keep the weight distribution balanced for high-speed stability and responsive handling. The air box and filter are also contained within the frame, which not only saves space, but makes maintenance easier, as well.
The control panel in the cockpit of the 2009 Kawasaki Ninja is just as forward thinking and well designed as the rest of the bike. Both the speedometer and tachometer are analog and feature white faces. The multi-function LCD digital display includes an odometer, two trip meters, the fuel gauge, gear position indicator, and a clock. Shifting duties are made easier thanks to the programmable shift indicator lamp and programmable clutch engagement lamp. Data travels over the advanced Controller Area Network (CAN), which allows fewer wires, and a higher data broadband.
The brakes on the 2009 Ninja ZX-14 are just as high tech as the rest of this well-engineered bike. A radial-pump front brake master cylinder improves brake performance and offers a level feel. Both wheels feature petal design brake discs to provide better cooling and warp resistance. In front, we find dual semi-floating 310mm petal discs, with dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers. For the rear end, a single 250mm petal disc with twin-piston caliper slows things down. A separate brake pad is used for each piston, which increases cooling efficiency and reduces deformation due to heat, which helps maintain a consistent brake feel.
The Monster Energy Edition of the 2009 Kawasaki Ninja features a striking black and green color theme. Special Monster Energy graphics and unique black wheels with green pinstripes set this ZX-14 apart from the rest of the lineup.