In the world of sports-touring bikes, the 2011 Kawasaki Concours presents itself as an appealing machine from first glance. Four upswept parallel bars on the intake fairing are mirrored on the rear saddlebags for a pleasing-to-the eye unity of design. These raised ridges give an airplane-like impression of speed and aerodynamics. Most of the mechanicals are smoothed over by the bodywork, making a clean, unified elegance of lines. The colors are understated. Three options are: Atomic Silver/Flat Super Black, Candy Neptune Blue/Super Flat Black, or Ebony/Super Flat Black. Ample storage awaits creative loading: dash storage, two hard side bags, and a rear rack. The dash and bags are lockable. The two-place seat is clean in design and looks inviting for long-distance adventure. The windscreen is electrically adjustable, with a memory function to remember which rider likes what height. The exhaust pipe on the right side is massively thick. The designers obviously paid more than passing attention to it. The shape and the two-tone coloration make it look less utilitarian than most, and more a part of the overall flow of lines, rather than something that is in place because it has to be.
The 2011 Kawasaki Concours is in its 25th year of production, having been introduced in 1986. The Concours 14 debuted in 2008, and in 2010 had some major improvements in comfort, safety, and convenience. At $15,599 for the base price, the Concours is considerably more costly than the average Kawasaki, but a little bit less expensive than the average sports-touring machine. The 82.5 cubic-inch engine, which is much bigger than the any other sports-tourer is able to boast, has variable valve timing, which boosts low- and mid-range torque. Power abundant is on tap with a twist of the grip. The Concours could compete with some of the Ninja-class bikes, and look a whole lot more classy in doing so. The redline is found at 10,500 rpm, and at that level it will be screaming.
The 2011 Kawasaki Concours is a comfortable bike to take on a cross-country tour, yet will handle twists and turns with aplomb, due to its great balance and the Ninja-based powerplant. A monocoque frame brings structUral integrity and good, tight handling. An Eco mode makes fuel savings of 25 percent possible for those days when pavement burning is not the priority. The economy mode works in all gears, but gives up trying when the engine passes 6000 revolutions per minute, or when 80 miles per hour is exceeded. Anti-lock brakes are standard, all the more important on a bike with the speed capabilities this one has. Heated handgrips are standard, so the riding season can be extended. The absolutely symmetrical, handsome instrument panel with traditional markings features twin round dials, easy to read. Centered between them is a digital display for monitoring functions and systems, such as the tire-pressure monitoring system.