2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R | Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Joe Neric

Wrist: Dave Sonsky
MSRP (2012): $14,699
Miles: 2299
MPG: 36
Mods: None

My grand plans of high-speed, tri-state weekend adventures haven’t quite come to fruition yet. So, unfortunately, the ZX-14R has been relegated mostly to lackluster commuter duties. Don’t get me wrong, there’s never a dull moment while piloting the 14, thanks largely to its aggressive exhaust tone, data-packed dash, and simply hilarious thrust. While I’m getting used to the brute power, there hasn’t been a freeway on-ramp incapable of bringing a smile to my face by the time the top of second gear comes along (which doesn’t take long).

The miles are quickly clicking off, and though this month’s report doesn’t involve any exciting or glamorous aftermarket parts it does offer insight into the general ownership experience—so far it’s been impeccable.

The electronic fuel economy calculator was holding steady at 36 mpg but the majority of those miles were racked up with a soft and steady touch on the freeway. I made it this month’s mission to ride with a heavy hand and even a gear lower at times purposely to see how radically the gas mileage would be reduced. Much to my surprise I didn’t lose the three to five mpg I anticipated, but rather just a half-mile per gallon—apparently I haven’t been flogging it hard enough.

On the other hand, this minimal loss in gas mileage further demonstrates how truly impressive the 14’s performance is. Despite my efforts to assertively wind on the gas at every opportunity, those twists of the wrist are always short-lived—the acceleration and speed are so intense there simply isn’t enough real estate to exploit it during business hours. A long, straight stretch of road in the middle of nowheresville is about the only place I’ll be able to stretch the 14’s legs (and the dragstrip, of course). Come to think of it, there’s a lot of empty road en route to Bakersfield Raceway; reduced gas mileage, speeding ticket(s), and a timeslip coming soon.

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