Kawasaki Concours 14 | PRICE: $13,799
Though it's beefed up to handle all that extra mass, the Concours' aluminum monocoque is an idea carried over from the 2000 ZX-12R. Though it allows a narrower package by arcing over the engine, some maintenance chores are complicated. And when all that metal between your knees heats up, it gets hot.
No tricks here: The 43mm inverted fork is similar to what you'd find on a ZX-14, but with marginally less travel and no compression damping adjustment. Shock spring preload is adjustable via a knob on the left side of the bike, and Kawasaki's new Tetra-Lever driveline provides seamless delivery while keeping all those ponies from pushing the rear suspension around.
Kawasaki employed all manner of bright thinking to dial power from the ZX-14's 175-horse peak. Hydraulically variable intake cam timing fattens up the midrange, while downsized 40mm throttle bodies increase the velocity of inbound combustibles. Compression is down a bit as well. But this 14's 133 horses still arrive at 9200 rpm, same as its nastier brother.
Carrying on the ZX-14's George Foreman Grill motif, the Concours lays down an inimitable, aerodynamic silhouette. Designed to stay neutral at speed-Kawasaki says there's no extra downforce, even with the windscreen fully deployed-this cockpit is a bit breezy relative to the BMW or the Honda.
Essentially ZX-14 stoppers repurposed for long-distance duty, radial-mount four-pot Nissin calipers get electronic anti-lock assistance in this case. In the absence of any electronic or hydraulic connections, you decide how much help comes from the single rear disc.
Horsepower: 133 bhp @ 9200 rpm
Torque: 87 lb.-ft. @ 7700 rpm
Cranking out 80-something lb.-ft. of torque from 4500 to 8500 rpm, the Concours makes triple-digit horsepower from 6250 to 10,000. The BMW and Honda are stronger down low, but the Kawasaki trumps 'em up top.
Engine Type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Bore x stroke: 84.0 x 61.0mm
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Frame: Aluminum monocoque
Front suspension: 43mm Kayaba cartridge fork, adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping
Rear suspension: Single Kayaba shock, adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Single Nissin two-piston caliper, 270mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Bridgestone BT021
Rear tire: 190/50-ZR17 Bridgestone BT021
Rake/trail: 26.1/4.4 in.
Seat height: 32.1 in.
Wheelbase: 59.8 in.
Fuel capacity: 5.8 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 689/654 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 133 bhp @ 9200 rpm
Measured torque: 87 lb.-ft. @ 7700 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 10.49 sec. @ 130.9 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 3.8 sec
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 47/37/42 mpg
Colors: Neutron Silver
Warranty: 36 months, unlimited mi.
Contact: Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA
9950 Jeronimo Rd.
Irvine, CA 92618
Armed with the sportiest riding position of our long-distance carriers, the Kawasaki leans forward, but never feels as roomy as the Honda. Though legroom is allegedly equal to the ST and greater than the FJR's, tall riders were content.