2014 Kawasaki Motorcycles | FIRST LOOK

Some riders fill the long winter months wondering which new bike to next year. But why wait? Kawasaki's 2014 bike line is out now. We've already covered the Ninja 1000 ABS, but in case you missed it, there's no non-ABS version in 2014. Right, let's move on to other news.

First up is the 2014 Versys ($7999). The versatile 650cc twin retains its friendly seating position and do-it-all personality, but in 2014 it comes only with ABS. Before you groan about the added cost, be aware that the ’14 Versys comes with the same MSRP as the ’13 model. That should take the sting out of “having to get” ABS. Available colors are Candy Lime Pearl and Ebony.

The Ninja 300, the little bike that could—and does way more than you’d think based on its size—comes in two flavors for 2014. ABS is an option on both the standard version in black ($4999, $5299 with ABS), and the SE with snazzier, Lime Green-ier graphics ($5199/$5499). Last year you had to buy the SE to get ABS; this year you can get it on the standard model for $200 less than the ’13 SE ABS.

The 650 Ninja, which wears both sportbike and urban-commuter hats with equal aplomb, is available in standard ($7699) and ABS models ($7999). It comes with a 649cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected parallel twin, a twin-spar perimeter frame, and an estimated 50 miles per gallon. Colors for 2014 include Candy Lime Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black; Candy Burnt Orange/Metallic Flat Spark Black; and Metallic Moondust Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black.

Absolutely, positively have to be two times zones from home by tomorrow? The Concours 14 ABS ($16,199) is back virtually unchanged from last year, not a bad deal since there wasn’t much of anything that needed fixing. The 1352cc four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing gobbles the miles and hollers for more, cradled in a chassis with Tetra-Link rear suspension and shaft drive. Choose between Metallic Spark Black or Candy Cardinal Red, and remember to turn off the lights when you leave.

Three Vulcan 900s make the scene in 2014. The Custom ($8499) is stripped to the essentials—gunfighter-style seat, minimalist fenders, and toe-operated shifter—if you don’t count the flame-accented Candy Lime Green paint job or the Metallic Flat Platinum Gray/Flat Ebony stealth look. The Classic ($7999) rolls a different way, with saddlebags, floorboards, plush seating for two, and spoked wheels; Ebony/Metallic Graphite Gray is the only color option. The LT ($8999) throws in a windscreen, saddlebags, and your choice of Candy Mystic Blue/Pearl Crystal White, or Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Titanium paint; there’s also an SE version with special graphics ($NA).

Like your V-twins big and bold? The 1700 Nomad ($17,499), Vaquero ($18,299), and Voyager ($19,399) models have the thump you crave. All three come with ABS for 2014. There are too many features and color options to list, but you can sum up the trio this way: The Nomad is the bagger of the trio, the Vaquero the stripped-down road warrior, and the Voyager the full-sail touring schooner. All are powered by a 1700cc V-twin that’ll not only pull stumps but drag them behind you without even  working up a sweat. Clean, quiet, reliable belt drive saves weight, and air-assisted rear shocks let you tailor the ride to the load. Finally, don’t forget the Vaquero SE ($18,699), which brings a Candy Burnt Orange factory-custom paint job to the table.