Long before the ADV segment blossomed into a motorcycle industry darling, sport-tourers like the Kawasaki Concours owned the open roads. Combining superbike-derived engines and bodywork that’s part sportbike and part touring, they are true gentlemen’s expresses. The Concours 14 ABS gets its go from a 1,352cc DOHC inline-four that’s derived from the mighty Ninja ZX-14R. As you might guess, it thus employs a wizard’s toolbox full of technologies, including variable valve timing to widen the powerband, a monocoque aluminum frame, and linked front and rear brakes with ABS.
In motion, the 690-pound Concours 14 ABS is closer to a sportbike than an outsize touring rig in feel. The seating position is sporty but comfortable, and with its multi-adjustable inverted fork and sporty 17-inch wheels and tires, it’s wholly comfortable in the twisties. And then, there’s its touring side, which means a 5.8-gallon fuel tank, an electrically adjustable windshield, a standard tail rack, and detachable side cases. Happily, the Tetra-Lever shaft drive provides clean, quiet, and low-maintenance service without the annoying suspension-jacking dynamics of prior systems. A standard three-year warranty adds peace of mind.
Likes: Ninja ZX-14R authority wrapped in a comfy sport-touring package
Dislikes: Flash Gordon strakes on the fairing and side cases look cartoonish
Verdict: Master of the sport-touring universe