True to its teaser campaign, the 2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R (2012 Kawasaki ZZR1400 to our friends abroad) finally got revealed today. Tweaking its hyperbike offering, Kawasaki has confirmed that the ZX-14R (note the added R to the name) will get a displacement bump to 1,441cc, along with a cosmetic overhaul and other basic features. Most notably added to the Kawasaki ZX-14R is the addition traction control, and ride-by-wire throttle control system. Kawasaki hasn’t spilled all the beans about the new ZX-14R, but power is said to be over 200hp at the crank with ram-air.
Kawasaki is already pitting the ZX-14R against Suzuki’s Hayabusa, perhaps in an attempt to re-ignite the speed wars of the 1990’s. While no top speed has been touted, the Japanese company is quoting the Kawasaki ZX-14R as “the world’s fastest accelerating production motorcycle.” A lengthy superlative, but it will be interesting to see if Suzuki responds with an update to the aging Hayabusa, which hasn’t had a meaningful upgrade since its 1999 market introduction.
Perhaps the biggest improvement to the Kawasaki ZZ-14R is in its motor. Notably stroked out by 4mm, the ZX-14R’s cylinders have also been milled, while the cylinder heads have been ported and polished. Cylinder compression has also been increased, while cam timing has been modified, all of which results in more power and torque throughout the Kawasaki ZX-14R’s rev range (again, Kawasaki isn’t saying by how much). Mated with ride-by-wire throttle system, a rider can select between different engine maps that toggle between full and 50% power for different riding conditions.
No 2012 bike would be complete without traction control, and the 2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R is no different. Getting Kawasaki’s KTRC system, a rider can select at the handlebar from three different traction control settings (full, medium, & low); and for bonus points, Kawasaki has put the selected TC level up in the dash to help notify the rider. Also helping mate the power to the tarmac is a new slipper clutch for the ZX-14R, which should be popular with the “downshift and dump” crowd.
While you wouldn’t know it from looking at it, Kawasaki has also made refinements to the ZX-14R’s frame, incorporating different rigidity and flex to the hyperbike chassis. Other chassis changes include a 10mm longer swingarm, and lighter 10-spoke wheels. Despite the measures designed to lighten the ZX-14R/ZZR1400, Kawasaki’s hyperbike gains 17 lbs for a 584 lbs claimed curb weight.
Lastly, the bike’s overall aesthetics have been subtly changed, and see a minor re-working that keeps the model fresh with the times, though doesn’t stray from the past Kawasaki ZX-14 design. US pricing is set at $14,699.