2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R Breaks Cover

10/10/2011 @ 7:52 am, by Jensen Beeler33 COMMENTS

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.

Source: Kawasaki

  • JCB

    All that hype for that? I just threw up in my mouth.

    The flames add 5hp.

  • RJ

    Agree with JCB. I can’t believe they’ve made it that fackin’ ugly. I mean, really??!! Same frame, same swingarm, and much, much uglier. Who cares if it’s got a slightly bigger motor, it’s not like it’s going to make 250hp now. And it’s not like you can’t easily big-bore the old one. It’ll prob make just over 200hp just to say it makes over 200hp. The old one could make that with bolt-ons, and it didn’t look like it was designed by a 12 year old. I’ll forgive the WORLD’S BIGGEST EXHAUST SYSTEM because it’s obviously for emissions and will most definitely get replaced by future owners within 15 minutes of purchase.

    But the styling? Unforgivable. You took a classy bike and made it trashy looking. That swoop in the new front fairing looks like one of those cheap aftermarket body kits that make your bike look like a Chinese dragon. The flames? If you don’t get that this is the tackiest styling cue in the universe, then you just don’t get it Kawasaki.

    I mean, someone’s head at Kawasaki needs to roll over this…

  • Keith

    heh, looks like the bodywork has been pre-stretched for the drag strip…or is that just me?

    As for the exhaust between emissions and attempting to keep it semi-quiet I doubt that ANY aftermarket exhaust will flow better all around than the stock one. Me I prefer stock or quieter exhaust and frankly the ONLY street benifit is weight loss. Not in this day and age. 10-20 years ago, yes aftermarket worked better. But now days? yeah right…loud pipse belong on the track, kids bikes and those who have small ego’s in their pants.

  • Ken C.


    Massive design failure.

  • Richard Gozinya

    If I wanted an overweight, overpriced pig of a bike with flames, I’d buy a Harley.

  • DareN

    Are you kidding? This is sooo 90s`. It would certainly appeal to the certain crowd on the Chicago`s soutside..

  • deeds

    that is absolutely hideous. can’t say i expected much for a 1400cc bike.

  • Steve Lang

    The only thing better than reading new reviews, is reading the comments and some of these are priceless. “Looks like a Chinese Dragon” / God that’s funny! I guess it could be worse, Kawasaki could have offered to throw in a matching helmet with a 6″ tall red Mohawk on top. shhhhhh….. I better not give them any ideas…….

  • RJ

    So we are all in agreement then. Jensen, please forward this to Kawasaki asap before they fuck up the next zx6-r…

  • JR

    OMG it looks….exactly the same…

  • gildas

    Is this the 1990’s and am I 14? Nooo. And even then, nobody in the school yard would have dared have this err, waste of design space, due to peer pressure (like having Maggie thatcher’s poster instead of the requisite Sabrina/Pam Anderson one). It’s so ugly even the Teutul’s are shaking their heads in disbelief…

    Even Junior, would have said “Flames, on this bike, I don’t think so and it’s too busy”…

  • This thing should have never been revealed!

  • Damo

    After all the awesome that is the ZX10R, I guess it was too much to hope this would turn out well :(

  • Shaitan

    Butt ugly!

  • BikePilot

    Seems an awfully modest refresh for so much hype. So they stroked it a little and threw some electronics and a slipper on that, probably, no one wanted anyway and some silly graphics. Its an excellent sport-tourer I’m sure, but thumbs down to the weight gain. It should be ~50-60lbs heavier than a ZX 10, but no more. For that matter, if the lump is just too big to fit in a package of reasonable weight, maybe replacing it all together with a blown version of the ninja 1000 would make some sense.

  • Pat Walker

    So this overweight pig makes 200 hp with ram air and Ducati’s new
    Ducati 1199 Superquadro makes 195 hp with no mention of ram air
    and two less cylinders.

  • Hayabrusa

    Yep, a serious let-down. And, I don’t know what rock the author was hiding under when Suzuki updated the Hayabusa (eerily similar to this conception) in 2008! I HATE is when Manufacturer’s lie? about a new bike. Bet it gets 15 mpg to boot!

  • ML

    Thankfully the motorcycle market is filled with insecure men who’ll buy this to feel better about themselves, right? I mean, what market were they targeting with that hideous things?

  • Jake Fox

    Dear God, can someone please explain to me why the entire country of Japan has been unable to produce an aesthetically pleasing motorcycle for the past 5 years? The new Zx-14R is just the latest and most egregious example. They really need to do away with that entrenched promotion by seniority system over there and hire some designers with actual talent!

  • Ugliest piece of crap I’ve ever seen in my life and probably ever will see :( !!!!! This makes that pot-bellied Ducati Diavel look like a prom queen in comparison (saw the Diavel in person 1st time the other day… what a gawd forsaken ugly stepsister empregnated by a whale)!

  • MikeD

    I think the SQUID Demon took a hold of Jensen’s Soul. All the first and big pics on the article are of the green FLAMED HIDEOUS Contraption.

    QUICK ! SOMEONE SPRAY HIM with HOLY MOTORCYCLE WATER before we loose him ! (^_^ )

    Bad Jokes aside…I think whoever was doing the publicity stunt campaing for Kawi should get a BIG FAT BONUS CHECK…i mean, they sure got us(me) running wild here and there and lifted our(my) hopes…only to CRAP IT OUT in truly Epic Ways & Proportions.

    RJ pretty much summarized it up for me. LMAO.

    But i must say…kudos to Green Team for trying…that’s more than what can be said for some of the others.

    And if a better Hayabugly comes out of this, then by all means…keep the fight up. We are the most beneficiated out of these OEM dick measuring contests…and im alright with it. LMAO.

  • MikeD

    LOL, seems like someone pressed the “piss me off” button on Jake Fox…LMFAO.

    To quote Steve Lang:

    ” The only thing better than reading new reviews, is reading the comments and some of these are priceless”.

  • Bjorn

    Just the thing for chubby chasers.
    Of course it doesn’t matter what it looks like, ‘cos it’ll just be a green flash as it roars down the road. I saw the promo videos and I know they wouldn’t lie to me.
    Way to under deliver Kawasaki. The only way for this beached whale to redeem itself will be if it has 220+hp at the rear wheel.

  • Simo

    Ok I have to say it was not the love on first sight ….. and i had few laughs reading comments.
    However, maybe with time it will grow on me… like the NEW SPEED TRIPLE did.. . I hated those stupid headlights but now I don’t mind them anymore…

    Though after watching http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzO1_EwTnYI&feature=related
    I kind of like it… it’s big but who cares …. I don’t think its weight will impact much on the handling except if you try turning it into a track bike Its not for everyone but like BUSA it will turn heads and god it will fly.

    PS. I never saw a person who rides Busa or zzr1400 complain about the way it looks or handles…. all that torque it must be worthed.

    Cant wait to test ride one..

  • AK

    Sorry, I still find it ugly…

  • JCB

    Just checked this out again, threw up in mouth again. It looks kinda green with flames. Must have ate too much wasabi.

    Some prefer a gorgeous Italian model like me (1199 Panigale or the 1198SP).

    Others dig face first into a BBW with food hiding under her fat rolls, while dreaming of chrome, stretch swing arms, and NOS.

    To each their own…

  • Keith

    all these comments about ugly…puhlease. Y’all wouldn’t know ugly if it set you on fire then backed a D-10 cat over you. Ugly the standard was and is STILL any windjammer fairing, saddlbag/trunk set.

  • JCB
  • MikeD

    After only 2 days seeing it, I guess i don’t have standards anymore or it never existed…i’ll take this “BBW” in, no questions asked…and at the risk of been called racist only the Blue and Black ones…no Green for me, specially those tacky flames.

    LMFAO. (^o^) WHAAAT?!

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  • This bike is defeating Suzuki Hayabusa, Now Kawasaki ZZR1400 become the Fastest hyperbike in the world :roll:

  • Bet if you turn it upside down it says Matel matchbox.

  • Zrider

    Guys…please! Obviously you are not Kawasaki fans and are just looking to beat on it. And that is fine. I now own a Suzuki, but I love most all brands. Bikes rule! I’m 50 and rarely a day goes by I don’t go over 100 and/or drag a knee on my commute. :-)
    Fact is, at 200+hp and 125ft.lbs. torque, this thing is a monster and will kill anything on the road and not have to rev over 10k rpms to do it. I’ve riden the older ZX-14’s with minor mods as well as most of the 1000 supersports. The 14 simply put will leave anything else in the dust without effort. Think of 100 HP at 6k rpms or 160 at 8k. Your BMW puts out 60 to 90 at the same r’s. You have to be a racing RPM’s to get to the real power of the race bikes.

    That said, 1000 cc race bikes will certainly beat a 14 on the race track JUST like the 600 cc bikes get better times than the 1000’s do. But on the street, it is a totally different story. the 14 has freaking gobs of power in a usable range without letting every cop within 5 miles know you are flying.

    BTW-And if you don’t like flames, don’t buy the green one.

    But all this is just banter. Until we actaully get to see what one does, it is all just talk. I’m sure the busa is much faster as well. The ZX-10 for that matter is supposed to put out 197hp! And that is the US model that was limited by 20hp by the EPA.

    Tighten the straps on your helmets sport riders! Things are about to really heat up! Thanks for the competition BMW!!! :-)