Rumors are swelling around the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 (the Kawasaki ZZR1400 for friends on the other side of the pond). First up is that a new updated Kawasaki ZX-14 is set to debut by the end of the month. Expected to be only a cosmetic makeover, the 2012 Kawasaki ZX-14 will mechanically be the same as the current model.

Looking farther down the pipe though, it would seem from reports and patents that Kawasaki has been eyeing putting a supercharger on the hypersport machine, presumably to better position the ZX-14 against the increasingly more powerful 1,000 superbikes, like the company’s on 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R.

According to MCN, at least four patents have been published that show Kawasaki working on a supercharger system for a motorcycle that looks like the ZX-14/ZZR1400. Additionally according to Visordown, the model revamp is now just weeks away, and will feature few, if any, mechanical changes. With that information in mind, it’s not clear when the supercharged hypersport will be out, though it would make sense that the model is one or two more model years down the pipe from where we are now.

The Kawasaki ZX-14’s revamping adds weight to the idea that this upcoming update is a precursor to the bike being replaced, with the cosmetic changes being made to help move remaining bikes off dealer floors more quickly. That line of reasoning is supported by the lack of mechanical changes, which suggest Kawasaki doesn’t want to invest more money and time into the ZX-14, and instead just wants to see a sales boost from customers.

While forced induction is commonplace in the automobile realm, the idea has never permeated motorcycles with great expanse. In a market segment fueled by outright performance, but not stifled by racing homologation, the idea of turbochargers and superchargers making their way onto hypersport machines seems more like a matter of “when”, and not a matter of “if”. Considering motorcycle manufacturers can more easily bump up model performance figures with forced induction, there’s another incentive for manufacturers to go down this route. If true, it will be interesting to see how this changes the hypersport marketplace.

Source: Visordown & MCN

  • BBQdog

    The front looks a bit like those multi-eyed fish Bart Simpson is fishing out of one of those nuclear polluted ponds of Mr Burns.

  • kevin

    What was the last turbo or supercharged bike to be produced for North America.

    I remember a friend having a turbo seca.

    And you’re right, with such an emphasis on performance from not only the supersport machines but also in other segments (power cruisers) I’m surprised we haven’t seen much forced induction.

  • Klotz

    “to better position the ZX-14 against the increasingly more powerful 1,0000 superbikes”

    Wow! Where do I find one of these 10,000 cc bikes? Must accelerate something fierce

  • BikePilot

    Sweet! Forced induction makes great sense. I think if it weren’t for out-dated raceing regs that most all performance street bikes would be forced induction – just a great way of getting more power and wider power curve from a smaller, lighter package. Its been a huge boon to cages, PWCs and sleds. Kawak has the 300hp Ultra 150 blower in its back pocket…

  • Bruce Monighan

    I like the looks of that teaser photo. If they are going for a more rounded look it would be a welcome design relief from the “copy me” angles that have been around for years

  • Hayabrusa

    I’m with BikePilot – SWEEEEET!!!! I’m drooling already! Having owned 2 Hayabusa’s, I can only wish that Suzuki is thinking the same thing.

  • MikeD

    Like BikePilot already said…they are forehead deep with forced induction (Ultra 250X, 260X & 300X) and the last one is a BEAST…a Blown ZX-14 ? BRING IT…U won’t hear me complaining.

    Suzuki…did u hear that ? Get to work.
    Bring back the Stratosphere Concept with the I-6, Supercharge it and put it into production…and dump that Horrid B-King Lump.

    And Honda should produce the Evo 6 and blow it too.

  • MikeD

    Just a crazy idea…how about going back to 1200cc but blown ? Just saying…lol (^_^ )

  • sunstroke

    I’d be more interested to see what forced induction could do for low displacement models. The thought of a 300lb 80hp-100hp supercharged Kawasaki ZX-5R is salivating.

  • jeram


    80-100 hp from a supercharged 500cc inline 4?
    id be expecting that from a naturally aspirated bike.

    andw this supercharged 1400 shouldnt be anything new for kawasaki,

    the supercharge these hypersport motors in their jet skis :)

  • AK


    Honda CX 500T is also a turbo production bike.

  • mxs

    Yes we need more supercharged superbikes (eye roll) …. because that’s what sells, right?

  • Keith

    hmmmm, GSXR750T. Yeah I could enjoy that. Especially if they go with the aerocharger turbo…constant boost almost zero lag.

  • I guess they are toy story fans. :-)

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  • Awesome. It has always been my goal to own a turbo bike, plenty of people building turbo Hayabusas. But factory super charger, that would be good. No need to spend thousands of dollars on top of the bike. And now that the bike world is catching up with the car world as far as flashing ECUs etc. it should just be a matter of upping the boost for more power. Nice.

  • carboncanyon

    Hmmm the current ZX-14 reminds me of a cross between an orca and Waternoose from Monsters, Inc.

  • BikePilot

    Turbo tech is at a place now where it just makes so much sense, not only for boosting peak hp, but for creating a wide, fat power curve. Look at the current direct injection, turbocharged motors from Ford, BMW, Kia/Hyundai, Audi, etc. All making great power, light packages and super-wide power curves.

    A DI, turbo’d ~600cc, 300lbs supermoto single would be awesome. Something like this should allow KTM SMR990-like power in a package no heavier or more bulky than a 690 duke.

  • Shaitan

    Two of my riding buddies have older ZX-14’s and I’ve ridden them; they’re rather understated in their overkill nature — so smooth you don’t know you’re doing triple digits in 2nd. Great bikes, but I don’t want one because I live it a place where my 140hp bike is already overkill. I’d rather see supercharging smaller displacement bikes, because the ZX-14 is hardly underpowered, and I can NEVER enjoy it’s full supercharged awesomeness because cops would definitely see the dimensional warping it would cause. That said, for the sake of absurd fun, I hope Kawi does make the ZX a total uncompromising beast!

  • MikeD

    August 31th…and no word about it. LMAO. Oh, well there’s always Intermot and or Milan.