Kawa unveils brawniest ZX-14 yet
MOVE OVER, HAYABUSA: Mean and, of course, green - the 2012 Kawasaki ninja.. Image gallery.
Meet Kawasaki’s most powerful motorcycle to date, the mighty Ninja ZX-14. No official figures have been revealed but it looks likely to be at least seven kW up on the 2011 model.
The previous bike was rated at 142kW at 9500rpm or, with RAM Air, at 149.5kW at 9500rpm. Maximum torque was 154Nm at 7500rpm.
If that's true, it is very likely that Kawsaki will wear the crown for the fastest production motorcycle in the world – until it is pipped by Suzuki’s Hayabusa, that is, as the two brands continue to battle it out for the "we're the fastest" title.
The biggest news for the 2012 model is an increase in displacement to 1441cc from the 1352cc of the outgoing model, thanks to an increase in stroke from 61 to 65mm. Kawasaki is also treating its flagship Ninja to three-mode traction control and and electronic accelerator.
Kawasaki says the benefits of all this hot-rodding are substantial: "There’s more power virtually throughout the rev range - the increases are most profound in the mid-high rpm range, with notably stronger acceleration from 4000rpm.
“This translates into the sort of thrust riders can appreciate in a wide variety of situations, whether it’s powering on to a freeway or cruising along a deserted backroad on a sunny, Sunday morning. On the ZX-14, total domination is just a twist of the throttle away.”
WORLD'S FASTEST PRODUCTION BIKE: The 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 has just been launched in Europe.
Kawsaki’s engineers modified more than half of the previous model’s aluminum castings and forgings, all of which have different flex and rigidity characteristics than the parts they replace.
So, although the new frame bears more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor, the company reckons it is vastly different: stiffer in some places, unchanged in others. The net result is supposed to form an ideal balance for the bike’s weight, power and cornering ability.
On the styling front, the Ninja ZX-14 certainly appears to be more of an evolution of its predecessor rather than a complete rethink; only small modifications to the headlights noticeable.
Overall, it still looks like the big bike it is - it's a hulking edge.Watch the Hyabusa take on the latest big Ninja - you decide it it was for real...