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Go green! It's Kawa's 2012 ZX-14R

2011-12-14 08:21

GREEN - THE COLOUR OF ENVY: For sure there's be a lot of that around when this bike, Kawasaki's latest Ninja, does out to the first South African buyer.


You are looking at “the world’s fastest-accelerating sport bike" and the only one in South Africa right now – we were there for the launch.

Mean Machine in Pretoria, one of the country’s most established Kawasaki dealers, invited us to check out the 2012 ZX-14R Ninja and the lastest information – and view the pictures - of the latest iteration of Kawasaki’s monstrous guided missile.


Touted by Kawasaki as “the world’s fastest-accelerating sport bike”, the 2012 ZX-14R has pretty impressive performance figures if Team Green’s claims are anything to go by. Its ram air-assisted power output of 154.5kW and 162.5Nm are significant increases over the current model -  which does the standing quarter in 9.51sec.

Engine capacity has been increased to 1441cc from the 1352cc the big Ninja has had since its introduction in 2006. The added displacement is the result of a four mm stroke increase to 65mm. The bike’s cylinder head has been reworked with polished ports and lighter pistons – and made stronger to handle the extra power.

The compression ratio has been bumped to 12.3:1.

Kawasaki’s KTRC traction control helps to keep the brute from shredding its rear tyre at the slightest provocation and a two-position power mode selector has been added: Low Power limites the bike to a mere 70% of its full output – presumably for the brave-but-not-totally-insane.

GREAT PAIR OF CANS: Kawasaki has taken a great deal of trouble over not only getting air into the larger-capacity engine, but also extracting it. That's two seriously mega-mufflers.

The 2012 model also has a slipper clutch very similar to that one found on the current ZX-10R.

Shorter gearing, compliments of a larger 42-tooth rear sprocket (the previous version had 41) further emphasises the bike’s already-strong acceleration. A stronger 530-size chain with larger pins and inner plates to accept the engine’s greater power and torque transmits power to the rear wheel.

As we said in an earlier report.... "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 back road on a sunny, Sunday morning. On the ZX-14, total domination is just a twist of the throttle away.”

The swing arm has also been changed to match the characteristics of the more powerful engine.

There’s a large analogue speedometer and rev counter flanking a multi-function liquid-crystal digital display that shows a fuel gauge, gear position, two trip distance meters, odometer, clock, and (toggled using a thumb switch) current and average fuel consumption, fuel range and external air temperature.

NOW - AND THEN: The 2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R (left) and the preceding model - there are some big differences.

There’s also a programmable launch light and shift light and an “Eco” indicator that tells you when you’re getting optimal economy (a moot point on a bike that is unlikely to be bought for fuel economy considerations).

Although the bodywork is brand new the big Ninja looks very similar to its predecessor, mostly because of the same V-shaped tail light, low stance and iconic side strakes that made the older model so distinctive.

Kawasaki says the bikes should arrive in February but cannot yet quote a price. The current model, however, sells for R140 000. As soon as we know, so will you - and we'll be looking for a bike for a full review.

Watch the video below:

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