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2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R ABS Review


by Pascal Bastien ,

As far as outrageous two-wheelers go, this one is hard to beat in terms of sheer size, looks, and power. A 1,441cc superbike built on an aluminum monocoque frame? Naturally, it comes from Kawasaki, the company that made performance its religion.

At the same time, the Ninja ZX-14R can help you cover a lot of ground thanks to a decent riding position, a comfortable seat, as well as an adjustable suspension that offers a good balance of ride and handling. What's more, the passenger gets a fair perch (by sportbike standards) and relatively low foot pegs. My only complaint is a lack of storage under the seat.

Hungry for power? You're in for a real treat!
As you can imagine, the 4-cylinder engine of the 2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R ABS is big on thrills, including the auditory kind. It produces a deep, loud rumble to let you know it's ready to attack. While power is strong at lower revs, it feels like ten times more when you get past 5,000 rpm. From there, the machine just keeps pushing and never fades until it meets redline.

When accelerating out of a corner, it's not uncommon to see the rear wheel drift away. Fortunately, the brand's acclaimed S-KTRC traction control system works wonders to prevent you from losing control of the bike. A super-stable chassis also makes the ZX-14R surprisingly docile and easygoing. For passing manoeuvres, just twist that throttle wide open and you'll rocket your way to another dimension faster than you can say “liftoff.”

Stable and fast, but…
Things can get pretty intense and overwhelming as you pick up the pace with your Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R ABS, so watch out for those corners that seemingly arrive in the blink of an eye, and remember that you're not riding a smaller thoroughbred like the ZX-10R. Less nimble and a lot more physical, this big boy needs to enter corners somewhat smoothly so as to avoid upsetting front-tire grip. In other words, it's best to play it cool as you aim for the apex, and then go full-throttle as you exit the corner.

On the highway, the engine is so smooth and the machine is so stable that you'll have to keep an eye on the speedometer because it feels like you're just going 100km/h when actually you're well beyond that speed. Heck, you can ride twice as fast as the legal limit... in second gear. That's insane!

Safe and friendly
In the braking department, Kawasaki's finest components and systems go to work on the 2014 Ninja ZX-14R ABS. Similar to the engine, the dual 310mm discs with 4-piston callipers up front and single 250mm disc with dual-piston calliper in the rear -- all backed by ABS -- deliver superb performance and emphasize the ZX-14R's sporty character. It's a very transparent setup, and one that inspires plenty of confidence at the helm of such a powerful steed.

Full of superlatives, the 2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is a real force of nature, a package rich in substance, and a rock-solid fort in which to enjoy the road. It will prove addictive for fans of straight-line acceleration. Be careful, though, or you might lose your rider's licence faster than this thing reaches the quarter mile.

  • Phenomenal power
  • Surprisingly friendly and stable
  • Decent comfort for a sport bike
  • Great electronic riding aids (S-KTRC and ABS)
  • Fairly heavy and not so agile
  • Machines like the Ninja ZX-10R, Ducati 1199 Panigale, and BMW S1000RR are just as quick