XtraPix: Dancing With The Stars

Kawasaki ZX-14 vs. Suzuki Hayabusa.

Kawasaki ZX-14 vs. Suzuki Hayabusa - Comparison Test

Kawasaki ZX-14 vs. Suzuki Hayabusa - Comparison Test

If you must have the quickest-accelerating mass-market motorcycle money can buy, head straight to your Suzuki dealer and snatch up a 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa. If you can settle for the second-quickest bike for the buck, but one that adds value with its smoother-running engine, more agile-handling chassis and an edge in rider comfort, then the Kawasaki ZX-14 is every bit the machine you need. Either way, with this pair of unbelievably quick and refined modern marvels, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve chosen a winner.

The Suzuki proved quicker at the dragstrip during our test, but couldn't match the ease and consistency with which the Kawasaki launches off the line. If more riders of a broader skill range lay down their quicker pass on the Ninja, does that make it the faster bike? While both bikes are limited to a 186-mph terminal speed in top gear, the Hayabusa gets there in less time and actually feels like it's being held back from going even faster. The ZX-14 sort of labors once past 180 mph or so. I guess the choice becomes obvious for those in a real rush.

If it comes down to styling, that’s a subjective decision. I’m grateful that there is a choice here in that each bike is different enough from the other so that at least one of them offers visual appeal to the senses. Which one? That too is up to you to decide.

For all their collective strength in a straight line, the Ninja and ?Busa also know how to handle a turn.

The Ninja uses refreshingly conventional-looking mufflers.

?but these two machines always provide very close competition.

Must admit, these ribs do look tasty.

How?s this for a nice mirror image?

What?s the grille deal with this Ninja styling treatment?

The new ?Busa puts Suzuki back in front as the quickest production bike we?ve tested?

Mark Cernicky exposing the ZX-14?s underbelly for the camera. Would this exhaust system be more of a wishbone or pipe dream?

This silver-tone ZX-14 hides dirt and paint scratches much better than our dark-color Midnight Sapphire testbike.