Kawasaki ZX-14R - Long-Term Test Update #2

Brake dancer.

Kawasaki ZX-14R in-action

Kawasaki ZX-14R in-action

We handed off our sparkly green ZX-14R to Contributing Editor Nick Ienatsch following the Ninja's scheduled 7500-mile service. Our local dealer charged $90.69 for oil, filter and sparkplugs, tacking on another $255 in labor. Suppose we got off easy since the valve-clearance inspection is at 15,000-mile intervals.

A hint of vibration felt under braking drew our attention to minor tread cupping that had begun to develop on the front Avon Ultra 3D Supersport. Having endured 4225 miles of rip 'n' grip abuse under the most powerful production bike we've tested, the rear Avon was also nearing its wear bars, prompting us to lever on a fresh set of Bridgestone Battlax S20s in 120/70ZR17 ($182.69) and 190/50ZR17 ($281.34) sizes (www.bridgestone.com). Grip was restored and steering felt good again, although the vibration under braking persisted and soon grew into the pulsing characteristic of a warped rotor.

At around 8000 miles, we replaced the stock front rotors and pads with Galfer's Brake Wave rotors ($640.00; www.galferusa.com) and sintered HH pads ($143.92), performing the 60-minute job ourselves (CW Evaluation: Galfer Wave Rotors).

Kawasaki ZX-14R - right-side view

Kawasaki ZX-14R - right-side view

In Ienatsch's care, our 14R has seen street, strip and dyno time. At the 8400-mile mark, the big Kawasaki churned out 189 horses at the Dynojet facility in Las Vegas prior to a 400-mile road trip to Glendale, California, for the annual Café Desmo event at Pro Italia. The route traced Interstate 15 with a stretch of California Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) for good measure. Miles of fast, flowing road offered a reminder of just how adept and well-rounded Kawasaki's flagship Ninja truly is.

Prior to applying forthcoming performance mods, a visit to Las Vegas’s “other” strip produced runs in the low 10-second range at about 145 mph. Ienatsch feels “nines” would have been possible if not for a vague-feeling, battle-weary (original) clutch and the need to ride the bike home that night. With the arrival of a box of goodies from Brock’s Performance, look for our green meanie to be pushed hard in the next installment; it’s certain to get a little crazy.

SPECIFICATIONS
TOTAL MILES|8560
NEXT SERVICE|11,250
MAINTENANCE COSTS (INCLUDING TIRES)|$1427.74
REPAIR COSTS|$640
AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE|35 mpg
PRICE AS TESTED (2012)|$14,699
RELATED CONTENT|Kawasaki ZX-14R - Update #1
|Kawasaki ZX-14R - Wrap-Up