AIMExpo 2015: 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition

Blacked-out model has all the go, plus a lot more whoa.

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition studio 3/4 view

Although it's natural for the supercharged H2 and track-ready ZX-10R to be grabbing the lion's share of the headlines, Kawasaki hasn't forgotten about its big Ninja ZX-14R ABS. For proof, at AIMExpo 2015 the company just unveiled an updated 2016 Ninja ZX-14R ABS and a new version called the Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition.

While all ZX-14Rs for 2016 get a new dash with an LCD screen that can be changed from black to white, the Special Edition is a blacked-out beast (available only in Metallic Matte Carbon Gray) with significantly upgraded brakes that are almost identical to those of its potent H2, H2R, and ZX-10R siblings.

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition front brake close-up
2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition master cylinder close-up

These new binders are from Brembo, and they feature four-piston cast aluminum monoblock calipers acting upon a pair of 310mm floating rotors. These cross-drilled discs, also from Brembo, are 5.5mm thick, an increase of 0.5mm over the stock, and they feature a circumferential groove that aids heat dissipation by increasing surface area.

The ZX-14R Special Edition also has a radial master cylinder, which carries a smoked plastic reservoir that matches the one used for the hydraulic clutch. Kawasaki says Brembo worked hard to eliminate any idle stroke, which means the SE rider should experience immediate braking response. What’s more, Kawasaki says the brakes are easy to modulate, thanks in part to the braided stainless steel hydraulic lines. The clutch line, for the record, is also braided stainless, helping to give the big new ZX-14R Special Edition more of an upmarket look.

With its big 1441cc displacement and huge power, Kawasaki’s ZX-14R ABS has attracted legions of fans across the country. This is an aluminum-frame bike that can be enjoyed on a weekend jaunt, or on a wild blast down the drag strip, with ABS, traction control and the slipper clutch helping to keep the bike in check without robbing the rider of any fun.

SPECIFICATIONS
|2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition
ENGINE|Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
DISPLACEMENT|1441cc
BORE x STROKE|84.0 x 65.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO|12.3:1
FUEL INJECTION|DFI with four 44mm Mikuni throttle bodies
IGNITION|TCBI with Digital Advance
TRANSMISSION|Six-speed with positive neutral finder
FINAL DRIVE|Sealed chain
RAKE / TRAIL|23º / 3.7 in.
FRONT TIRE|120/70ZR-17
REAR TIRE|190/50ZR-17
WHEELBASE|58.3 in.
FRONT SUSPENSION / WHEEL TRAVEL|43mm inverted cartridge fork with adjustable preload, 18-way compression and 15-way rebound damping adjustment / 4.6 in.
REAR SUSPENSION / WHEEL TRAVEL|Bottom-link Uni-Trak and gas-charged shock with adjustable preload, stepless rebound and compression damping adjustments, adjustable ride height / 4.9 in.
FRONT BRAKES|Dual floating 310mm Brembo rotors with dual radial-mounted four-piston Brembo monoblock aluminum calipers, ABS
REAR BRAKES|Single 250mm Brembo rotor with twin-piston caliper, ABS
OVERALL LENGTH|85.4 in.
OVERALL WIDTH|30.3 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT|46.1 in.
GROUND CLEARANCE|4.9 in.
SEAT HEIGHT|31.5 in.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT|593 lb.
FUEL CAPACITY|5.8 gal.
COLOR|Metallic Matte Carbon Gray
PRICE|$15,499

Photo #1

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition studio.Kawasaki Photo

Photo #2

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition studio.Kawasaki Photo

Photo #3

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition studio.Kawasaki Photo

Photo #4

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition front brake.Kawasaki Photo

Photo #5

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition master cyclinder.Kawasaki Photo

Photo #6

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition instrument panel.Kawasaki Photo

Photo #7

2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Special Edition instrument panel.Kawasaki Photo