Image Gallery: 2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R and 1984 Ninja 900

New 30th Anniversary Limited Edition model celebrates 30 years of Kawasaki Ninjas

2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R ABS 30th Anniversary Edition
Only 300 units of this special-liveried ZX-14R will be built specifically for the American and Latin American markets according to Kawasaki (an additional 30 units will be built for the Canadian market).
1984 Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R
Introduced in ’84, the first Kawasaki to bear the Ninja name featured a variety of other firsts. At a time when manufacturers were experimenting with engine configurations other than the previously (and now) standard inline four, the 900 was the first motorcycle with a liquid-cooled inline four. According to Kawasaki’s online museum, the company had considered and tested V-four and inline six-cylinder configurations, but settled on a narrow, lightweight inline four – even though at the time Honda’s V-four engines were looking like the future.
1984 Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R
Other innovative firsts including moving the camchain to the left end of the cylinder block as opposed to placing it in the center, making the engine narrower and evening up the cylinder spacing to make the ports straighter. The alternator was mounted behind the cylinders to keep the engine narrow, and a gear-driven counterbalancer, six-speed gearbox and hydraulic clutch were all used. And while other manufacturer’s were going bigger and heavier (think Honda Interceptor 1000, Suzuki GS1150, Yamaha FJ1100 and Kawasaki’s own GPz1100), Kawasaki was willing to sacrifice outright power to keep weight down. The Ninja’s engine wouldn’t be too far out of place in today’s world, and many of its features are now the sportbike standard.
2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R ABS 30th Anniversary Edition
Gold pinstriping defines the ZX-14R 30th Anniversary Limited Edition's painted areas, and the radial-mount Nissin four-piston calipers are also finished in gold. Mechanically, the 30th Anniversary Edition ZX-14R will be identical to standard model, with the same monstrously powerful 1,441cc four-cylinder engine equipped with traction control and three different riding modes, and the same aluminum monocoque frame with fully adjustable suspension and ABS.
1984 Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R
The Ninja’s frame was just as innovative. It’s “diamond” design was Kawasaki’s first to use the engine as a stressed member for a large-displacement machine. While the main frame was made from conventional (at the time) round-tube steel, the subframe was a bolt-on piece made from square tubing. Consider too that while other sportbikes had smallish fairings and separate belly pans for bodywork, the Ninja had a full fairing at the front and a wraparound tailsection that covered the frame and subframe tubing completely. The remainder of the chassis was fairly conventional for the time: A 16-inch front/17-inch rear wheel combination, an air-assisted anti-dive front fork and Uni-Trak rear suspension.
1984 Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R
In Motorcyclist magazine’s April ’84 test of the 900 Ninja, the headline reads, “Suddenly, your two-year-old sport bike is ten years old,” an indication of the step forward the bike represented. While the industry was in the midst of a quarter-mile war at the time – with manufacturer’s all hiring Jay “Pee Wee” Gleason to ride the bikes and the results plastered in two-page ads everywhere – the Ninja 900 gave away some displacement and power to the other bikes. Motorcyclist’s Road Test Editor Jeff Karr posted a 10.96-second run, about two-tenths slower than the then-king Suzuki GS1150. Still, the editors raved about the Kawasaki’s power and handling, with this statement closing the test: “The Ninja is a very exciting motorcycle, a leap forward for large-displacement sporting bikes. If you think the essence of motorcycling is the sensation of leaning into corners, you need one.”
2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R ABS 30th Anniversary Edition
Each ZX-14R 30th Anniversary model features a unique numbered badge on the fuel tank, along with the exact same Firecracker Red/Metallic Graystone paint used on the paint scheme of the original 1984 Kawasaki Ninja 900.
1984 Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R
The Ninja's notoriety grew its appearance with Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun in 1986, the same year in which the next performance Kawasaki was introduced. That bike was dubbed the Ninja 1000R and otherwise known as the ZX-10. While the Ninja 900 wasn't imported into the U.S. after that year, it continued to be produced for other markets until 1996, with various upgrades along the way.
2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R ABS 30th Anniversary Edition
1984 Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R
The handlebars are bolted to the top triple clamp, giving an upright, comfortable riding position. While the 900 was a sporting model at the time of its introduction, it was shuffled into the sport-touring segment with the introduction of the ZX-10.
1984 Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R
2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R ABS 30th Anniversary Edition
2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R ABS 30th Anniversary Edition

Kawasaki is celebrating 30 years of Ninja models in 2015 with special anniversary editions of the ZX-10R, ZX-6R and ZX-14R. Scroll through the gallery above to see more images of the ZX-14R as well as the original Ninja, the 1984 GPz900R, and to learn more about both bikes.

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