The exhaust note of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R 2016 is quite muffled and it can pass by without being noticed by the way it sounds. This is the reason why I call it a Silent Killer. It can crush egos of anybody on the road, in a quiet and refined fashion. This is a bike for the matured, experienced and serious rider, says Narendra Sharma
Nowadays every relatively large capacity motorcycle wants to be dubbed as a 'superbike'. But frankly, there are only a few bikes which are worthy of being termed as superbikes. One of them certainly is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R. This is a motorcycle which doesn't try too hard to explain itself; in fact it doesn't need to. We experienced this hulk of a machine over a few days and were left mesmerised.
The Ninja ZX-14R is a full size sports motorcycle. Its huge proportions are unlike most of the bikes seen around. The front fairing is all flared up and has a wide headlamp cluster embedded in it, with a quad-headlamp assembly including parking lamps. A ram-air duct is present above the headlamps, in the centre. The fairing extends to the side with a four-fin 3-D pattern, and overall gives the bike an imposing look.
The tail seems well-sculpted and has embedded turn indicators. The taillamp is white coloured with LED lamps within. The seat is large and makes riding very comfortable especially for long hours. Despite the width, short riders too can manage to keep their feet on the ground.
A new instrument cluster makes its way on the ZX-14R 2016 edition. It has two dials for the analogue speedometer and tachometer. There is a large LCD screen which can change colours. The screen displays various information such as range, average, outside temperature, battery voltage, power mode and traction control settings. These settings can be selected and viewed via a toggle switch on the left side switchgear. The switchgear quality is excellent.
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R 2016 is one of most powerful production motorcycles in the world. It is fitted with a 1441cc, in-line four cylinder, DOHC engine that makes a crazy power of 198bhp@ 10,000rpm and a torque of 158Nm @7500 rpm. Despite having so much power, its spread is phenomenal. At no given point is it uneven and the bike has loads of power on tap across the entire powerband. The low-rpm response too is gentle and aids in city riding. It does not have that sudden surge of power that can unsettle you in traffic. We just loved the linear power delivery.
The engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The 2016 model gets a recalibrated ECU that keeps emissions in check without sacrificing performance. Triple digit speeds are achieved effortlessly and the bike cruises very calmly at 140km/h. I could manage a top speed of 200 km/h, before which the road gave way.
The exhaust note of the bike is quite muffled and it can pass by without being noticed by the way it sounds. This is a reason why I would like to call it a Silent Killer. It can crush egos of anybody on the road, in a quiet and refined fashion. This is a bike for the matured, experienced and serious rider. Far away from toys.
Ride and handling
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R 2016 gets a monocoque chassis which has been designed to deliver light handling and keep the motorcycle manoeuverable. The frame's aluminum castings and forgings give unique rigidity characteristics to the bike. The Ninja ZX-14R also has a host of electronic aides that can alter the riding experience. There are three traction control modes (KTRC -- Kawasaki Traction Control), which cover a wide range of riding conditions, offering either enhanced sport riding performance or a relaxed one for slippery surfaces.
The traction control can also be switched off. Then there is also an option of two power modes -- low and full. The low mode reduces power by upto 25 per cent of the full capacity and also has a milder throttle response. A combination of power and traction modes can be selected based on rider preferences. During out test, there was considerable difference noticed in each of the modes. The bike performed at its best with the full power mode combined with traction control mode-1.
The 2016 ZX-14R comes with front 43 mm inverted forks with compression and rebound damping with spring preload adjustability and top-out springs. The rear has Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, Ohlins TTX39 rear shock with piggyback reservoir and remote preload adjuster, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability. The ride quality is much improved, coupled with wide and well-cushioned seats. Though being a XL sized bike, it felt quite nimble on the road and changing directions suddenly is no problem at all.
What is also new in the 2016 edition are the brakes. These are new Brembo brakes which are the same as the ones used on the Ninja H2. There is a dual semi-floating 310 mm Brembo discs at the front and a single 250 mm disc at the rear. The highlight of these brakes is that they don't give you a sudden bite, but perform progressively and do an amazing job in halting this mighty machine.
The Ninja ZX-14R returned us an overall mileage of 13.5 km/l, which was mainly in city conditions. We think this is quite healthy for a bike of this size and capability.
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is priced at INR 20.5 lakh (on road, Mumbai). This is sold in India via the CBU route.
Why should I buy it?
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is one the fastest production bikes of all times. It is meant for serious riders who can extract the best from this bike and get a unique experience riding it. The Ninja ZX-14R is best enjoyed on open highways or even on the race-track. The sheer size and intimidating stance of the bike will set you apart from the crowd and it is a head turner.
The 2016 edition comes with even further enhancements to its predecessors, making it a much better package. If you are a sports bike lover, willing to spend around Rs 20 lakh, then look no further, because it can't get better.
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