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Running on Fumes

2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 First Impressions

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Kawasaki shook up the sport-touring class when it crammed the ZX-14’s monster motor into a tourer dubbed the Concours 14. And while the re-invigorated Connie delivered unquestioned high-performance at the throttle, as an overall touring platform there were quirks that could use improvement. At least that’s the conclusion we came to in our 2008 Sport-Touring Comparison and, spoiler alert, in our soon-to-be released 2009 comparo.

2010 Kawasaki Concours 14
Testing the 2010 Concours 14 traction control on the slip and slide skid plate was fun, once you trusted the outriggers would keep 700 lbs of motorcycle from landing on top of you!
Lucky for C14 fans, Kawasaki has improved its new 2010 Concours 14 model with linked braking and production traction control, as well as a host of touring upgrades based on consumer research and rider feedback. We just finished testing the 2010 model, a mere two weeks after sampling the 2009 unit in our aforementioned ’09 ST Comparo. Here are the short and sweet airport layover impressions of our initial 2010 ride – stay tuned for the full 2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 Review in the days to come.

KTRC and K-ACT: This is the big headlining component, with the second generation K-ACT ABS now featuring two settings and linked braking. Also, KTRC, Kawasaki’s first production traction control system which uses the ABS sensors to monitor wheel spin and adjust engine output accordingly. And, yes, it works as our runs on the wet skid plate demonstrated to us in vivid detail!

Heated Grips: Amazingly heated grips weren’t even available on the Concours as a factory option. Now they come standard and are much appreciated, with a left side knob offering variable settings.

Engine Heat: Vast improvement, with new fairing sealing off the opening that blasted hot air on rider’s legs – especially on the right side.

Repositioned Mirrors: Seeks to remedy big complaint of previous model, with the low mirrors providing better view of top of saddlebags than road behind you. New mirrors are 40mm higher and a definite improvement, though you still see bags in the lower portion.

New Windscreen: Taller and wider now. I wasn’t a huge fan, feeling more buffeting than I recall on the older model. However, it received a generally positive assessment from some of our, ahem, less tall journalism colleagues.

2010 Kawasaki Concours 14
New tires make for better handler in the turns... Always a plus!
ECO Mode: A magic button that switches the ECU to a leaner, fuel-saving map to extend the predecessor’s 200-mile range without adding more fuel to the already near 700-lb motorcycle. Effectiveness unclear, as we didn’t run through a full tank, but efficiency seemed similar to our ‘09 based off fuel gauge estimation.

Sharper Handling: We were skeptical about this claim after testing the slower-turning ’09 in our comparison, but the ‘10 is a definite improvement. The most likely candidate for the change, it seems, are the new tires – front and rear.

There are a handful of other tweaks to the big Connie, and we’ll go over them all in further detail later on… but my flights boarding and I got to move. Stay tuned for the full review and accompanying 2010 Concours 14 Video on Motorcycle USA.
Post Tags: 2010 Kawasaki Concours 14, 2010 C14
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Comments
Mike -FJR or C14 March 11, 2010 03:19 PM
I'm in the market for a sport tourer. I really want a C14 but sadly, the big K did not fix the biggest issue...not enough fuel on a bike thats mileage can dip into the low 30's
Trent -FJR or C14 November 29, 2009 10:07 PM
I own a Gen II FJR and use it for mutli day rides often. I was also lucky enough to spend time on the last Gen C14 and this one looks like it fixed all of the issues that were an issue but two. Fuel range and turn in. The turn in on the FJR is slightly better and feels more natural and the tank still needs to be larger to at least match the size on the FJR which is at 6.6 gals or 262 miles to empty. I can live with a little slower turn in but I cannot live with the MUCH shorter range. The 5.8 gal tank is still too small but I will really want to hear more about the fuel economy aids. If it can come close to 250 miles on a tank I think we could have a winner. I would really like to see Kawasaki win here because it sure does seem like they are trying much harder than Yamaha right now.
Ron -FJR or C14 November 14, 2009 11:25 AM
To me Kawasaki went way over the deep end with the C14. Owners of the previous model generally asked for modest updates. While a technical wonder the new C14 is just too much...too heavy, too gas hungry, frankly too many unnecessary bells and whistles. Go with the FJR.
Racer1 -Hmmm October 29, 2009 06:49 AM
I am in the process of retiring my much loved (and extremely high mileage) CBR1100XX - adapted as much as possible to more long range comfort (risers, higher screen, throttlemeister, Corbin seat, etc) and getting something a bit more sport touring friendly. I have decided on an FJR1300 having ridden the previous Concours 14 (and the K1300GT, Honda ST1300, etc). I much preferred the FJR as it didn't feel like a whale, had all the creature comforts and still handles well in the tight stuff - it felt quite sporty as well as a decent tourer. Do you think this iteration of the Connie makes it worth a second look, or is it the same bike essentially with a few detail changes? My impressions of riding the '09 Connie were that it had a great engine, but felt heavy and was not nimble in the twisties or any situation requiring agility - it felt a lot more toury and boat-like compared to the FJR... Any thoughts? Big enough changes to revisit it?