2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 First Impressions
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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