Motorcycle of the Year 2012: Kawasaki ZX-14R

December 27, 2012
By Motorcycle USA Staff
2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is priced at  14 699.
The 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is priced at $14,699 and is Motorcycle-USA’s Motorcycle of the Year.

There wasn’t any shortage of great new motorcycles in 2012. But nothing impressed us more, or was more exciting to ride, than Kawasaki’s re-tooled Ninja ZX-14R, our selection for Motorcycle of the Year.

Kawasaki’s top-shelf hyperbike has always been a good motorcycle, but this year it truly became great, offering one of the smoothest, most refined, and, of course, speediest riding experiences. With over 186 horsepower and 110 lb-ft of torque available at the twist of the wrist courtesy of its 1441cc Inline-Four engine, there’s no question that the Ninja is quick.

But the real magic is the way it harnesses that power. Multiple engine power modes and traction control help make all that performance accessible — from the street to the drag strip, and even on a racing circuit. In spite of its 580 pound curb weight, in motion the green bike has the agility that many motorcycles could only dream of.

Versatility is yet another weapon in the Ninja’s arsenal. With its undemanding riding position, cozy seat and big windscreen the ZX-14R is equally adept at cross-country touring as it is laying down 10-second quarter mile runs. Best bike of 2012? We’re sticking with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R.