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2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R First Look

Monday, October 10, 2011
2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
Known for being one of the fastest production bikes, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 is returning in 2012 with even more performance upgrades.2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
Since its debut in 2006 the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 has been all about performance. Being one of the fastest production bikes on the market wasn’t enough, as Kawasaki has outdone itself again with sweeping revisions to the big Ninja. For 2012 the newly designated ZX-14R is hitting dealerships with performance upgrades highlighting the significant redesign for the open-class monster.
 
The headlining changes on the 2012 ZX-14R are centered on its Inline-Four engine. Displacement is increased through a 4mm stroke addition to give the ’12 ZX-14R an eye-popping total of 1441cc. The combustion chambers are reshaped along with the intake ports to maximize performance. The camshafts feature revised profiles with a reinforced cam chain, allowing the engine to withstand high rpm levels. The pistons have also seen changes to increase their strength while at the same time shedding weight.
 
One of the major highlights is a new oil jet cooling system that provides constant lubrication underneath each piston. Engine compression is now 12.3:1 and as a result connecting rods have been re-designed with stronger material. The crankshaft main journals are 2mm thicker compared to the past model, and a new air cleaner has 10% more surface area and 40% larger airflow capability.
 
The fuel injection system is also updated with automatic idle adjustment and lower emissions. Spent fuel
2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
A new handlebar-mounted toggle switch lets riders instantly choose performance settings.
exits an altered exhaust system, with the new design featuring larger header pipes, reshaped mufflers and an advanced catalyzer. Kawasaki claims that all of these upgrades translate into more power across the entire rev range, with the most noticeable gains claimed to come in the mid-high rpm range (specifically 4000 rpm onward).
 
Aside from adding more power under the seat, the new ZX-14R also aims to control it better with a dual-driven counterbalancer. Engineered to complement the 4mm longer stroke dimensions, the setup is reported to balance power output.
 
While the new model retains its former chassis design, more than half of its aluminum castings and forgings have been modified. The rear swingarm is also 10mm longer, and the result is an overall alloy frame that is much stiffer in places. Kawi states the intended goal was to keep the previous ZX-14’s light-handling characteristics while increasing its sportiness.

2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
The 2012 ZX-14R features a slipper clutch and a KTRC traction control system for added performance. 
2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
Suspension is also upgraded, with the 43mm inverted fork and adjustable single shock receiving improved bottoming resistance and internal settings. While the overall weight of the bike is up, the use of 10-spoke wheels helps reduce unsprung weight by 3.3 pounds. Brakes have also been upgraded with more rigid material and altered pads.
 
The new ZX-14R is also equipped with a slipper clutch and a KTRC traction control and ignition system, which help to account for its new price tag of $14,699. Included in the system are three different riding profiles: full power, medium power and a third option for low traction conditions. The profiles are easily accessible to the rider via a bar-mounted toggle switch, with the system’s overall status displayed on the cockpit’s LCD screen. The bike’s slipper clutch helps reduce wheel-hop and negative torque effects associated with downshifting and braking.
 
The exterior features are fully upgraded with a more aggressive nose section and a quad-headlight assembly. Along with the big Ninja’s more angular and flowing shapes, the ZX-14R keeps its hallmark side fairing fin design – this time accentuating the lines for a more dramatic look. The tail section has also seen modifications with faired-in turn signals and a new seat cover. Meanwhile, the seat itself has been reshaped to offer more thigh support.
 
A quick glance down reveals new instrument controls. The ’12 ZX-14R includes a new multi-function toggle switch and select button on the left handlebar that gives full access to system functions. Riders can browse through a variety of LCD screens, providing on-demand access to fuel consumption, remaining range, battery voltage, temperature, traction control and much more.

Check out photos in our 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Photo Gallery and review more 2012 Kawasaki NInja ZX-14R Specifications.  
2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Gallery
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2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, Inline-Four
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 65.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.3:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-injection
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: X-Ring chain
Front Suspension: 43mm inverted fork with adjustable preload, 18-way compression and 15-way rebound damping adjustment; 4.6 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Bottom-link Uni-Trak® and gas-charged shock with adjustable preload, stepless rebound and compression damping adjustments, adjustable ride height; 4.9 in. travel
Front Brakes: 310mm Dual semi-floating petal discs with dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers
Rear Brake: 250mm petal disc with twin-piston caliper
Front Wheel: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Wheel: 190/50 ZR17 
Curb Weight: 584.3 lbs.
Wheelbase: 58.3 in. 
Length: 85.4 in. 
Rake: 23 deg. Trail: 3.7 in.
Seat Height: 31.5 in.
Fuel Capacity: 5.8 gal.
MSRP: $14.699
Colors: Metallic Spark Black, Candy Surf Blue,
Golden Blazed Green with special graphics (SE)
Warranty: 12 Months

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Comments
Monsterenvy   July 18, 2012 12:03 PM
it is a beauty. had the 09 monster zx1400. i miss it big time. waiting for all my pennies to be right and the 2012 will be in my garage.
roadrunner   April 7, 2012 10:39 PM
all a goa now, was oxy sensor problem goes like a double dose of agarol...very quick and nimble once I got used to it as easy to ride as my zx12r
roadrunner   March 22, 2012 07:43 PM
got a yoshy 4 into 1 exhaust fitted last week on 2012 zx14 but got problems with it- when powering on motor misses but recovers after a few seconds,local bike shop not much help they are trying to tell me I need a power commander to fix problem...any advice would be much appreciated
roadrunner   March 6, 2012 10:47 PM
got a few k's up now no negatives at all a real pleasure to ride,made up a radiator guard from a piece of crim safe mesh heaps better and 1/8 the price of genuine crappy one also made up throttle lock from a nylon cutting board works very well and was free overall the best sports bike I've had so far.
roadrunner   February 15, 2012 04:52 AM
got a new 2012 in the shed every good but more comfy than my 2002 zx12r a real blast to ride
lexuskid06   October 28, 2011 06:58 PM
Kaw had to do huge mods to only continue to lose to the S1000RR which is just BADASS
spokes   October 12, 2011 11:10 AM
I could see riding one of these, would make a great sport tourer with the emphasis on sport!
Piglet2010   October 11, 2011 07:17 PM
The "low traction" engine profile setting could also be useful when riding with slower bikes, such as air-cooled Harley-Davidson's.
Piglet2010   October 11, 2011 07:12 PM
-ChoCho- Yeah, if I end up with a green 2012 "Cow" in my garage, it will be a Ninja 650 and not a ZX-14. The former is plenty fast to have fun on, the latter would be just scary to me.
ChoCho   October 11, 2011 04:55 PM
Good point Piglet2010. I've never ridden the ZX-14 so I have no room to talk, but is this type of bike manageable on the street? Speed limits what they are, I can't imagine the cost of this bike being worth it unless you're drag racing every weekend.
Piglet2010   October 11, 2011 04:50 PM
Good thing they added more power, eh? Where does one ride a ZX-14 without losing their license in short order?
neo1piv014   October 11, 2011 06:40 AM
This is my dream bike right here. The traction control/slipper clutch is all just icing on the cake. This is the only supersport kind of bike I ever found myself comfortable on.
ssalmons   October 10, 2011 07:18 PM
This bike only needs one computer setting "QUARTER MILE"
thecoreyjames   October 10, 2011 02:05 PM
Great bike, but that smokestack looking pipe is a bit out of control. I like the Brock's pipe that's on the custom model Kawi commissioned for launch day: http://www.roaringtoyzblog.com/rt/roaring-toyz-and-kawasaki-motor-corp-unveil-custom-2012-ninja-zx-14/