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> Kawa 1400s, where zzrs meet gtrs
nE0
post Mar 16 2007, 12:48 AM
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(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/twinkle%203quarter.jpg)
Bike : 2006 Kawasaki ZZR1400ABS
Bike Model : ZX1400B
Chassis Number : JKBZXT40ABA006992
Engine Number : ZX40AE007189

ENGINE
Type: 1352 cc, liquid cooled, 4 - cylinders in line, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke (mm): 84 mm x 61 mm
Compression ratio: 12.0:1
Valves: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: Fuel injection 4 x 44mm
Ignition: Digital
Power : 190 hp (141.7 kW) @ 9500 rpm (See below)
Torque: 154 Nm (113.6 ft. lbs) @ 7500 rpm (See below)
Lubrication system : Wet multi-disc, manual

TRANSMISSION

Starting system: Electronic
Clutch: Forced lubrication, wet sump
Gearbox: 6 speed
Final drive: Chain
Primary Reduction Ratio : 1.541
Final Drive Ratio : 2.412 (17/41 sprockets)
Overall Drive Ratio (Top gear) : 3.849
1st : 2.625
2nd : 1.947
3rd : 1.545
4th : 1.333
5th : 1.154
6th : 1.036

CHASSIS
Frame: Monocoque, aluminium
Front suspension: 43 mm inverted fork, 117 mm travel
Rear suspension: Bottom-Link Uni-Trak with gas-charged shock, 122 mm travel
Rake / Trail: 23 degrees / 94 mm (3.7 inches)

WHEELS
Front tyre 120/70ZR17
Back tyre190/50ZR17
Front brakes: dual 310 mm discs with radial-mounted 4-piston calipers
Rear brakes single 250 mm disc with 2-piston calipers

DIMENSIONS
Overall length: 2170 mm (85.4 inches)
Overall width: 760 mm (29.9 inches)
Overall height: 1170 mm (46.1 inches)
Seat height: 800 mm (31.5 inches)
Wheelbase: 1460 mm (57.5 inches)
Fuel capacity: 22 litres (5.8 gallon US)
Dry weight: 215 kg
218kg (B)

Electrical Equiptment
Battery: 12V 14Ah
Headlight Lowbeam : 2x 55W H11
Headlight Highbeam : 2x 65W H9

Model Variants
B : ABS model
HR : with Honeycomb Catalytic Converter (Restricted model)
MY : Malaysia Model

Maximum Horsepower -
140kW (190 PS) @ 9500 rpms
(HR) 78.2kW (106 PS) @ 8500 rpms
(MY) 132.6 kW (180 PS) @ 9000 rpms

Maximum Torque -
154 Nm 15.7kg/m 113.6ft/lb @ 7500rpms
(HR) 114 Nm 15.7kg/m 84.1ft/lb @ 4500rpms
(MY) 147.4 Nm 15.7kg/m 108.7ft/lb @ 7500rpms

Introduction to the ZX14
I first heard of the bike back in March 2005, like many people, I was very excited about this new monster Kawasaki is coming up with. There was much anticipation about how this new beast would be the one to de-throne the then speed king, the Suzuki Hayabusa. With the speculation of 220 housepower, 200mph+ top speed, plus the manic ZX10 and ZX12 engine that no doubt gives a taste of whats to come.

When the ZX14 was finally revealed to the world, the response was mixed. Initial launch was at a dragstrip and speedway, where the two best qualities of the bike is best shown. In stock form, it could do 10second quartermile runs all day long without ham fisted journalists burning up the clutch, and it could hit the limiter in 5th (a true 189mph) on the speedway, if the rider had the guts to hold the trottle wide open till the last moment.

You can all read about these reviews in various magazines and online articles. I believe I've just about read the bulk of them before I finally decided to purchase my machine. However, its not the drag-racing abilities, nor the top speed (world fastest bike) claim, nor the "most powerful production bike" title that attracted me to this bike. Please read on to find out why.

p.s. I shall refer to my bike as Twinkle, the name given to the bike by my darling girlfriend.

Initial impressions

The day has finally came. Twinkle has been prepared and paper work settled. Its now being wheeled out of the lift to the workshop floor, where half a dozen customers' attention is turned from their own bikes to this new, probably never before seen on the road machine.

Turn the key, the meter does its standard ritual and greets me with a nice Kawasaki K logo. I've never fired up a brand new bike before, let alone ride one. Heres a brand new 190 horsepower beast all waiting for my command, so you can imagine how nervous I am.

Fire Twinkle up, and the engine comes alive immediately, the auto-fast idle holding the rpms at a steady 1500. Goodness, how quiet it is! My GSX400 Impulse is probably noisier at idle. After the 2nd segment of the temperature guage comes up, its time to ride. 1st gear engages with a heavy clunk. Heart in my throat, I pray I don't embarass myself as I slowly ride out of the bikeshop and onto the roads.

Running in! Running in! I keep reminding myself, as I concentrate hard not to let the engine revs stay constant. Thankfully the traffic lights were mostly in my favour as I go straight for the nearest petrol station. 21.5 litres of premium ron98 petrol later (plus the biggest hole burnt by petrol in my pocket ever), I head out to the Kaki Bukit - Bedok flyover to let the engine rev alittle more.

Entering the long upslope to the flyover, I shortshift Twinkle to 3rd roll on the trottle. Having ridden a Hayabusa and ZX11 before, I know what to expect. But unfortunately, its not a surge of torque, rpms rising quickly with rapid acceleration pulling my arms out of their sockets. No, nothing! It does go faster, definately, but not in a way you'd expect a 1352cc machine to do.

Quick U-turn back and I do the same thing, but this time I shift to 6th and roll on at 2000rpms. Oh my goodness, how smooth the engine is! It might as well be an electric motor down there, because whatever magic the Kawasaki engineers did to the engine, it certainly works.

I am impressed.

General riding impressions

4th gear, 50km/h, following behind the one thousanth car roadhogging the 1st lane, the onboard Fuel consumption guage tells me I'm doing 12km/litre. Hmmm, not good! At such speeds, on my 999 I'd be hot, frustrated, arms breaking from the very sporty riding position. The Ducati Testrastretta V-twin between my legs willing me to open the taps and overtake the moving road-block.

Twinkle on the other hand, doesn't complain. Its more than happy to sit at this speed all day long. The suspension does a fantastic job at absorbing road imperfections. The design of the fairing diverts most of the hot air around the rider's legs instead of directly at them. It does such a good job, I didn't notice any heat at all. Maybe I'm used to the "cook em legs" 999 with the rear exhaust header 10cm from my thighs, but the ZX14 really does a good job of keeping the hot air away. Reaching down and placing my hands on the "foreman grilles" and I immediately felt the stream of very hot air from the radiator.

Town riding on big bikes is usually frustrating because of the size, weight and heat of the machine. However, Twinkle proved to be quite a competent daily driver.

The very wide mirrors offer an excellent view. They extend out so far, the inner most edge of the mirrors are probably begin at my shoulder tip. Interestingly, the left hand mirror shows vehicles behind me on my right! At expressway speeds, they are rock solid. Probably the best mirrors I've ever seen on a sportsbike.

The riding position was initally alittle cramped. I thought the footpegs were alittle too high, but after an hour or so I was right at home. The handlebars were perfect for slow speed riding, but could be alittle tiring (as I found out later) when trying to muscle the bike around twisties. Its more touring than sporty, so I have no complains.

The stock windshield is at just the right position to direct the windblast just below the helmet chin, with steady streams of air hitting my shoulder just enough to support my weight at highway speeds. It comes from the factory with a slight tint. In fact, its so good I think I'm going to have a hard time looking for a replacement.

U-turns are something I've always liked to do without peddling the bike. I took the first one gingerly, but afterwards I tried doing it without my foot on the ground. The rear brakes are fairly weak, so it needed a firm push to steady the bike. With the handlebar halfway from full lock, bike leaned over, the U-turn was easily accomplished within two lanes. Because of the soft power delivery, I wasn't afraid to roll on the power coming out of the U-turn.

The temperature guage never drops below 3 bars at slow speeds, except when sitting still for more than 5 minutes. Once on the move, the guage quickly drops back to 3 bars. Never once did the temperature guage hit H, even in the blistering hot midday KL city jam I got caught in. I changed the coolant to waterbased Maxima Coolaide, which might have aided the already excellent performance of the huge radiator.

ABS is new to me. I've never ridden any bike with ABS before, so I'm a total newbie to this. December 2006 is, unfortunately, a VERY wet month. Poor twinkle was soaked inside out. However, the ABS gave me a certain level of confidence riding in the wet. I still avoid braking over painted arrows, I still cover the brake lever with two fingers at all times, ready to brake very early. But I gotta test it!

Red light ahead, unimaginable misery awaits those who are foolish or unlucky enough to lock their wheels over the slick, oily patch on the arrow just before the stop line. Stepping on the rear brakes harder than I normally would, the ABS kicked in immediately. I could feel the pulsing on my right foot as the ABS solenoid continually pumped the brake, refusing to let the rear wheel lock on the very slick surface. Once over the arrow, the rear tyre griped and the ABS stopped. No drama at all.

To date, I've never pushed the front brakes hard enough for the ABS to kick in. 4 years of riding experience in my sub-concious brain simply refused to allow my right hand to do so.

My darling is enjoying the ride, commenting that she feels more secure on Twinkle than on the 999 or the Impulse. The silky smooth engine, light trottle, fairly light hydraulic clutch and easy to modulate brakes made pillioning a much easier task. The long, long, long seat is comfortable for both of us too. She usually sits on the 1st half of the seat in an upright position like on a streetbike.

The gearbox is new, and seemed to click into gear better after afew hundred km. But shifting the bike in the lower 3 gears was always accompanied by a terrible "thud!". Preloading the shift lever and clicking up the moment the clutch is pulled in helped, but its still disturbing. Interestingly though, shifting into top gear at lower RPMs, the whole bike suddenly seemed to become another notch smoother, something I could not really explain or put in words. You just have to try it for yourself. It really makes expressway riding a joy.

Of course, those of us V-twin lovers like the "pulse", whatever you call it. I love V-twins, don't get me wrong. The Ducati 999 is always a joy, every ride feels like a privilage. But this Inline-4 is so smooth and refined, its an entirely new experience for me. It could sit all day long at 90km/h on the highways, never feeling the need or urge to wind it on like many other bikes do. Its a serene, peaceful feeling. I know theres an awesome amount of power between my legs, waiting to be unleashed with the slightest twist of my right hand. I know I can overtake the car infront, accelerating to highly illegal speeds with ridiculous ease. I know the bike can cruise at twice the speed limit effortlessly, but yet me and twinkle are perfectly at home pottering along at perfectly safe, legal speeds, anywhere.


The ZZR1400. A bike you can ride everyday.
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post Mar 16 2007, 12:49 AM
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Handling

Heaving Twinkle off the sidestand, with twenty two litres of petrol sloshing around the tank, it feels surprisingly light. In fact, a side to side comparism with a Hayabusa and ZX11 proves this : The ZX14 hides its weight very well.

Its never meant to be a sportbike, Twinkle is supposed to handle high speeds with rock stability. To be stable means to sacrifice agility, something Ducati also does. That explains why Ducatis are not as agile as Japanese sportbikes, but have awesome mid-corner feel, stability and speed. Twinkle on the otherhand, handles surprisingly well for such a long, heavy bike.

Around Singapore roads, theres only so far you can lean and so fast you can corner before getting into trouble, way before even reaching the potentials of the bike. So at the earliest opportunity, I brought Twinkle down to Pasir Gudang, and planned for a weekend of trackdays at Sepang International Circuit.

Luckily for me, December 2006 happened to be the record for the heaviest rainfall in decades. And even luckier for me, it all happened in the last two weeks of December, when I took my leave. With one day remaining before my Sepang trip, I simply had to try out the handling of the bike at Pasir Gudang before heading for Sepang. Fingers crossed, pray hard for good weather.

When dawn broke, it didn't look so good. Satellite images showed cloud all over Peninsula Malaysia. Well, at least its not raining! Upon arrival at the track, it was still overcast. The track was in a terrible state. Half dry, half wet, with horrible patches of slick runoff. It was probably the most miserable track session I've ever had, I didn't even dare to lean the bike over, cruising around the circuit hoping the sun would come out.

It didn't, and after the session, it started raining. Hai.... :sian:

Following morning, 4am, it was time to move off to Sepang. With twinkle all loaded up with me, my darling, tank bag and two huge side panniers, off we went! As we found out, with earplugs, we could cruise all day long at 130, or if we wanted to, push the pace alittle to 150. Any faster and I'd have to duck down alittle behind the stock screen, and she would have to lean alittle closer to me to hide from the windblast. Twinkle is no STX, but its certainly a very capable highway machine. She returned 16km/litre at 150km/h constant, not bad for fully loaded big bike!

Crosswinds didn't seem to affect the bike much too. Kawaski enginners did a fantastic job with the aerodynamics of the bike. The big fairing is very efficient at slicing through the air, directing just enough wind onto my shoulders to support my upper body weight. For two-up riding though, I think I'd need a much taller touring screen because I'm sitting upright most of the time. When I go for high speed touring alone though, I usually tuck behind the screen, so it wouldn't be much of an issue.

Darling was enjoying herself at the back, feeling comfortable enough to fall asleep even! Not bad for someone going for her 3rd trip on the bike.

Sepang International Circuit

(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/DSCF1163~0.JPG)

The weather gods must have been kind to me, for the following two days at Sepang, we had the most perfect weather. I simply couldn't ask for more. Mirrors off, tyre pressure lowered to 35psi front and rear, I was off. Its my first time at Sepang as a rider, having been here the past 3 consecutive years for MotoGP races. Its like a dream come true, riding the same track as my heros.

After the initial warmup laps, it took nearly half the session to learn the track. The Kawasaki engineers purposely restricted the power in the first 4 gears to prevent inexperienced riders from getting themselves into trouble. So below 6000rpms in the first 4 gears, the bike has the acceleration of a 600cc bike at peak power. Perfect for learning the track. Sticking to 4th gear, I could take all but the back and front straights, shifting to 5th gear to prevent hitting 9000rpms, a limit I set myself because the bike is still new.

The only track experience I have is on a Ducati 999, so I will have to use it as the benchmark. The 999 is quite a hefty bike to lean over into corners, but it can hold a line very well, plus with the ultra wide torque curve starting at 4000rpms, it could power out of corners very early with supreme ease and confidence. Superb brakes and perfect engine, the 999 is very confidence inspiring, and I was quickly (pun intended) getting quicker on the track.

Inline4s feel totally different from V-twins. Riding a Ducati on the track is a fantastic experience for the senses. The boom of the exhaust, roar of the intake, rattle of the dry clutch, the V-twin Ducati torque pulses... You feel every single power pulse, along with the molecular detail of the track surface through your seat. Slam the trottle shut and brake hard at the end of the straight, the exhaust pops, rear wheel skims the ground, you lean over and scrape your right knee slider all the way around turn1.....

The ZX14 on the other hand, is.... well, nothing much happens really. You wind on the trottle, the power comes, all I hear is wind noise, all I feel is... Well, nothing much really. Brake hard from 280 for turn15 and the rear ABS kicks in non-stop. I give up and never even touch the rear brake. Heave the right handlebar and it leans over with a very un-218kg_dry_weight like manner (almost as much or little effort as the 999), and before the knee even touches down, the footpeg feelers touch down.

I back off and concentrate on my lines.

Seriously, the ZZR1400ABS is pretty fun at Sepang. Turn 3 was where I could catch up with many of the faster bikes, probably because Twinkle is very stable. I think I could easily hit 160 at the apex, accelerating to goodness knows what speed before turn4. But taking it easy, I didn't want to push that hard. Brake very hard for turn4, turn in for a late apex and accelerate for my favourite turn 5 and 6, fast left then right corners.

I was still being overtaken by everyone though, even the KRRs seem to be lapping faster than me. On the back straights, without even trying to exit turn 14 and 15 properly, in 4th I wind on the trottle. The surge in power at 6000rpms is just crazy, I didn't even dare look down at the speedo as I concentrated hard not to crash into anything infront of me. Braking hard well before the 200metre marker, I glanced down at my speedo and saw 280 once... Whoops, I hit 10,000rpms in 5th. :D

Blasting down straights is not my kind of thing. On paper, Twinkle could (and probably would in the right hands) out-accelerate anyone on the track on the straights. On the high speed corners, the excellent stability gave me the confidence to push it, nearly grounding out at turn 3. Flicking the bike left to right at turn 5 to 6 required surprisingly little effort.

On slow speed corners, the limiting factor is the ground clearance. The easy power delivery means theres little fear of highsides, so I could wind on the trottle very early with confidence, hitting the 6000rpm 'powerband' just after the apex. I didn't want to grind out the lower fairings and exhaust, so I took it easy.

Braking on the other hand, was a worrying issue. After a few laps with hard braking 260 to 80+ for turn 15 and 1, I could feel the lever getting soft. It once got so soft at the end of the back straight the lever touched the trottle grip! I think some dot 5.1 brake fluid should help, or perhaps theres some air in the lines. Back in the pits, I noticed the front discs have turned blue too. ZX10 brakes are fantastic, but they might not be up to the job of stopping a bike 40kg heavier repeatedly on the track.

The stock BT-014 tyres did their job well, looking healthy after two 3-hour track sessions. They would probably last another two sepang trackdays before I swap them out. Having heard horror stories, I wasn't taking chances with the tyres, so I limited myself to no more than 5 laps at each time, allowing the tyres (and myself) to cool down inbetween. It probably worked, because I didn't have a single slide the entire weekend.

The upright riding position though, forced my inside hand into an unfamiliar angle. I had to change my riding style from my 999 to suit the bike, but after afew laps it started to come together. Ducati's riding position is very different from a Japanese sportbike; Lower, further forward. I find the 2004 CBR600RR a very comfortable bike actually, almost like a tourer position compared to the 999. The CBR600F4i feels like a streetbike after the 999. With this in mind, you can imagine how different the ZX14's riding position is to me, based on my limited experience.

Compared to the Hayabusa, its wider and slightly more upright. Hanging off was quite natural, but I find I have to hangoff alittle more than on the 999. I wasn't sitting as far back on Twinkle because unlike the 999, I couldn't push my bum against the tailboard while hanging off. After afew laps though, I found myself sitting further and further back so my inside hand had enough room to lever the inside handlebar. The ZX14 is no sportbike of course, the riding position is more catered for the comfort of long distances in mind. However, its just sporty enough to be fun on the track, and certainly sporty enough for twisty mountain roads we all love so much!

I believe with enough practice, Twinkle can keep up with the sportbikes on Sepang. Ground clearance at slow corners being of an issue, it should make up for it at the higher speed corners and on the long straights.

A trackday weapon? Oh yes. But keep in mind its still a heavy bike, not a superbike.


Short ride on the Hayabusa

I had the chance to ride Twinkle back to back with my good friends' Hayabusas. Both are quite modded, but with stock wheelbase, chassis and suspensions. Initial impressions are the Hayabusa seems to feel like a smaller bike. I feel I'm sitting more 'in' the bike than 'on' the bike like on Twinkle. The tall MRA Doublebubble screen might have contributed to this.

Engine wise, the Hayabusa engine feels more raw. Without the low gear power restriction, it revs more freely too, nearly ripping my arms off when I gassed it in 3rd. One of the bikes in particular, with the 4-1 full system, felt very much like a smaller 1litre sportbike engine! I wonder if the ZX14 would feel the same too, with a 4-1 full system, now that would be something!

I havn't revved out Twinkle yet because she's still new, less than 2000km then. On the Hayabusa, entering the highway from one of the exits, I full trottled the Busa in 4rd gear to see what it would be like. Before I know it, the rev needle was touching redline, engine screaming in full song, the speedo flicking past 280...

What a rush! It certainly takes getting used to...


Versetility

After hours of fun on Sepang, whats most impressive about Twinkle is the way it changes from a sportbike to a streetbike. Mirrors on, tank bag on, and it cruises back to the hotel as if we just had afternoon tea. After a quick shower, me and Darling headed off 50km north to KL to meet some other friends for dinner, then afterwards 50km back to the hotel again, wasn't tired at all. Try that on your Superbike! If I were still riding my 999, I would be totally shagged out by the end of the track session, not even in the mood to ride all the way to KL, battle the crazy KL traffic just to have dinner.

In fact, one day I might try doing a day trip to Sepang trackday; I suspect it wouldn't be half as tiring as on a Superbike.

A warning on the side panniers though. The tailboard of the ZX14 is not very strong, so I'd advise against using side panniers without support brackets. I've got the Hepco and Becker system on order. Once they arrive, it should make touring and trackday trips much more easier and hassle free. Twinkle will transform from a tourer to a trackbike instantly, and then back in the hotel, a quick turn of the key releases the panniers, ready to be unloaded in the hotel room. No messy straps and bungee hooks to muck around with!

I'll post a review once I get the H&B rack and box system.

In a nutshell

How should I sum it up?

There are several bikes in the same Hypersport (very fast tourers) category as the ZZR1400. I'll list them all

Honda Blackbird
Suzuki Hayabusa
Kawasaki ZX12R
Kawasaki ZZR1400

If you choose the Hayabusa over the Blackbird, you wouldn't want the ZZR1400.

If you choose the ZX12R over the Hayabusa, then you will be very dissapointed with the ZZR1400.

If you like the Blackbird, but don't wish to fork out 8k more, than don't. The Blackbird does everything the ZX14 can do, with the big H to rely on.

But the refinement of the engine, the reassurance of the ABS (on ABS models only of course), the excellent egronomics make the ZZR1400 a very good all round motorcycle. I hear people hinting 'Yamaha Fazer' in the background already. True, the Fazer would do everything too, its a wonderfull do-it-all bike. But then it wouldn't be the same as the ZZR1400 would it?

In fact, the ZZR1400 is so sedate, its probably more Honda STX than ZX12.
I'm sure with some mods the true beast within the ZX14 engine will be released. However, I'm worried this might spoil the qualities which make the ZZR1400 such a unique machine.

Stay tuned for more. :thumb:
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post Mar 16 2007, 12:52 AM
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Update : ECU controlled Secondary trottle butterfly valves

When the Kawasaki Engineers sat down to discuss what the ZX14 should be, they decided it should not just be the most powerful production motorcycle ever, but also easy to ride for inexperienced riders.

Those who've ridden big bore sportbikes know how intimidating the power can be. Its easy to full trottle a 400cc, perhaps a 600cc bike in first gear all the way to redline, but try that on any sportbike with 1000cc or more, and it becomes a pretty intimidating thing. Certainly requires alot of experience.

On the ZX14, on top of the usual right hand trottle grip controlled butterfly trottle bodies, theres a set of secondary butterfly valves. The ECU controls these valves in such a way, it limits the amount of air going into the engine regardless of how much the trottle is opened by the rider.

So for example, below 6000rpms in 1st gear, you can turn the trottle all the way, but the ECU will only open the secondary trottles say, 5%, until the rpm approaches 6000rpms, where the ECU will gradually allow more and more trottle until past 6000rpms, its fully opened.

This results in a fairly smooth surge of power, ONLY if you've opened the trottle slightly. From my experience, anything more than 1/4 trottle will result in a fairly violent surge. Accelerating out of a U-turn, I thought I was in 2nd gear, so I gave it alittle more trottle than I would in 1st. Before I knew it, my butt was almost on the pillion seat (thank god for the bump), and as a result of my body sliding back, my arm twisted the trottle grip even more...... not good.

The ECU never allows the secondary trottles to be open all the way, in every single gear, even 6th. But in 6th gear, it only restricts below 2500-3000rpms (not sure actually), which is a good thing to prevent the engine from bogging down at such low rpms. By tricking the ECU to think the bike is in 6th gear all the time, the 6000rpm 'surge' can be eliminated, along with a huge increase in torque in low rpms for the 1st 4 gears.

In fact, at 80km/h, theres more torque on 6th gear than on 4th gear.

I wouldn't want to remove this restriction completely. Its quite useful actually, especially when pillioning or in wet weather, or in slow traffic, where you don't really want monster torque and acceleration.

Stay tuned while I look for a solution with the best of both worlds. :D
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post Mar 16 2007, 12:52 AM
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Hepco & Becker luggage system

(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/DSC_2656.JPG)
(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/DSC_2655.JPG)
(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/normal_DSC_2622.JPG)

This is Hepco & Becker's new Quick Release luggage rack system. Similar to SW-Motech concept, the rack is bolted onto the bike with six pin-lock bolts. Removing the rack cannot be any simpler, and without much practice, took me only 3 minutes. Very well designed indeed!

The only problem with this setup is that it makes the bike incredibly wide. The ZZR1400 has a pretty wide tailboard, wider than many bikes. I chose the 30litre panniers because with the 40litre panniers, the bike looks (and is) ridiculously wide. Even with the narrower 30litre panniers, the bike is wider than an STX1300 and an FJR1300. It might be alittle wider than a Goldwing I suspect, gotta measure it one day. (My bike's at 108cm wide right now).

Functionally wise though, hard luggage always beats soft luggage. Its waterproof, secure, doesn't flap in the wind, and can be mounted and dismounted in seconds. Noneed to muck around with straps, noneed to worry about chaffing the paintwork. Only the width puts me off. In fact, it has slightly less capacity compared to the Gearsack side panniers. (Which I used for my first trip, see above)

Tested at my usual touring speeds with and without pillion, Twinkle doesn't seem to notice the extra drag of the two huge panniers. Hepco & Becker says the bike should not exceed 130km/h with the luggage mounted, or it would be unstable. Well, I can safely say the bike is more than stable at that speed, and then some. I wouldn't recommend top speed testing with the side panniers installed though, you've been warned.

Below is a demo of how the entire rack can be removed. The brace between the two side racks have to be disconnected, but that takes seconds.

(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/thumb_DSC_2668.JPG)(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/thumb_DSC_2670.JPG)(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/thumb_DSC_2671.JPG)
Click for larger pic.
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post Mar 16 2007, 08:57 AM
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(IMG:http://www.picturesky.com/albums/userpics/10129/twinkle%203quarter.jpg)

That's one Cool Bike... Vrooommmmm........
:Cheer leader: :Jumper: :Cheer leader: :frog: :Cheer leader:
Heard it's fast...
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post Jul 29 2007, 11:57 AM
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Review of the Kawasaki Concours 14 by AMA

Video of Kawasaki Concours 14 Long Feature

Some information & photos about the Kawasaki Concours 14 @ the below links.

Link 1

Link 2
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ablaze69
post Jul 29 2007, 08:24 PM
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spectrum
post Jul 31 2007, 09:42 PM
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One Cool Bike... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/icon-smile.gif)
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MiCmAsTa
post Jul 31 2007, 10:14 PM
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QUOTE(spectrum @ Jul 31 2007, 09:42 PM) *


Looking forward for it. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/048.gif)
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Endlessloop
post Jul 31 2007, 11:03 PM
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Seems like the Kawasaki Concours 14 is aimed squarely at the Yamaha FJR--a high speed upright tourer.

I realised in particular for such long distance-tourers, a very important part is how the windshield and fairing affect the rider in experiencing the windblast, such as where the wind hits, is there any buffering, how noisy is it and when in Singapore daily riding , is it too warm if totally without windblast.

Unfortunately, it is hard to tell these from the specs. And even the magazine reviews are not that accurate as they are riding the bikes in a cool european weather and not in the SIN/MY climate.
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nE0
post Aug 15 2007, 07:09 PM
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QUOTE(Endlessloop @ Jul 31 2007, 11:03 PM) *

Seems like the Kawasaki Concours 14 is aimed squarely at the Yamaha FJR--a high speed upright tourer.

I realised in particular for such long distance-tourers, a very important part is how the windshield and fairing affect the rider in experiencing the windblast, such as where the wind hits, is there any buffering, how noisy is it and when in Singapore daily riding , is it too warm if totally without windblast.

Unfortunately, it is hard to tell these from the specs. And even the magazine reviews are not that accurate as they are riding the bikes in a cool european weather and not in the SIN/MY climate.


The bike does have removable deflectors for the side vents, so you can deflect the hot air from the radiator in hot days, and have them warm you on cold nights.

And the new Concours has two radiator fans, unlike the ZX14 with only one. Looks like they finally realised the bike is pretty useless as a tourer if it can't maintain its temperature! The ZX14 will overheat slowly in very slow Singapore traffic.
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snowparang
post Aug 17 2007, 12:06 AM
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QUOTE(spectrum @ Jul 31 2007, 09:42 PM) *

Er...is the bike small, or is the rider a giant?

Looks really nice. Wish they have a smaller cc one though.
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saintdudu
post Aug 17 2007, 08:28 AM
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hmmm.. to see the cost then decide.. lol
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bornfree
post Aug 26 2007, 01:48 AM
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Bike price is $25.5k and OTR about $29k (IMG:style_emoticons/default/icon-giddy.gif) The Kawasaki Concours 14 spotted in Evershine is black in colour. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/icon-lovestruck.gif)

(IMG:http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1344/1215349700_f55ef95aa1.jpg)

(IMG:http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1197/1214483349_f35bbaff27.jpg)
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nE0
post Aug 29 2007, 11:30 PM
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QUOTE(bornfree @ Aug 26 2007, 01:48 AM) *

Bike price is $25.5k and OTR about $29k (IMG:style_emoticons/default/icon-giddy.gif) The Kawasaki Concours 14 spotted in Evershine is black in colour. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/icon-lovestruck.gif)



The price should be around that of the STX ie. 30k region.

Its a good deal considering I paid 28k for my ZX14, on top of that around $900 for the H&B panniers. With the GTR1400, you get panniers, shaft drive, tall screen, remote preload adjuster... things that I'd like on my ZX14, and lotsa other goodies for just afew grand more. I think thats fantastic value for money.


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MiCmAsTa
post Aug 29 2007, 11:43 PM
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QUOTE(bornfree @ Aug 26 2007, 01:48 AM) *


OTR S$29.0k? Wow, its more than I expect. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/drunk.gif)
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snowparang
post Aug 30 2007, 10:20 PM
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problem is, how much does a FJR1300 cost? Aren't they very similiar?
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spectrum
post Sep 1 2007, 11:42 AM
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(IMG:http://www.kawasakisa.co.za/images/main/thumbs/fix%20img_1076%20lr.jpg)

Latest Review by BIKE MAG UK

Bike it compares with.. FJR(123Hp), BMW K1200GT(134hp) & Honda Pan European(113hp)

The Selling pt is the 1400GTR has Sporty handling.
The GTR is high-up, tail & top Heavy (for better handling)
Power: 145BHP Vs the ZZR1400 160BHP
Wt: 280kg Only the Pan is heavier
Variable Valve Timing
Keyless ignition
Tyre pressure sensor ind on dash

Pillion: Not an easy bike to get on but seat is comfy & grippy
Ht is just right

Their conclusion:
Kawa have taken a gd look at rival tourers
and prod a bike that beats them all -
best handling & comfortable (Pan is more comfy)
Weak pt: low speed balance & tendency to topple over
Looks (some how subjective)
Exciting!

I would add the tech support & supply may not be the best her in Spore.
But it's in true Kawa tradation of being in the upper pwr band


Click for more reviews & specs or 1400GTR

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Endlessloop
post Sep 6 2007, 11:04 PM
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I read the Bike Review.

We would need to someone or some magazine to do a side-by-side comparisons with the sport tourers of this class (FJR, Pan, maybe BMW). A standalone review is nice but usually the flaws and strengths are exposed only comparison reviews.

My guess is that the Kawa Concours is leans towards the even more "sporty" end than FJR, with the Pan sitting towards the comfort end and the FJR in between Pan and Kawa.


From Spectrum's link, you can see the geometry of the Concours. Bike magazine says the Concours is good in mountain bends. But all three of these (trail, rake and wheelbase) of the Concours suggest a bike that is more stable (hence less nimble) than the FJR. The Pan is more nimble than FJR having a shorter trail and wheelbase.

I must say the Concours deliver higher torque (hence it's higher hp) than FJR and Pan, while remain accessible at mid-range rpm. Good job by the Kawa engine designers!

From the Bike magazine, the stock screen appears high. If the reviewer commented the bike needs a lower screen while riding in cool temperate climate, then better be careful than it might get too hot in Singapore's climate due to over-good protection leading to poor ventilation. I learnt that wind screen design is quite an art and it depends on individual to individual. But it is hard to assess unless you yourself ride it at various speeds on the road.

The Concours has a very cool ignition system. It is keyless. You put the "key" in your pocket and the bike can sense its presence. You press the ignition to fire up the engine without needing you to insert the key.
Cool!

But hor...scully while touring in Thailand, this sensing gadget don't work, how?...



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saintdudu
post Sep 6 2007, 11:14 PM
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QUOTE(Endlessloop @ Sep 6 2007, 11:04 PM) *

I read the Bike Review.

We would need to someone or some magazine to do a side-by-side comparisons with the sport tourers of this class (FJR, Pan, maybe BMW). A standalone review is nice but usually the flaws and strengths are exposed only comparison reviews.

My guess is that the Kawa Concours is leans towards the even more "sporty" end than FJR, with the Pan sitting towards the comfort end and the FJR in between Pan and Kawa.
From Spectrum's link, you can see the geometry of the Concours. Bike magazine says the Concours is good in mountain bends. But all three of these (trail, rake and wheelbase) of the Concours suggest a bike that is more stable (hence less nimble) than the FJR. The Pan is more nimble than FJR having a shorter trail and wheelbase.

I must say the Concours deliver higher torque (hence it's higher hp) than FJR and Pan, while remain accessible at mid-range rpm. Good job by the Kawa engine designers!

From the Bike magazine, the stock screen appears high. If the reviewer commented the bike needs a lower screen while riding in cool temperate climate, then better be careful than it might get too hot in Singapore's climate due to over-good protection leading to poor ventilation. I learnt that wind screen design is quite an art and it depends on individual to individual. But it is hard to assess unless you yourself ride it at various speeds on the road.

The Concours has a very cool ignition system. It is keyless. You put the "key" in your pocket and the bike can sense its presence. You press the ignition to fire up the engine without needing you to insert the key.
Cool!

But hor...scully while touring in Thailand, this sensing gadget don't work, how?...



haha.. its the same when u insert ur key.. ur bike HISS sensor doen't work to detect ur key chip.. :P
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