Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R

Evo India - - BMW - Sirish Chan­dran

We’ve had fast ma­chines in the fleet, but never

some­thing this big or this over the top!

CHEESY? HELL YEAH! THEN again, noth­ing about the 14R makes any sense. I’ll read­ily ad­mit even a 600 is too fast for In­dian roads. Our roads are so bad that for tour­ing you need an ADV. And if you’re go­ing to do track days an RC 390 is per­fect for get­ting even your el­bow down. So why the 14R?

Well, why not? I wanted a “big” bike and when the op­por­tu­nity came along, why not the big­gest of all them “big” bikes. Mo­tor­cy­cles, af­ter all, are heart over head mat­ters and the 14R is me be­ing my im­pul­sive best. Also, I’ve read enough about the 14R to know that it is a damn good mo­tor­cy­cle. An­other ad­mis­sion. I’d never rid­den a 14R un­til

I swung a leg over my bike af­ter tak­ing de­liv­ery from Kawasaki Kol­ha­pur. I’d never even seen this bike un­til I went to take de­liv­ery. How is that for be­ing im­pul­sive! Then again these are Ja­panese bikes and un­less it has been to war, noth­ing is ever likely to go wrong.

So, three months into “big” bike own­er­ship — what’s it like? As a means to blow away the weeds in your head, there’s noth­ing like it. The speed of the thing, it fo­cuses the mind like no mental ex­er­cises pos­si­bly can. It sharp­ens fo­cus, makes you con­cen­trate, ban­ishes all the hun­dred things float­ing around in your head and, by the time you’re back home, you have a clear mind to ham­mer out half the pages of this mag­a­zine. To anybody suf­fer­ing from writer’s block I can tell you that a fast mo­tor­cy­cle is the ul­ti­mate cure. And, oh, switch off Wi-Fi and keep your phone as far away as pos­si­ble while writ­ing.

As for rid­ing the 14R, it is ev­ery­thing I hoped it would be. My first proper ride with it was at the Cal­i­for­nia Su­per­bike School at the MMRT race track and af­ter the first ses­sion I al­most called TVS to re­quest an Apache 310R. But the coaches in­sisted I ride my own bike and af­ter three days I can hon­estly say I never en­joyed rid­ing as much as I did my 14R. It has warp speed and de­spite its bulk it can corner. Sure a Day­tona will pass you round the out­side, but you just have to get over the mental block, lis­ten to the coach­ing drills and trust the bike. It can lean, it can corner, and a bet­ter rider than me can eas­ily get their knee down. Only thing to re­mem­ber is the trans­porters will curse you for it is an enor­mously big mo­tor­cy­cle to get into and out of a truck. I’ve also done week­end rides and the thing that stands out is the 14R is com­fort­able enough both on the ride qual­ity front as well as on er­gonomics. Sure an ADV with its longer travel sus­pen­sion and more up­right seat­ing is bet­ter suited to our roads but, to blow out the mental cob­webs, my word, this bike is in­san­ity. ⌧

(@SirishChan­dran)

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