Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
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. ⌧