2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition
The 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition can best be considered the Kawibusa. It is an arrow directed from Team Green right into the heart of Suzuki's iconic Hayabusa hypersupermegabike (also known as Widowmaker), and as such it is a supremely successful one. While prior to the advent of the latest models of the Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition the Suzuki was the only game in town, there is now a valid alternative option.
As is to be expected from any motorcycle vying for the title of the heavyweight champion of the universe, the Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition is a technological feast. The 1,352cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four has dual gear driven engine balancers, a bore and stroke of 84.0 mm x 61.0mm, a compression ratio of 12.0:1, the ignition is TCBI with Digital Advance (to increase power even further at the lower end), and the DFI features four 44mm Mikuni throttle bodies, which paradoxically are swapped out for Keihins in the Canadian versions. This nuclear powerplant channels its earth shattering power through a hydraulic clutch and six speed tranny down to the chopperesque 190/50 ZR17 rear tire. The exact horsepower and torque figures of the Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition are actually quite irrelevant for any legitimate reason other than drive in parking lot boast sessions. It should suffice to state that there is more power generated by the Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition than any even remotely sane rider could ever begin to make use of on a public highway.
The lightweight monocoque frame is composed of a hollow aluminum box arching over the motor from the swing arm pivot all the way up to the steering head, taking the engine into consideration as a stressed frame member. Even the battery on the Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition is housed within the massive frame which should have Kenworth engraved on it somewhere. The inverted 43mm cartridge type front fork implements anti dive damping, the rear bottom-link Uni-Trak with gas charged shock features all-stepless compression and rebound damping, as well as spring preload, and the front brakes are dual semi-floating 310 mm drilled, petal style discs with dual opposed four piston, four pad, radial mount calipers while the back makes do with a 250 mm drilled, petal style disc with opposed two piston caliper.
Overall the styling of the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition is significantly smoother and more mainstream than its arch rival Hayabusa with its overly bulky lozenge-ized front and hideous Quasimodo hump rear end protuberance, and the four lateral Wolverine claw slashes on the Kawi SE model are faintly attractive in the Metallic Titanium / Metallic Spark Black paint job. That alone should suffice to give the Ninja ZX-14 a heads up over the Hayabusa as any other comparisons of power and handling between these fire breathing monsters are so far off the scale of human perceptibility anywhere but on a closed track with a professional racer as a pilot, that they are generally irrelevant.
2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 Special Edition At A Glance
Base MSRP: $16,399
Engine Displacement: 1352 cc
Engine Type: 4-stroke, liquid cooled, In-Line Four
Bore & Stroke: 84.0 x 61.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0 :1
Valve Train Type: DOHC, 16 valves
Transmission Type: 6-speed
Final Drive Type: Sealed Chain
Front Tire: 120/70ZR17
Rear Tire: 190/50ZR17
Wheelbase: 1,460 mm
Saddle Height: 800 mm
Curb Dry Weight: 257 kg
Fuel Capacity (US): 22 litres
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released