Automotive rivalries don’t get better than the age-long battle between the Suzuki Hayabusa and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R. Both the motorcycles have defined the motorcycling scenario for more than a decade and have given definition to the term ‘Hyper-tourers’. They were basically developed with just one intent in mind – to munch highway miles with the speed of an inter-continental ballistic missile. While Suzuki has already updated the Hayabusa, the same isn’t the case with the revered Kawasaki ZX-14R. In the US, Kawasaki has unveiled the 2021 iteration of the mean green hyper-tourer.
The updates are minimal. So minimal that the ZX-14R is still isn’t Euro5/BS6 compliant. So is this the last hurrah for the iconic faired sportsbike?
To mark the update, Kawasaki has given the ZX-14R a fresh set of clothes. It is now offered in a new Pearl Storm Gray/Metallic Diablo Black colour scheme. The new colour scheme bids adieu to the green accents of the 2020 model and switches to sportier red accents coupled with a metallic black finish. Lately, Kawasaki has been constantly ditching its trademark green colour for sportier shades and that has garnered mixed responses from around the world.
Apart from the new colour scheme, the ZX-14R remains exactly the same as before. It continues to utilize the same 1441cc, inline-four motor which puts down 200PS. Kawasaki didn’t take any trouble in tweaking with the engine to make it adhere to the stricter emission norms. This translates to the fact that it won’t go on sale where the stricter emission norms have already been made mandatory. And that includes our country as well.
Other features of the ZX-14R includes an aluminium monocoque frame, a 43mm USD fork up front and monoshock at the rear (both fully adjustable), and Brembo M50 calipers, all of which have been carried forward.
The end of an era?
Hayabusa vs ZX-14R has been one of the most iconic rivalries of the motorcycling world and it is sort of sad to see the slow demise of the ZX-14R. This has happened partly because the Japanese manufacturer has been paying all the attention to the Ninja H2. Even in our wildest dreams, it seems rather unlikely that the ZX-14R will make a comeback. We would still like to pray to the Gods of Wheels that Kawasaki decides to thoroughly update the ZX-14R in the coming few years. But till then, it is definitely the end of an era.