New 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Review : Original of the Species


2016 Kawasaki NInja ZX-14r (4)

History has a bad habit of repeating itself, and almost all of us bear the brunt of this at some point. Your masculinity burns down into a blob of wax when something that you’ve been yearning for long, stands right there in front of you. More so, when that majestic, living monument of speed has been chipping away at your heart since it first left the sweetest taste in your mouth. (You may click here to read the earlier review). Although that same space suddenly feels parched and you find yourself numb, staring at that special someone like a defenseless animal. In our case, it was the 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, gleaming right in front of us, the sheen of its green testing the expansion of our eye sockets and the contraction of our sinking hearts. We knew it was about to tear us apart. We knew it would still keep us together.

2016 Kawasaki NInja ZX-14r (1)

It has come back for a renewed assault with some new shields and swords this time around, still retaining every bit of that elegant monstrosity it is so revered for. It now wears its spaceship colours slightly differently, adding a little more black to its glittery fluorescence, three fingers striping some green camo near the air vents.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R rider's view(73)

The steering setup has been slightly raised, pegs have moved a little further and the redesigned seat lets the commander get a better grip over things as he pilots this mission into outer space. It might not look svelte, but for form that follows function, this big Kawasaki is one of engineering’s beautiful monuments.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R front brakes(51)

The 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R also gets new monobloc braking hardware by Brembo at the front, which it shares with its supercharged cousins.

2016 Kawasaki NInja ZX-14r Rear Ohlins Remote (2)

Then there’s a new Ohlins setup at the rear which offers remote adjustment for preload and lets you compensate for any living or non-living cargo you might carry on the rear seat.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R intrument cluster(56)

The large, informative screen can now switch between shades of black & white and there’s an ironic ‘Eco’ indicator if you’re just sailing around.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R (38)

What could’ve made it more Cuban is the addition of a quickshifter, a steering damper and those Akrapovic cans it is available elsewhere with. Although, it still remains the World’s headiest mass produced Cigar that packs 210 PS (With Ram Air) of nicotine which spins your head at 10,000 clicks and 158.2 Nm of Tar-que to make your lungs bleed with joy at a puffy 7,500 rpm.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R (35)

Our previous encounter still fresh, we know that this Ninja leaves a white screen of smoke behind in the wake of its velocity, terrorizes with its intensely carcinogenic performance and even when you slow down, it’ll let you enjoy the smooth after taste of an exclusive experience. Let’s strike a match then!

Light up and Smoke!

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R motion shots (43)

When something intimidates you visually, it takes a while to swing a leg over and let your adrenaline loose. The 14-R justifies the former part of the statement, but for the latter, it steams the sweat on your palms, the very moment you shift it into a ‘Stuttery’ first and come to terms with the turbine smooth motor. It wraps around all that visual might around you so effortlessly, you’re flummoxed when you realise that you’re astride a 269 kilo motorcycle. The clutch is easy on your wrists, heat dissipation is at its brilliant best even when the engine temperature shoots into the high 100’s and all the controls come to you like you have an umbilical cord attached to them.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R motion shots (49)

Since we knew that this motorcycle is as gentle as a mother if you’re a well behaved child, we wanted to revisit the Witch on the other side who presents the head of her own offspring as an offering to the Gods of Speed. Traction control switched off, power mode set to ‘F’, we were screaming inside the helmet as the tallish first gear would take it to somewhere near the 140 kph mark as the motor would hit its limiter. The sacrificial climb to the silly heights of velocity continued as we kept calling for the next gear, clutching the witch in Green, telling her we still love her. But for being possessed after 4000 clicks, her speedometer climbed towards the summit like a supernatural being and she took us right up to the molten edge of a volcano, ready to push us over.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R motion shots (47)

Exorcism then, comes in the form of Father Brembo, who offers you a lever that makes some holy water run through to the 4 piston monobloc calipers. They grab the 310mm front discs by the hair and drag green Emily down from the ceiling in a whisker. If only the nature of these actions wasn’t as progressive though. The equipment sure is a fantastic life saver, but it would’ve helped if there was some more sharpness to the way things worked. The single rear 250mm disc didn’t leave much of a mark, but then since we’re front biased in our braking, it did its job fairly well to balance things out when called for a few times.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R motion shots (46)

For the way the ZX 14-R handles, it shows a big middle finger to the laws of physics, general perception and the idiosyncracies attached with half wisdom. You look and it and you’re almost thinking that it hasn’t been built to do anything, but to go straight. But then the same weight vaporization magic slaps you hard when you’re attacking corners and it feels silly when something so mighty and with such a big wheelbase feels so nimble for its girth.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R (67)

It isn’t as lithe through tight corners, but pick a line and it will oblige as you may, never communicating any unnerving feels back to the rider. Shifting weight as you pick and drop into S’ isn’t as much as a task as it might seem like, the spacious seat and centered gravity letting you have fun without testing the limits of your bravado. On long sweepers, the inherently well balanced chassis shines bright and stays put, helping you carry fast lean angles, where the trustworthy throttle plays a big part in letting you know just how much are you feeding this animal before it bites into your arm as well.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R (34)

The front felt too talkative than what we would’ve liked, but it could’ve been just the tyre pressure. The suspension at both ends was set at halfway levels, just right for our conditions, which translated into the big Ninja travelling over undulations with utmost ease. Depending on your preferences though, you may change the rebound and damping at both ends according to taste and surface.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R motion shots (48)

Which brings us to what makes this motorcycle truly special and stand out, even when there’s almost equally fast and brilliant machines out there one could buy. You see Mythological Heroes and their feats are etched in literature that gets passed on for many generations. There’d always be new characters who’d come and go, but the point where it all began is never forgotten. The Undercut and High Crop sure is in vogue, but the timelessly powerful enigma of swept back hair or a simple side partition will always be swooned over.

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R (50)

Motorcycles will become better, melons will taste like lemons, men will bear babies and menstruate, but our love for this machine will remain. Some species are originally evolved, brilliant at birth and anything beyond only makes them better. The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is the original of that species. We aren’t very brilliant with our vocals, but if there was a single star we’d sing for, this will be it!

zx-14 R shoot Eric, Sunny and Lamthoi

Big thanks to the trio of Eric, Sunny and Lamthoi from Pune for guiding us to a good location for the shoot. Look forward to meet you again, pals!

New 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Technical Specifications: 

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R (28)

Type : Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke In-Line Four
Displacement : 1,441 cm3
Bore and Stroke : 84.0 mm x 56.0 mm
Compression ratio : 12.3:1
Valve system : DOHC, 16 valves
Fuel system : Fuel injection: ø44 mm x 4 with oval sub-throttles
Fuel Type / Minimum Octane Rating : Unleaded petrol / RON95
Ignition : Digital
Starting : Electric
Lubrication : Forced lubrication, wet sump
Transmission : 6 speed, return
Maximum power : 147.2 kW {200 PS} / 10,000 rpm
Maximum power with Ram Air : 154.5 kW {210 PS} / 10,000 rpm
Maximum torque : 158.2 N.m {16.1 kgf.m} / 7,500 rpm

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R Headlight and Ram air inlet(71)
Frame Type : Monocoque, aluminium
Rake / Trail : 25.0° / 93 mm
Steering Angle : 31.0° / 31.0°
Tyre : Front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
: Rear: 190/50ZR17M/C (73W)
Wheelbase : 1,480 mm
Ground clearance : 125 mm
Seat height : 800 mm
Curb mass : 269 kg
Fuel capacity : 22 Litres
Overall Dimensions LxWxH : 2,170 mm x 770 mm x 1,480 mm

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R front suspension adjustment(55)
Front / Wheel Travel : ø43 mm inverted fork with compression
and rebound damping and spring preload
adjustability, and top-out springs
Rear / Wheel Travel : Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, Öhlins TTX39 rear
shock with piggyback reservoir and remote
preload adjuster, compression and rebound
damping and spring preload adjustability

2016 Kawasaki ZX-14R rear wheel(62)
Brake Front :Dual semi-floating ø310 mm Brembo discs
Caliper Front :Dual radial-mount, Brembo M50 monobloc, opposed 4-piston
Brake Rear : Single ø250 mm disc
Caliper Rear :Opposed, twin-piston

Image Gallery:


  1. Superb review sir !! Really liked the way you described each curve of that beauty….. Pls keep up the passion alive in us with your power pack reviews……. Eagerly looking forward for your next article……. Cheers!!!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here