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The 2021 Kawasaki ZX-14R has been unveiled in the American market. It gets a new paint scheme with new graphics too. The mechanicals and cycle parts remain unchanged. This could be the last hurrah for the big Kawasaki as the brand shifts its focus towards the H2 series of supercharged motorcycles. It competes with the Suzuki Hayabusa.
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is a unique motorcycle indeed. It is an instantly recognisable motorcycle with its unique design and large size. It first debuted in 2006 and was Kawasaki's answer to the Suzuki Hayabusa.
When it was first launched, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R became the most-powerful production motorcycle in the world. It also had a higher displacement than any other supersport/sports tourer motorcycle in the world. In-fact it is to this day, the biggest engine fitted to a supersport/sports tourer.
Kawasaki has now launched the 2021 iteration of the legendary motorcycle in the American market. The biggest change comes in the form of a new colour scheme called Pearl Storm Gray/Metallic Diablo Black. It gets Red accents combined with a Metallic Black paint finish. Other than this, the motorcycle remains the same.
It retains the same inline-four-cylinder engine. It is a 1,441cc unit that puts out a maximum power figure of 197.2bhp and a peak torque figure of 153.5Nm. A 6-speed gearbox drives the rear wheel.
This engine still isn't Euro 5/BS6 emissions compliant. The old, rather basic electronics package too has been retained. It comes with two riding modes, traction control and ABS, which just isn't enough electronics for this big a motorcycle in 2021.
It does seem like Kawasaki hasn't tried to develop this motorcycle much and this might be the last hurrah for the ZX-14R. The last time the ZX-14R went through a major update was way back in 2012. Nearly a decade later, the motorcycle still remains the same and is making do with just new colour schemes.
We are living in an age where bigger naturally-aspirated engines are being shunned and are being replaced by smaller, force-fed engines. Kawasaki introduced the Ninja H2 and H2R in 2015. They are powered by a 998cc, supercharged four-cylinder engine. The H2 produces 201bhp and the H2R produces 308.4bhp.
Kawasaki has made more models based on the H2's platform including sports tourers and these new supercharged motorcycles seem to have taken away the thunder of the Ninja ZX-14R. They even sell more than the old 14R.
The competition too is fierce. The 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa has received a comprehensive update with over 500 new parts and cycle components. It also gets an advanced electronics suite. The new Hayabusa will certainly sell better than the new ZX-14R.
The 2021 Kawasaki ZX-14R that has just been launched in America, might be the last ZX-14R to be launched as there simply seems to be no future for it. In-fact it could be the last of its kind.
Thoughts On 2021 Kawasaki ZX-14R Being The Last Of Its Kind
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R is a legendary motorcycle and there is no doubt about this. However, the launch of the 2021 could be the beginning of the end, not just for the ZX-14R but for all the giants of its era.
All other manufacturers have moved to sub-1000cc engines, and Kawasaki too has a brilliant sub-1000cc supercharged motor. It might just be time for us to bid adieu to the giants of the supersport/sport touring motorcycle segment.