2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Review and Test Ride
Table of Contents
Overview of the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R
I’d ask you to close your eyes and envision what I’m about to describe, but this is an article and I’ve been told that would make reading a bit difficult. It’s rare for me to get nervous before riding a motorcycle these days… after 50 odd test rides in a number of cities, on a variety of different types of bikes, but the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14R is different. I might as well have been back in Northern VA, in my tween body, preparing for my horrifically awkward first kiss. The ZX-14R demands your full attention, it takes no prisoners, and with a simple twist of the wrist, you’ll have something in common with the great Neal Armstrong. Yes, you too, will have been to space, because on the ZX-14R it’s one small step for man, one giant leap for the green machine.
Watch my full ride and review here:
The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Top Speed, Engine, and HP
This is the bike you’ve all been waiting for. At 1,441cc, the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14R is the highest displaced supersport bike I have ever ridden. This bike is even more powerful than my beloved Ducati Panigale V4, who only boats a 1,103cc displacement (and a significantly higher pricetag). I need you to think about this…. You could take four 2019 Honda CBR300R engines, Frankenstein them together, and still have a couple hundred cc’s of displacement leftover before filling the same volume. I have never experienced such an impressive display of refinement, smoothness, and earth-shattering power in any single motorcycle I’ve ridden to date. Yes, read that last sentence again, because I mean it.
The ZX-14R comes standard with 2 selectable power modes: Full Power (for peak performance) and Low Power (for milder response). In “F” mode you’ll have access to a maximum torque of 116.5 lb-ft @ 7,500 rpm and maximum horsepower of 207.9 hp 191.7 hp @ rear wheel). Right before you flip the switch and go back to try and save your love interest from ol’ Biff Tannen, you’ll reach a top speed of 186 miles per hour.
One of the only issues I had with the ZX 14R on my test ride was that you simply can’t use the power on a public road. In a brief loss of self-control, I opened it up to maybe just 85% throttle to experience that world blurring, endorphin-releasing speed(If you know, you know). Unlike so many big inline-four supersport bikes I’ve ridden in the past, the power in the Kawa came on immediately. The 116.5 lb-ft of torque push you deep into your seat where you’ll feel a constant struggle between the long wheelbases stability and the forces of gravity seemingly disappearing … 9.8 m/s2 my ass.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Price
The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14R has a starting MSRP of $14,999. The 14 in the name represents and displacement on this bike (1,441cc) and also the higher price tag than its younger brother, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, which has a starting MSRP of $9,999. Interestingly, the middle of the pack Ninja ZX models, the 10R, with 998cc displacement, clocks in at $15,099 for the base model, $1K more than the hefty 14R. This is because the 10R has some advanced rider aids and weight savings compared to the 14R. But all things considered, for what you get out of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, the $14K price tag makes sense to me. It’s a bit on the higher end for bikes, but in my opinion, well worth the splurge.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Specs, Transmission, Tech, and Features
While the Ninja ZX-14R has been around for some time now and relatively unchanged, the 2019 still retains some of the finest specs a bike can have. Electronic rider aids include Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), Multiple Power Mode, and Anti-lock Brakes. Instrumentation consists of a balance between analog and digital displays with handle controls with all of the standard features. The Kawa Ninja ZX 14R does not come equipped with cruise control, and seeing as one of the most defining features for me was the comfort, I feel like this is one of the few oversights for this motorcycle.
Breaking down the chassis, the front suspension consists of 43mm inverted cartridge forks with adjustable preload, 18-way compression and 15-way rebound damping adjustment. Where the rear suspension bottom-link Uni-Trak® and gas-charged shocks with adjustable preload, stepless rebound and compression damping adjustments. Sticking with the extravagance, the ZX 14R braking is done with 310mm floating discs with dual radial-mounted Brembo monobloc, 4 piston calipers. Finally, the transmission is a very familiar 1-down 5-up 6-speed manual with a noticeable lack of quick shifter or auto-blipper – something I think would propel this bike into the technological forefront.
The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Seat Height, Weight, and MPG
The specs surrounding the chassis are rarely the most exciting things to write about, but on the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14R, that’s where this bike goes from good to great. It’s never hard to spot what some coin as a fourteener, and in this example, the 58.3 in wheelbase and insane 85.4-inch in overall length give you this Tron Reboot vibe. Although this beauty cuts through the air like Darth Vader through Skywalker, it still tips the scales at a curb weight of 593.1 lbs. Though the 31.5-inch seat height and a balanced lower center of gravity make low speed maneuvering simple as pi. Speaking of pi (remember 3.14?), you’ll have nearly twice that number in fuel capacity with a 5.8-gallon tank. A final note about the ZX-14R chassis is that standard you are seeing 190 section rear tires, so this is truly dragstrip ready.
Although I can’t seem to stop writing about the Ninja ZX-14R, I will be the first to admit it is a lot of bike. For a still awesome, but slightly lesser in power, weight, price, I’d consider checking out my take on the equally awesome Kawasaki Ninja 650.
I’m sad that this is over. I mourn the day I last rode the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14R and have nothing but excitement for the next. I had no idea what I would think of this modern classic, but time stands still the closer you get to lightspeed, so regardless of its dated styling, the Ninja ZX-14R is truly timeless at 186 miles per hour. I fear the world has forgotten about this bike and as competition moves toward lighter weight, nimbler mainstays, the 14R will hold its place in the motorcycle hall of fame, as the Cambrian explosion behind the modern superbike. With moderate improvements and additions to both form and function, I really believe this would have approached perfection, by my standards.
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About the Duke of DC
You know, my father tells me that one of my first words was “carburetor” and after my 8th car and 5th motorcycle in my relatively short time on this earth, I’m starting to believe him. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 15 years old, and when I started DukeOfDC it was during a really difficult time in my life. I’m just an average Joe that loves anything on two wheels and wants to share that passion with the world. Check out my YouTube channel and follow me on Twitter.