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Home » Kawasaki Motorcylce, motorcycle

2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R

Submitted by on April 7, 2012 – 3:23 amNo Comment

Headlining changes are a host of revisions for the big inline-Four powerplant, along with two firsts for the ZX-14: Kawasaki’s traction control system (KTRC) and a slipper clutch.

Leading off engine updates is a 4.0mm increase in stroke, from 61.0 to 65.0mm, while the 85mm bore remains unchanged. The ZX’s previous 1352cc was a class-leading displacement figure, but with the new 85.0mm x 65.0mm bore and stroke the 14 ensures its place as displacement king with 1441cc. Compression is also up, from 12.0:1 to 12.3:1.

Combustion chamber shapes were optimized for 2012, and they’re now surface-milled now rather than cast. Intake ports are reshaped and polished for improved flow, and new, longer intake valves have better durability, according to Kawasaki.

New camshafts have increased lift and revised profiles, while a stronger cam chain and revised tensioning system have improved reliability. Newly designed forged pistons with thinner crowns are lighter, and like many of the engine components, offer increased durability. The new pistons (paired to stronger connecting rods) are cooled by a new oil-jet cooling system that pumps a continuous stream of lubricant at the underside of each piston. Kawasaki says testing shows the engine runs considerably cooler with this piston cooling system.

Crankshaft main journals are thicker, from 38 to 40mm, and the engine’s dual gear-driven counter balancers have revised balance weights to help mitigate vibes in the longer-stroke engine.

A new air-cleaner element is larger and thicker, with 10% more surface area and 40% more airflow capability, allowing better breathing for the revised fuel injection system. The exhaust system is essentially all-new with reshaped, larger-diameter tapered header pipes, and larger-volume, reshaped mufflers each house a catalyzer.

Manufacturers aren’t always willing to divulge horsepower ratings, and this time is no different, but we can safely speculate crankshaft power above 200 ponies. The previous model claimed 190 hp at the crank with peak torqe at 113.5 ft-lbs at 7500 rpm. The last time Motorcycle.com dyno tested the 14, the big ZX produced 159.5 hp at 9550 rpm and 99 ft-lbs at 7800 rpm.

Kawasaki says the myriad changes and updates to its biggest sportbike engine have led to more power at nearly every point in the rev range, claiming stronger acceleration from 4000 rpm onward.

For the ZX-14’s U.S. launch in 2006, and its mid-cycle model revision in 2008, Kawasaki purposely selected drag strip testing as part of the program for the moto media to experience the big Ninja’s power. During each of those events Motorcycle.com editors came away impressed with the strength and durability of the ZX’s clutch, as it endured hard launch after hard launch down the quarter-mile. So while no one questioned the 14’s clutch performance over the years Kawasaki nevertheless improved upon a good thing, and included a race-derived slipper clutch as part of the bike’s overhaul for 2012.

Additionally, to cope with the engine’s newfound power, transmission gears have been heat- and surface-treated for improved durability and smoother shifting action.

The system features three different riding modes – full power, medium power and a third mode for low-traction (wet/slippery) conditions. A bar-mounted toggle/push switch on the left switchgear controls KTRC, and the system’s effects can be monitored on a seven-segment bar graph in the cockpit’s LCD info-screen. While Kawasaki didn’t state specifically the parameters KTRC uses to control traction on the ZX-14, it is likely a derivative of the system on the Concours 14.

Despite inclusion of KTRC, ABS is still not part of the repertoire of the ZX’s safety features.

The new ZX-14’s instruments and controls have been reworked as well, with a newly finished gauge cluster and a new multi-function switch on the left handlebar that handles all system functions.

Colors for the 2012 ZX-14R are Metallic Spark Black, Candy Surf Blue or Golden Blazed Green with special graphics (SE). Pricing is currently set at $14,699, an $1100 increase from 2011.

otomaps.com source article: www.netcarshow.com www.motorcycle.com www.roushperformance.com

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