2008 Kawasaki Concours 14 | Motorcycle Preview

Kawasaki Concours 14

A common observation our test riders have when getting off the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 is that the long-legged, big-hearted beast would make an outstanding platform for a high-velocity, long-distance sport touring steed. Clearly, enthusiasts in Kawasaki’s engineering and marketing departments had the same idea. Thus, we are presented with the 2008 Kawasaki Concours 14.

Although not yet ready for sampling outside of the Kawasaki R&D department, the Concours 14 identifies itself as a new breed of touring machine with its clever merging of Ninja heritage and blindingly up-to-date technology. Kawasaki has even coined a smart new term for the class the Concours self-defines: Transcontinental Supersport.

Whether or not the term catches on, it looks to be an apt description of the machine. The Ram-Air induction 1352cc motor is based on the ZX-14’s spectacular powerplant, though Kawasaki claims to have tamed the hits the Ninja invokes at 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. Regardless, Kawasaki is touting the shaft-drive Concours as the “most powerful production sport tourer ever.”

Just as the market for cruiser-based touring bikes is heating up, Kawasaki has reminded us that there’s still some interest in consuming huge bites of concrete at an astonishingly rapid pace, and we can’t wait to satiate our appetites.

STORAGE. The hard luggage is both aerodynamically and stylistically integrated into the Concours. A glove box on the fuel tank cover adds carrying capacity. BRAKES. High-performance brakes are a given, with triple petal discs, and six-piston/six-pad calipers in the front. UNDER THE SKIN. Mass centralization and a muscular aluminum monocoque frame makes the chassis a fitting match to the motor. FAIRING. Ram-Air induction helps the 1352cc in-line-4 produce more than its share of horsepower.