2008 Kawasaki ZX14

(This bike was written off in 2016 with over 234,000km)

Not the natural hunting ground for the 14

Not the natural hunting ground for the 14

I bought this bike new in November 2008 and we have traveled over 187,000km together in that time.

While this bike is categorised as a hyper-sports bike many people find it quite a surprise that it makes an excellent bike to tour on.  The bike has amazing power and speed but more importantly it has bucket loads of torque down low that makes it a great workhorse and with a few minor modifications it is also very comfortable.  Really I see the ZX14 as a great sports-tourer.

As a category I see “sports touring” motorcyles as a continuum rather than a fixed category.  As an example, within the Kawasaki range I often talk about the 1400GTR as a sport Tourer (small s and capital T) which is more touring focused.  Whereas the ZX14 is a Sports tourer (capital S and small t) and significantly more sports orientated than the GTR.

Accessories Fitted

  • HID headlight upgraded – the project lenses of the standard lights make the conversion very effective.  Initially I tried some cheap globes and ballasts and they just didn’t offer the quality and longevity for the amount of miles that I travel. I purchased my upgrade kit via ProVision who were excellent to deal with. I installed 6000K globes which provided better contrast lighting than the lower 4300K or 5000K both of which I tried.
  • Driving Lights – Hella FF50s.  At one point I upgraded these to HID globes but I found that the intensity on reflective signs on the sides of the road was just too high so I have reverted back to high quality halogen globes.
  • Custom seat – it’s often hard to justify spending money on upgrading a seat until you have tried a good seat that is comfortable.  I sent my seat off to to Ergo Motorcycle seats to get remade, replacing the standard foam with high quality memory foam and shaped for comfort for long distance riding.
  • Rear Hugger – given the amount of dirt roads that this bike sees it was important to protect the rear shock.
  • Double bubble screen – one of the issues with a sports bike is that they are designed for ultimate speed so everything is designed with that in mind, including the screen which assumes a very crouched riding position.  For taller riders and for long rides this position can’t be sustained.  When playing with different screens there is always the compromise between airflow, and noise and size.  The trick is finding the right compromise for you.  I tried a number of different shapes and found the double bubble was the best compromise.
  • Chain lube system – one of the issues with touring on a chain drive bike is lubing the chain.  While it isn’t hard, adding a automatic chain lube system makes life on the road easier I have also found that it extends the life of the chain as it is maintained constantly.  I opted for a Cameleon oiler as they are really easy to install and just work.
  • Radiator guard – a RadGuard was deemed essential for the types of roads the bike is often on.  This includes many miles on dirt roads.
  • Slip on exhausts – After market pipes are installed for a number of reasons, such as: looks; sound; volume; weight; and performances. For me as I was adding luggage the pipes needed to accommodate panniers, and while I wasn’t chasing horsepower, it needed a nice note and savings in weight to improve handling. A set of Staintune pipes fitted the brief and they sound great,
  • Heated handgrips – what can I say.  In a cold climate it’s really nice to have something to keep the hands warm.
  • Crash knobs – to save the bike from those little opps moments that we all have

Luggage

  • Givi rack and panniers – I opted for the Givi racks and panniers as I have found them to be really good product on previous bikes I have owned.
  • Ventura Rack – At the time there really wasn’t an option for a topbox of the ZX14.  Now there is.  However I find the Ventura has a number of options over a hardcase.  The only draw back is that it is not lockable.
  • Tank bag – Tank bags are a personal preference.  I like a smallish bag that I can throw my wallet, sunnies, camera, and a few other small things. It’s my man bag. I have used a Bags-Connection bag and tankring.

Other stuff

  • GPS – Nuvi 660 which has good integration with the starcom audio system.
  • Starcom Advance Audio system – There are so many options out there now for audio systems.  When I purchased this Bluetooth systems where still very new and not that great.  While I’m not a big fan of audio systems I find they do have there places and the Starcom while getting older and corded does work great and you don’t have to worry about charging anything.
  • LED flashers – these are only used when commissairing cycling road races.

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