New Kawasaki ZZR1400 first ride

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Kawasaki’s new ZZR1400 has astonished American testers with its performance and refinement – the overhauled hyperbike clocked a 9.64 second standing quarter mile at its American launch in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The European version will be launched in January, though Kawasaki cannot confirm how the specifications will differ. American magazine Cycle World’s tester Nick Ienatsch was among the first to ride the bike, called a ZX-14R in the States. His full report is in this week’s MCN (out on January 4), but here’s the gist:

“At Las Vegas Motor Speedway drag strip we watched Gadson [a drag racer] reel off an effortless 9.64-second, 149-mph pass on a stock ZX-14R. It had the standard ride height, 42psi of air in the rear Metzeler, normal petrol in the tank. My first experience on Kawasaki’s new flagship sportbike was a second-gear roll-on that ended at the top of fifth gear at 175 mph before shutting down for the end of the strip. That’s 175 mph in half a mile. With another gear left.

“Kawasaki launched the new ZX-14R with all the political correctness of a jab to the nose. The Japanese engineers who worked on the project used phrases like “leapfrog the competition” and “fastest-accelerating mass-production bike on the planet” and “total domination.” Subtle it was not."

Photo: Cycle World

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Nick Ienatsch

By Nick Ienatsch