2017 ZX14R review
Last summer I decided I wanted a second bike to complement my 2016 K16GTLE, I'd use the second bike for day trips up to 200 miles and save the K1600 for long distance touring. The K1600 is a great bike but sometimes depending on destination/distance it's not worth taking out because of the weight. I looked at several bikes from several manufacturers to include the S1000RR/R/XR, and R1200RS, Ducati Monster, Multistrada, Aprilia Tuono and KTM 1290 SD. All were nice bikes but between, lack of performance, uncomfortable riding ergonomics or price I just couldn't find anything that met my criteria of fast, comfortable and affordable. Until I started checking out the ZX!4R :-) All my research suggested it is a nice bike with very little quality issues and tons of aftermarket support so I took one on a test drive and was sold.
I found a leftover 2017 SE for 11200 so that met my criteria of affordable, I would not have purchased the bike if I had to pay MSRP, 15500, or anything close to MSRP. I was surprised to find out the ZX14R was the cheapest to insure compared to every other bike I considered which was a important part of my decision on what to buy. State Farm quoted me $750 annually while all the other bikes I looked at were in the $1000 to $1200 dollar range to insure. With 200 HP straight from the factory the ZX14R is amazingly fast, accelerates much faster than the K13S and while the riding position was very similar to the S1000RR I found the position works perfect for me and I can do 150-200 miles a day without becoming fatigued.
Now that I've owned both in my opinion the ZX14R is a good alternative to the K13S if you don't mind a chain and can live without some of the bells and whistles. Throttle response is very linear and the bike just pulls hard through each gear. If you're really rolling on the throttle you better hang on because it seems like the bike will ride out from underneath you. The K13S is a better looking bike but the ZX14R doesn't look bad either. The seat on my ZX14R is much more comfortable than the stock seat I had on my 2009 K13S. My butt would sometimes get sore in as little as an hour on the K13S while I can ride all day on the Kawasaki and not get monkey butt.
Like the K13S the ZX14R is getting a little dated and would benefit from upgraded electronics like a digital dash, quick shifter, cruise control, fly by wire throttle and additional engine management modes. Handling is about the same between both bikes at least for my style of riding. According to the fuel sensor I should get about 160 miles or so from a tank of gas but so far I've found it's closer to 130+/-. I'll see if mileage improves once I get a few more thousand miles on the clock.
So far there's nothing I dislike about the ZX14R except the exhaust, by far the ugliest exhaust I've seen on any bike. Once I pay it off I'll consider some aftermarket options. I might also invest in 1" bar risers since they are a cheap way to get a slightly more erect riding position. All things considered I think I made the right choice. Now if the weather in PA would just cooperate I could really start enjoying the bike a little bit.