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The World's Fastest Production Motorcycle

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On: Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 5:17PM | By: Jon Summers

The World's Fastest Production Motorcycle

Kawasaki has always had a reputation for building terrific engines; there is an urban legend this was because Kawasaki honed their skills in World War 2, building fighter plane engines. The story went that since they built planes, their test track was in fact a runway – no corners but lots of straight, explaining why the bikes went well, indeed perhaps rather too well for the way the bike performed in the turns, leading to a whole generation of seventies Kawi’s being labeled “widow-makers”.

Capitalizing upon this hooligan reputation, Kawasaki launched the Ninja sport bike brand in the eighties, cunningly hitting upon a lurid slime green to better differentiate the product. Twenty years on, there is a new Mean Greenie to step into the shoes of the Z1s and H1s of yesteryear – the ZX14R. This is a facelift of an earlier bike, but with one key difference: it can now take the fight to the long-time King of the Hill, the Suzuki Hayabusa. Unlike Kawasaki’s own ZX10R and ZX6R models, or Honda’s CBR, the ZX14 is designed not to be fast on a twisty road course, but on the drag strip. Drag legend Ricky Gadson and journalists alike have managed sub-10 second quarter mile times, at 150mph, on standard from the showroom bikes. Perhaps even more astonishing is that the bike can reach 175mph in only half a mile, with a gear to spare. Since the “Gentleman’s Agreement” with the European Union is still in place around top speed, the bike is limited to 185mph ( 300 kph ). For the record, 0-60 is around 2.5 seconds, depending upon conditions. Electronic trickery takes the sharp edge off this gargantuan performance, with the ability to toggle between high and low power modes.

Brakes and suspension have been upgraded and are of a standard to make the ZX14R a civilized everyday machine suited to commuting, and especially for longer distance touring; there is a new frame, and a longer swingarm than on the outgoing model. Whilst the bike’s size and weight is never forgotten, it is easily maneuvered at low speeds around town.

God Bless Kawasaki for delivering us the fastest accelerating mass produced vehicle on the planet for under $15,000.

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