The ultimate backroad Supersport Tourer receives enhancements to make it even more comfortable and capable
The 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS is a remarkable machine because its power and poise will be familiar to riders of supersport motorcycles, yet its upright riding position offers far greater comfort than its superbike siblings. Riders can enjoy its high-powered but flexible 1,352cc engine derived from the world class Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, and for extended sport touring, the motorcycle’s chassis is tuned for comfort and poise.
The 2015 model benefits from a raft of enhancements, including a revised first gear ratio, lighter steering at low speed, stiffer rear suspension for enhanced carrying capacity, a new windshield, revised ABS braking and a new rear luggage base. Having come to define the sport touring motorcycle category, these revisions keep the sophisticated Kawasaki Concours14 ABS at the top of the pile with its ample performance and nimble athleticism, making it equally at home carving canyons as it is traversing interstate highways.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2015 KAWASAKI CONCOURS14 ABS:
- 1,352cc supersport engine derived from Ninja ZX-14R but tuned for long journeys
- NEW First gear ratio for easier starts from a standstill and low-speed maneuvering
- NEW Steering stem seal provides lighter steering at low speeds
- NEW Stiffer rear suspension settings for enhanced control and carrying ability
- NEW Sculpted seat for improved comfort (optional Touring Seat available)
- NEW Electrically adjustable windshield with three-position vent
- NEW Exhaust heat shield improves rider comfort when stationary
- NEW Revised ABS settings to reduce the linked braking effect
- NEW Silver bezels on instrumentation
The 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS is about more than just power. The four-cylinder engine boasts Variable Valve Timing (VVT) for economy and fluid responses, providing the kind of torque that makes relaxed, sixth-gear overtaking maneuvers par for the course.
Kawasaki’s supersport expertise means the Concours14 ABS motorcycle also has a suite of technology from the latest K-ACT ABS brakes to KTRC traction control and a Fuel Economy Assistance Mode to help the rider optimize his extended time in the saddle. For convenience it also has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) as well as KIPASS keyless starting technology.
For 2015, the Kawasaki Concours14 ABS has been further enhanced with a series of key refinements. Kawasaki kept all of the standout performance, comfort and convenience items that already make the Concours14 ABS so popular, and have added some strategic upgrades. These include a revised first gear ratio to make it easier to pull away from a standstill. It also has revised catalysers for even cleaner emissions, as well as ECU updates to suit the changes to the transmission and cats. There is also a new seat that is narrower at the front to help the rider reach the ground more easily. The seat is sculpted at the front for improved comfort, while at the rear, the seat is flatter and longer for the passenger. The adjustable rear suspension was stiffened on the initial preload setting to maintain the motorcycle’s legendary stability when carrying a passenger and full luggage.
Other updates to the 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS include refinements to the ABS system, which reduces the linked effect on the front brake when the rear brake is applied. There is also a new steering stem seal, which helps to reduce steering effort at slower speeds. And once speeds climb, the new windshield reduces the aerodynamic load on the rider with its integrated, adjustable vent.
The 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS starts with a highly capable platform and adds several key enhancements, such as the new seat that has rounded edges to make it easier for riders to reach the ground. The seat is also sculpted to offer greater support but is wider and longer towards the rear to give the passenger a better experience. Other seat upgrades include a slip-resistant cover and double-stitched detailing to increase its visual appeal.
Owners who wish to use the 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS for long distance touring will be pleased to hear that Kawasaki Genuine Accessories also offers an optional touring seat, which will provide enhanced comfort for extended journeys and is more resistant to heat accumulation when exposed to the sun — this is the material’s first application in the motorcycle industry and should make the seat cooler after the bike has been sitting in the sun.
The handlebar is more upright and closer to the rider than the Ninja ZX-14R. This reinforces its touring comfort yet is still more sporty than traditional sports touring motorcycles.
Additional new comfort features include a two-position adjustable vent on the electrically raised windshield. This windshield improves the airflow around the rider and reduces the buffeting effect, since the vent removes the low-pressure zone in the cockpit.
The passenger will appreciate the new rubber-padded footpegs that are designed to reduce vibrations. Additionally, a new heat shield has been designed to deflect engine heat away from the rider when he comes to a stop, helping to maintain comfort.
Finally, the stiffer rear suspension on the 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS helps it remain one of the most compliant sports-oriented touring bikes available. The stiffer setting enhances the ride while carrying a passenger and full saddlebags. What’s more, the rear suspension has a remote preload adjuster that allows the rider to tune the handling to their individual preference, without using any tools. It can also be adjusted to compensate for the addition of a passenger and full saddlebags.
The heart of the Concours14 ABS supersport touring package is its amazing and sophisticated 1,352cc DOHC inline-four powerplant. Although it is based on the same engine as the world-class Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, in this application it has been tuned for excellent low- and mid-range power. In addition to the exhilarating low-end torque, it delivers a top-end rush that will have riders nipping at the heels of sportbike riders when the need arises.
A key element of its tremendous power band is the Variable Valve Timing (VVT), which alters the camshaft valve timing according to parameters such as RPM and engine load. The result is the enhanced low- and mid-range power without sacrificing that top-end shove.
Advanced fuel injection, ram-air induction and decades of experience building the world’s most potent supersport engines has created a simply astonishing powerplant, one that makes the 2015 Concours14 ABS a force to be reckoned with in the sport-touring segment. And yet its advanced electronics mean the rider can use the Fuel Economy Assistance Mode to prioritize fuel savings, offering a significant increase in fuel economy and allowing the rider to travel farther on each tank of fuel.
The 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS uses a stiff monocoque frame that provides excellent handling characteristics and a high degree of rider feedback. Cradling the engine from the top, the compact structure keeps the motorcycle narrow, helping it to be more nimble than its competitors.
Kawasaki’s Superbike World Championship-winning expertise can be seen throughout the bike, particularly in areas such as the 43mm, inverted front forks and radial-mounted brakes. At the rear, there is an almost maintenance-free, four-link Tetra-Lever suspension system, which then reduces the shaft drive squatting and lifting effect when the rider gets on or off the power. The suspension uses stepless rebound damping adjustment and has a remote spring preload adjuster that doesn’t require any tools to tune to the rider’s preference or compensate for the weight of a passenger and luggage.
The braking system retains its 310mm petal-style front rotors with four-piston calipers, as well as the 270mm petal-style rear rotor, single-piston caliper. New for the 2015 model year the Kawasaki Advanced Coactive-braking Technology (K-ACT) ABS system has revised master cylinders and a new ABS module. The system links the front and rear brakes for the most effective brake force distribution and the revisions reduced the linked effect on the front brake when the rear brake is applied. This has the effect of making the braking feel more natural during low-speed maneuvers such as a U-turn. The small, lightweight ABS ECU also allows the rider to choose one of two ABS modes to suit riding conditions or rider preference.
In Standard Mode the linked effect is reduced at initial lever stroke for a natural sensation when sport riding. In the High Combined Mode, there is a more pronounced linking effect from the beginning of the lever pull, making it ideally suited for touring and two-up highway use.
The rider also benefits from the inclusion of Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), which uses the ABS sensors to detect wheel speed. Once wheelspin is detected, the system helps the rear tire traction.
New for the 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS is a revised first gear ratio, which makes it easier to start the motorcycle from a standstill and to maneuver at low speeds. There is also a new low-friction steering stem seal, which contributes to lighter steering at low speeds, making the bike easier to maneuver in tight spaces.
STYLING & CONVENIENCE
The styling of the 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS reflects its nature as a comfortable sport touring motorcycle with sportbike DNA. While it boasts an aggressive cowling and sporty fairing design, it has a large, electrically adjusted windshield with a three-position vent. In conjunction with the front cowling, these parts help protect the rider and passenger from the elements, reducing fatigue on long rides.
For 2015, the Concours14 ABS will be available in a choice of Candy Lime Green or Metallic Spark Black, reflecting its sporty and sophisticated character.
The standard KQR (Kawasaki Quick Release) Hard Saddlebags are color-matched to the bodywork and can be removed and fitted in a matter of seconds thanks to the ingenious mounting system. The bags are locked with Kawasaki’s One Key system. This allows them to be locked with the bike’s ignition key, and the same applies to the optional Kawasaki Genuine Accessories color-matched KQR 47-liter Top Case.
Another interesting technology involving the Kawasaki ignition key is KIPASS (Kawasaki Intelligent Proximity Activation Start System). It’s basically a smart key system that allows a rider to keep the electronic key in their pocket, while leaving the ignition key in the motorcycle at all times. The key sends out a signal to the KIPASS ECU, and when in range, the ignition key is turned to the “On” position. No more digging in pockets for the ignition key with riding gloves on. The ignition key also allows access to the KQR Hard Saddlebags.
For the rider’s convenience, there is a fairing storage box, allowing the rider to stow small items. Additionally, there is a DC power socket to charge smartphones or navigation devices while on the move. The 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS continues to have standard heated grips, which provide comfort and warmth even in harsh conditions.
New for 2015 are stainless steel bezels around the main instrument dials. These add an extra dose of class to the already well-appointed instrumentation. There is also a resin tank pad that was previously available as an accessory but is now standard equipment. It is designed to help prevent wear and scratches to the fuel tank.
A range of optional Kawasaki Genuine Accessories are available at authorized Kawasaki dealers. These include a 47L top case with optional backrest pad, tank bag, touring seat, protective cover and more.