2009 Kawasaki Concourse 14

I’m sitting on the 2009 Kawasaki Concourse 14 getting ready to take it out for a test ride, not knowing what to expect.  I knew that the Concourse 14 was Kawasaki’s version of a sport touring motorcycle and that it’s engine was a re-designed version of what is found in the Kawasaki ZX14.  If the Concourse 14 engine is any where close to the performance of the ZX14 then the power and speed of this motorcycle will be mind blowing.  I also knew, it was kind of hard not to notice, that the Concourse 14 had an interesting looking shaft drive system. 

It’s now time to fire up the big Kawasaki and so I press the starter and a pleasing growl greets my ears.  Shifting into 1st I notice that the gearbox was one of the smoothest I’ve ever used, at least for 1st gear.  Pulling out of the parking lot I found that the shaft drive on the Concourse didn’t feel like a shaft drive, it felt like more like a well-adjusted chain drive.

As I’m accelerating onto the main road I felt the awesome power and refinement of the Concourse 14.  Shifting was smooth and the motorcycles low end was better then I expected it to be.  The ride was smooth and quite, with 55 mph being maintained easily in 3rd gear at about 4,500 rpm  (red line on this beast is 10,500 rpm).   The cool part of the big Kawasaki was that as smooth and refined as it was, I could feel that there was a beast waiting patiently to be let loose.  The shaft drive again felt like a well-adjusted chain drive even under acceleration.

On the highway, the Concourse 14 cruised comfortably at 65 mph, just like it did at the slower back road speeds.  The Concourse 14 cuts through the wind nicely and as it’s a heavy motorcycle, I found it very stable in the mild crosswinds that were present on our test ride.  One of the other cool features of the Concourse is the adjustable windscreen.  With the press of a button on the left hand controls, the windscreen can be adjusted to direct the wind where it’s the most comfortable to the rider. 

There were three things that I wasn’t expecting out of the big Kawasaki.  The first was the comfort of the seat.  I could ride comfortably all day in the stock saddle without my backside getting sore and there’s plenty of room to move around if you do feel the need to change positions.  The second unexpected item was the slipper clutch.  I didn’t do my homework before the ride or I would have known about this great feature.  The slipper clutch simply adds to the well-designed function of the shaft drive and allows smooth downshifting with out any skipping, skidding or lurching.  In other words you can downshift going into a corner with confidence.  The third pleasant surprise was how the engine was tuned to produce even torque and power in every gear, over a broad rpm range, which will make this motorcycle a pleasure to ride in almost every situation from around town to highway cruising.

The only complaint I have about the Concourse 14, and it’s a very small complaint, was that it felt top heavy at low speeds, especially when turning.  As the seat is higher then your average cruiser or fully dressed motorcycle, this shouldn’t be too surprising.

The Concourse 14 I was riding had the optional ABS system, which I’ve never liked on other motorcycles I’ve tested, especially if front and back brakes were linked.  The ABS system on the Concourse worked great.  The front and back brakes are not linked and the system is tuned to only trigger the ABS if traction is lost.  By the way, the brakes work very will for such a heavy motorcycle.

Before the test ride, the Concourse 14 wasn’t even on my radar as a motorcycle I would like to own.  Now it’s near the top of the list, if not at the top, for my choice of a long distance touring motorcycle.  It’s comfortable, smooth, comes with detachable panniers that will fit more then enough for a long trip.  It’s also powerful and fast!  What more could you want in a touring motorcycle.

Specifications


Engine Type

Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four with VVT

Displacement

1,352 cc

Bore and Stroke

84.0 x 61.0mm

Maximum Torque

100.3 LbFt @ 6,200 rpm

Compression Ratio

10.7:1

Fuel Ignition

Digital Fuel Injection

Ignition

TCBI with Digital Advance

Transmission

6-Speed

Final Drive

Tetra-Lever shaft drive

Rake/Trail

26.1 degrees/4.4 in.

Front Tire Size

120/70 ZR-17

Rear Tire Size

190/50 ZR-17

Front Suspension / wheel travel

43mm inverted, telescopic fork with adjustable rebound damping and spring preload / 4.4 in.

Rear Suspension / wheel travel

Tetra-Lever with stepless rebound damping adjustment and remote spring preload adjuster / 5.4 in.

Front Brake Type

Dual floating 310mm petal discs with four-piston calipers

Rear Brake Type

Single 270mm petal disc

Fuel Tank Capacity

5.8 gal.

Seat Height

32.1"

Curb Weight

670.3 lbs. 679.1 lbs. (ABS model)

Wheelbase

59.8

Overall Length

89.4 in.

Overall height windscreen min / windscreen max

50.8/55.3

Overall width at handlebars / at saddlebags

30.7 in. / 39.4 in.

Color

Metallic Diablo Black / Flat Super Black, Candy Diamond Red / Flat Super Black

Warranty

36 Months

Good Times™ Protection Plan

12, 24 or 36 months

 

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