In case you hadn't noticed, motorcycles are joining in on the bigger-is-better mentality right along with our cars and trucks. Each successive generation of a new model tends to have a slightly larger and more powerful engine, which in turn makes the bike faster and gives buyers a reason to upgrade.
Unfortunately, while most motorcycles are quite a bit more fuel efficient than their automotive equivalents, the one thing that often gets overlooked in the insatiable quest for more power and speed is fuel efficiency. Kawasaki seems ready to do something about that oversight with its latest 2010 Concours 14, which will include a Fuel Economy Assistance Mode.
By toggling through what we suspect is a handlebar-mounted switch, the rider can select a fuel injection map that leans out the mixture and increases fuel efficiency by as much as 25 percent. As long as the engine is kept below 6000 rpm, throttle opening is less than 30 percent and speed is less than 80 mph, the bike stays in the efficient mode, regardless of what gear the transmission is in. Click past the break for the official press release.
Enhanced Comfort & Touring Potential
A completely redesigned, more aggressive fairing with new inner guide surfaces and outlets is designed to facilitate heat dissipation, greatly reducing the amount of hot air transmitted to the rider
A 70mm taller windscreen with a wider upper portion reduces upper-body turbulence. The screen is electrically adjustable, with four new programmable preset positions
When the power is turned off, the windscreen goes to its lowest position. When the power is turned back on, the windscreen's memory function returns it to the selected preset position
Passages from windscreen slits direct air through the inner fairing to vents next to the instrument panel; alleviating the lower pressure helps prevent turbulence around the rider's head
An exhaust pipe guard added to the upper part of the exhaust mid-pipe helps protect the rider from heat when stopped
Stepless adjustable grip heaters are standard, with an easy-to-reach switch located in front of the new lockable storage case on the inner left fairing panel
A new, lockable storage case in the left fairing inner panel uses an electromagnet lock to prevent entry when the engine is off
New mirrors positioned 40mm higher increase rear visibility and provide increased hand protection from the wind
New hooks at the front of the tank facilitate securing a tank bag
New KTRC Traction Control (Concours 14 ABS only)
KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control): Kawasaki's first traction control system reduces engine output when wheel spin is detected, allowing the rear tire to regain grip
Advanced, 3-way control (airflow, ignition timing, fuel delivery) gives KTRC smooth operation, natural feel and the ability to operate on long stretches of bad road
KTRC adds no weight, since it uses the existing ECU and ABS sensors
New 2nd Generation K-ACT ABS (Concours 14 ABS only)
2nd Generation K-ACT (Kawasaki Advanced Coactive-braking Technology) ABS links front and rear brakes for most effective front-rear brake force distribution
A smaller, lighter K-ACT ABS unit with a higher-spec ECU is capable of more detailed calculations for smoother operation
The rider can choose one of two modes to suit riding situation or rider preference: The linked effect from front brake lever actuation is largely the same in both modes, but the linked effect when actuating the rear brake pedal is quite different
In Standard Mode, rider control is prioritized, with linked effect reduced at initial pedal stroke for natural sensation when sport riding
In High Combined Mode, there's a more pronounced linked effect from the beginning of the pedal stroke -- ideal for touring and two-up highway use. A low-battery mode maintains the ABS function as best possible when the battery charge is low. In low-battery mode, ABS timing and pressure relief functions are maintained, so brake effectiveness is preserved (although riders will notice that ABS operation is not as smooth). The K-ACT lamp will flash and "Low Battery" will be displayed on the LCD screen. The system resets when the engine is turned off
New Fuel Economy Assistance Mode
Activating fuel economy assistance mode changes the engine to a leaner map which prioritizes fuel economy, for as much as a 25 percent MPG boost.
Fuel economy assistance works in any gear, as long as rpm is below 6000, throttle opening less than 30 percent and speed less than 80 mph.
Now each Concours 14 comes with one key fob (kept in a pocket) and a small card-type key for emergency/backup use.
The new card-type key includes an immobilizer function (but no remote activation) and is highly portable, measuring just 1.2 x 1.6 x 0.25 inch
Improved Finish, Higher Quality Design
Improved overall fit and finish results in a higher quality, more luxurious feel
A revised muffler end cap gives the silencer a more compact appearance; internal construction is unchanged, but the end cap itself is 1.6 inches shorter
Multi-function display now includes outside air temperature. The sensor is located at the intake duct (the furthest point from the engine)
Other new instrument functions include the K-ACT mode indicator, Economical Riding Indicator, and Fuel Economy Assistance Mode mark
The Mode-Select button on the front of the left grip lets the rider change LCD modes without taking his/her hand off the grip, toggling through average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption, remaining range, tire pressure, battery voltage and outside temperature
Engine guards, a larger top case, tank bag, GPS bracket, a low seat and side spoilers join the list of authorized Kawasaki Accessories.
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four with VVT
Bore x stroke: 84.0 x 61.0mm
Maximum torque: 102.0 lb-ft @ 6,200 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Fuel Injection: Digital Fuel Injection w/ 40mm throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Final drive: Tetra-Lever shaft drive
Rake / trail: 26.1 degrees / 4.4 in.
Front tire: 120/70 ZR-17
Rear tire: 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.
Brakes, front: Dual floating 310mm petal discs with four-piston calipers (optional ABS)
Brakes, rear: Single 270mm petal disc (optional ABS)
Fuel capacity: 5.8 gal.
Seat height: 32.1 in.
Wheelbase: 59.8 in.
Overall Length: 89.4 in.
Overall Height Fairing Lowered / Raised: 50.8 in. / 55.3 in.
Overall Width at Handlebars / at Saddlebags: 30.7 in. / 39.4 in.
Curb Weight: Concours 14 / Concours 14 ABS: 670.3 / 679.1 lbs.
Color: Candy Neptune Blue/Flat Super Black
MSRP Concours 14 / Concours 14 ABS: $14,599 / $15,299
Warranty: 12 months