Inline Performance Magazine

Inline Performance Magazine

Clash of the Titans: Hayabusa v. Ninja ZX-14

Posted: 25 Aug 2011 10:00 PM PDT

Hello everyone, this is Paul with a new update on our 2011 Suzuki Hayabusa staffer. As you may remember, we took the Hayabusa with us when we visited the Kawasaki Demo event in San Mateo. They had a 2011 Kawasaki ZX-14 model in the demo line-up, and we could hardly wait to test it against the Hayabusa. Let’s delve deeper and explore the key features and differences between these two magnificent machines.

The first demo ride was on the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14. As a competitor to Suzuki’s GSX-1300R Hayabusa, the Ninja has some key differences. Like most other Kawasaki motorcycles, the Ninja ZX-14 has a light throttle pull allowing for a crisp, easy twisting that affords a quick wind up of the engine. It is also visually narrower, utilizing a minimalist fairing design with less curvy aerodynamic contouring. The dash incorporates a digital computer display in the center with two large black-on-white dials for the tachometer and speedometer below in contrast to the white-on-black dials on the Suzuki Hayabusa.

With weeks of fine-tuning on the Hayabusa’s fully adjustable forks and rear shock, the comparison against the Ninja is hardly an equal test. Given that Kawasaki is touring the country with this motorcycle, and has a fleet of people catering to its every need, we can push aside any notion that the Hayabusa has an unfair advantage in suspension setup, and evaluate both motorcycles solely on their performance.

The Ninja ZX-14′s 1352 cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four stands in near equality to the Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa’s 1340cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline-four; at least from these details. Inside both engines are fitted with a chrome alloy cylinder lining in the aluminum engine blocks. While both motorcycles utilize digital fuel injection, the fuel mappings and the specialized exhaust setups are where they differentiate themselves.

Combined with the gearing in the six-speed manual transmission the Ninja ZX-14 delivers power over a very wide range in a smooth and consistent feeling. The Hayabusa does not concern itself with being overly smooth, (it has enough smoothness in the shapely contoured curves), and instead focuses on delivering maximum top-end power with a satisfying rush of acceleration. Albeit, at the expense of a rather mundane first gear.

All of the power would quickly become fatiguing if not for the considerable designing for rider comfort and synergistic control. In the video, you can see some of the sophisticated dial and controls that help make the riding experience enjoyable. As you can see, the Ninja ZX-14 has a very large seat, positioning the rider on top of the motorcycle. The Hayabusa, conversely incorporates in the rider into the motorcycle and lower relative to the rest of the motorcycle despite having a seat height a fraction of an inch higher than the Ninja.

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 wins the contest on low speed off the line acceleration while the Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa takes top points on styling and high-end power and speed.

This is all for now, I hope you enjoyed the video. Read the full review of the 2011 Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa in an upcoming print issue.

Stay tuned for more updates, and be sure to order your copy of the 2011 print edition of Inline Performance Magazine HERE at the pre-order price until supplies last.

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