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Kawasaki ZX-14R


(from our Travels with Guidoo series, MT258 June 2012, posted June 2020)

by Guy 'Guido' Allen

Power power everywhere and nowhere to use it. We have a plan...

I blame Suzuki for starting me down this path. Muggins had just picked up the latest GSX-R1000 for a video shoot. We’d happily weaved our way across town, slicing through the afternoon traffic snarl, then opened the thing up for just a few seconds as we whipped onto the freeway. That’s frustrating of course. You can feel the machine straining at the proverbial leash and yet you have to button off just as the engine really starts to howl and show interest.

It’s times like that, as you whistle past the greenery of the parks near home, that you wonder how come every suburb gets a football ground and not a racetrack? Must write to the council about that:

“Dear Mayor/Mayorette,

“How about we bulldoze the Lower Yunta cricket pitch, plus the goal posts, and sling in a nice tight bitumen track. I’m sure if we all diverted our speeding fines to this worthy cause, it could be paid for in no time.

“Enclosed is a 50 and an unused supermarket fuel voucher to get the ball rolling.

“Yours etc…”

You see what’s driving me nuts is we have all this truly wonderful machinery that is dead easy to ride and we can’t really use it.

To make matters worse, 48 hours later I’m lining up at Kawasaki’s depot, temporarily swapping Ms M Senior’s elderly CBX550 for a shiny new ZX-14R.

Being one of those folk who can’t help comparing the corporate sizzle with the mechanical steak, I delved into the brochure: “Not only is it the world’s fastest accelerating production motorcycle,” it promises, “But superb handling and balanced performance (care of advanced technology and numerous comfort features) ensure riders are equally at home carving up twisty roads in the hills, heading across the border to meet friends for lunch or deftly weaving through city traffic, as they are hurtling down the dragstrip.”

Okay, let’s put it to the test. There are a couple of long lines of mobile chicanes up ahead and, if I quietly take my place at the end of the queue, by the time we get to the lights the bike will have run out of fuel, I’ll have forgotten where I’m going, my licence will have expired and I’ll be too old to ride anyway. So we quietly filter up through the lines.

Ignoring the blokes in the Hyundai Excel who run a red light (which backs up Ms M Junior’s theory that all Excel owners have given up on life), it’s drama-free. That’s despite having what the maker says is something over 200 horses on tap. So far so good – it’s a pussycat.

With a nice (and rare) stretch of open tar in front, we decided to open the taps. Holy snappin’ duckbeaks Batman! Who says there’s no such thing as a time machine?! I think we overtook a white delivery van – can’t be sure of the colour, as I was busy – and, judging by the way the driver’s hair blew forward, I think we sucked out the windscreen on the way through.

Problem was that by the time my brain caught up with the bike, we had to button off again. Geez, some more of that would be nice, but where? We can’t afford Phillip Island on a full-time basis and the only way to get an impromptu police escort seems to involve lawyers, guns and an appalling amount of money.

Naturally I asked Motorcycle Trader mag Editor Leech, but he seemed to think the publisher would frown on asking for a police pursuit budget. As I’ve said before, publishers have got no sense of humour.

So it’s back to the council. Maybe if I offered them $100 and two fuel vouchers…

Suzuki GSX-R1000


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