Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS

Concours 14 ABS Delivers

Well after a lot of deliberations, reading and thoughts the BMW GS1200 was going to be the next one in the stable THEN the 2007 Iron Butt Rally happened. Wow BMW's breaking down everywhere, final drives being the major culprit and more to the point no official response from BMW.

What was I going to do, the FJR1300 although nice was getting just a little long in the tooth, and my '01 Fz1 complete with Givi's, Ivan's Jet kit, Leo Vinci pipe, Corbin, PIAA's albeit chain drive and a couple of hundred cc's less was approaching 37,000 miles? But it still hadn't missed a beat and something a little more different than the FJR was necessary hence the Beemer thought!

Then it happened I got a copy of Superbike magazine, a Brit motorcycle rag I have subscribed to since Issue 1 back in 1977. There on page 17 was a '1st Ride' article entitled "Family Values" announcing that Kawasaki were back in the tourer market after 10 years!

What was it, well the 1400GTR, or as it is known on this side of the Atlantic "Concours 14". Well well well. This looked good, ABS as an option, that monster of an engine from the ZZR1400 but with VVT, variable valve timing to bring all that lovely power and torque lower down the rev range and a fancy shaft drive set up to remove that weird torque reaction raising the back end up. (Having owned shaft drive bikes such as the XS750, 850 and 1100 over the years torque reaction can be quite an unusual experience - if you've had one you will know what I mean). Additionally good size QD panniers, electric adjustable screen, soon to arrive top case and Gel seat - Kawasaki dealer here I come - auf wiedersehen (sp) BMW!

So I popped to my nearest dealer during lunch and there it was, a beautiful 'Neutron Silver' (black is only available in Europe) Concours but no ABS. Eventually, and this can be the theme of another story, a salesmen appeared and asked if I needed help. I asked when could they get an ABS version and his response was "Well give me the deposit and I'll get you one in 6 weeks" OK Mr. Salesmen your opportunity to sell me a 14 grand motorcycle due to your subtle approach just went out the window - I am now going to take my 14k elsewhere - bye.

The following day, Saturday, the wife and I rode up to Greenwood, South Carolina, on the trusty FZ1. We chanced across a dealership there, Greenwood Performancecycle Inc. ( who sell Kwaks. In we popped and again another Concours 14 without ABS. Once again a salesmen appeared, "Lovely bike what do you think? Hi", shook my hand and I agreed. I asked when would they get an ABS version in? He advised that one was on order and hopefully mid October delivery. I said great, we chatted and I left my email address. Off we went for a ride.

A couple of weeks later I get an email stating that the Concurs 14 ABS is scheduled to arrive next week and was I interested. I said yes but didn't know when I could make it up there so if they had a sale sell, if not and when I could get there, I would be interested. A couple of weeks passed I called and yes it was still there. We discussed, I got a price, top case and Gel seat in the deal - see you Saturday.

Arrived Saturday morning (10/20/07) and there it was, all ready to go. Paperwork completed - great job Sharon, mandatory familiarization tour and we were good to go. Gel seat and top case on back order but no big shakes. Keep it to 4,000 for the first 500 and then bring her in at 600 for it's oil change. "So you're open tomorrow" I stated , only joking. Sharon took a couple of pictures for the dealership web site and off we went.

Well we got home a little after 6 that evening and the Kwak had 400 miles on it. Gorgeous, both I and the passenger, Wendy, had zero complaints. Also 4,000 revs in 6th equates to around 85 mph so no complaints there also. The gadgets are good, the trip computer useful and the KIPASS, albeit initially strange, is great. Altogether a well built high quality motorcycle.

On Sunday we took her out for a short run to add another 100 miles so that I could increase the revs to 6,000 rpm. Off we went towards Lexington, SC, the long way around from where we live near Chapin and we go to the traffic circle (roundabout) on 378 (you locals will all know it of course). Nothing on it so off we go for 2 laps - wonderful! The Fz1 goes nice around there and so does my Monster S4 but wow, for a nearly 700lb motorcycle, two up, this thing handles - I am pleased to state that the edges are off the left hand side of those Bridgestones - yeehaaa! Guess where it is going Spring next year, yes you have guessed it, Deals Gap, one of my most favorite sections of roads in the whole World, can't wait.

So a week has gone and it has 600 miles on the clock. An email has been sent and I hope to get her in for the first service this week so that we can ride her properly next weekend, do some serious miles. I can then add another chapter to this first and satisfying one.

Others with a Concours I would love to hear from - please post freely.

Other bikes in the stable include, the aforementioned FZ1, S4 Monster, a '92 Mk1 Ducati Superlight and a Suzuki DRZ400SM. Posts from owners of these also welcome. I also have a copy of every Superbike magazine from Issue 1 1977 so if anyone needs some information about any bike from that time to now just ask.


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