Yea, it's defnitely ugly. It has that same sort of '80's look to it that the Ninja 250 has. BUT.... that aside:
From motorcycle-usa.com test drive:
Straight away, the ZX-14 proves to be an excellent dragracing platform. On my first two passes, I ran nearly identical 9.98-second trips down the quarter (a 9.985 and a 9.989), both culminating in a matching 143.23 mph trap speed. Getting into the 9-second bracket on my first run on the bike is one thing, but logging equal runs back to back is incredible. Obviously, the mega ZX is super easy to launch, or that kind of consistency simply wouldn't be possible.
Ya gotta admit, to sit on a bike for the first time, and run back to back 9.98s is fucking incredible, that kind of consistency is amazing.
Not once were any of my runs spoiled by an inconsistent clutch, despite motojournalists mercilessly abusing the 14's clutches for about a day and a half. A direct shift lever (no linkage) ensured positive shifts even at full throttle.
also good to know that the clutch can take it! And, when they factor in altitude and temperature:
When corrected for temperature and altitude (as do all magazines), my run computed to a 9.46 at 152.0 mph.
DAMN! 9.46 on a stock bike!
Helping keep the launches consistent is the ZX's superlative clutch, imperative for getting the most out of any run down the strip. The lever actuates a radial-pump clutch, an industry-first according to Kawasaki. Like radial-mount brake master cylinders and radial brake calipers, this type of arrangement generally results in more feedback through the lever. Feel through the ZX's clutch lever was as good as or better than any hydraulic clutch I've sampled.
AND it has great road-to hand communication through the brake and clutch levers.
I got the nod to take a crack at a lowered ZX-14 equipped with a Muzzys exhaust and Power Commander that was on hand. Let me tell you, the slammed bike was drastically easier to launch, and despite not knowing how it was going to react, I ran an easy 9.57 at 149 mph without really trying. Schnitz ran a 9.17 on the same bike.
Lowered, power commander, and exhaust: -.8 seconds!
So..... ugly, hell yea! But impressive? I would say. We may not ever want this thing, but the thing is, some of the technology used in this bike, is phenomenal, and in time, it will trickle down to their other models, and other manufacturers will steal the ideas and use them on their bikes too. So, when I look at this ugly as hell bike, I don't see an ugly as hell bike, I see a pile of possibilities!