Today, Brady Steffl, from the blog, Behind Bars left a comment on my blog, asking how I could do 700 miles a day on a Ninja. Well Brady, here you go. These are the comfort related modifications I've made to my 2009 Kawasaki Ninja Zx-14.
The very first thing I did to my '14 was to change the seat. On the way home from the dealer, I noticed that the stock seat felt like a 2x10 with a vinyl cover over it. It was also tipped forward so the "boys" were being crushed into the gas tank. The seat would be OK if I were constantly hanging off and dragging a knee in the corners, but not so good on the highway.
I had read on a few of the Zx-14 forums that the seat from the new Kawasaki Concours 14 was a direct swap and very comfortable. I watched a Concours 14 forum, waiting for someone selling the stock C-14 seat. It turned out to be the best $125.00 I've spent. The seat swap involves trading brackets between the seat pans.
The ONLY thing I'd change would be to buy a C-14 seat from a newer model. The newer ones are all black, the earlier ones like I bought are black & gray. The stock Zx-14 seat cowl won't fit on a C-14 seat, but I can live with that.
The stock Zx-14 seat
The Concours 14 seat.
I also installed a set of bar riser blocks from Helibars. The machined and anodized aluminum spacer plate is only .75" thick, but it makes a huge difference. The spacer raises the bars just enough to help take some of the weight off my hands, and some of the bend out of my back.
Left bar with riser block removed. Fork adjustments easy to access.
Right side bar with Helibar spacer in place. Fork adjustments now sit slightly recessed.
The last thing I did was to change the wind screen. The stock screen is fine for the track. But in real world driving, which includes bugs and rain, a taller one is a plus.
Stock clear screen, and a Zerogravity Sport/Touring screen.
Some people on the Zx-14 forums will install foot pegs from a Buell Ulysses. That swap lowers the foot pegs bout an inch and a half. I've never felt the need to do that. I have plenty of legroom.
I've changed to Michelin Pilotroad 2 tires and get 10,000+ miles from them. I've mounted a Ram Ball in the steering neck to mount a GPS. I added a set of Givi V35 PLX side cases on SW-Motech mounts from Twistedthottle.com. A Throttlemeister helps with the ability to take my hands off the bars to rest them a bit.
The changes I've made, make is possible for me to cover fairly long distances in relative comfort. At nearly 40 MPG and a 5.8 gallon tank, at 200 miles I'm ready to sit up and stretch.