Ridin’ For Harambe, Special October Surprise Edition


Our recurring feature Ridin’ For Harambe is on hiatus until November 1st, but I thought we’d interrupt our regular programming to bring you these two dudes and their new bikes.

On the left we have John. He’s a pretty cool dude. His primary interests: football, math, using just the back brake to slide in turns so his father gets all agitated and starts clutching the left side of his ribcage.

On the right we have Jack. Likes: long walks on the beach, stressful races, Ketel One vodka, the Ruth’s Chris restaurant chain. Dislikes: nosy husbands, Levaquin, minimum-sentencing laws.

Together, they own seven motorcycles but these are their newest ones. John’s on the 1982 Y-Zinger, derestricted, tuned-up, and obsessively prepped by some motocross dad two years ago. Jack’s on a brand-new 2015 Kawasaki ZX-14R Ninja. Some of you will know that the 2016 ZX-14R has a three-way catalyst that drops power down to just 197hp; the 2015 still makes the original 208hp. This was the last 2015 ZX-14R in Ohio.

Come back to this site to hear about their adventures together and to learn the answer to the question: Which one of them can eat ten Wendy’s chicken nuggets in under ten minutes? (It’s a trick question! Both of them can do that!)

37 Replies to “Ridin’ For Harambe, Special October Surprise Edition”

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It’s on loan to my ex-wife’s husband at the moment but I am pretty certain it will return!

      Edit: her current husband. He has an NC700X and is looking for something with a little more shove so I loaned him the VFR to open up a ZX-14R-sized space in the garage.

      • AvatarEconomist

        When you posted a poll back in April about which color ZX-14 you should get, in the comments you wrote:
        “But I really want that Saturn-rocket/low-class/zero-fucks-given attitude that the ZX-14R has in spades.”
        That’s awesome. You are truly living the dream.

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          Incidentally, my ex-wife’s current husband just bought a red new-old-stock 2014 Interceptor. He borrowed my VFR for two weeks and dug it so much he had to have his own — but like you, he was smart enough to get the revised single-radiator bike.

          • AvatarEconomist

            I hope he enjoys his as much as I am enjoying mine. Your comment about the build quality is what really put the Interceptor over the CBR650f, which was my other choice at the time.

  1. AvatarArk-med

    I’d love to get my six year old on a bike like that! Maybe something smaller to start; let’s see what mommy has to say.
    That ‘busa killer’s got a mean front fascia. Doesn’t it have different power modes? Useful for late fall.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Ark, we started John on an Avigo electric motorcycle last year. It does 17mph or thereabouts. We chose it over the Razor because the brake lever was sized for smaller hands. John still uses it to cruise around the neighborhood — my HOA-type neighbors see that as a “toy” because it’s electric.

      The ZX-14R has two power modes and three TC modes. I’m riding it in full power, middle traction.

    • AvatarApuleius

      Hey Jack, just curious: what made you choose the ZX14R over a liter bike like the massively-discounted GSXR1000? Was it the 208HP or the origami liter bike riding position?

      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        A few reasons:

        * I’ve broken my wrists racing BMX and riding skateparks so many times that I really can’t tolerate the literbike position. Even my VFR800 with Helibars gives me numb hands at the 100-mile mark.

        * I don’t track motorcycles — or at least I’m not going to track this one — so the added weight and reduced cornering capability of the ZX-14R vs. say a ZX-10R wasn’t an issue.

        * The ZX-14R is a kind of high-water mark in motorcycling. It’s the most powerful street-legal bike in history, a final salvo in a battle that everybody had already agreed to stop fighting a few years before. My other choice would have been the BMW K1300RS but I think this bike is faster, cooler, less trouble to maintain, and far less snobby.

        • AvatarSean

          Great choice! Can’t wait to hear more about it. I have the K1200S you put on here a few weeks ago. You’re right on about the maintainence-it’s not pretty. But I love the bike and this class of motorcycles. The zx14r might be my next bike in a few years.

  2. AvatarDavid Lorengo

    The people who want to see you kill your self on an FJR may still get their wish, just a different bike.

    I’ve had a couple Z bikes starting with a 91 ZX-11. Fun, fast, smooth, and capable of prodigious speed in the blink of an eye.

    A Conc 14 is in my near future.

  3. Avatar-Nate

    “so his father gets all agitated and starts clutching the left side of his ribcage.”

    Fatherhood is a bitch at times amIrite ? =8-) .

    Cool Motos Jack .

    My Son’s wife is racing this weekend in Az, maybe @ Bisbee ? .

    I have to miss it ’cause I got SWMBO’s car impounded, oops =8-^ .


      • Avatar-Nate

        Me being careless, no one else to blame . I parked right under the sign like a dolt, didn’t notice it .

        $500.00 lesson I hope I learned from .

        Now, back to Jack’s Parenting tales ! =8-) .

        You and John astride Motos ~ great stuff .


  4. Avataryamahog

    Goodness gracious! That ZX-14 is bodacious. I hope it’s not the final shot of 1990’s arms race but it’s definitely the last 200 hp N/A street bike (and maybe the first?). Maybe someday you’ll watch punks ride 300 horsepower forced induction GSXRs or Altas that kick out 2500 ft. lbs of torque to the rear wheel, but the ZX-14 is forever. It’s definitely a collector’s bike and you’ll get to say you owned one since it was new!

    The paint is absolutely fantastic on that thing! The Japanese take their flagships seriously, huh? Can’t say enough good things about the bike, great choice you’re going to love everything about it except that it’s definitely going to recalibrate your butt-dyno and maybe make your Accord feel a little asthmatic. We’re all super excited for you!

    How do you like the ergos?

  5. AvatarDirtRoads

    Jack I aint about to dis your awesome bike, but ever since I saw my first green Kawi I never liked that color. It’s just a neuron somewhere in my brain that says “no, no, no” … Maybe the reason I’ve had so many Hondas.

  6. AvatarPaul Alexander

    Just finished the Avoidable Contact and learned that Dave Mason is responsible for ‘We Just Disagree’. Caused some low sparks from my high heels.

    Thanks for the congratulations on being a conscious driver, although I sometimes wonder how wonderful it must feel to be undisturbed by the consequences of blindly piloting your machine amidst all the other machines. I had a girlfriend who was terrified of driving after being involved in an accident with a semi. But instead of the terror inspiring her to become a safer, more aware driver, she instead essentially began closing her eyes and gritting her teeth in the hopes she would get where she was trying to get to, with her one concession to go as slow as possible. I was nervous her rigid, slow style of driving was going to get her killed, so I at least got her to acknowledge that speeding up is sometimes safer than just slamming on the brakes, I got her to get out to get out of the merge lane if possible (the ‘garbage lane’ is what I told her it’s called) and to stay as far away from truck and trailers as possible. I also taught her to drive stick, which she promptly gave up on because using the clutch pedal made her leg tired.

    • Avatareverybodyhatesscott

      Nothing irritates me more than when I’m the passenger and I’m paying more attention to the road than the driver who is either checking tinder, facebook, instagram, snapchat or texting. You’re 10 minutes away from your destination, it can wait. Granted, even if they weren’t checking all of those things, they’d still be blissfully unaware of what’s going on around them.

  7. AvatarJeff

    Congrats Jack. As the proud owner of a Blackbird I must warn you: be prepared to never know how fast you’re really going again. These things make 120 feel like 60. If mine ever dies I’ll be getting a zx-14r. Wait, what am I saying? Blackbirds never die.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ve wanted a Blackbird since they came out. I had a line on a good used one but the guy stopped returning my emails.

  8. Pingback: Ridin' For Harambe, Part 26 - Riverside Green

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