Author Topic: The Future of th C14  (Read 15317 times)

Offline blue14

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The Future of th C14
« on: December 02, 2017, 01:38:34 pm »
Just returned from the NY motorcycle show where I was able to speak with Bill Jenkins.  Bill is a VP at Kawasaki USA.  He had some interesting things to say about the various possibe futures for the Concours 14.

First initially sales were around 4000 per year, today that has dropped to around 1000 per year.  Kawi was happy with 4000, not so much at 1000.

They are aware that the Concours has fallen behind the competition without features like cruise control and touchscreens and flyby wire and electronic suspension.  These items are costing sales.  They also see the adventure bike fad costing them sales of a sport touring bike.

The new H2 SX is simply a hopped up Ninja 1000, much less space for rider, passenger and luggage than the Concours.  Kaw has spent a pantload of money developing the supercharged engine platform and are actively seeking areas to broaden its use.  Sporttouring is one.

At the same time they are not ruling out a Gen 3 OR IS IT 4 Concours 14.

Another strong possiblity is replacing the 1352 motor with the supercharged 1000 into the existing Concours chassis as near as possible.  The goal is to retain the roominess of the present Concours but expand the use  of the supercarged 1000.

For me the H2SX doesnt cut it.  A H2SX with simply a shaft drive wont do it either.

If we all like the Concours14 for its size, performance and abiliy to bring things along on the ride, we need to help Kawasaki to reach the decision of a new Gen 3 or a Concours SX.  Three different Kawi guys said emails/snail mails from current owner sent to Kawasaki USA carry more weight than any other with the likely exception of money.

So if you guys like your bike and would like to see an improved version of the same thing send in those cards and letters and emails.  The next bike is coming in one year, two at most.  Feel free to pass this on to the other forum, the more they hear from us the more they will feel they might get back to 4000 units per year.
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Offline gPink

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2017, 02:46:55 pm »
Thanks for the insights, Blue. I would not buy a supercharged or turbo bike for sport/touring duties and I'm way past pure sport use. Just because they built it doesn't make it the best tool for the job. The way nobody trusts dealers to change the oil let alone do a valve lash check I would have to wonder about required maintenance. Even though I'm probably no longer in the target market I would like the model to continue because it's a solid proven platform.
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Offline blue14

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2017, 03:15:16 pm »
Thanks for the insights, Blue. I would not buy a supercharged or turbo bike for sport/touring duties and I'm way past pure sport use. Just because they built it doesn't make it the best tool for the job. The way nobody trusts dealers to change the oil let alone do a valve lash check I would have to wonder about required maintenance. Even though I'm probably no longer in the target market I would like the model to continue because it's a solid proven platform.

Then that is what you tell them.  The 1352 or 1444 is still a possibility. ;) ;) :thumbs:
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2017, 03:19:41 pm »
This is exactly what I have long thought, and feared. With sales numbers like that, I think it quite likely they will just drop the bike, and effectively, the Kawasaki presence in sport tourers.

I think the exact same thing happened with Honda and the 1300, although LEO sales were driving them until they found that nasty bout of instability at modest speeds. But in the end, I suspect that entire line also to disappear.

That will leave only Yamaha in the 'main line' sport tourer market. Yes there is BMW, Triumph and a few others, or at least 'close enough' models, but they are all too expensive to really compete directly with the C-14 or FJR.

Brian

Just returned from the NY motorcycle show where I was able to speak with Bill Jenkins.  Bill is a VP at Kawasaki USA.  He had some interesting things to say about the various possibe futures for the Concours 14.

First initially sales were around 4000 per year, today that has dropped to around 1000 per year.  Kawi was happy with 4000, not so much at 1000.

They are aware that the Concours has fallen behind the competition without features like cruise control and touchscreens and flyby wire and electronic suspension.  These items are costing sales.  They also see the adventure bike fad costing them sales of a sport touring bike.

The new H2 SX is simply a hopped up Ninja 1000, much less space for rider, passenger and luggage than the Concours.  Kaw has spent a pantload of money developing the supercharged engine platform and are actively seeking areas to broaden its use.  Sporttouring is one.

At the same time they are not ruling out a Gen 3 OR IS IT 4 Concours 14.

Another strong possiblity is replacing the 1352 motor with the supercharged 1000 into the existing Concours chassis as near as possible.  The goal is to retain the roominess of the present Concours but expand the use  of the supercarged 1000.

For me the H2SX doesnt cut it.  A H2SX with simply a shaft drive wont do it either.

If we all like the Concours14 for its size, performance and abiliy to bring things along on the ride, we need to help Kawasaki to reach the decision of a new Gen 3 or a Concours SX.  Three different Kawi guys said emails/snail mails from current owner sent to Kawasaki USA carry more weight than any other with the likely exception of money.

So if you guys like your bike and would like to see an improved version of the same thing send in those cards and letters and emails.  The next bike is coming in one year, two at most.  Feel free to pass this on to the other forum, the more they hear from us the more they will feel they might get back to 4000 units per year.
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Offline olie

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2017, 04:36:51 pm »
I see no future for the present Concours /GTR 1400. It was canned in Europe in 2016, no updates to meet Euro4.

Cars are already on Euro5/6.... January 2021 Euro5 will kick in for bikes too. see link below

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/performance-bikes-uk/20170405/281513635992095

The Supercharger is the technique of choice by Kawasaki to meet the Euro5/6... similar with what cars are doing with turbos. The future is here now... just get used to ;)
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2017, 05:02:47 pm »
Just went looking around at other bikes that might be suitable as a substitute for a C-14 for me. And the best thing I can come up with is a modified ZX 14. ?? Not all that desirable but the difference in price between one of those and, say, a BMW 1600 would more than buy enough farkles to comfy it up and make it a capable long- distance bike. Coupled with the bigger engine and the same positive points of the overall chassis, I think that is the way I would go.

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Offline gPink

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2017, 06:35:37 pm »
I see no future for the present Concours /GTR 1400. It was canned in Europe in 2016, no updates to meet Euro4.

Cars are already on Euro5/6.... January 2021 Euro5 will kick in for bikes too. see link below

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/performance-bikes-uk/20170405/281513635992095

The Supercharger is the technique of choice by Kawasaki to meet the Euro5/6... similar with what cars are doing with turbos. The future is here now... just get used to ;)

Screw the future...I don't have to get used to it. They'll pry my flip phone from my dead cold fingers.

...and get off my lawn... :rotflmao:







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Offline maxtog

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 08:18:19 pm »
I see no future for the present Concours /GTR 1400. It was canned in Europe in 2016, no updates to meet Euro4.

The sister bike of the Concours 14, the ZX-14 was modified slightly and meetings Euro4 and is still being sold in the EU.  It is very easy.  In fact, the gen 2.5 C-14 already has a O2 sensor, they just have to upgrade the CAT and done.  The research and parts are already available.  So Euro4 isn't the reason.

Quote
The Supercharger is the technique of choice by Kawasaki to meet the Euro5/6... similar with what cars are doing with turbos. The future is here now... just get used to ;)

If they placed the 200hp supercharged 1 liter into the Concours, and kept everything else the same but upgraded the lighting and added cruise, I would absolutely buy it (although I want SILVER!)
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Offline maxtog

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2017, 08:20:02 pm »
Just went looking around at other bikes that might be suitable as a substitute for a C-14 for me. And the best thing I can come up with is a modified ZX 14. ??

Wouldn't do it for me at all.  There is no way it could be made comfortable- bars wrong, pegs REALLY wrong, no electric windscreen, etc, etc; and I am way beyond chain drive.
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 01:19:58 am »
All of that is fixable, in fact, easily fixable, including the chain drive.

But the part that is not negotiable, the engine, chassis and major components, are and excellent, known quantity with a huge aftermarket support system. And if the C-14 goes away, and let's be honest, at 1,000 units a year I believe that is highly likely, there just are not many replacements out there. The C-14 was as big and bulky as I wanted, maybe even 50 lbs. overweight, so that tosses the BMW 1600 out the window. The Feejer is definitely in the slot, but I have not really cared for past models mostly due to vibration; nothing terrible, just more buzz than I want to sit on for a lot of hours at a time. The Triumph is under- powered, overpriced and does not have either the dealer or aftermarket support I would like to see. So we are running pretty low on options. Of course I did not even bother to mention entire lines of bikes I would not consider: cruisers, any 'V' or 90 degree twin and so forth, anything that even resembles sitting in a gynecologist's "chair" (legs forward and spread, spine back, you know, all ready for Dr. Coldfinger).

My wife and I, and it is mostly me, are too big for a liter bike; they are just not long enough (Easy Girls!).

The only other thing might be something really different such as a Honda 1200F, but the last rev. of that is downright fugly IMO. But the underlying bike has potential, although it is rather expensive and farkles are even more so so that is not really likely to happen.

Sport tourers and full- tourers are a tough market. Over the years, a few have come and gone, and some other bikes claim to slide into that slot that are really not (read: all the big V-twins on the planet in their 'I have a top box' mode). And some were really interesting and had a future but because they have never sold well, there has never been and drive to flesh out models and really allow them to mature, with a very few exceptions such as the FJR (still working on that) and the Goldwing (a fantastic bike, it just does not 'float my boat').

I will be sorry to see the C-14 go, if it does, but in a way, it is already gone: very sluggish sales, very low used prices and a very soft market and worst of all, a very soft new market with two and more year old 'brand new' bikes being sold by dealers. That is just not tolerable and the whole thing seems to be getting worse, not better. So there are three choices as I see it: 1) the model hangs around another year or two and fades away, 2) the model is discontinued after or even during this next model year (both options are really about the same) or 3) Kawasaki makes a serious, concerted effort to make the bike much more salable while at the same time holding the sale price down low enough to be reasonable compared with the FJR.

Brian

Wouldn't do it for me at all.  There is no way it could be made comfortable- bars wrong, pegs REALLY wrong, no electric windscreen, etc, etc; and I am way beyond chain drive.
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Offline Justcliff

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 07:32:52 am »
I would hate more than anything to see the Concours disappear. The sport touring market is just to small to support sales though I'm afraid. The bike market as a whole seems to be lagging IMO. The C14 is a lot of bang for the buck no doubt.

I'll most likely be shopping for one next year simply due my high mileage. I prefer the Gen 1 myself so I'll be torn as to whether buy new or used. Not to mention used ones are plentiful & cheap! Either way I'll differently buy another C14.

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Offline blue14

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 10:36:21 am »
So far there seems to be a fatalistic response.  If Kawi saw that sales could be 2000 a year that might be enough to decide to upgrade the 1352.

Respectfully, it might be better to contact Kawi USA instead of discussing what would be a suitable alternative.

I can tell you that Bill Jenkins likes the rider position and comfort of our preent Concours as opposed to the Ninja 1000 H2SX.  Some more gentle push from existing owners might do it.
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Offline B.D.F.

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2017, 10:58:23 am »
You may be right but honestly, I do not think a 10,000 / year letter- writing campaign is worth much of anything in view of the sales numbers. What good does it do any manufacturer to be contacted and told what a great product they make, only to have them sit on the dealer's floors? Put simply: words are great but dollars convey a LOT more weight.

What would be most interesting would be to see the sales of Yamaha FJR's by comparison. That would yield a very good picture of how much more market Kawasaki could take I think.

Hey, I was planning on buying on in the next couple of years myself, assuming they did not mangle it into something too much different than it is now. So it is not my hope that they drop the line, merely my thought after reading your information. At some point, fatalistic is merely realistic.

Brian

So far there seems to be a fatalistic response.  If Kawi saw that sales could be 2000 a year that might be enough to decide to upgrade the 1352.

Respectfully, it might be better to contact Kawi USA instead of discussing what would be a suitable alternative.

I can tell you that Bill Jenkins likes the rider position and comfort of our preent Concours as opposed to the Ninja 1000 H2SX.  Some more gentle push from existing owners might do it.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens and just a tad of Neanderthal but it usually does not show....  My Private mail is blocked; it is not you, it is me, just like that dating partner said all those years ago. Please send an e-mail if you want to contact me privately.

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Offline maxtog

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2017, 12:52:34 pm »
I can tell you that Bill Jenkins likes the rider position and comfort of our preent Concours as opposed to the Ninja 1000 H2SX.

That's because the H2SX isnt' a real sport touring bike [IMHO].

You may be right but honestly, I do not think a 10,000 / year letter- writing campaign is worth much of anything in view of the sales numbers.

I have to agree with that.  I do think feedback is important, and we certainly SHOULD let Kawasaki know what we are thinking and desire.  But sales numbers will win every time.  Of course, I would love to know how sales compare to the FJR- if the FJR is increasing at the expense of the Concours, then that indicates Kawasaki is dropping the ball by not keeping up.  Releasing the H2SX is great from a power standpoint, and a lose in every single other category for this particular market segment- reliability, warranty, value, comfort, convenience, ride, storage, room, range, style, etc.  Honestly, I would never turn away more power, but the C14 is a beast (especially when flashed) and I really don't need any more power.
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Offline xsv

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Re: The Future of th C14
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2017, 01:22:50 pm »


That will leave only Yamaha in the 'main line' sport tourer market. Yes there is BMW, Triumph and a few others, or at least 'close enough' models, but they are all too expensive to really compete directly with the C-14 or FJR.

Brian

I really like my Triumph Trophy SE, but you can strike that from the list.  With the elimination of the Trophy, Triumph has no sport touring offerings.
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