Kawasaki Concours 14 Problems: 3 Known Issues (Explained)

Tour-ready sportbikes are a growing trend, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Concours 14 have responsive power output from the bike and a comfortable ride for carving windy canyons and stunting city-streets. All this from a Kawasaki model that’s been around for quite some time.

There’s no shortage of options to choose from when it comes to tour-ready sportbikes, but does the Kawasaki stand a chance against others in the market?

To answer this question, we are looking at some of the concerns the Kawasaki Concour 14 owners have expressed and the steps they took to correct the problems.

Let’s jump straight into it!

1. Heat Issues

Kawasaki Concour 14 is named for the 1400cc beast of a motor it’s packing, and an engine that big is bound to warm up.

One of the chief complaints expressed by Concours 14 owners is that the engine generates heat that makes for an uncomfortable ride, especially at stand-stills.

This is because the heat expelled by the bike’s engine is directly aimed at the rider’s left leg. The heat is honestly not as bad as other big-motor bikes, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Owners have complained for years about the heat issue on the Concours 14, and Kawasaki took action. While pre-2010 models were especially prone to the heat issue, in 2010, Kawasaki fixed the Concours 14 up by adding foam in the heating area.

Possible Methods for Solving the Heat Issue on the Kawasaki Concours 14:

  • Ensuring the bike isn’t idling lean
  • Ensuring you’re using the proper oil
  • Adding heat shields
  • Adding muzzy fans
  • Blocking the gap
  • Wearing high-quality leather insulated boots and long pants

Owners who’ve had this bike for more extended periods noticed that the heat improved once the engine had been broken in.  The pistons on a new motor are stiff, meaning the bike is working harder and generating more heat.

It’s best not to ride a new motor too hard. Take it easy for the first 1000 miles until the pistons are expanded to where they need to be for a healthy bike; you’ll notice less heat around the 5,000-mile mark for most Concour 14s.

Heat issues are common on many bikes of this size, and while Kawasaki didn’t act immediately, they took steps to fix the problem in 2010.

The problem gets exacerbated while at a standstill, like stuck in traffic, for example, idling in warm weather.

We suggest killing the motor when you hit that gut-churning wall of traffic we all despise and walking the bike forward until traffic picks back up, at what point you fire her up and rip on out of there.

Once again, the heat is directed straight at the left leg. What stands out is that most riders of the Concours 14 that live in high-temperature areas have gotten used to the heat after some time.

If the engine heat gets so bad that the temperature gauge redlines, it could indicate a bigger problem.

It would be best to visit a mechanic or dealership if the temperature needle hits red regularly or if the heat hinders the bike’s performance.

2. Poor Fuel Economy and Mile Range

One of the charms of touring bikes in any class is that they come staked with larger fuel tanks. This means a rider can crush plenty of miles before having to stop for gas.

While the Kawasaki Concours 14 packs a decent tank, the older C10s had a 7.5-gallon tank- massive for a motorcycle. The Manufacturer’s decision to downsize the fuel capacity turns off most prospective buyers looking for touring bikes.

The Concours 14 features a 5.8-gallon fuel tank, a hefty tank, but almost 2 gallons smaller than the older model. Still, there’s an upside.

In 2020 Kawasaki added a new feature: Fuel Economy Assistance (FEA) mode on the bike. This new-tech allows the bike to preserve fuel for long-distance rides and gets the rider a little more riding time between refueling.

The 2020 updates were vast; the Concours 14 has more features than ever before, and Kawasaki fans are chomping at the bit to get in the saddle of the new models and see the improvements for themselves.

Real-World MPG Levels for Some of the Different Models:

Model  Average miles per gallon (MPG) 
2008 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 37.1
2009 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 36.8
2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 39.3
2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 40.3
2012 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 36.6

Kawasaki engineers are constantly developing improvements, adding benefits like increased fuel efficiency and traction control.

Like any motor, improved fuel economy on the Concour 14 happens around 500 miles, after a “breaking in” period. As I mentioned earlier, brand-new pistons are contracted, but with slow and steady use, they’ll heat up and stretch out.

The motor is working harder to move them up until that happens, which burns more fuel.

It’s important to note that the Kawasaki Concours 14’s mileage range takes a huge dip when you have aftermarket modifications added.

Adding 3rd party parts designed by non-manufacturer engineers, things like air intakes and exhausts can decrease performance and efficiency. Always do your homework before having aftermarket enhancement installed.

It is also advised to check the MPG on the bike’s dash to keep track of your mileage. If your MPG is way too low, then this might indicate a problem with the bike.

Also read our article on 3 Most-Common Problems With Kawasaki GTR 1400

3. Kawasaki KIPASS Failures

On older models, a failing KIPASS (Kawasaki Intelligent Proximity Activation Start System)  was the most concerning problem on the Kawasaki Concours 14. Some KIPASS failures result in minor functional issues, while others render the bike completely unusable.

KIPASS is an immobilizer system installed on the bike’s keys. The system allows communication between the bike’s Electronic Computer Unit (ECU) and the head of the ignition key in short radio waves back and forth.

If the head of the key and the ECU somehow fail to communicate, the system malfunctions. This means the bike will become unresponsive even if the key is inserted into the ignition switch; the motorcycle will not start.

The system essentially gives added theft deterrence and peace of mind to the bike’s owners. It increases security on the vehicle- it’s difficult to crack.

If the KIPASS fails, the bike won’t start. It’s designed so that if the key is not within inches of it, then access to the ignition is rejected as a safety measure.

A Few Things to Try if the KIPASS System is Failing:

Many riders dealt with the problem by hammering the key down into the ignition when the KIPASS was unresponsive.

Sometimes it’s as simple as the key being stuck halfway into the activation switch. The only way to get it completely inside the activation switch is with a little bit of force.

Another potential problem/solution is a stuck microswitch.

The KIPASS is activated by a microswitch under the 9’Oclock position of the ring under the ignition. Gentle prodding with a small narrow screwdriver and some electrical contact cleaner and 3in1 can free the microswitch, allowing the KIPASS switch top hat to activated without bashing it in.

This microswitch seems to be the culprit for a lot of rider’s KIPASS problems; most riders are probably unaware that the switch is there.

When the top hat is pushed down, it’s the microswitch that activates the KIPASS and allows the ignition to be turned on to start the bike, so if the switch is dirty and stuck, the KIPASS won’t engage.

Here are a few troubleshoots to try out if you encounter KIPASS issues:

  • Ensure that the key is all the way in the ignition
  • Lube the KIPASS Actuator
  • Check for loose battery terminal connections.
  • Check if the battery is charged.
  • Check fuses
  • Remove and reinsert the KIPASS fuse
  • Replace the ignition switch
  • Replace the ECU

If none of the above helps, it might mean a new KIPASS system needs to be installed. This can prove to be quite expensive and not a suitable solution for a bike out of warranty.

Not everyone has issues with the KIPASS. With innovative technologies like the KIPASS, Kawasaki implemented other new technological features on their Concours 14 bikes.

Still, it’s not recommended to diagnose and fix KIPASS problems on your own. The technology and the lock code system on the KIPASS and fob are installed at the Kawasaki factory.

It would require a system rebuild with the Kawasaki factory software, and these are not easy to come by. Rebuilding the KIPASS is an expensive endeavor.

Fortunately, most of the KIPASS  issues are rectified on the newer models.

Kawasaki is great at responding to problems, and the new Kawasaki Concours 14 showcases the critical thinking attributes of their engineers.

General Pros And Cons For The Kawasaki Concours 14

Pros:

What seems to interest most owners and lovers of this sport touring bike is the number of technological advances installed.

Some of the Extra Features on a Kawasaki Concours 14:

  • Variable Valve Timing
  • KIPASS Technology
  • Electrically Adjusted Windshield
  • Kawasaki Advanced Coactive-braking Technology (K-act) Abs System
  • KTRC Traction Control
  • Fuel Economy Assistance Mode

These are just some of the added benefits and features of this blast from the past from Kawasaki.

This liquid-cooled sport-touring bike boasts an exceptional 6-speed transmission that allows shorter starting gears. This means more torque, and the bike’s 1,352cc inline four-cylinder engine gets straight into the action to give the bike a huge boost on takeoffs.

On those long-distance rides between canyons, the Concours 14 has comfortable seating with heated grips. The seating is adjusted in such a way as to give the rider an easier time reaching the ground.

The Kawasaki Concours 14 gives all-around sportbike performance on a sleek and stylish sport-touring bike. The designs range from metallic matte fusion silver to metallic spark black paint giving an ultra-modern design to a not so new kid on the block.

The cherry on top would have to be the KIPASS system that is integrated into the bike. Not only is it super convenient not having to fumble around with your keys, but it also gives off a cleaner dash with no swinging keys.

Although the bike has minor issues here and there, die-hard Kawasaki fans swear by the Concours 14’s reliability and comfort.

Cons:

  • Heat Issues
  • Low Fuel Economy and Mile Range
  • Kawasaki KIPASS Failures

What Do The Reviews Say?

“Instead of engaging in the technology wars that bump up the price of motorcycles, Kawasaki chose to upgrade the 2015 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS with cost-effective changes that reposition the big sport-tourer as a budget high-performance touring sportbike.”

Source: UltimateMotorcycling.com

 “Kawasaki delivered the 2015 Concours 14 ABS with a whole slew of improvements over the prior year — some cosmetic and some for performance — and carried that over to 2020.”

Source:TopSpeed.com

What Is The Resale Value On The Kawasaki Concours 14?

Year and Model Mileage (miles) Price($)
2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 26,952  6,487 
2012 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 13,168 6,917
2014 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 31,110 7,900 
2016 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 14,308 10,999
2018 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 2,421 11,999
2019 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 4,404 9,999 
2020 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS 1 15,599

N.B: The above prices may vary according to your location and vehicle mileage.

Final Thoughts

A sport-touring bike is essentially a long-distance rider’s best friend.

The Kawasaki Concours 14 ticks all the right boxes for performance features, and with a sport-touring bike of this size, the ride is surprisingly comfortable.

With Concours 14, Kawasaki made sure to deliver a well-rounded machine that can last you a long while on those long adventure trips.

References:

2015 Kawasaki Concurs 14 Review – UltimateMotorcycling.com

2015 Kawasaki Concurs 14  – Topspeed.com

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