The 2015 Kawasaki Concours14 ABS boasts a litany of improvements including a new electrically adjustable windshield, revised linked braking settings, a revised first gear ratio, lighter steering at low speed, stiffer rear suspension and a new rear luggage rack.

In our 2014 Heavyweight Sport-Touring Shootout from just a few months we jokingly labeled the Concours the “most not improved” bike of the quartet of models tested. That’s certainly changed now (which means another sport-touring shootout), specifically with the news Kawasaki has changed the linked braking – something we’ve complained about on numerous occasions.

According to Kawasaki the Second Generation K-ACT ABS features two braking modes. The linked effect from front brake lever actuation is largely the same in both modes, but the linked effect when actuating the rear brake pedal is quite different. In Standard Mode, the linked effect is reduced at initial pedal stroke for a natural sensation when sport riding. In High Combined Mode, there’s a more pronounced linked effect from the beginning of the pedal stroke. The Concours is also endowed with new brake master cylinders.

The vent is two-position adjustable and helps reduce the low-pressure zone in the cockpit and minimize buffeting.

The vent is three-position adjustable and helps reduce the low-pressure zone in the cockpit and minimize buffeting.

Another highlight of the new concours is the new electrically adjustable windscreen with a throw of 4.8 inches. In conjunction with the three-position vent the Concours is better suited for long-distance travel. Rider comfort also includes a new seat that’s sculpted to be narrower at the front for the rider and flatter and longer for the passenger. An exhaust pipe guard attached to the upper part of the exhaust mid-pipe helps protect the rider from heat when stopped. The Concours also boasts new TPMS sensors to warn of tire deflation, a tank pad to protect the paintwork from clothing scratches, and new cushioned passenger footpegs.

The adjustable rear suspension was stiffened on the initial preload setting for better control when carrying a passenger and full luggage. The rear suspension also has a remote preload adjuster that allows the rider to tune the handling to their individual preference.

To help ease low-speed manuevers Kawasaki revised the bike’s first gear ratio and replaced the old steering stem seal with a new, low-friction one.

Last, but not least, Kawasaki dressed up the Concours with silver bezels on the instrumentation.

Follow the rest of our 2014 EICMA Show coverage for more information on new 2015 motorcycle announcements.

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  • Kevin

    Sad, another S-T shootout will only confirm that Green didn’t do what needed to be done to make this bike competitive:

    • Gabe Ets-Hokin

      They had me at “new luggage rack!”

    • Stuki

      Lots of owners seem to just absolutely love that motor. It’s the HEMI of the bike world…. Makes engines that seems similar on paper feel pedestrian and utilitarian in comparison. Many Kawi guys tend to trend towards the motor end of motor-cycle.

      Not always being first, bleeding edge and an early adopter is fine, but by the time BMW offers cruise on their superbike, you’d think Kawi could be bothered to offer it on their version of an all out tourer……. But perhaps target buyers simply like to pass the time by playing with the throttle and feeling THAT MOTOR respond…… :)

      • Kevin

        Love to play with the throttle on my R3T too, but when riding from here in Delaware to Seattle the lack of cruise control gets irritating about 10 miles west of the Baltimore beltway:

      • james lagnese

        The beemers are better in most every way. Everything works together well too, no real shortcomings. The Japanese make fine reliable machines, but their focus isn’t on overall balance and competence, but value. To achieve that, corners must be cut somewhere. It would have been great if Kawasaki had put some resources into making this a much better bike, but it seems they must be investing elsewhere and it’s not the Vulcan line, where the fortunes are even worse. I’d owner only Kawasaki before my RT, I wish they’d make something I’d buy, but either their sights are set too low or I have raised mine.

        • Stuki

          If you prefer the RT to this, you’re a good bit off in the periphery as far as the target market goes. I’ve owned lots of boxer Beemers, including an RT, and find them fine. But there are plenty of people who just plain don’t like them. And would put up with the 100 added pounds for this ZX14 derived motor over a boxer.

          The GT may be more of a direct upgrade from this, but is very large, a handful or two at parking lot speeds, and expensive. Common to all recent Beemers, is also the probably overblown fear many Japanese bike owners have that they will self detonate and require $10K worth of repairs every other week.

          A bit of a personal peeve I have with recent Beemers, is that they have pushed the “light handling on a heavy bike” meme so far, that their bikes barely go straight down the road without corrections anymore. In the kinds of crosswinds that my old Aeroflow equipped 1150GS would just shrug off, the 1200s dance around like as if they’re trying to be VStriom 650s or 690 Enduros. The Super Tenere is much more stable straight ahead, and the FJR is a veritable freight train, regardless of both speed and crosswind. They may not turn as easy, but outside of magazine testers, most buyers of big tourers spend more time on the highway than on the Dragon. And those who don’t, really ought to consider getting themselves a lighter bike if they want lighter steering.

          RTs are nice though, and hard to fault from a purely practical perspective. Even though I can’t say selling the new one with a steering damper fitted as standard, gives me much confidence the designers’ handling priorities align too well with mine.

  • Scott

    Unfortunately, it’s still a heavyweight.

  • Cool Hand Luke

    Sadly still no cruise control. Dare I even mentioned any sound system with or without bluetooth…

    • james lagnese

      It’s no RT or even FJR…

  • Kevin

    They did lower the price by $700 and Black is still available as a color option:

  • John B.

    Hey Tom – Do you have any thoughts about the future of heavyweight sport touring motorcycles in the market? I have a 2012 Concours and do most of my riding on long trips to western states. The bike works really well for me on long trips, however, it’s much less fun to ride in urban environments. In particular, I wonder whether so-called adventure touring motorcycles (e.g., Ducati Multistrada, BMW S1000XR and less expensive Japanese models) will take a chunk out of the ST market. Perhaps, Kawasaki thinks the ST market will shrink and does not want to invest in updating the Concours to bring it in line with the competition. Thoughts?

    • Stuki

      If you’re solo, get the Ninja 1000. Save the Concours for two up. Adv bikes are nice if you need the added rough/off road capability. Having spoked wheels you trust, and decent ground clearance, makes rougher road riding so much less nerve racking. Otherwise adv bikes are just too wide, too tall, too soft (except for the Multi and perhaps new XR), too long and too aerodynamically clumsy in all ways at speed.

      For urban riding, one of the most annoying things about an adv bike, aside from splitting, is simply parking in crowded bike parking spots. Combine the height and width of the bike (+ sidecases), with the lean when they are on their sidestand, and they crowd out the guy in the spot next to you like nobody’s business. Making graceful getoff and get back on a pain. It’s very obvious when trying to slip into a tight spot downtown San Francisco, compared to being on a sport bike or similar. The reduced leverage the tall seat gives your legs, don’t exactly help with tight maneuvering into spots either.