Apparently others have had the same complaints about the Concours' somewhat quirky steering characteristics with the stock tires as we did during our '08 comparison test (we found that after initial turn-in, the Concours required an inordinate amount of steering input to hold a lean angle), because the new '10 Concours 14 comes equipped with new versions of the OEM-spec Bridgestone BT-021U rubber front and rear. According to Kawasaki, the front tire has "thicker rubber" in order to provide "sharper handling and longer tire life."
Another customer request was for a "spare" KIPASS key fob. It seems that while most owners liked the KIPASS keyless ignition system (like some luxury automobiles, a coded transmitter in the key fob communicates with the bike's ECU when in range, allowing the bike to be started without a key), they wanted a spare key fob that could be hidden on the bike somewhere for emergencies, while still preventing startup. The new spare key fob is about half the size of the regular unit, and only has a working range of about four inches, so it can be hidden somewhere on the motorcycle without allowing the engine to be started.
Does It All Work?
Rearview mirrors have been...
Rearview mirrors have been repositioned 40mm higher for better rearward vision and additional wind protection for the rider's hands. The saddlebags still intrude upon the rear view, but not as bad as before.
Our day's ride took us up into the San Jacinto mountain range above Palm Springs, so we got ample opportunity to check out the new Concours' handling traits with the revised Bridgestone rubber. Thankfully, the weird steering habits of the old BT-021 tires are gone; you no longer need to keep steering input into the handlebar to maintain a lean angle in turns, and the steering is nice and neutral at all lean angles. Kawasaki reps also stated that these improved steering characteristics should be maintained for the life of the tire, due to the thicker rubber-although we think a revised profile is also in the mix. While the steering is far more neutral at all lean angles and steering response is slightly quicker once into the turn, the initial turn-in requires a tad more effort than the previous model, which would equate to a change in tire profile.
The day's ride also included doing multiple repeat passes in corners for photography, and the constant U-turns and idling put the redesigned bodywork's engine heat management to the test. The verdict? Ambient temps in many areas were in the low 80s, yet we never felt any waves of heat rising up from the engine bay, even when sitting idle for extended periods. Our riding gear consisted of vented summer apparel, so we would've noticed even the slightest heat emanation, yet our torso, legs, and feet remained comfortable throughout the day.
The new windscreen on the...
The new windscreen on the '10 Connie is 1.75 inches taller and substantially wider than the previous unit, providing better protection while still offering excellent aerodynamics with minimal helmet buffeting from trailing turbulence.
While the previous adjustable windshield was one of the better aerodynamic setups in our opinion, the taller and wider adjustable windshield provides noticeably better aerodynamics in nearly all positions, with no buffeting of the helmet or turbulence reaching your shoulders. We say "nearly" because in its lowest position, the taller windshield tends to direct airflow at the rider's helmet instead of the chest area as with the previous shorter unit. We also weren't fans of the new "preset position" setup that retracts the windshield upon shutdown and then raises it to one of four selectable positions when the bike is started. We liked the fact unlike most other adjustable windshields, the previous Concours setup remained in your favorite position after shutdown; having to constantly reposition the windshield was annoying in our opinion (interestingly, this wasn't a customer-requested item).