|2007 Kaw 900|
I've enjoyed the Kaw 900, it's an excellent all around cruiser with only two real shortcomings for my purposes. The suspension, front and back, is harsh, at least to my poor old body. 200 mile rides leave me feeling beat up and the seat, which starts to bite after 75 miles or so, doesn't help. The 900 motor seemed to be working a bit at 75 mph and that always bothered me a little.
Now I could have spent some dough on new suspension bits and even a new seat but that would burn up $1000+ pretty quickly. A better solution in my world, is simply to buy another bike, one that rides better and has a little more power.
So off to Craig's List I went for a couple of weeks, pouring over ads for anything that seemed like a plausible replacement for the 900 Kaw. Looked at a very nice 2006 Concours 1000 but passed -- didn't want to ride leaning forward anymore. Looked at a lovely Gold Wing but it would have used up all the spare cash I'd rustled up for a bike buy and I didn't want to blow it all. A Suzuki 1250 Bandit seemed interesting but the ones I saw looked like they'd had a hard life. A fairly clean 2002 BMW R1150RT wasn't bad but the handling was as wooden the last one I rode six years ago.
Clean bikes are an easier sell, I know, I've sold lots of them. More than one seller I met lately bemoaned the lack of serious interest in his bike. Lots of lookers, no buyers. Hint: Dude, clean your bike, make it shine, make the buyer want it. As for me, once I had a new owner call me back a few days after the sale and thank me again for taking such good care of the bike he bought from me. My kinda guy.
In the end I once again looked to the past and the Kawasaki 1600, which I'd had in 2003. This time I went for the Nomad model which comes stock with hard bags, a plusher seat, and a factory windshield, amongst other nice bits that I'd done as bolt on items in '03. The bike I bought this time is an '06 model with just under 5000 miles on it. 5k miles on a five year old bike? One more bike that testifies to good intentions of riding but those intentions waylaid by a poor economy and an owner too busy making ends meet to ride his bike. The big Kaw was fairly clean when I brought it home but I still spent three hours on Saturday detailing it. It was clean before, now it sparkles, except for the bug guts I got on it during today's 140 mile ride.
I've always like the Nomad, it's not full of electronic wonderments that go wrong and enrich a dealer, there is no BlueTooth connectivity or 500 watt bun warmers, No radio, no ABS, no electric windshield. Nothing wrong with those things, I've had them on other bikes. But the Kaw is a fairly simple, solid machine and works well. The hard bags are of good quality while the handling is good for a 700+lb bike. I like that.
More importantly, the Nomad suspension is just soft enough to keep me comfortable. As noted above, I rode 140 miles today and could have ridden 140 more without a problem. Best of all, because it's a Kawasaki and not enormously popular, the prices for used examples in the current market are dirt cheap for what you get. Kawasaki always seems to trail the other Japanese companies in popularity but I've own several Kaws now and always found them to be a great value for the money.
So, here's the new machine, parked by a quaint little roadside tavern featuring traditional Arizona artwork on it's exterior. They were closed and as it says up at the top of the page, I don't drink anyway, but the building made for a nice backdrop.
|2006 Kaw 1600 Nomad|
Jet black, some extra chrome but not too much. A nice ride. I may finally get out this summer and do the ride I'd mapped out back in '04 before life got in my way.
Oh yeah, if anyone younger and/or tougher than me would like to buy a 2007 Kawasaki VN900 Classic LT, let me know. It's VERY clean and well photographed. I'll even autograph the bike which should add a zero or two right of the decimal point in it's price. Who knows, it couldn't be much worse of an investment than my late, great 401k.