~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Well, It Was Bound To Happen

2007 Kaw 900
I tried to resist, really I did.  I'm retired now, mostly don't have much money.  The 2007 Kawasaki was supposed to last me for a long time but it's been over a year since I bought the Kawasaki 900 and so bike fever set in again.  I am a weak man.

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.

I am astonished at how virtually every bike I looked at, save the Concours, had not been decently washed and waxed for presentation. I admit to being picky about the cleanliness of a used bike.  Someone who doesn't keep their bike clean and doesn't care enough to clean it up before they show it to a potential buyer probably didn't worry much about maintenance either.  Bad owner habits show themselves in subtle ways.  Yeah, I know there are exceptions.

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.


D. Brent Miller said...

Congratulations, Doug. Looks like a great find. Enjoy the miles. --Brent

Roger said...

Beautiful bike, and congragulations on the new bike. I know what you mean by some sellers not making an effort when it comes to selling a bike. and then they wonder why no one wants to buy it!

Gary France said...

Buying a bike is so much fun, and you should know, as you have been buying them for a long time! Congratulations on your new Kawasaki. By the way, you have written a lot of posts on your blog since January last year when you decided not to write any more. We, your readers are grateful for that!

Unknown said...

Bike whore! You will go through a machine sooner than I will go through a pair of levi's. Nice rack..err, bike!

Good choice! Reminds me of my VTX just a bit, only that bike you just picked up handles much better. That VTX handled like an eigthteen wheeler on two...always dragging something.

Clean bike? Guess I'll never sell mine! At least I keep it mechanically sound. Congrats!

FLHX_Dave said...

Somehow I was logged in as "ZI"...errr...so...that was me...I think? That's what I get for using a public computer.

Unknown said...


nice find and hope you have many miles of enjoyment. Now I'm wondering where you are going on your road trip.

Wet Coast Scootin

Canajun said...

Nice bike Doug. There are some great deals out there if one wants to look hard enough. And it looks like you got one. Enjoy.

Gymi said...

I like the Nomad, Road King looks with shaft drive and water cooling for a fraction of the Harley price. And black to boot, nice buy.

GF said...

Doug, you can't go wrong with a Kawasaki, you bought a wonderful machine. I should have never sold my 03 Kawasaki Mean Streak, it was black too, I loved it. I have always loved the Nomad, the hard bags give it a nice touch. Check out pics on my blog. Safe riding :-)

SonjaM said...

Lovely ride, and well photographed, too. Enjoy your new companion and ride safely.

Doug Klassen said...

Thanks for the well wishes, folks. I admit that I change bikes more often than Zi/Dave changes underwear, or was that jeans? ;-)

I've wondered sometimes what it would be like to keep a bike for years and years (my record is 4 years) but temptation when it comes to buying bikes always wins out over practicality. I could have worse habits, I guess.

mq01 said...

fun!!! enjoy your black beauty.

B.B. said...


Mr. Motorcycle said...

At least you aren't changing women like bikes.

Nice bike BTW. Hope you get to enjoy riding it for many miles.

Unknown said...

I would like to say congratulations on your new ride. I got a new to me bike last year, a 97 classic 1500 for 1800. Since I am also retired, I can't afford a nomad, but have added nomad seats and a hitch for our pod trailer. Got a rear wheel coming off ebay from a nomad so I can have tubeless tires on the back. Enjoy your ride. Started reading your blog when I came across the title. I'm working on 47 years riding myself.

Webster World said...

That is a nice looking bike. Yes a clean bike sells. People ask why I don't keep mine cleaner. I tell them "I bought it to ride not shine." Truth is it's the artritis. With that I can relate to why you went looking.

Surly said...

You are supposed to wash motorcycles?

Seriously Doug, I had thought you had given up blogging a while back. I saw a link and checked your blog for the first time in a long time. It's better than ever! Thanks. As a blogger and photographer I'm envious. Keep up the good work.

Doug Klassen said...

Well, for you bike non-washers I have to admit that sometimes I can go weeks without washing my bike, months even, but only if I never ride it. I have known guys who proudly never washed their machine and claimed it was only the dirt and grime that held all the pieces together.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Ride! Enjoy!

Crusty said...

Welcome back to the world of Kaw 1600s. I love my bike! -Crusty

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