Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"New" Motorcycle!

Time for an introduction, meet the newest member of the garage! She's a 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R. No, not a crotch rocket, she's a parallel twin standard with some fairings and a nice upright riding style. She is the newest, lowest mile (6,000), smallest, lightest, first chain drive and first fuel injected bike I've ever owned. With Karla getting on her own bike starting this summer, she gave me the go ahead to try something "new." Wanted to step away from the 700lb 1100cc+ behemoths I had been riding, and this just kinda fell into my lap for a stupid cheap price. It has plenty of power to handle both of us, but not a good option for trips with two people. Sold the ST to help finance the purchase and the subsequent modifications to make it a better "touring" bike.

I got her so cheap because she had been dropped on both sides, causing cosmetic damage to almost every bit of the bike. She also has a salvage title, which you can still insure in Colorado. But, I don't carry comp or collision, as the insurance company would not give me enough for the bike to make it worth it. My last two bikes were both salvage title and I handled insurance the same way. Once I got her home and in the garage she got the following maintenance and repair items:

  • Flushed coolant
  • Oil and filter change
  • New battery
  • New front tire

  • Cleaned and re-oiled air filter
  • Cleaned and oiled chain
  • "New" front sprocket cover (was missing), bought used on ebay

  • "New" stock handlebars (they were bent), bought used
  • New clutch lever (broke in half)

  • New aftermarket mirrors (bike missing one), you can see them in the tire picture above, they have LED turn signals built in
  • New aftermarket pegs off a different bike, bigger peg w/rubber for more comfort (right side peg was snapped in half)

Next was a list of modifications to increase the comfort and safety of the bike to suit longer days:

  • Hyperlights (, transferred from my previous bike
  • Zero Gravity touring shield in light smoke, bought used, increases wind protection
  • Saddlebag supports to keep saddlebags away from rear tire, bought used
  • Saddlebags, used, a gift from a friend
  • Rear rack, bought used
  • Rear bag, transferred from my previous bike
  • Tankbag, magnetic, transferred off my previous bike
  • 8 section fuse box, to safely wire and organize electrical accessories
  • Cigarette plug thingie, to charge stuff like cell phones, transferred off my previous bike
  • Voltmeter, to monitor the health of the charging system on the go
  • Tennis grip tape wrapped over the stock grips, makes them more comfortable and reduces vibration
  • Customized stock seat with a new seat cover, original seat cover was damaged (at $110, this was the most expensive thing I did to the bike)
  • Mount for GPS, GPS and waterproof box transferred from my previous bike
  • Vista Cruise, sort of a primitive cruise control
  • Metal angled valve stem on front tire (will go on rear when I replace the tire), reduces risk of failed valve stem core and makes checking tire pressure/filling tire easier

After I added all that, she got a good wash and patched the fairings back together as best I could with gorilla tape and zip ties. The only thing I still have left to do is find a mounting spot and wire in a new set of horns off an old Cadillac! Junkyards are awesome resources, motorcycle horns are notoriously pathetic. At this point she was ready for my next trip!

Karla and the boys were a huge help during the entire process! It was quite the family affair.

Here's a quick photo of me on the bike before everything was done, wait for the next update for more pictures. Oh and yes, I always wear gloves when I ride! I had just taken them off.

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