After my daughter Trina moved to Salt Lake City, my ZX-14 sat in the garage. I had carved all of the local canyons too many times already and my 186-MPH-right-off-the-showroom-floor Ninja was just a speeding ticket waiting to happen. It was a good, solid bike that taught me to respect it’s unending takeoff power. When launching from a stop, the front end wanted to climb into the sky with no effort at all. Being one of the fastest production bikes made, there isn’t much on the road that can keep up with a 14. I’d have to spank an overpriced Corvette every now and then for fun. 😁 Yes, she loved it when I made her scream, but seeing her gathering dust told me it was time to sell.
I was motorcycle-challenged for a couple of years. I spent my free time on my bicycles until that wild hair tickled me again. I foolishly thought it was time to slow down, that age had snuck up on me, that it was time for a cruiser style motorcycle. I got it in my head that I’d look for a bike in Florida or a nearby state, fly there, ride down to Key West and then take the long way back to Southern California. I started looking for a deal on a well-kept bike with low mileage. As it turned out, I found a Yamaha V-Star 1300 five miles away from me. That messed up my Key West excursion, but it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.
I rode it a few times. Once down to Rosarito, once to Big Bear and a couple of times around town. Last October, I became tired of the pre-election lockdown and decided it was time to cruise up the coast. I made it to Fort Bragg before turning around and heading back.
What did I learn about the V-Star? It sucks in the turns. Considering most of my bikes have been sportbikes, I wasn’t ready for a couch on two wheels. As I headed back down the California coast, I thought about the different bikes available and my riding needs. Being a Kawasaki aficionado, I decided on the crème de la crème of sport touring bikes… the Concours 1400. Standard features include heated grip warmers, windscreen height adjustment with the touch of a button, luggage hardbags, anti-lock brake system, shaft drive and an upright position for riding comfort. I began searching online for my next bike. I ended up finding one at a Portland dealership. They accepted my offer, so within 3 days of returning on the V-Star, I flew to Portland and rode the Concours back to Southern California. The short ride gave me a feel for the bike so I knew what needed to be adjusted and what needed to be upgraded.
Does the Concours look familiar? The Concours is the neutered touring model of the ZX-14 I sold. It doesn’t have the raging power of the ZX-14 and will only do 152mph… but that can be changed. 😁 Any which way, this will be my cross-country touring partner… comfortable for long stretches and becomes poetry in motion on twisty roads. I think we’re going to have a jolly good time!