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Discussion Starter #1
Here we go again! I have arrangements made to drive down and look at this bike tomorrow. I think it might be just the kind of bike I’m looking for at a price I can afford. Way fewer red flags on this one versus the last bike I looked at, but I’d love to hear some opinions from all of you here.

Sellers description:
Selling my wife's zephyr. We purchased in 2013 and went on less than 10 local rides that year. We had the timing chain tensioner changed, float bowls serviced, as well as plugs and oil change on 6/13/13 receipt in hand. In 2017 I planned to ride around town so I had the rear tire, rotor and brake pads replaced, they have maybe 40 miles on them. Shortly after the service, I rode this zephyr on 3 more occasions and have kept it garaged since then. We purchased a brand new battery last month to get the bike ready to sell. We are expecting a baby and have decided it best for me to stick with 4 wheels.

There is a little wear and tear on the paint, not bad for a 1990. A folding chair fell in the garage and cracked the fender. Theres some scratching on left side of the bike in a couple spots (clutch lever, turn signal, engine cover) indicating to me that the previous owner had a parking lot speed layover. The bike rides perfect, the damage is cosmetic only.
Some photos:
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More photos at the listing here:1990 kawasaki zephyr - motorcycles/scooters - by owner - vehicle...

What do you guys think? I’m not seeing anything majorly wrong. I know the seller will take $1800 for it, but I plan to offer a lower amount to start. What’s a good price as far as you’re concerned.
 

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Even with a new tire mile wise, it's still 3 yrs old and will probably need replacement before too long.

To me I'd rather have a vehicle that was driven somewhat regularly and have higher miles than something that sat or was only used very sporadically.but that's my 2 cents.


Really, instead of asking what everyone else thinks, what do YOU think? Will it bring you joy? How much do you think you will need to put into it to get that joy? I'd hate tis we you get into something like the ducati and spend hours and money fixing it just to have it be winter before it's able to be enjoyed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Fair point @radiant.designer. In asking for opinions here I’m just trying to see if maybe there’s things that I’m not thinking of. Honestly if this bike is as advertised, and especially if I can get it for the dollar amount I have in mind, than I have no doubt it will be just right. But I know myself, I get blinders on when I see something pretty, and then money starts to become a fluid thing, instead of a constant. I’m in a good place right now, debt free, good paying job, and more in savings than I think I’ve ever had. So it’s just a matter of not blowing everything on the wrong deal because I was smitten by something cool. The Ducati I think would’ve been that. This one feels like maybe it’s different, in a good way.
 

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I like them they look and ride like a proper bike. they are a revamped version of the Z550. a better bike than the Zephyr 750 that was a bit too top heavy and cumbersome. it was my first choice when looking for a bike when returning to motorcycles but I could not find one and ended up with the EX.
if you think of your last bike how it started out and how it finished the Zephyr is nearer to how it finished up.
if it runs ok mileage is ok and it's cheap enough I would buy it. but I have to declare I'm Biased I like the retro type of bike. you could look it up on the Kawi forums for any issues they have ones for the Zephyr.
just my opinion of course but you did ask. (y)
 

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I see these pop up in the Tampa area every now and then.

I'd do all the research on them that you can. I was just reading a few articles about them. The MCN had a few reviews and none were giving more that 3 stars, most only 2. They were saying "under-powered", "good for a Sunday ride", "the Suzuki was better"...

Personally, I agree with Radiant...if you have the money and it's something YOU want then the only thing that matters is whether you want to pull the trigger on it. I think, for an older, more outdated than the EX, it's way over priced. If it was me wanting that I'd give him my number and tell him to call me if he doesn't get any other offers, then offer him $1100...maybe $1200. I think the seller "sounds" legit and honest but until you look at it one never knows!
You could be looking at a few $100 on new tires, chain, etc... Plus, if you don't like it after buying how easy would it be to sell off? It may be more of a burden.

Again, your money. I'm not quite sure what type of motorcycle you really desire but for that price, and maybe a few more hundreds, you can find a newer year bike that's more of what you're looking for. Your call. Good luck either way!
 

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I'm looking at buying another bike myself, and keep trying to remind myself to wait till Nov-Feb so I can get the best deal. I'm personally either thinking if as SV650x or of I wanted to spend a bit more a Thruxton RS (although that may be a big jump going from a 500 to a 1200), but keeping open to anything that may be a great deal.
 

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This personal opinion piece will, no doubt, inspire debate, disagreement and comment. So be it.

What used to be known years ago as UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) just doesn't move my soul....thus not falling into the keeper category.
Sorry, but generally speaking UJM come and go, though there are exceptions.....those very few that stand out. The Zephyr doesn't make the cut, IMHO. The GPZ550 WOULD.

Of course IMHO...somehow I'm more apt to acquire select "keepers" (usually red, but thats another story altogether).
22 year old... my Honda VFR800 V4 rock reliable powerplant, Honda improved generation by generation. 100? 110? 120? 130? All day long, yawn.
Classic Ducati 2v 25 year old 900SS, 13 year old SS800 air cooled Desmodue? Super reliable, super torquey powerplant, fun factor 11, good looker, lean, light, superb responsive handler. Conversation starter styling...blah blah blah. These stand out, as a worthy classic Monster would. Generally, a worthy Ducati = KEEPER.
The '19 Honda 650R ...if the chips were down...probably the first to go. Though not anticipated...contemporary, fun, quick, agile, a looker, hopefully long term Honda reliability.
Personally bought as "I beat cancer" present from me to me. Required long term maintenance surprisingly minimal. Impressive, modern little machine stands on its own merits.

I'd urge you to wait for a more unique, worthy, powerful, better handling...? Dunno, but something else, keep on the lookout.

Let the critique begin.

.
 

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I tend to agree more with that than disagree. Though my tastes differ slightly with regard to why to buy or keep a particular bike, the ones I typically let go are ones that don’t connect with me on some level.

My take on the Zephyr is that it is overweight and under powered for what it is. That was true of its larger siblings to an extent....but they both made more power.

Basically you’d be getting a 750 weight motorcycle with 500 power. It is somewhat unique in that Kawasaki didn’t make that many of the 550s and not a whole lot of those made it stateside.

It’s your money, I’d not tell you how to invest it. However, as you asked our opinion, I’d leave that one be. @radiant.designer makes a good point. Is it the bike YOU want? Or is it just a deal that happened along?

I get the feeling that at this point, you want a bike, any bike so you can get back on 2 wheels. I’d urge you to proceed with patience and deliberate decision making.

It would suck to spend money on something you think you want because of an over riding desire to get back on 2 wheels. Only to then discover it was a mistake and is exactly what you didn’t want in a motorcycle.

Take your time. Sort through to something you actually desire to own and is both in the shape you want at the price you need. Those bikes are out there, you just have to be patient and realistic. Save your money for the right bike at the right price.
 
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Ones that don't connect with me never even reach my possession to begin with. I hate to say it, but having to ask on a forum "should I? " is a sure sign it hasn't quite moved you either, Zero. Though the condition of the Monster did justify suggestions and input from others.

That said...I believe you'll know the right one when you see it....Italian, Japanese, German...?

To continue and focus the discussion further @ZeroFret ....what bike(s) would move YOU? Any WHY?
 

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Sounds like you are rather desperate for a ride. That can be bad news. In the same vein are the Honda Nighthawk 550, 650 and 750. Rock solid dependability. Me? As to UJMs, I would look for an '83-'85 Nighthawk CB650SC. Blazing quick for that age (low 12s), almost zero maintenance with hydraulic valve lash adjusters and shaft drive. Rubber-mounted engine. It was replaced with the CB700, which never looked right to me and was no faster.

OK, so the goofy gauges and square headlight scream "80s!", but the headlight (and possibly the gauges) is easily swapped out.

Screen Shot 2020-07-22 at 11.49.44 AM.png
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Looks-wise I do really like this Zephyr. The whole Kawi Z series of bikes just screams 70’s muscle bike to me, and I really dig it. With that said, I do actually tend to lean more towards cafe racers and sport bikes. I actually ignored the ad for this bike when I first saw it, and not for the looks, but because I assumed it was 1000cc, much too big for my inexperienced riding abilities.

It’s true that I am a bit on the desperate side, and very impatient. I want to ride, for the sake of practicing that and becoming a better rider. But power is not of great importance to me. If it goes well enough and handles good than I’ll be plenty happy. I need to get more riding miles under my butt.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Bikes that move me… a lot of custom stuff mostly. There aren’t too many stock bikes that I don’t look at and think “I would tweak it like this.”

The new Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 is one of my current favorites. I like the late 70’s Yamaha XS500 and XS750 standards. Obviously you all know that I was into the look of the Ducati Monster. I like Triumph Thruxtons, the new Kawi Z900RS, the Harley Livewire (let the flame wars begin), Mondial stuff, and more fully-faired sport bikes than I could possibly list. Plus, just about every classic UJM that you can strip down into a cafe racer.

Yes, I’m that *******.

There’s little design cues that I look for on bikes, and some just tick those boxes.
 

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Reality, those old 70's UJM's have long been surpassed by mid sized, lighter weight sporties. We've come a long way, tons of choices.

I'd strongly suggest light weight and handling prowess added within your considerations.

I'm sure when the right one comes along, you'll know (and feel) it.
 

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Looks-wise I do really like this Zephyr.
I also like generic 70's UJMs for some reason...maybe just nostalgia. The Zephyr is like a 1975 bike with better ignition / electrics. And it still has a round headlight!

I almost bought a 1991 in mint condition with 7,000 miles. It was for sale for $1,100 for the longest time (but slightly off-season, early fall). So my only advice is try not to overpay.
 

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I'm sure @ducatiman is correct. but you cannot change what is in your head. I also like the UJM's when you grew up with BSA's and Triumph's that kind of bike somehow appeals yes there are better ones out there. but you have to be careful of the heart strings some of the exotics are mind blowing but practical no way.
there is something to be said for utility bikes. not too fast for the less abled rider no expensive plastic if you drop it and ease of servicing. they will never set the road on fire but that is not always what you want in a daily rider.
 

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Yet further consideration.....intended use and geographic conditions demand thinking ahead in purchase decision making. Suburban commute? Heavy city traffic? "Spirited" twisty rides in the country? Track days? Long straight highway drones in Arizona? Any intentions of interstate touring? Slow speed, casual tree lined backroads riding like an old man in Stony Brook, NY?
Different tools needed for different conditions, few do it all. Compromises may be necessary.
 

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When buying a semi-expensive item, patience will pay off. When you are in a hurry, or otherwise rushed, you stand a far greater chance of being ripped. You can also advertise "wanted" in local publications, message boards etc. That way, the bike will be close enough to go have a look at owner first, then the bike.

An awful lot of very nice carbureted bikes can be had for very good prices as long as you do not mind re-doing the carbs - that is a guarantee with the horrid gas we must buy. Ideally, you want the low mileage bike with a mature owner, which has been parked in the garage just long enough for the carbs to gum up (not very long) but not so long that every rubber part on it needs replacing.

Whatever you are considering, run it by someone who knows bikes or else buyer's regret will be dogging you.
 

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Fret, yesterday you said, "I have arrangements made to drive down and look at this bike tomorrow."

What happened?
 
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