Welp, I tried out the Kawasaki 454! It's in fine shape. The seat was coming apart in a couple spots so there's a little silicon glue on it. One of the horn transducers is missing a piece. The paint on the tank is fading. That's it. That's all that's wrong with it!! Other than that, it could pass for a 1 year old bike! Needs a wash and a little polishing around the engine, but I'll be damned if it's not an outright steal at $800!
The windshield is phenomenol. It takes all the air off your chest and your hands! It's big. It's also removable without much hassle. The roll bar and highway pegs will most likely be coming off.
It started right up and warmed up after a little choke in 30 seconds. The idle sound is Harley-esque, but at speed it has a nice throaty, bruising sound. It needs a bit of carb cleaning and syncing and maybe a valve and spark timing adjustment. The belt (it's belt driven) looks to be in fine condition and the tires are almost brand new. The bike has been babied. It's been garaged and has under 10,000 miles. That's under 700 miles a year average.
Basically, if I had to choose between a Nighthawk 650 and this Kaw 454, both in the same condition, for the same amount of money, the Hawk would win. However, the Nighthawk I saw was $950 and in dreadful condition compared to this bike which is going for $800, is in excellent condition, is newer, and has under a quarter of the mileage the Nighthawk had. And no, it doesn't have the neck-snapping acceleration of the 650, but it's quick enough for a first bike. I'm no expert, in fact, I'm really a newbie, and I'm going to start from scratch with this thing. It's a great first bike.
Engine seemed fine if a little lumpy (gummy carbs probably), clutch was fine, brakes were strong.
This guy lives in a gorgeous neighborhood in Lewisville. Huge streets, no traffic, everything's clean. Oh what fun to use that place as your personal racetrack. Big undeveloped land nearby for dirt riding too.
Anyway, if all goes well the bike will be in my father's garage by Monday night. I'll be signing up for the MSF course and buying a helmet, boots, gloves, etc. I'll be doing some work myself on the bike and having the rest done by the shop. Everything has to be cleaned, tolerances have to be adjusted, things have to be removed. I told my riding friends (who I've never met in person) that I'm getting it real soon and we might be riding one of these days. I want to join a rider's club.
I'll describe the first day with the bike and everything I change on it soon. Maybe get some digital camera pictures for some before and after photos.