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Yay! Today I'm driving out to Lewisville to test ride another bike. There's another 454 LTD for sale. I simply could not believe the price of $800 he's asking, especially since he said the only things wrong were a little fading paint on the tank and slight carb tuning needed. Good specimens are easily going for twice that on Cycle Trader. The guy seems really nice. He just sold his other bike yesterday, an NX125 (one of my father's bikes is an NX 250). He's got a 7 month old daughter and hasn't been riding much lately, so he's selling these cheap and he'll get back into the sport in a couple years he says.

Anyway, Kawasaki 454 LTD, 440 pounds max weight with a full gas tank, low seat, 454cc liquid-cooled inline twin, 10.7:1 compression, double overhead cams operating 4 valves per cylinder via silent chain gear, 2 34 mm CV carbs, belt drive, 6 speed tranny, disc front drum rear brakes, cruiser styling with a fat rear tire, rear swept bars, and twin shocks...

The guy says purple but I think he means maroon. He's added three mods: a windshield, an engine guard/roll bar/frame slider type thing, and highway pegs attached to the roll bar. The windshield can stay, the engine guard will probably have to go.

Obviously, this bike doesn't have the kind of power the Nighthawk 650 has (how much to buy both and do an engine swap? Probably $2000 at least). Still, I always like to put things in perspective. It'll get dusted by the NH 650 easily, and even the Ninja 250 can probably take it. However, compare it to cars and the situation looks quite favorable still. It'll out accelerate an Acura NSX, Camaro Z28, Vette convertible (the hardtop with lower weight and a manual tranny catches up at about 65 mph), Mustang Cobra, Mits 3000GT, Trans Am, Porsche Boxster, Porsche 911 (non-Turbo), Supra Turbo, and a Lamborghini Countach up to about 75 mph in any kind of standing start or street start or roll-on test, which means those cars will have to hit 90 to 100 before they catch up in distance... at least stock versions of these cars. Which means it's quicker than 99 percent of all the cars I'll ever encounter on the roads.

That kind of speed is reassuring to me, it means it has plenty of go for getting out of trouble on the highway, merging with traffic, cruising long distances, or blowing by slower drivers. And it should be fun for joy-riding, but not powerful enough to get me killed by mere application of too much right wrist. The gas mileage is good. The fact that it's liquid-cooled is a big plus for summer riding. And the windshield included gives it definite cruising value. It's amazing what a little bit of wind protection can mean when you're pushing 80.

I think I said it before, this is not the kind of bike I hope to eventually be riding. For good examples of what I see myself riding in oh about 2 years, click here, here, here, and here please. However, it seems to do what it does very well (from all the reviews I've read), and will help me gain some experience needed before I move on to something that shaves three seconds off its quarter mile time. And for $800, I can probably get all my money back when I sell it... or more! The main things for me are the great high-revving little engine, the light weight, the low center of gravity, the nice ground clearance (for a cruiser), and the windshield.

We'll see.

Here's the picture I made a while back.