Kawasaki ZX-11 C (1993)

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Nov. 2003 - Rt. 443

Oct. 1997 -  Aug. 2005    15,000

  By 1997 I was looking for a replacement for the Suzuki Katana which I had ridden for 8 seasons.  I wanted something newer but still a sporty ride.   I narrowed down my search to the Honda ST1100 and the Kawasaki ZX11.  I had driven an ST for an afternoon a few years before and found it to be smooth and solid, but too sedate for my tastes.  And it looked too much like a Pacific Coast.  While I had considered and even test driven a few Gold Wings, I just couldn't get into the lack of visceral involvement riding a huge touring rig where I couldn't see the road directly in front of the bike.  I felt removed from the riding experience.

Summer 1999

  I found this big Ninja in Ravena and bought it the fall of 1997 for $5,500 from a guy who said he used to drag race cars at Lebanon Valley but "didn't do that any more."  Sure.  The bike had new tires front and rear, indicative of a hard first 4,500 miles, but it was the bike I wanted, the color I wanted and I liked the price.   So I took the chance that it wasn't beat on too much. 

  I did a test ride on a lightly trafficked, open country 2-lane (Rt. 32) and it seemed in perfect condition.  I was able to compare it to the '94 D model I had tested a bit earlier that had 12,000+ miles for about the same price.   That one had the popular (and expensive) Corbin seat which I didn't like.  I could feel the edges of the seat under my thighs.  As part of this deal, I asked the seller to let me ride it back to Schenectady with his license plate still on it when I picked it up.  I got a ride to get it on Sat. from my friend Bart (a guy who I had helped buy a Gold Wing), registered it on Monday and returned the plate.

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Summer 2002

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June 2001

  The ZX has lived up to its super high-performance reputation. It ranks tops in quality and reliability.  The brakes, tires and suspension contribute to a feeling of stability and safety.  I understand that the lighter zx's can be a sharper ride, but I like the stretched out feel of the long wheelbase.  The other side of this is that the smooth and never out-of-breath engine and 6-speed gear box encourages the most aggressive riding  behavior and nearly continuous high speeds.

  I've never gotten around to replacing the rear hub dampeners which allow too much chain lash.  A typical ZX11 problem, I understand.  I did try packing them with inner tube pieces when I changed the rear tire in 2001, but that had little effect.  The tires lasted 8k miles so I must ride softer than the previous owner.  I also had the rear brake pads replaced since they were wearing unevenly due to a frozen caliper.

  In the summer of 2001, while campaigning the Z1 Drag Bike, I took the ZX to Lebanon Valley Dragstrip after work. I did 5 runs, only getting one clean run where I ran 117.53 @ 12.976.

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Nov. 2, 2003 Duanesburg Churches Road

  Nov. of 2003- The speedo reads 16,300 miles.  The spark plugs have been in since 7k so maybe it's time to change them.

  In addition to the ignition cutoff triggering incorrectly even when in neutral (with the sidestand down), now, when the bike is warm, the fuel and oil pressure lights flicker at low idle. This is likely an electrical problem because this doesn't happen when the bike is cold.

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Beresford Farms - Nov. 2003

  2005 - A perfect riding season.  New plugs in at 18k, but with the hassle of snapping off a new plug in the #1 cylinder requiring an 'easy-out' tool to remove.  That took a week to finesse since access to the plug was down the narrow tube between the cams.

  Ended the summer by selling the bike in August '05 with 19,767 miles.  Almost regretted letting it go since it's been such a reliable, high-performance ride.  Sold it for $3,800 (advertised at $3,950).  I figure that I avoided spending money for two new tires, chain and sprockets and a never-done valve adjustment.  Maybe $600-$800 that I can put towards the next bike.

  8 seasons of riding and a total of 15k miles.

Sunset Southern Albany County - Aug. 8, 2005

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Last Edited Jan. 15, 2012