1981 Kawasaki KZ440 LTD question

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tropicalhotdog
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1981 Kawasaki KZ440 LTD question

#1 Unread post by tropicalhotdog » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:35 pm

So the fiance took the BRC and got her M license, but really needs to spend some time learning to actually ride. The plan is to get a small used bike for her to practice on. She took the BRC on a little Kawasaki Eliminator, which she felt very safe on and in control of (she's 5'2" by the way).

A guy on Craig's List is selling an '81 KZ440 for $800. It's just been inspected and he says it runs fine. Anyone have any experience with these bikes? The price seems good (if the bike checks out), but do you think its a good starter bike for a small, light woman whi needs to build confidence and skills? Or might a 440 be too much, as opposed to a Rebel or some other 250?

Thanks for any opinions on this.
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#2 Unread post by Longshot » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:36 pm

This is the bike I bought two years ago to learn on after I took the course. I think it's the perfect learner. Has some nice features like self canceling turn signals and a tach. It has a low feel to it. Handle bars are easy to reach. My gf is 5' 2" and she spent time driving it before we got her a newer Vulcan 500 after she took the course. She had no trouble handling the bike. It's not heavy...powerful enough but one can go easy on it until more comfortable. I'm no expert but I think it's a well built, reliable bike. I sold it to someone else who is learning to ride.

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#3 Unread post by nate1714 » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:01 am

Depending on ur size...but that is a great started bike i believe...my first was a cx500 79.....and i had to do some getting use to but past that it was great...and 440cc will keep u busy till u are ready for a much larger bike...i rode a LTD and it was very smooth.....if it checks out has good rubber, bat., no too many miles i say go for it....

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#4 Unread post by flw » Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:33 am

Power for a new rider is safe and still cruise 65 plus, if on highway.

The only issue might be the weight of the bike for anyone below avg strength. Sooner or later all riders get there bike a bit off balance. This can be over come by practicing with someone in the garage. Slowly moving the bike off center and back to center getting use to the weight increase with the angle increase. As well as how far is too far since there will be no helper at a stop light or sign.

The goal is really to see for yourself, how far can the bike lean over <b>before</b> your leg/kickstand starts to scream for help. Also holding the front brake and keeping the wheel straight at a stop will keep the bike from wanting to roll under you if your leaning the bike too far over.

Its embrassing for anyone to dump it when fully stopped. :oops: So practice how your bike feels when its leaning at a stop with a helper before hitting the road.
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#5 Unread post by tropicalhotdog » Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:41 am

Yeah, we figure she'll probably drop it a couple times. That's why she'll start out on a 26 year old (same age as she is, come to think of it) $800 used bike. It's not that much heavier than an Eliminator, on which she felt very comfortable, so should be a decent learner.

When I go check out the bike, any obvious things I should look for when deciding whether to buy it? I'll test ride it, check out the brakes and tires, look for any obvious cracks and leaks, but what else should a mechnically inept person look at when buying an old used bike? As mentioned above, it did just pass inspection.
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#6 Unread post by AGMorgan » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:01 pm

Chain, oil levels, shine a light down the tank for rust?
Mine is the same model but a year younger. I can't think of any thing that would make this bike better for a beginner.
The only problems I've had with mine are a cracked oil seal on the tach cable but it was (fairly) easy to fix and didn't keep it from running before I fixed it.
If it checks out I'd recommend it, its a fine machine in my humble opinion.
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