Fun to ride but unreliable
This bike developed a coolant leak at the base of the forward cylinder at about 3000 miles, due to gasket failure from the factory. Also the drive shaft splines were not lubed at the factory. I learned about the lube problem, and corrected it before any damage resulted from that. The gasket required removal of the engine to correct. The gasket, and those that needed to be replaced to get to it, cost about $50.00. The labor to replace the gasket would have been $1,000.00. Fortunately I was able to do the work at home during the winter.
Later on the bike left me stranded several times, because it would not restart when shut off. The battery was not recharging. Stator voltages seemed OK. It turned out to be bad connections between the stator wiring and the voltage regulator wiring. The voltage regulator was replaced twice.
After all the bugs were worked out, the bike has never failed me since. After 20 years of manufacture, Kawasaki never strove to make improvements on the initial design, even though there were many known recurrent problems. Shame on them.
I like to commute on this bike. It has nimble handling in town and good visibility. Long distance riding is not as appealing. The seat will hurt you, and it lacks the heft to take the buffeting on the interstate.
There is a nice array of features and gauges, and normal maintenance is easy to do at home.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 16th September, 2012