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Old 01-10-2013, 05:01 PM   #16
Dust Monkey
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: AZ Heat
Oddometer: 27
Goose, Goose ... Duck?

Probably a bit too pricey and perhaps a tad less reliable than some, but an early '80's Ducati Darmah is a fabulous machine.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jordan325ic View Post
Guzzi's - The 80s V50s and V65s definitely look like they could be the bike for me, but what about parts availability? I can't even find a used V50/V65 for sale. Are all the necessary parts available?

Oh man, and they can even come with a kickstarter... I want one! Too bad there isn't a single V50 for sale anywhere.

The GS500 looks good on paper but having worked on one... no thanks. I hate the double petcock system and the shim-and-bucket valve adjustments.

CX500's are definitely pretty cool bikes, but I seem to recall there are a few pretty major internal seals/gaskets that tend to go bad and are now unavailable?

Old BMWs... I don't know enough about them really. I've read about high technology, paralever problems, and they're expensive. Plus I don't think they sound good. Isn't the fuel economy not that great either?

There are a ton of great, reliable, old-school UJM 4 cylinder bikes, but the complexity of a 4 cylinder/4 carb motor just doesn't appeal to me, bulletproof though they may be.

A sportster 883 ticks all the boxes and this country is overflowing with bikes, parts and dealers. Character, old-school design, fuel economy, longevity... if only I could add a centerstand...
Does anybody know what exactly the problem is with adding a centerstand to a solid-mount evo sportster? I think most Harley guys don't care about a centerstand so I haven't found too much information about it, just that it can't be done.
Mabey look at the Honda Ascot vtwin? 500cc, shaft drive, But it's Liquid cooled.

Mabey convert a 4cyl UJM to 2 carbs? Wouldent be easy or cheap though.

I'm not sure what bikes exist that fit your wants other than Jap' Parralel twins and a few Vtwins. I'm not sure if guzzi's fit the bill on parts availabilty.
1980 Suzuki GS450 Confused bitsabike.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:05 PM   #18
Dust Monkey
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: AZ Heat
Oddometer: 27
Great thought

The VT500 Ascot is a GREAT bike!!!

Possibly a Suzuki VX800 as well?
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:40 PM   #19
baloneyskin daddy
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: southcentral PA.
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It seems that what you're looking for is barely more than what you have now.Run the wheels off the Kawasaki.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:07 PM   #20
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Location: Halfway between Munich and Redditch.
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Originally Posted by baloneyskin daddy View Post
It seems that what you're looking for is barely more than what you have now.Run the wheels off the Kawasaki.

+1. Keep what you have, it's exactly what you're looking for.

But a Suzuki VX800 is an intriguing choice. Just old enough (in my opinion) to qualify as old's school, and they have a 45 degree cylinder alignment, so with the right exhaust system, they'd sound just like a Harley, yet they're built along more sportbike lines.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #21
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Enough said.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:49 PM   #22
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I'd second the Suzuki GS500 twin. We bought one as Skowinski-wife's first street bike. It turned out to be a great machine, very capable - much more so than I expected, and easy to maintain.
"The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts."
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:17 PM   #23
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Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
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My 1978 Yamaha XS650 SE meets all of your requirements. Its about 48 HP and gets 55 mpg. It has kick and electric start. Valve adjustments/camchain adjustment are very simple to do. I use a Pamco electronic ignition, which is very reliable.

It might be hard to find one in good condition.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:56 PM   #24
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Joined: Dec 2012
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I'll second third and fourth the XS650. Throw in a 750cc kit for a bucketload of torque. The sky's the limit with mods on an XS.

An early Virago before they went all choppery might be a good bet. Yes, there are horror stories about the starter and carbs, but they are all solve-able, and you get a genuine simple and rugged motor in a standard-ish configuration. Very smooth running too, unlike the XS. You can always throw in a later motor if you want, and there are kits to mod them to a single carb setup like a Harley. Even a 500 Virago would be a significant step up from your 400 I think.

Not a lot of choice with an aircooled motor and two carbs that's not a twin, but the 83-86 GS550's only had 2 carbs, albeit, dual-throated. Really though, I think you are worrying way to much about the carb thing. Balancing 4 carbs is easy and needs doing pretty infrequently.

You might consider the big brother to the bike you already have, a KZ750 twin, but I think your 400 has a better motor, frankly.

If it was me, I think I would try to find a low mileage Suzuki 650 Tempter in blue and silver. They are pretty simple and never seem to command much money, unlike the XS. Hell of a lot newer, more modern and, in my opinion, better looking then the KZ750.

Ducati Monster, Cagiva Alazzurra, Cagiva Elephant, Honda TransAlp, Honda Hawk GT, Honda GB500, Yamaha SRX, Kawasaki W650......

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Old 01-11-2013, 03:35 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by mitchxout View Post
Isn't this the Old's Cool forum? Are you guys lost? V-Strom, sheesh.
Oh, yeah, right then. Norton Commando.
Too much is just barely enough.....
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:38 AM   #26
Brunow - 007
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You can look for a 2000 Triumph scrambler (lot's of parts, 2 carbs's, fun, ...)

It has a lot of the same you have now just a bit more hp & reliable...

Still i do like an old guzzy too!

But these bike's are a bit more heavy than your easy to live with KZ400
Working on the D14/4 Bsa Daily Driver .
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:46 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by jordan325ic View Post
CX500's are definitely pretty cool bikes, but I seem to recall there are a few pretty major internal seals/gaskets that tend to go bad and are now unavailable?
Get a good CX and it's all smiles; get a troublesome one and it's not made to be easy to fix.

Mine came with a burnt stator which can be caused by low crankcase oil -- and stator replacement is an engine-out procedure. The ignition timing signal coils can also degrade and it's another engine-out procedure. The ignition module for pre-'82 bikes is unique and is unavailable. These built their reputation for reliability before the electronic components were 30 years old. I have, however, had no trouble finding gaskets and seals.

Other bikes share ignition modules with several other models from the era so they're still available from the manufacturer or from aftermarket.

My '75 CB750 seems durable enough and uses those simple points. . .
"The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world."-- Max Born, Nobel Physicist
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:23 AM   #28
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XS650. I owned and commuted on one a few years ago and Mike's XS650 was a great source for cheap parts. I have been riding a Norton Commando since I had the XS and after some initial teething problems, it has been quite reliable, has excellent and relatively cheap parts availability, and a huge owner network.
68 Norton Commando 67 Triumph Daytona
71 BSA B50MX 01 Honda XR400 (plated).
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:06 AM   #29
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Interesting topic.. Since I'm also looking for my next bike and I kinda like the o.p.'s KZ400 and motorcycling ideas, I'll toss my ideas into this thread also.

I had a '75 Kawasaki KZ400D before I bought my current '89 Ninja 250 in 2006. I've got my eye on the Ninja 500, Suzuki GS500, and the '98+ Suzuki Katana 600 for my next bikes. I've also looked at a '81 Suzuki GS450 and a '81 CX500 but again like the KZ400, being that old parts availability might be an issue. However a BMW or a Triumph as posted above would be interesting also.
1997 Yamaha Seca II - mostly stock, Oxford Sports Style Heated Grips, Barkbusters Blizzard Cold Weather Handguards, a Scottoiler vSystem chain oiler. My Mileage Tracker Page.

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Old 01-11-2013, 07:28 AM   #30
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Cin City, OH
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Mid '80's Honda 700 Nighhawk S.

Good style, plenty of power, and the simplest maintenance of practically any bike. Everything hydraulic, including the valves, and a drive shaft.
Oh I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused-E.Costello
'01 Kawasaki W650, '05 Yamaha XT225

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