Did you ever buy a motorcycle and seriously think you could keep it forever? Did you ever come back from a ride and realize your bike was just about perfect, it did everything you asked, it felt right, looked good, had a real space for a passenger and wasn’t built as a special purpose track weapon only someone with a young body could ride for over an hour? Some bikes are quickly eliminated, but there are more than a few that could be considered.
These thoughts crossed my mind as I was looking over the bikes for sale and noticed there were three very nice 1973 Kawasaki Z1s listed. While some of you may not feel the Z1 fits my description above, I bet a few of you might. The Z1 has plenty of power, looks good, the seat is flat with lots of room for a passenger, it has an upright riding position so you can be comfortable even if you’re a bit older and right now, there are plenty of parts available to restore and maintain it almost 40 years after it first appeared. This is a bike that caused a lot of excitement at first and it’s maintained a strong following over several decades. At Vintage Motorcycle Days this year (photo above), it seemed there was a perfect Z1 almost everywhere I turned and I’ve always liked them so they really stood out. These are bikes that have held up really well from the start, it makes me wonder if any of their original owners were thinking of the long term when they first rode it home.
You probably aren’t going to make a decision to keep a bike when it’s brand new because it has no history and you have no experience with it, but you might start looking for nice examples of the one you let get away after you realize how much you miss it or over the years you might like the bike so much the thoughts of long term ownership begin to pop up.
Parts support for the Z1 seems pretty strong so you can keep it looking and running like brand new or you can follow the route of some custom shops like Bull Dock or Sanctuary and modernize to taste. Either way works and if you ever decide to sell it, you’ll probably find it wasn’t a bad long term investment with lots of pleasure dividends added to the return.
Now, don’t get me wrong, though the Z1 got me started on this train of thought, there are certainly a lot of Honda and Harley owners that view their rides the same way, probably most every brand has a bike or two with dedicated long term owners, some of you probably have bikes you’ve owned for 25 or 30 years, too.
Although the factories might not want too many of you to think this way, if more of you did, it would be a lot easier to go out right now and buy the bike you really want. Buy a nice one and take care of it and then keep it forever. When you divide the price over decades, you’re practically getting your bike for free. Something to think about.