Used Bike

2000 Kawasaki ZX-9R

In 2006 with the unlikely premise of £3500 fast burning holes in their pockets, four Visordown teamsters are buying second-hand steel. It's head v. hearts all the way

JB bought: 2000 Kawasaki ZX-9R
Miles: 8147
Tyres: Bridgestone BT010s, three-quarters worn
Standard? Yes
Comments: Just plain good all-round, apart from the chamfering on the bottom of the right fork leg...

HAVING THREE-AND-a-half grand to spend on a bike is a luxury I've not enjoyed in over 10 years - precisely the time I've been full-time in bike journalism. Hmm. And being in a position of supporting a mortgage and a brand new baby means even if I had the theoretical three-and-a-half Gs I'd still be struggling to keep up with the costs of ownership. So I'd have to choose wisely.

So what is it I'd want to buy? A sports bike of course. As an ex-racer of sorts (my last season was in 2001) I love the track. Yes, what I'd need is something that would do my 100-mile commutes, would lap up track days (as and when I could afford) and would be cheap as chips to run.

Given these criteria I'd practically decided on a ZX-9R before I'd arrived at DK's impressive showrooms, but I kept an open mind. There were quite a few Blades in my price range. But they were of that slightly too heavy, slightly too sensible variety that Honda made prior to the RRY. Then I spotted a 2001 Suzuki GSX-R750 in Alstare colours. I used to race one of these and it was fantastic. But the condition wasn't top notch and there were too many owners' modifications that were not to my liking. I'd love one, but not this one.

Surprisingly, the next choice was an Aprilia Mille. I've always liked the look of these, they're big and
muscular where Ducatis can be svelte and feminine. A burly biker's sport twin. I wanted to say 'yes' but there was this nagging doubt whether the 100 miles a day, five days a week would kill it.
And then I saw the Kawasaki. A D-type and mint. Green, clean and with just 8000 miles on the clock it looked likely to be mean too. There was nothing I didn't like with the example. It was bog stock. And immaculate. I'd have it.

And the test ride proved it was as good as it looked. The motor is old school fast thanks to the carbies, and with a great induction roar. The handling is slowish compared to the latest tackle but plenty good enough. And everything with this example worked just right. Gearbox, clutch, everything. Like new, almost. Oh yes, and look at the pics, does this thing look cool or what? I'm really pleased, for my £3500 I'd have bought a six-year-old sports bike that was barely distinguishable from new. Yes, the ZX-9R was Cool with a capital 'K'.

Click t'read what James Whitham bought

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