Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Toby asks: I know you are into motorcycles and have some older ones. I’m looking for something older but not ancient. A bike that is still everyday ridable but without a computer or EFI. Can you give me some recommends?
My reply: Good news! Bikes without EFI and computers were still being made well into the early 2000s – as opposed to cars without EFI or computers, which they stopped making in the late 1980s. My ’03 Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a good example of an old – but not too old – bike that hasn’t got a computer or EFI. It has desirable modern updates such as modern wheels/tires and a lighter frame/swingarm, better brakes and a much better suspension than my ’76 Kz900 has. But it is still very much like my ’76 in terms of being fundamentally a simple, mechanical thing with the electrics limited to a wiring harness for the lights and an ignition system to fire the plugs.
It’s still pretty easy to find a bike from the early-mid 2000s with low or relatively low miles, too – because unlike cars, most motorcycles are not ridden every day. My ’03 Kaw only has 26,000 miles on it, as a for-instance. And a few years ago, I was able to buy my ’83 Honda GL650 with just 12,000 miles on it.
You didn’t mention your experience level nor what type of bike you’re interested in, but I’ll assume you’re a new rider and not looking for a hard-core sport bike. You might be interested in a bike like my ZRX, which Kaw sold through 2005 in the U.S. if I am remembering correctly. It is powerful but easygoing. A similar bike is the Yamaha FZ1 from the same era. For something a bit less aggressive – and almost maintenance-free – check out the Honda Nighthawk series, the 750 especially.
These bikes are all basically UJMs – the Universal Japanese Motorcycle – and similar in layout. Any of them would make a great regular rider!
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