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Suzuki Katana 600
My new 1993 Suzuki Katana 600 (1993)

There are so many beautiful sport bikes being made now that it's hard to decide on just one. The first time I saw one was back at college in 1988 - a beautiful new Honda Hurricane. I was very much impressed. I was drawn to their great looks and wonderful sounds.

I started with a Kawasaki Ninja 250 and when I was ready for a full-sized bike, I decided upon a new, red 1993 Katana 600. I liked the Katana's more comfortable upright riding position and its beautiful full-body fairing. I put 7500 miles on it which included many sunny afternoon drives and even a Texas Hill Country ride, eventually selling the bike in 1995.

Kawasaki KZ650
Standing with my completely rebuilt 1978 Kawasaki KZ650 (1994)

I decided to take on a motorcycle rebuilding project in March of '94 to help take my mind off my then much-despised job. I found an old 1978 Kawasaki KZ650 for sale (it wouldn't run) and bought it for $425. Over the next six months I spent many hours lovingly tearing down and rebuilding it, trying to maintain the original Kawasaki detailing. In the end, I spent about $1800 in parts putting it back together and (regrettably) sold it one and a half years later for $950. I think it was worth every penny.

During the course of the restoration I included several modifications and upgrades. I replaced the original ugly spoke wheels and goofy bicycle-like tires with allow wheels and sport tires. I also upgraded the wimpy-looking single disc brake with dual cross-drilled brake rotors and twin chrome exhaust pipes. The bike then took on a whole new look. I was very proud of my "custom" modifications. I finished it off with a professional coat of British Racing green and matching pinstripes.

On the street, I found this bike to have gobs of torque, even more than my Katana. It pulled hard from a stop at full throttle and felt like a tractor in first gear. With a five speed gearbox and little wind protection the bike was best suited for cruising. The whole rebuilding experience was very educational and I came to appreciate the solid build quality of these Japanese cruisers.

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Texas, USA