Kawasaki Demo Day

Sep 4, 2021 – MotoMember Manassas, VA

I saw a Facebook post a couple of days before the event and I thought it would be fun to try out some new Kawasaki models. Let the good times roll! (like in that Simpson’s episode). I hop on my motorcycle and head out to MotoMember. Hah! MotoMember! The name is unique, a bit corny.. but it has grown on me. Become a MotoMember today!

I’ve only ever been to the Purcellville, VA MotoMember and when MotoMember was in Leesburg, VA. The Purcellville location is a super-warehouse sized dealership with 2 levels. It’s awesome! (I should post some pics I took about 2 years ago.) The Leesburg location on the other hand, was just a hole in the wall and we have the Manassas location as good in-between middle size space.

After getting taking in the layout of the dealership, it’s time to get onto some bikes!

I head over to the Kawasaki tent, handed over my driver’s license (with motorcycle endorsement), and signed up. I had selected the Ninja Z400 for one of the 1st time slots. There’s still time to kill before the 1st ride, so I head back in the dealership to look around at some stuff. Stuff that I should not be impulse buying at all (like new jackets, gloves, etc).

About 15 minutes before my time slot, I head over to the briefing area to take a breathalyzer. I’m clean. Then after a safety meeting that expounded that there will be no moto-hooliganism (No wheelies, stoppies, knee draggin’, etc.) and that we are expected to follow all road rules, we get all geared up and head out. Our group followed the 2 Kawasaki ride leaders through the tour and attempt to maintain a safe staggered formation. We did our best. It was about a 15-minute ride through the city of Manassas and some neighborhoods. There were small stretches of straights and turns to get a feel for the bikes and traffic was light at the time.

The Kawasaki Z400 is light and nimble. It has that light smooth butter clutch feel, which is a night and day difference when compared to my Suzuki GSX-S 750, which has got that heavy clutch. That bike is not a beginner friendly clutch pull for sure. For about the 1st month of owning the GSX-S my hand was getting fatigued during stop-and-go traffic. So I figured that I needed to just level up my grip strength. After investing time with a hand gripper, I was able to increase my endurance with that heavy clutch and now I can operate it without getting my hand tired. Back to the Z400! Its clutch is new rider-friendly. The pull is so light that I think anyone can handle it. The bike itself small and is light. With a curb weight of 363.8 lb, it’s easy to move around in and pretty comfortable. There’s about a 100 lbs difference between my bike’s curb weight (465 lbs). Check out the Z400 here. MSRP is $4,999.

The only thing bad about it that I’ve noticed and it might just be this demo bike, is that the clutch engagement point is too far out, meaning that from full release to barely pulling an inch or two will get me in the friction zone. I’d prefer having the friction zone move down a bit more. It’s a small nitpick but I still had fun. By the way, the friction zone is the point where power starts to get transferred to the rear wheel and it’s at this point where you need to smoothly be letting off the clutch while giving a tad bit of gas in order to not stall out. With the clutch being so light, I find it a little harder that usual to find that friction zone engagement point on the Z400.

Small things aside, the ride itself was just a relaxing and easy tour around the city. As the demo ride came to a close, I felt energized and rushed over to choose another bike for the next time slot. The Ninja 1000SX!

After slamming a Monster Energy drink (free, of course), I felt ready to try the Ninja 1000SX. Going from an entry-level bike to a luxury sport-tourer was just glorious. You climb into this motorcycle, as opposed to just plopping down into the Z400’s seat. When dash lights up and you’re presented with a beautiful color LCD screen.

The ride was smooth. I felt like I was floating with no ounce of engine effort. There’s just a lot more technology pack into this machine. I noticed additional information and sensors on the dash that is now available to me. I was pleasantly surprised as I operated the bike’s brake levers and I see visual feedback on the dash. There’s a front brake pressure sensor! When you squeeze the brake lever, it will output to a digital radial level bar, much like a traditional tachometer. You squeeze 1-2 percent on the lever, you’ll then see bar fill up slightly. If you go half brake pressure, it fills up to half way. Awesome! Of course you’ll only get this on the top end bikes. Man, if you want to shell out the MSRP of $12,599, then you’re in for quite the treat. This bike is so great that I was contemplating my life without a Ninja 1000SX. Do I have the skill to manage a liter sport-tourer? No. Do I want the luxury that this bike provides? Yes. Well, there’s a reason that I’m not on a Gixxer-750 (GSXR-750, MSRP of $12,599 vs $8,499’s GSX-S750), I can only afford the “po’boy” Gixxer. The Gixxer-750 has the same price as the Ninja 1000SX.

After the demo ride with the Ninja 1000SX concluded, I signed up for the bigger, beefy brother of the Z400, the Z900. But that is not until after lunch. I head out to a mom and pop deli and had a great steak and cheese! Heiney’s Deli & Subs was the place and it’s nearby the dealership.

Kawasaki Z900 is a great bike. It’s quite the upgrade from the Z400 as expected! Everything is just better, with the cost of more weight, of course. The curb weight of the Z900 is 467.5lbs. It is definitely smoother than the Z400. With the MSRP price of $9,099 (Check it out here), it had contemplating my life again. I imagined a life without my 2018 GSX-S750, and its MSRP of $8,299 and I imagined a life with a Z900. It’s not too much difference in price. The Z900 is a great bike, I especially like how narrow the gas tank is on the Z900. It’s made to dig your knees into it for better grip. I’ve been comparing my current bike to the Z900 which is only 750cc class engine, so a better comparison would be a GSX-S1000 with an MSRP of $11,099. I’ll get on a GSX-S1000 some another time. I will look forward to a Suzuki demo day for sure.

After my 3rd demo ride, I was ready to leave. I wanted to sign up for another demo bike, but I had more family stuff to do. Check out more pics, and if you get a chance to go to a demo day you should. It’s great fun! You can get a bunch of swag if you got. Stickers, pens, phone grips, and bags are up for grabs.

Well, it was fun day with bikes! I head back home to the family and we all go to my wife’s friend’s place for some grilling and a classic car, like a 1992 Honda Beat! This thing is just cool. It’s small and under powered by today’s standard, but the wheel is on the right! So awesome!

By Jerry Rattanong

On the last very second of December 31, 1999, one man felt a transformation that erupted in his very soul. And in that second, he changed from a mere thug to the something greater than all his accomplishments combined, and thus a new era of his life began, and the world plunged into everlasting darkness.....

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