Evolution of my addiction.

2017 Kawasaki ZX-14 with a 1440cc engine.

This past Friday I traded my black and gold 2014 Honda CB1000r for the Green Machine pictured above. I took this pic to remember the moment….

I bought the black Honda CB about a week after my divorce went through two years ago. It was my first brand new bike, and in two years I put 8,000 miles (and 2 rear tires) on the Honda. It was BY FAR the fastest machine I’ve ever owned, electronically limited at 145mph.

I was also dealing with that internal emotional turmoil that anyone goes through at the end of a 20 year marriage. There were times when I went out and rode until my hands buzzed. There are some who say riding is like therapy, and I’m not going to argue different. Sometimes I would ride far out into the boonies with no destination in mind, just riding, listening to the wind and shifting through the corners.

With a 1,000cc engine the 2014 Honda was my first truly modern motorcycle…. before the 2014 I owned a 1978 Honda Hawk with a 400cc motor. It was a cool bike, I rescued it from a barn in the late 1990’s and cleaned it up. It had a kick starter!

I rode the Hawk from 1997 until 2015!

I had to adjust my brain and riding skills to go from the ancient 400cc Honda to the 2014 Honda CB with the 1,000cc motor. The 2014 bike had a close ratio six speed shifter, so there was power all over the place, but it revved too high above 120mph. On high speed runs I could burn half a tank of gas in just 20 miles…

Going from the 2014 Honda to the newer ZX-14 also requires a shift in skills, the Green Machine is even faster and the stakes are higher… but I’m taking my time getting used to the new bike.

Inexperienced riders get into trouble because they ignore physics, don’t wear safety gear, and they fail to respect the machine. I’m not doing at wheelies at 100mph waring flipflops cargo shirts and a tank top.

Yes, I’ve seen riders do this.

NO mandatory helmet law here in Gator land. ‘Murica !!!!!!

OK, this is the point when you are going to tell me I’m going to die, and you’re 100% correct, I’m going to die at some point in the future. When I do high speeds I tend to do it on an empty highway when traffic is light to non-existent. I never ride in the rain if I can help it. I’m wearing helmet, long pants, ballistic jacket, gloves, boots, etc.

There are some riders who will claim they rode from Tampa to Orlando going 150mph the entire time and I can tell you with normal traffic that’s damn near impossible. Most riders will go fast for a little bit, maybe a mile or so, then slow down as they catch up with traffic.

Going REALLY fast on 2 wheels is super loud, super windy and exhausting.

So why the hell did I buy an insanely fast ZX-14 ??????

#1. Because I got a high trade value on the CB1000r.

#2. Because the ‘Rona might kill me next week.

#3. Both the 1978 and the 2014 Hondas had very little wind protection. Getting blown around at 100mph is not fun, even worse on a gusty day with crosswinds. The full fairing on the Green Machine creates an aerodynamic bubble that wraps around the rider starting at 80mph. This makes a big difference, especially on a longer highway ride.

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I sold my ’78 Honda a long time ago, but it would be fun to ride the 2017 Kawasaki and then jump on the old Honda, just to see the change in technology from 1978 to 2017.

Most of the guys who buy a ZX-14 tend to be around my age, with a few decades of riding experience… I’ve been riding on and off for 25 years.

I respect the machine, and I’m a sober rider. I want to be one of those cool dudes who still rides a crotch rocket at 65 years old.

But sometimes you just want to take it easy…. and this is why my other bike is a 2013 Vrod:

Happy Riding !!!!!!!

Ben Alexander

October 10, 2020.