2006 Kwasaki Drifter 800 - Used Bike Spotlight

How's it faring after all these years?

We've always liked Kawasaki's smaller Drifter 800, so we were none too keen on seeing it discontinued for the '07 model year to make room for the new Vulcan 900s. Still, we're happy to report that in the used-bike market, 800 Drifters look about as problem-free as a motorcycle can be.

Outside of the normal issues you'd encounter vetting any used bike, there's not much to look for, and what few problems there are seem to be confined to older versions.

  • Be on the lookout for disabled air-injection systems; it's a popular modification, especially when aftermarket pipes are installed. This might lead to problems if your state has emission testing. There are also some reports of premature carbon buildup, but that's probably a function of the way the bikes are ridden and the quality of the fuel the owners are using.

  • Early bikes had vapor-locking issues, but enlarging the fuel cap's vent hole normally solved that.

  • Some owners reportedly had trouble with the countershaft sprocket retaining nut loosening up. Not to worry-a stout wrench and a shot of Loctite is all it takes to put things right, so don't consider it a deal-breaker.

  • Older models were also jetted notoriously lean, so a jet kit might be on the menu if the bike in question is bone stock and has a penchant for long warm-ups.

After the initial 600-mile service, Kawasaki recommends 3500-mile intervals of minor services, which are essentially oil changes and inspections, alternating with major services.

Minor services take roughly one hour, the major ones anywhere from one to five hours depending on how many miles are on the bike. Five hours may seem like a lot, but this includes repacking the steering-head bearings and the suspension linkage (both of which need to be disassembled before they can be greased), as well as adjusting the valves.

This mint example comes to us courtesy of Dvin Kehish. He snagged this 2006 beauty for $4000 and slapped on some Cobra freeway bars and a set of Hard Krome American Classic pipes.