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Author Topic: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?  (Read 2384 times)

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jmbo

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What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« on: October 13, 2019, 19:27:31 PM »

I had to have one! I never knew they existed until I saw this commercial on YouTube    After that I decided I had to have one.  I was riding a '99 Triumph TBS 900 at the time.  Great bike but not exactly my style. Let's face it that a younger mans bike. I also had a '74 Triumph TR7 750. (and oil soaked pants legs to prove it)

I'm an older guy.  I like older bikes. After riding a bunch of "classics" I got tired of all the "Wrench and Ride" business so like I said, I saw the Drifter ad and everything the ad mentioned made sense to me. Its a classic looking bike but built on a modern platform. 

It took me better than five years to find my '99er. I live in Wisconsin (read: Harley country) I found the bike on Craigslist across the lake in Michigan.  My nephew happened to lived near by so I asked to check it out. It was the real deal. Bone stock with pretty much every Fire & Ice option originally available and only 10 grand on the clock. 

I  quickly sold my TBS, hopped on the Lakeland Express and bought the bike.  I rode it for the first time and knew it was meant to be. I ferried it back on the boat. I was late October so I only road it for a couple of days that fall. I have doubled the millage since then. Sweet bike. And now they are saying it is a cult classic.  Fine by me.

What's your story?

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Jimb

greenbarn

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2019, 22:20:35 PM »

I had been looking for an old Indian for a while.  Looking on craigslist, etc.   Once in a while would find a basket case for $5000, "missing parts"...." Only needs XYZ"...  I thought, if "XYZ" could easily be found, the seller would already have found it and would have a restored bike, not a box of parts.....     Once in a while, looking for old Indians, would find an ad for a "Indian Drifter"....    When I looked into it, I figured out it was a Kawasaki Drifter, and started looking for one -  had never seen one around here in the flesh.   

So then I started to look for Drifters, figuring I could get an Indian-styled bike I could actually ride instead of looking for parts (the jokes on me, LOL)...   Bought an 800 first, and then later a 1500 -  both of which I customized to my liking over the years. 
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mittico68

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2019, 06:05:38 AM »

It was back in 1999, when it happened to me to see a red 800 Drifter standing inside a bike shop, in my city.
At that time I didn't even know it existed, so I firstly thought it could have been a vintage Indian…
I remember that I was driving my car when I saw her, so I stopped and immediately made a u-turn. I went inside the shop and so it came out that was a Drifter, made by Kawa etc. etc.
After a few days, she was MINE!
I've been keeping her absolutely OEM, for a long time. But 10 years ago, I started to customize her, and the job still goes on and on...
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I love my swingin' bike!

tj

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2019, 09:59:03 AM »

Similar story to greenbarn, looking for an older indian...even looked at "gilroy indians". When I saw a local ad titled "indian drifter", I had to have a look. Bought it, brought it home and spent the winter rebuilding and customizing the bike. The plan was to ride it to Sturgis that same year and then sell it when I returned home....I still have it today, 5 years later.
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RZ94

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2019, 14:56:32 PM »

It was late 1999. I saw a Drifter and wanted one bad. Then BOOM. Divorce, custody fight. Fourteen long years later, I finally got all the kids through college ( I got custody thankfully as their mother is certifiably nuts),
got back on my feet and was making decent money again.  Something made me look at the Facebook Market page. It was then I saw this original owner, 6800 mile 2002 VN800-E2 in the perfect color; black. Made a call to go look at it, bought it on the spot, and have been riding the wheels off it since. To me, I've got the Indian Chief look I always wanted, in the color all my bikes have been, with metric cruiser reliability. Unless I win the lottery, this will be the last bike I own because it's exactly the bike I've always wanted since I was a kid.
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chief

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2019, 18:18:04 PM »

Looking for a replacement for a Roadking that had modern tech. Browsing a bike magazine and all the bikes, especially HD, were simply boring... then I saw the 2001 Drifters... found one in Feb of 2002 at a dealer about 150 miles from here and bought a new 2002. Honestly had never seen or heard of one before that bike magazine.
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Troll

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2019, 19:09:42 PM »

That's an interesting question. My story is unique. I was teaching Rider Ed. The first night of classroom, there is a video we show that features many different kinds of motorcycles. It's called "welcome to the ride". There is a 5 second shot of an '01 1500 Drifter in the video. One of the students yelled out "my brother in law has one of those!"  I didn't think much of it. Later at a break, he told me it was for sale. Ok, fine. Next day, at lunch break, he hands me a cell phone..says it's his brother in law. I spoke to him...$1000. been off the road since 2006. The rest is history!
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Hatchet54

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2019, 22:21:38 PM »

The Drifter is not necessarily an old man's bike.

I was in high school in the early 2000's. I always had an inclination towards mechanical things and especially motorcycles. At a certain point in school I started calling myself a greaser, listening to a lot of 50's music and developing a hot rod mentality in order to escape what I felt was a major oppression. Began taking my machines more seriously and started my first ground-up custom build, a KZ750 twin. That bike was my identity.

As the building and riding became more serious in conjunction with my choice of literature and musical influences, I decided I needed to focus my brain on a dream bike, an end-all motorcycle that I could set as a long-term goal for myself. My mind was a little overwhelmingly scattered at this time, and I liked having dreams that I could focus on for comfort. Sort of a Kerouac type of thing, I guess.

Coming out of the cafe racer scene I decided I needed a cruiser, and soon I started fantasizing about riding a big V-twin through the Southwest. I never liked Harleys, but I loved Indians. Something about that mid-century style was irresistible to me, and I told myself that I would style my new custom ride like one of the chiefs or scouts. 
The funny part about this story is that at first I had no idea the Drifter existed. However I was aware of the Vulcan 800, and for whatever reason, I decided that was the bike for me. I loved the shape of the frame, especially the triangular side covers (I still do have a weakness for that spot). I had heard great things about the riding and performance and I liked the idea of owning another Kawasaki. So I somewhat arbitrarily wrote down my dream donor bike as a Vulcan 800. Soon, all the margins on my math papers were filled with doodles of potential builds.

At the time I was struggling to find any work whatsoever, and $7 an hour doing part-time as a janitor at a warehouse was about as good as I was gonna get. So the saving started...the slow, slow saving.

However the Vulcan ended up on the backburner shortly. At some point I made the conscious decision that my financial pace was much better suited to buying multiple cheap old barn bikes and having fun RIDING them, then it was saving for something I realistically couldn't afford and waiting for a long period of time riding less. And I uphold that that was the best decision I could have made, because in the time that I would have spent saving for the Vulcan, I ended up buying something like 7 additional bikes and I rode the piss out of all of them. I had the time of my life. Plus I became a considerably better mechanic in that time, which was also a benefit. 

But I never forgot about the 800, and I had a big drawing of my build on the wall that I still looked at every day. And then randomly, at some point browsing around the internet looking at pics of the 800, I came across...wait for it...THEY MADE A VULCAN THAT WAS BASED ON AN INDIAN?!?
Well my brain just about exploded at that one. Needless to say, my dream bike suddenly evolved. LOL

In the end I spent something like 11 years (and about as many bikes) waiting to eventually buy my Drifter. I had a lot of money saved after last summer and casually started looking on Craigslist. The rest of that story is in my intro elsewhere on the forum.
But anyway. I've gone through what felt like a lifetime from that initial dream, but in the end, I made it happen and I'm so in freaking love with my new machine I can't even describe it. It might be over a decade later, but a high school hot rodder with a penchant for Indian motorcycles is finally happy.
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Bucko

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2019, 03:02:01 AM »

At the time when I was looking for a new bike back in 2001, I was interested in a cruiser but I only had one 'must have' - it had to be a shaft drive.  I was tired of dealing with chains and sprockets (I still have two bikes that have chains and sprockets and they're still a pain in the ass).  Started looking around and found that the Vulcans not only had shaft drive but also Fuel Injection and self-adjusting tappets - nearly maintenance free.  One look at the Drifter and I was sold!  Now in hindsight, I would gladly trade the hydraulic valve lash adjusters for good old fashioned shims if it got rid of all the valve train noise, but you can't have everything (maybe I should have bought an 800 - but the chain - ugggh - would love to have an 800 now though  ;)).
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RockinRollin

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2019, 07:47:35 AM »

After a 30-year hiatus from riding I started off on a 750 Honda Shadow (I ended on 750 Honda 30 years prior) which is a fine motorcycle but uninspired. I loved the look of Harley Davidson’s styling but not their reliability. Also, I was trying to decide what type of biker was I, the long-distance tourer or the retro rider. As I was pondering my conundrum a friend told me about someone, he knew who was riding an older Japanese bike that looked like an Indian, I was intrigued, did some research and knew I had found my next ride.
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slotcsx

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2019, 13:04:06 PM »

Cool looking large bike....always had great luck with Kawie's...sat on one, fit like a glove....had to have one !
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OR Seedman

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2019, 10:21:18 AM »

I was looking to get back into riding after about a 15 yr hiatus......had started looking for something in the 750-1000cc range just to get my riding legs back..had never even heard of the Drifters....just happen to come across a 2001 800 with only 3815 miles on it on craigslist.  it was bone stock and listed at $4000.  I just loved the retro look....and I basically called the guy and said I wanted to come look at it right away.  He was about 45 minutes north of my office, so I started out in his direction.  When I got there, he showed me three more messages he'd gotten while I was on my way.  I took it for a short ride and bought it.  I put about 7000 miles on it the first year...added bags, pipes, jetted the carb, etc.  Stated making bag mounts and other stuff due to lack of accessory availability, as many of you know.  I loved the look and feel of the bike, however, I'm not a small guy and it started to feel under-powered after I got used to riding again.  So I started looking for a 1500.  I almost bought a couple of local ones, but was too late on contacting the sellers.  Then, I happen to run across one on ebay that was being auctioned off with a bad front bevel gear bearing....made a bid of $700 and won it.  It had a ton of aftermarket accessories that were no longer available, so my plan was to part it out...but when I got it here, if fired right up an ran pretty good.  So, I decided to fix it (I have a full shop).  Well, two years and about $3,000 later I have the bike I wanted and plan to keep for quite some time....plus I sold the 800 for a good price....
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Lucky

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2019, 08:53:04 AM »

I've "always" been a kawasaki guy .. i think i've owned everything but euro bikes, and i always go back to kawasaki - I FINALLY decided that i needed to do an MSF -- hadn't been riding in 15+ (might be 20+) years, and wanted a cruiser-- sportbikes and I don't mix .. wanted a vulcan model .. found the drifter, bought it same day - taking her mostly back to stock. I love the classic looks and the "starts every time i hit the button" - i don't need radios, LEDS, flash, etc .. while my next bike may be a new 1700, Scout is a joy to ride
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"Scout"  800 Drifter
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Michelin Commander II mt/90-16 front 150/80-16 rear
1 3/4 turns on A/F, 1st clip,48 pilot, 160 main - 41mpg
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Abby

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2020, 10:56:13 AM »

What a terrific thread! Enjoy reading about others' Drifter passion. I've always loved the classic Indians but sticker shock of the new Polaris version just put me off! Saw an ad on CL that got the juices flowing and pulled a u-haul trailer down to Cincinnati to look over a '99 1500. Even though it had 31000 miles on the clock the engine started and ran beautifully. Obviously garage kept and well maintained. I also have an '05 Honda VTX 1300 for touring type duties and the Gooseberry is for attitude cruising. Always have something to ride if one of them is down for maintenance. Even after nearly two years sometimes I just walk around my Drifter and gawk...with a smile on.
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Lenny

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2020, 17:57:30 PM »

I started riding in the 1960's. My first motorcycle was a 1965 triumph. I then went to honda and had several of them including many goldwings. Then I started buying cruisers, dual sports and adventure bikes. I even had a Moto Guzzi Norge. Got the urge for a vintage style bike and suddenly remembered the kawasaki drifters. Found a nice 2002 drifter 1500 and love it. I have that and an adventure bike and love them both.
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Indian_fan

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2020, 18:02:03 PM »

After cutting my teeth on a Honda Trail 70 and a Suzuki 90 as a kid and teen, I bought a Honda scrambler and loved driving that around. Then I joined the military, and didn't ride for over 10 years. I got the urge tp ride again a few years after leaving the military, and started looking. I loved the Indians I saw and rode but couldn't afford them. I rode a few different Harley's and other bikes and couldn't find something I really liked. Then I learned about the Drifter and started looking for that specific bike (800 or 1500). I also found this forum about that time. One showed up in St. Cloud, MN (about 4 hours away), and i contacted the seller. Got some help from a couple forum members here, they watched a video of the bike and said it sounded good. Then figured out what paperwork would be needed for licensing etc in my state.  Because none of my family or friends were available (work etc.) I bought a one- way bus ticket, and took cash. Seller picked me up at bus station, took me to his garage, and let me take it for a test drive (!!!). We then went to his bank and got my paperwork notarized and I paid him. And then I leisurely cruised home that afternoon.
Probably don't need to say, but my mind was already decided when I bought the bus ticket- the rest was just formalities. Still riding it four years later, plan to put white walls on this year or next, and probably get replacement plexiglass windscreen sometime soon.

Now I'm hankering to get an adventure bike... I'm sure plenty here can give recommendations!
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jagered

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2020, 12:59:04 PM »

I searched for bikes after totaling my 900 Custom (a-hole sideswiped me) and saw a b-e-a-UTIFUL bike for sale in Maryland... WITH a trailer for $6,800.

Still have my 1500 ‘02 and will never part with it!
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T14b

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Re: What Possessed You To buy Your Drifter?
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2020, 20:30:57 PM »

Sheer accident!
Not one to spend money on myself, I was WAY outside the box when hubby convinced me to buy a brand new 2020 Indian Chief Vintage in burnished metallic.  Was planning to fly to another state to buy the color I wanted and ride it home.  When I found the wrong color nearby, I stopped in to check it out and see if just maybe they'd let me test ride it.  Now, I am a female, but I also ride a (lowered) HD Roadglide and I COULD NOT push that Indian forward.  Talk about a major disappointment.  Cancelled the flight plans and went home to lick my wounds.   Disillusioned, I'm surfing the internet and stumble across a bike I'd never seen - the DRIFTER.  HAD TO HAVE ONE!  Found one only 100 miles away with only 5,300 mile and brought her home!  It is so super cool I can't even call it a consolation prize.  I'm as happy as I would have been with the Indian, have a whole lot more money left in my pocket and it's liquid cooled to boot!

My 3rd bike is a Yamaha Vstar Silverado (studded Heritage look).  I like the old school look.  Bikes nowadays have no style.

On the one hand it's cool to have something no one else has, but it sure would be neat to see more on the road!
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