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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My letter to Kawasaki regarding my 6 day old Ninja with a blown engine:
On June 13th, 2007, I picked up my brand new ZX6R. I have wanted the “Ninja” since I was 16 years old; Having grown up riding my KX80, my Tecate 4, and eventually graduating to the KX250, I have always had a brand loyalty to Kawasaki because of their awesome combination of style and performance. I picked up the bike late on the 13th of June and rode it only the distance to my home, approximately 15 miles, and immediately garaged it and took my son to a Detroit Tiger’s game. The following morning, I started the engine and as I was strapping my helmet for my very first ride, I noticed a “ticking” sound and thought it sounded a little out of the ordinary. I rode the bike only to the gym and did not take it to work like I had planned due to the sound the engine was making. While on my lunch break I called Nicholson’s and spoke with Mike, my salesperson, and expressed my concern about the “ticking” noise. (the date remember, is June 14th, ONE DAY after receiving the bike) Mike informed me that all sport bikes had a ticking noise and it was nothing to worry about. Being my first sport bike, I believed him and couldn’t wait to get home to ride it and felt silly for not riding to work. I went home and rode my bike all night and took it and showed it off to everyone. For some reason, I still couldn’t believe that this bike was supposed to make such a distracting and annoying noise. On the 16th of June, I was riding with a friend who rides a ZX-9 and he heard the noise and said it is not an ordinary sound, and that I should contact someone to have it looked it. At that point, I noticed while my key was in the on position and the bike was not running, the oil light flashed until the bike was started and then it turned off. I again called Mike and told him of this condition and told him the “ticking” appeared to be louder. He told me the oil light always flashes until the bike is started and as long as it goes off, there is nothing to worry about. I continued to ride, including taking my wife and older son on this bike, which I was about to find out, had not been safe to be operating on public roads. Luckily for everyone involved, the final “pandemonium” (as described by your authorized Kawasaki dealer) occurred while I was alone on the bike so that no innocent people were injured. On the morning of June 20th, 2007, I decided to get another opinion and called Plymouth Motorsports (110 Ann Arbor Rd, Plymouth, Mi 48170) and spoke with Jeff and explained to him the noise I was hearing. He told me it is true that sport bikes have a type of ticking noise, but if it were so loud that it was bothering me, I should bring it in and have a technician look at it. I decided to take it in immediately and started driving to the dealership. While making a sharp left turn, the engine backfired loudly and the bike lost power, almost causing me to lose control while in the middle of my turn. The bike then began to backfire rapidly and making horrible noises. I walked to my house and picked up my truck and my neighbor and loaded the bike into the truck. I took it to the dealership where Jeff Koenig met me and unloaded my bike. He told me the “motorcycle guy” was gone for the day and they would get it in to look at the next day. I couldn’t believe I was going to be without my brand new bike for possibly two days! I called Mike again at Nicholson’s and told him the situation and asked if anyone in their service department could possibly look at it any sooner. He told me he would check, and call me right back. I never received his call and decided reluctantly to leave it for the entire evening at Plymouth Motorsports.
On June 21st, I called your department (female employee, do not recall a name) and expressed my displeasure with having my week old motorcycle in the shop and asked how Kawasaki handled such situations and if there were any provisions that allowed for a loaner bike or some other customer friendly program to assist a consumer of a brand new motorcycle who is left without one. I felt as though I was wasting her time as she informed me there were no such actions to be taken by Kawasaki. I waited until the end of the day on the 21st and called Plymouth, and asked for a status on my bike. Jeff told me the bike had not been torn apart, but it was definitely NOT a sparkplug, as optimistically diagnosed, but rather something internal and the engine was going to have to be completely torn apart! My brand new engine, torn apart! I then called Nicholson’s and told them the bad news and asked what could be done for me. Nothing was ever done, and I never received return calls. At this point, I naively thought it would be better to deal directly with the manufacturer rather than the local dealership. That lead me to my first discussion with Mark. (no last name) Mark was not very sympathetic to my concerns, and spoke rather condescendingly and at one point made a comment to me to the effect of: “If you’re looking for me to snap my fingers and give you a new bike, it isn’t gonna happen!” He also informed me that Kawasaki does not have crate engines and that my week old motorcycle was going to get a rebuilt engine! A little background on me: I work for an aluminum casting supplier (the largest in the world) and work as a Quality Representative in ENGINE ASSEMBLY PLANTS DAILY, and have done so for many years! When you try to tell me that a bike rebuilt in a dealership’s garage with 15 other assorted vehicles around him, by someone who may have been working on a Yamaha watercraft the day before is going to do the same quality of work as the worker in the manufacturer’s assembly plant by someone who specializes in building the motor for my ZX6R, you are absolutely INCORRECT! I am not questioning the service technician’s abilities or that of the dealership, I am simply stating a fact! I do not, and I doubt anyone reading this, would react any differently upon being told their week old motorcycle was going to be rebuilt. I hung up with Mark with more of a feeling that Kawasaki has no sympathy for the fact that I’m in Michigan and my riding season is ticking away. Jeff at Plymouth, the ONLY person in this nightmare giving me information that I did not have to solicit, told me the bike had a failed valve on the 1st cylinder and that they bike was totally apart and they were putting together a list of parts to order to rebuild the bike. Furious still that my bike was being rebuilt, I felt better when he told me they would order the parts, get them in 3-7 days, 2 days labor and I would have it back. I felt the fact that I had to wait was absurd, so I again called customer service and Nathan agreed to have all parts overnighted to the dealership and Kawasaki would pay. This was the FIRST (and last) thing your company did to make me believe for one minute that you cared about me, the consumer. I called Jeff back, told him to get the ball rolling, make sure to overnight them and lets get ready because my birthday was on the 30th of June, and I had plans to go riding with 5 friends for a two day trip. I was also excited because due to the Holiday, the auto plants in Detroit are shutdown for two weeks and I am off of work with nothing to do but ride! My sheer joy once again came crashing down when Dan (service manager at Plymouth) called me to tell me 8 parts were on backorder and had an arrival date of 2-3 WEEKS! Just to catch you up, that would mean I rode my malfunctioning bike for 7 days, and if things go as planned, it would be in the shop for the next 28 days due to a Manufacturer’s defect! I NEVER RODE ONE MILE ON MY BRAND NEW MOTORCYCLE IN WHICH IT PERFORMED IN THE WAY I HAD EXPECTED. How can anyone in their right mind justify me continuing to wait and continuing to pay for this? I have NEVER heard of anything like this in my life. I again called customer service and again was put through to Mark who again showed no sympathy or resolution and again spoke to me not as a consumer, but as though I was a nuisance. After a heated discussion, I asked to speak to his supervisor and he instead sent me to Nathan, his co-worker. (whether deliberate or not, still incompetent) I again called back (long distance) and asked to speak to Rick, the customer supervisor. I left him a message voicing my displeasure and asked for a return call ASAP! The next day, I again called and left yet another message for Rick. He returned my second call around 4pm EST and I again felt as though I wasting my breath to someone who really insisted on trying to convince me (and probably himself) that my situation was being handled properly. I at that point gave up talking to anyone in the consumer relations team and have decided and am completely convinced Kawasaki, it’s dealerships, and it’s employees have no concept of customer satisfaction and what a huge role it plays in referrals, or in this case warnings against going with a certain company. This seems even more delicate of a situation in this age of internet networking and the ability to reach thousands of people in a certain target consumer group. Especially considering the competitiveness of the sport bike market. Preach all you want about Kawasaki’s advantages over it’s competitor’s, but what it really boils down to is brand recognition and allegiance and what people say on the streets. It would have looked very good for Kawasaki to have taken care of this situation quickly, and had me back on the road in days rather than in months! I have turned from a die-hard green supporter to someone who would never recommend buying a Kawasaki, which is a shame, because I absolutely loved everything about the bike in the week I got to ride it. It’s the people that make the difference, and in this case it was HUGE and handled more poorly than anything I have ever heard of.
 

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The Toad
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My letter to Kawasaki regarding my 6 day old Ninja with a blown engine:
snip-
While on my lunch break I called Nicholson's and spoke with Mike, my salesperson, and expressed my concern about the "ticking" noise. (the date remember, is June 14th, ONE DAY after receiving the bike) Mike informed me that all sport bikes had a ticking noise and it was nothing to worry about.
-snip
This is a full blown lie. He's hoping you are uneducated enough to buy such a knowing lie.

I suggest you check your state's lemon laws and get an attorney. Often a simple letter on an attorney's letterhead is enough to open the doors wide.

Nicholson's Kawasaki, eh? I'll remember that. So should everyone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My point exactly! They also failed to do the pre-delivery check (I have both copies of the blank form) and had they done it, it would have been caught! Kawasaki Corp is also taking no responsibility and they are only pointing fingers at each other! I have contacted an attorney and am proceeding that way. -thanks for the response
 

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Wrong wrong wrong

This is a full blown lie. He's hoping you are uneducated enough to buy such a knowing lie.

I suggest you check your state's lemon laws and get an attorney. Often a simple letter on an attorney's letterhead is enough to open the doors wide.

Nicholson's Kawasaki, eh? I'll remember that. So should everyone else.
The Japanese are God's gift to motorcycling and for you to dare suggest that anything could ever be wrong with ANY Japanese motorcycle (especially an I4 600) shows that you are just a Harley-loving stooge!:mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My entire family rides Harley's and my Dad has a '99 Sportster 1200 that I ride when I want to fit in with them and I love riding his Softail, but there is something about the performance of the crotch rocket. My Dad almost flipped when I bought it, so he is really rubbing it in my face. I have come to expect it and probably deserve it being from a union family and working in union plants daily!
 

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Ninjabully, sorry to hear about your negative experience. It's disheartening to think we are all part of a tight knit community, but can be so quickly cast aside by the manufacturers. I know they are trying to run successful businesses but the lack of communication and caring is especially disturbing. We already have cagers, legislators, and everyone else uninformed against us, you'd think those involved in motorcycling would give a damn.
Hope it all works out well (even though that won't replace missed riding days). Keep us posted.
 

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I have heard this same story with every manufacturer that has ever made a motorcycle. I doubt you would get any better treatment from any other manufacturer. The dealers can only do what the parent company authorizes. I'd get a lawyer and go after them full force. That will resolve quickly what 40 phone calls will never do. Sorry to hear about your plight.
 

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The Toad
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Funny you should say that.

The Japanese are God's gift to motorcycling and for you to dare suggest that anything could ever be wrong with ANY Japanese motorcycle (especially an I4 600) shows that you are just a Harley-loving stooge!:mad:
I was stooging around pretty good this morning on the Zrex. Good thing I saw the cop's lightbar poking above the concrete barrier in Farmington. I managed to haul it back down from 110 before he could paint me.
 

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It makes a difference.

Ninjabully ~ I appreciate you taking the time to write a comprehensive report on your experience with Kawasaki. I thought you might like to know that you have influenced me in what was a difficult decision to make. You see, I have been trying to choose between the Honda Sabre and the new Kawasaki Vulcan 900.

I have had excellent service from my Honda cars and figured I would be 'safe' buying Honda motorcycles. But the thing that held me back on the Honda is the design is so crude, esp. the tank to seat transition. (I just can't figure how they could have 'revamped' the 750 with new wheels and all and left that ugly tank attached.) They have got to hire a designer from one of the other manufacturers or get someone fresh from school because their designs really are stagnant. In spite of this, I 'trust' the Honda reliability enough to consider riding an ugly bike.

When the new Vulcan came on the scene, I thought, this is what a Honda could look like if they had a designer. But I really have had no experience on the Kawasaki reliability to know whether they are dependable over the long haul. But the fact that their designers can draw a curved line had me willing to take a chance with them.

So after a few months consideration, I was finally at the place where the Kawasaki was pulling out ahead. This will be my first bike purchase as I took the MSF Motorcycle course last August and I have put a lot of research and thought into the decision with the expectation that this one bike will last me for at least 10 years.

Your experience with Kawasaki was all that I needed to reconsider. I had a similar experience with a 1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo that I bought new. The dealership and the manufacturer were so indifferent and devoid of customer service (I even wrote Lee Iacocca at the time) that I swore that I would never buy another Chrysler product and over the following 20 some years I have hopefully caused many others to avoid their brand. I had shared my experience with anyone that mentioned they were shopping for an auto.

Off-topic ***(What gets me is that I recently heard an interview on NPR with Iacocca and they asked him why the Japanese kicked their butts. His reply was that it was because the Japanese were ahead on the 'hybrid' vehicles. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! It still hadn't occurred to him, as smart as he is supposed to be, that maybe it has something to do with QUALITY.)

Anyway, what I am telling you is that I will go with the ugly Honda, because of their reliability and as a way to take a stand against that poor level of customer service that you experienced. And who knows, maybe some years from now I will hear a radio program where the CEO of Kawasaki is being asked, "How can it be that you guys had such great looking bikes and still can't sell the bikes." And I am sure the CEO will scratch his head and say something to the effect, "We're still trying to figure that out."

Ugly Honda it is...... but for the long term reliability record in my house. Thanks again for spreading the word.
 

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Ninjabully ~

Ugly Honda it is...... but for the long term reliability record in my house. Thanks again for spreading the word.
Why don't you buy a 1200R Sportster? tnen you won't have to put up with an ugly baby imitation and you won't have to worry about Japanese bike UN-reliability
 

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The Toad
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Well...

... you have about the same roll of the dice no matter whose bike you buy. In my experience I've had more trouble from Hondas than any other brand I've owned... including Ducati and HD. I've put more miles on Kawasakis than any other manufacturer and have had very little trouble. Honda is just as unresponsive as the rest if you do encounter a serious difficulty.
 

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I guess I've put more miles on Harleys than anything else. I've owned more of them than any other manufacturer and I kept them a lot longer. I put a lot of miles on my Trophy and also my K 100RS but in the aggregate I think Harley comes out on top by a pretty fair margin.

I was lucky with the VFR, even though I had electrical trouble with it the dealer, Hinshaws Honda in Auburn was very supportive, giving me a break on the second regulator even though the bike was out of warranty.
 

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I purchased a new 06 Concours on 3/1/06 and had many issues which I tried to have Kawasaki Customer Service help me address with the dealer, Bob Traceys World of Cycles, Moon, PA, and was told that they could not do anything. I was able to repair all the problems myself and only take the bike to them for oil/filter changes and state inspections. They did not do any of the delivery checks, either. They did fill out the form, but they did not do anything on the list. They assumed that it was already done at the factory.
You mention that you want an engine from the factory and I think that you should get a brand new engine, but didn't the original engine come from the factory? I suspect they did not even check to see if there was any oil in your bike when they uncrated it. I wonder if you contacted the Kawasaki factory in Japan, if you would get more response.
I purchased a new H-D, a 1980 Tour Glide, and had problems with it. The sent a factory mechanic to rebuild the engine that they suspected of having a problem. When that did not resolve the issue, they replaced the engine with a NEW factory engine, which also did not resolve the problem. A mechanic resolved the problem with a big screwdriver inserted in the oil fill opening which separated the return and vent lines inside the tank. But the point is that H-D even back in 1980 did put in a lot of effort to ensure that my new purchase was repaired. I had another issue about a year later that left me stranded in a little town making me miss a pre-paid event which I missed as a result of the break down. I promptly traded it for a 1982 Yamaha Virago 920 and took a big loss in the process. I probably will never own another H-D either. But they were very responsive to my problems. Kawasaki needs to get a wake up call. I realize that this is only 3 problems out of many thousands of bikes that they sell, but Coca Cola did a study years ago and realized that one unsatisfied customer tells many more people about the unsatisfactory issue than satisfied customers talk about satisfactory issues. So they address every concern with personal attention with replacement product and coupons and a personal letter concerning the issue. Sounds like Kawasaki could take a lesson.

Gregory Thomas
Pittsburgh, PA
AVOID Bob Traceys World of Cycles, Moon, PA at all costs. Tell your friends.
 

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I am DONE with Kawasaki. I bought a new 2008 zx14 in April of 2009 from a dealer in Evanston, Wyoming. When I got the bike home I removed the cowling covering the passenger seat. The seat underneath the cover was stained and the cover had worn the paint off of the rear fender cover. I contacted the dealer who told me he would take care of it. It took SIX MONTHS of constant calls before he finally told me that Kawasaki wanted photos of the damage. I took the bike down and he took his photos. About a month later he finally produced a seat cover. I took him the seat and three days later he returned it. He never came up with anything to take care of the paint damage.

I called Kawa. customer service and gave them the run down. They told me the guy had never filed any kind of warranty claim with them. So, he had been lying to me about the warranty the whole time. The customer service guy then tells me they wouldn't have replaced it anyway! I asked about the paint damage on my brand new bike and he told me I would have to buy paint from Color Rite, and no, Kawasaki would not cover the cost.

I told this tool that this was the first Kaw I have ever owned and I would NEVER buy another. It was very obvious he didn't give a damn. I always have at least one road bike and one dirt bike in my garage. This was my first venture into Kaws. It will be the last. I should have bought the Hayabusa.
 

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The Toad
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On the other hand a friend bought a Ninja650 a couple months back. She bought Givi luggage for it. To mount the luggage she had to extend the wires to the turn signals. A couple days later the bike began to ride rough. She took it in to the dealer where they fixed it.. found some loose wires... and covered it free under warranty work.

I've put many many more miles on the road on Kawasakis than Hondas. I'd still buy a Kawasaki any day over any f***ing Honda. Once my old Goldwing is sold no Honda will ever sit in my garage. No Honda lawnmowers, generators... nothing with a Honda label on it. You sheep can have a great time lining up to buy Hondas though. Every dollar for Honda means more money donated to anti-OHV envirowacko groups in the US.
 

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I would figure that the person/shop who sells/fixes your bike is where you can expect the level of service is going to come from. Manufacturers can only be relied on for a general consistency in quality. So you have to look at overall customer satisfaction with a particular bike brand or model, and any recalls, and then buy from the right person/shop.

I loved my Kawasaki Ninja 250 (which I bought used from a private party), and if I could have had a bigger motor put in it at reasonable cost, I would still own it. I am happy with the Kawasaki Z750S that "replaced" the 250, and I am also very happy with my Honda CBR 1100XX, which is 11 years old and has 28K miles on it.

With cars, I do not trust the American brands to be as trouble-free and reliable as Japanese brands. That is because I have had better experiences in the past with Japanese brand cars than American brand cars. However, nowadays the Japanese or Korean brand car one buys can have been assembled in an American plant, and even the parts can have been made in American factories. So Japanese cars aren't really (Japanese), and the same goes for American cars.

So, if I were in the market for a non-winter car, I would give a serious look to the new 31mpg, 305hp Ford Mustang, and do some research on customer satisfaction with local Ford dealers in my area, so that if/when the car needs service the dealer (read: service manager) will provide it.
 
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