This was before.

If I just hadn’t gotten on Craigslist today, my conscience would have been fine. I would never have known the tragedy that had taken place to a machine I once held dear. So much time and effort was put into that bike. My poor, helpless Kawasaki. What happened to you?

This is now.

It’s been a year and a half since I sold the Ninja. It appears this was enough time for it to become nearly unrecognizable from what it used to be. It’s an all-to-common reality for sportbikes - they get more used and abused as the number of owners increases. I recognize this bike though, there’s no doubt about it. When you’ve taken a machine apart and painstakingly reassembled it, like I had done, you can see past all of the neglect. Underneath it all, that is your old vehicle.

According to the listing, the Ninja had been dropped. A number of things can go wrong when a bike is downed, depending on the severity of the fall. Frames can become tweaked, fairing tabs break, foot pegs and control levers snap, and exposed metal and plastic parts receive an unhealthy dose of road rash. Just take a look at how the passenger seat fails to line up with the rear fairing; something has definitely gone wrong with this poor thing.

It’s been a year and a half since I sold it.

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Here’s what the seller has to say about the bike:

I have a 2007 ZX10R asking 4500 OBO. It’s been laid down but still has a clean title all the work was done by a shop in North Carolina. Had the motor checked over and timed. He assembled it back together. The Fairings are from extreme fairings. The tank and plastics do not match as shown. The bike runs very strong. Has almost brand new front and rear tire around 100 miles on both. Has a shorty brake lever. Has a full nassert-beet exhaust. Has vortex adjustable rear sets. Have all the paperwork for maintenance. Odometer shows 22,000 but that’s off had the +1 front -2 rear sprockets installed last summer. Have the other mirror just haven’t had time.”

It appears an attempt to repair the bike was made by fitting up repainted fairings, but as can been seen, they don’t match the tank which still wears the original color. The efforts I made to return the bike to factory appearance and functionality were for naught.

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The rear fender is gone, a mirror is missing, and the reflectors are a thing of the past. Road rash is visible on the bar ends and the foot pegs have some discoloration and “shortening” going on, most likely due to breaking off when the bike was dropped.

There’s also a sizable dent in the back side of the gas tank. And those are just the things that are visible from the ad’s pictures. The labor and finances required to put this bike back to how it used to be would be enormous.

The listing that made my heart sink.

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Alas, it was no longer my Kawasaki. I must own up to my actions. I wasn’t forced into it, it was done completely by free will.

I sold the bike, fair and square. Space and finances were needed for other projects and I had succeeded in making the bike nearly perfect. My job of rescuing and renewing was done.

We agreed on a price and shook hands. I signed over the title and into the distance that lime-green superbike went. What a machine it was. The bellow of the exotic Nassert-Beet titanium exhaust went trailing off into the neighborhoods far beyond.

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I didn’t think I’d ever see it again. But before you decide to sell a vehicle of yours, ask and be honest with yourself: Can you stand seeing it become the faintest shadow of its former being?

What used to be.

I bought the bike in a sort of disarray. It was what you come to expect from a bike purchased off of Craigslist. It had extensive modifications, most of which were not well-executed. There were quality parts present, but most had been installed in a less-than-presentable manner. I wanted to do right by the bike. I wanted it to be sharp once again; I wanted to remove the “Craig” from the machine.

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In a way, this whole situation is ironic. I sold the bike on Craigslist, and in the end, “Craig” came right the hell back. And he came back with a vengeance.

Ugh.

I thought I had let go of my attachment, I thought I had been honest with myself. But seeing that listing today—knowing what my old bike had become?

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Damn, that hurts.