If you happen to see Jason Bryan rolling through West Des Moines on his motorcycle, you might have a sudden flashback to 1982. You might think you just saw Erik Estrada as Ponch filming an episode of “CHiPs,” the early 1980s television show about the California Highway Patrol.
Bryan is riding a 1989 Kawasaki KZ1000 patrol cruiser which looks exactly like the bikes used in the TV show.
“A friend of mine owns a Corvette restoration shop in Valley Junction,” says Bryan. “He knew of this bike and asked if I knew anyone at work who’d be interested. It was an actual police bike in a Chicago suburb.”
Bryan, a West Des Moines police officer, asked around the office, but anyone who rode motorcycles already had one or two.
“I’d never ridden a bike in my life,” says Bryan. “But I decided to buy it anyway. I took a weekend class at Des Moines Area Community College, got my license, and I’ve been riding ever since.”
Bryan aquired the motorcycle this past April.
“It’s really only a single-seater,” he says. “My wife wanted to ride, too, so we got another motorcycle that we can ride together. We go everywhere on it. We’re both wondering why we didn’t do this 15 years ago.”
Bryan’s KZ1000 was commonly used in law enforcement for many years.
“There were some Harleys, but most offices used the Kawasaki,” Bryan says. “These days everyone is using the BMW, but back when this bike was built, just about everyone was on the KZ.”
Bryan’s Kawasaki came with the complete patrol kit, including the rotating red light mounted on a pole on the back of the bike, just like in the show “CHiPs.”
“There are a few things it needs,” says Bryan. “But I’m trying to replace everything with vintage parts, so it always looks just like it did in 1989. I enjoy taking it to bike shows. It attracts a lot of attention. I think it’s positive for the public perception of police officers.”
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