2012 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS

Satisfying a firefighter's addiction to power.

Paramedic Tom Batchelor's Kawasaki Concours 14
"I often get asked about why I willingly roll the dice on the asphalt or concrete. To tell the truth, I’ve seen relatively few serious motorcycle wrecks in my career," says Florida firefighter/paramedic Tom Batchelor.©Motorcyclist

NAME: Tom Batchelor
AGE: 53
HOME: Bradenton, Florida
OCCUPATION: Firefighter/paramedic

I love riding. For most of my life I’ve been on two wheels, except for a break during the wonder years of raising three youngsters––something about risk, or so said the family. Speaking of risk, because of what I’ve seen for the last 30 years in my job as a paramedic I often get asked about why I willingly roll the dice on the asphalt or concrete. To tell the truth, I’ve seen relatively few serious motorcycle wrecks in my career, at least not compared to the huge numbers of cardiac cases I’ve dealt with. If you ask me, fast-food joints are the cause of more medical problems than motorcycles.

This Concours 14 is my fifth Kawasaki; it was preceded by a resto-project '82 KZ1100A2, which provided the down payment on the Connie. Even in stock trim, it's a great machine, but of course I've added my own tweaks. The motor is untouched––this bike is already fast enough. Comfort and convenience were my goals, not speed, so I installed handlebar risers, a throttle lock, a comfortable aftermarket seat, and an extra-tall windshield. Next I designed and installed a custom sound system with tunes provided by the XM receiver on my GPS. My Scala G9 also interfaces with the audio system.

A set of Canyon Cage crash bars provides added protection as well as a convenient place to mount my GoPro. Where the rubber meets the road is a pair of Michelin PR3s. At the back of the bike I added a super-bright, emergency vehicle-grade red LED flasher that's triggered by either brake. When I hit the binders people behind me back off big-time.

I love this bike, and I ride it all the time. It loves places like Deals Gap. I didn't even wash it for this picture––why bother? Here in Florida it rains a lot, so it'll be getting dirty again real soon.

I’m getting close to retirement from my Fire-Rescue gig, and hopefully a wife-sanctioned dresser may be in the future. But even then, the Connie isn’t going anywhere. It’s just for me and for satisfying my addiction to power.