Oct 29, 2020

Don't Be a Squid // Phoenix Rider's Kawasaki Ninja 400 and Yamaha Bolt

Kelly Kozakowski
Kawasaki ninja 400

How did you get into riding motorcycles?
I grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A very overcrowded city with millions of motorcycle roaming around the city. I was initiated with motorcycle riding at an early age by my cousin who had Honda CB125. Back in the early 90s, a 125cc seemed like a big bike, and I was 12 years old. Before that, I rode bicycles since I was 5, owned motorized trikes, and had a mini-moto. My dad owned a Suzuki supermoto. I always had a fascination with motorcycles and MotoGP. At 15 I moved to Sydney, Australia. A city with a big motorcycle culture due to hot weather, and very mild

Why did you choose your Kawasaki Ninja 400 and Yamaha Bolt?
I bought my first motorcycle in Sydney at 19, a small Kawasaki Ninja 250R. I loved riding that motorcycle around the hills of Sydney. Then one day, while at university, I saw a Ducati Panigale EVO 848 and the rest was history. I was so in love, I had to have it. I worked 2 jobs and bought one. Unfortunately, had a major accident on that Ducati with a major spine injury. Luckily I was not paralyzed and walking again. I didn’t ride for another 3 years after that accident. In 2011 I bought Aprilia RSV4, then switched back to Ducati Panigale 999 in 2012. Sadly, I only owned that
bike for a year as I had to move to different countries for work at Sony Corporation.

I moved to the USA in 2015 and was dying to get back into riding. In 2018 I bought Kawasaki Ninja 400 after a 4 years absence of riding. I wanted to get a small bike that I can have fun with, modify without worrying about high cost, and get cheaper insurance. After having a few close calls with superbikes, I was careful not to get another speed demon. In 2020 I bought a 2015 Yamaha Bolt and spent a good 2 months modifying it. I love both of my motorcycles. Just this month, I also preordered an Aprilia RS 660. I know I will probably get another superbike soon, but this time around I am more mature and know better. Motorcycles can be very dangerous if not ridden responsibly, so I’ll probably get a superbike for track only.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

What inspires you to ride?
Motorcycle riding is one of my biggest passion. I run a game development company and my work gets very stressful sometimes. Riding motorcycles lets me deal with that stress. Besides that, I truly enjoy getting away from everything and exploring new places. I love collecting motorcycle helmets and doing gear reviews. I also love doing mods on my motorcycle, so I started a custom motorcycle company call Boneshaker-Customs.

Why did you start making riding videos?
Growing up, there was no social media or action cameras. I always wished there were motorcycle and gear videos I could have access to. Instagram and youtube was a dream come true for all moto-bloggers. I worked as a graphic designer and a game developer for a long time, doing motorcycle videos and gear reviews are just another way to expand my creativity and, along the way, inspire other bikers about safe, fun, and responsible riding. Even with my hectic work schedule I still maintain weekly motorcycle video uploads to my Instagram and Youtube channel. I love interacting with fellow riders online and anyway I can inspire them. Motorcycle communities are a very close-knit family. Unlike car drivers, bikers care for each other. These online interactions bring us closer and let us learn from each other.

What would your top tip be for someone getting into riding?
We all get into motorcycle riding for the thrill of it. Often that thrill overpowers our riding ability. Riding a motorcycle is fun, and nothing moves the soul like a motorcycle. For anyone getting into riding, my advice would be to get a motorcycle you can safely handle, no motorcycle is too small. Itʼs not what you ride, itʼs where you go. Always wear your gear. I have had life-altering accidents, and I wish I had proper protective gear on. Invest in a decent helmet and protective
clothing. Being a hooligan on the street is a lot of fun, but might shorten your riding career. Dress for the slide, not for the ride. Always wear your gear and don't be a squid. If you love speeding, find a track around your city. Respect road rules, do as many rider courses as you can afford, practice, and have fun.

Yamaha Bolt

Tell us about the most exciting adventure youʼve taken/thing you've done on your bike?
At 20 years old, I traveled around South East Asia on a Kawasaki Bajaj 125cc by myself. It was a 3-month long trip I dared to have at that age and I have no regrets. I gained a lifetime of great memories that still inspire me. I wish I had GoPro and Instagram to blog about my trip back then. I plan to do a motorcycle trip around the USA. I want to travel to every state on a motorcycle. These days I go around New York state, exploring new places and stopping for a coffee break. I enjoy riding to the fullest and riding responsibly.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with our audience?
Riding is a lot of fun in groups. Find bikers groups in your city. Join forums, youʼll find many like-minded bikers there. Develop good relationships with dealers in your city. Ask them if you can test ride different motorcycles. The more you ride, the better you get. Always ride only when you are properly licensed. Buy a motorcycle that you want and that you can handle. Safe Riding.

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