SHIMMING valves, setting quad carbs... Yea I agree with you. Back when I was a kid (in the 70s) we felt that 20,000 miles out of a motorcycle was great. We knew Harley's did better than that but that was because they were so expensive to start with that people paid to get them repaired, a lot. Now I'm happy with a modern motorcycle that I expect will go to 100,000 miles with a lot less frustration.I understand the appeal of working on the old, simple motorcycle components with your eyes and hands. But when I think back to the finicky nature and relatively poor reliability of 1970s cars and motorcycles, I have no desire to return to those dark ages. Today I push the start button on the NC and instantly ride off with a perfectly running, reliable engine In all conditions. No way would I want to go back to carbs, manual choke, breaker points, weak electrical systems, oil leaks, etc. It’s even crazy that in 2020 we still need to mess with chains for final drive.
As for chains, I'm glad this bike has one because swapping the sprockets was easy. If my wife lets me get a cruiser bike I will probably go with shaft drive like my last one. I do wish that we could have self-adjusting valves, like EVERY car though.