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Old 02-13-2013, 06:25 AM   #1
RicoAJP OP
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Location: MSS, Ontario
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Moving back to Canada and in need of advice!

Hey guys, i've been a longtime lurker here and just signed up last night to make this post. A brief intro of me for you guys, i'm 23 this may and my dad is Canadian and mum a Singaporean. I grew up in a mix of places, Bahrain, Taiwan, Canada and mainly Singapore, due to my dads work requirements. Due to a recent turn of events, i will be moving back to Canada next month. Although i visit my grandparents in Mississauga ON for at least a month every two years, my knowledge of riding a bike in this beautiful country is severely lacking, and thats where you come in!

I will have a couple months of downtime during which i intend to get my motorcycle license as fast as possible and ride as much as i can before I resume school. A little bummed that I cant convert my Singapore license and just straight up get a bike and ride.. Anyway, my first question is, can I ride year round in Mississauga or rather anywhere in ON? Just wondering if I can install some Kold Kutter screws on knobbies during winter and survive with a bike as my only source of transport.

With regards to the bike, I am really drawn to the idea of a new KTM 690 enduro... My intention is to ride to BC and maybe up to Alaska and back. Then I might go up to Nova Scotia or maybe hit the border and ride down to Colorado... I have so many places I want to visit and I want to use trails and backroads as much as possible. Really, the 690 is my dream bike, especially done up with a RR adv fairing (inspired by NoahRTW aka Roninmoto). Unfortunately, I'm unsure if my girlfriend would be able to come with me on this adventure, i haven't heard of anyone riding 2up w/ luggage on it. Is this possible? Im 5'11 185pounds, she is a tiny 5'2 105pounds. Also, if everything goes to plan, I would like to go RTW (solo) with it in 2017, but that is still a dream atm

I have already considered other options such as the KLR, 800gs, 800 explorer, as 2up machines but they do not inspire me at all and i'd rather not spend my money on them.

So in short, can I ride year round in Canada? Can a 690 handle 2up+luggage with a beefed up rear shock?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, seeing as none of the handful of friends I have in Canada are riders
If anyone would like to go for a ride and show me around, the first round will be on me

Cheers,
Alex
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:00 AM   #2
Steve G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicoAJP View Post
Hey guys, i've been a longtime lurker here and just signed up last night to make this post. A brief intro of me for you guys, i'm 23 this may and my dad is Canadian and mum a Singaporean. I grew up in a mix of places, Bahrain, Taiwan, Canada and mainly Singapore, due to my dads work requirements. Due to a recent turn of events, i will be moving back to Canada next month. Although i visit my grandparents in Mississauga ON for at least a month every two years, my knowledge of riding a bike in this beautiful country is severely lacking, and thats where you come in!

I will have a couple months of downtime during which i intend to get my motorcycle license as fast as possible and ride as much as i can before I resume school. A little bummed that I cant convert my Singapore license and just straight up get a bike and ride.. Anyway, my first question is, can I ride year round in Mississauga or rather anywhere in ON? Just wondering if I can install some Kold Kutter screws on knobbies during winter and survive with a bike as my only source of transport.

With regards to the bike, I am really drawn to the idea of a new KTM 690 enduro... My intention is to ride to BC and maybe up to Alaska and back. Then I might go up to Nova Scotia or maybe hit the border and ride down to Colorado... I have so many places I want to visit and I want to use trails and backroads as much as possible. Really, the 690 is my dream bike, especially done up with a RR adv fairing (inspired by NoahRTW aka Roninmoto). Unfortunately, I'm unsure if my girlfriend would be able to come with me on this adventure, i haven't heard of anyone riding 2up w/ luggage on it. Is this possible? Im 5'11 185pounds, she is a tiny 5'2 105pounds. Also, if everything goes to plan, I would like to go RTW (solo) with it in 2017, but that is still a dream atm

I have already considered other options such as the KLR, 800gs, 800 explorer, as 2up machines but they do not inspire me at all and i'd rather not spend my money on them.

So in short, can I ride year round in Canada? Can a 690 handle 2up+luggage with a beefed up rear shock?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, seeing as none of the handful of friends I have in Canada are riders
If anyone would like to go for a ride and show me around, the first round will be on me

Cheers,
Alex

In my opinion, the only place where year round riding, without fear of hypothermic death resulting, would be the extreme southwest corner of British Columbia. Of course, you always hear of those who say they ride year round in the middle of the prairies, and other cold places, but this is certainly not the normal practice of riding. It's more suited to those who liken themselves as physical supermen, I consider masochists.
Not having ever lived in Ontario, or Greater Toronto, I cannot confirm actual temperatures during the winter. But it's common knowledge that it gets 'coolish' there for at least 4 months of the year.
Considering you are moving here from a place of warmth most of the year, I don't think it would be an option.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:54 AM   #3
Ontario GS
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Alex

Anyway, my first question is, can I ride year round in Mississauga or rather anywhere in ON?
******
Some years yes, most years no

Just wondering if I can install some Kold Kutter screws on knobbies during winter
*****
I believe "tires studs" are illegal in Ontario to drive on the roads

Can a 690 handle 2up+luggage with a beefed up rear shock?
******
Yes, but consider sitting on a 4" by 4" board for any length of time and you will have your own answer

If anyone would like to go for a ride and show me around, the first round will be on me
******
There is lots of people and places to ride off-road, when you get your bike create a post looking to go for a spin. If you have any other questions, just pm or post them.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #4
damurph
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Riding year round can be done and it is not a physical superman thing here. BC is not the only place in the country that has ocean moderated temps. St John's, NL has a booming economy to go with the damp foggy weather that keeps a season on two wheels going longer than most.
No, you should not ride in a snowstorm but it is usually cleaned up the next day. Average temps are around the freezing mark and that can be negated with warm clothing and electricly heated gear.
I do not use studs because you are not riding snow/ice for 99% of the mileage. On pavement they would give less traction because the metal keeps the tire contact patch off the road.
Would i ride year round in Alberta???? Probably not without a Ural 2WD. Canada is a big place to ask such a general question.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:57 AM   #5
yamalama
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Riding year round in the lower mainland of BC is a recipe for disaster.
Dangerous enough in the summer. Land of self-serving idiots.
Trust me.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:17 AM   #6
avgas
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I wouldn't suggest relying on a motorcycle through the winter in Canada, although there might be some pockets here and there where it's doable. My knowledge of Canadian winters is centered around Manitoba, where I definitely wouldn't try it. I rode a bicycle for a 30 mile round trip commute in Minnesota year round once, so it's not as if I'm against trying something a little crazy. Even with studded tires it was dangerous, and frankly kind of brutal. I wouldn't suggest it, and probably wouldn't do it again.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:01 AM   #7
shil
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Years ago when I was a starving student in Toronto my bike was my only transport.
I would generally ride through ‘til Christmas and start again around Easter.
TTC while the bike was parked.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:58 AM   #8
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I echo with most of what's been said here already. I live in Southern Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie. I'm more south than the northern States. Last winter you could ride almost all year. The winter before, not a chance. I bet you couldn't even find your bike if it was left out. Tire studs illegal on anything operated on a public road. With all that down time, use it to head south around late October and ride the US over the winter.

I'm not going to start a debate here, but the popular choice for 2 up cross country is a R1200GS. Big, heavy and less off road capable than something smaller but very comfortable and roomy. You have the build for it and you won't even notice the GF on the back. I have the F800GS and would not consider 2 up for anything but an emergency. My GF has her own GS. Get a used one and then if you plan to do a RTW solo then trade it in for something more suitable.

Good Luck.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:31 AM   #9
RicoAJP OP
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Thank you so much for the input fellas! I've been through a couple winters and i know the road conditions vary day to day.. I'll just see how it goes. I know being young and dumb i'll probably give it a go no matter what people tell me

Thats one question settled, now on to the bike choice! What do you think of the KTM 690? It's sad that it can't be imported from the US. In fact i'm thinking it might make more sense to buy a used GS/990/S10 and import it, but only the 990/950 comes close to stirring up any kind of emotion in me. The only big adventure bike that catches my eye is the 2013 GS.. Its so beautiful.. But the 690 looks like a hoot to ride, a real hooligans bike, and you can stick SM wheels on for more effect.. decisions decisions.. whats your say? i'm all
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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If your around on April 6th, I know of a shop having their spring open house, and lots of ADV bikes attend.

Could be because of the free food, or that the said folk at this shop are nice
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:20 PM   #11
toowheels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamalama View Post
Riding year round in the lower mainland of BC is a recipe for disaster.
Dangerous enough in the summer. Land of self-serving idiots.
Trust me.

I do and I always will..."keeps me sharp, on the edge, where I gotta be" -Al Pacino (not talking about motorcycles though)
Ontario in the cold while doable sometimes is much more limiting in my short experience there.

You may want to do a bunch of research on bringing a bike in from the States. I don't know anything about it and I know it can be done but sometimes it's very difficult.
690 is a nice machine for sure but not really the best for two up over distances I'd think. Super fun solo though!

If/when you end up in BC check out www.dualsportbc.com for local rides/riders/riding areas.

I imagine there must be a similar club in Ontario.

Dave
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toowheels screwed with this post 02-14-2013 at 07:33 PM
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:48 AM   #12
Scott_F
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Can't speak for Ontario --- my impression is that it is cold and snowy there in the winter. Not for me.

Coastal BC is the only place I know of where you can ride year-round, or else Vancouver Island. It rains there from September to April, but you don't have to shovel it and it doesn't collect on the roads.

I live in Calgary. I have ridden in every month of the year. Yesterday was +11° C. Tuesday is forecast for -11° C. Calgary has bizarre weather, prairie cold mixed with mid-Pacific warm, downright schizophrenic, an accident of geography. I have seen the temperature shift sixty degrees (F) in sixty minutes.

Anyway, only the truly dedicated can ride year-round in Canada. I'm not afraid of rain, but I park my bikes whenever it gets colder than -5° C. You can call me a jamtart if you wish, not that I care. I ride for enjoyment and don't enjoy freezing. I also avoid unnecessary hazards, like tires that don't stick and drivers who aren't looking for motorcycles in mid-winter (not that they ever do).

Good luck, regardless. And ride safe.
Scott Fraser
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:00 AM   #13
Trialsguy
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I live in the East end of Toronto, and commute westbound daily to work in Mississauga...50kms each way. I can stretch my rides into November or even early December if I use the electric vest and bundle up nice and warm. The problem is the road conditions during the time of day you plan on riding. Early morning (such as 05:30 when I leave for work) can see black ice, or at least a heavy frost that can put you on your side really fast. Car drivers are also not expecting a bike out there during months, and will not look for you in the dark.

If it snows to any decent depth, it is at least a couple of days before the highways are snow and ice free enough to take a bike on them. And probably that long before the side streets are even plowed. Until then, they are just packed down snow.
So, unless you will be able to comfortably use the bus or walk to where you need to go, you can't really depend on riding your bike every day , all year.

Those I know who do ATTEMPT to ride all year round have a nice bike for nice weather , and an old beater 250 dual sport they don' t mind dropping trying to get home after a temperature drop and black ice potential during the day.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:45 AM   #14
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If that 800 Explorer doesn't inspire you...well....you just ain't right

You might have a tough go at riding year round anywhere in Canada. However...tire studs ARE legal here in BC and Vancouver and Victoria have some of Canada's mildest winters. They do get freezing temperatures and snow from time to time though.

If Urals were just a bit more reliable I'd really consider riding that 'year round' where I am at. Still 3 feet of snow in my front yard
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:39 PM   #15
StepOnIt
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Ride

Well I am from northern Ontario and can say that tire studs are legal here, not for residents of southern Ontario.
As as stated on nice days ride and on the bad ones take a bus etc..

Now on for the good part... the bike.
I have a 08 690 and love it. Planing a trip across Canada this summer also on the TCAT http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=594395
So as a proper ADV bike I would say it can handle it and so would a few other, but others may say not. If you want a bike for you to ride I would suggest something in the 650 range, then upgrade it to your needs. But as a bike for 2 people and gear for long distances then look somewhere else 990 or so. If you have any questions on the 690 there a great thread here in thumpers. As for importing a KTM from the states to Canada good luck with anything after 2007.
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