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Discussion in 'Hacks' started by TurTal, Jul 25, 2018.
Things are going so well with the KLR, loving Kawasaki so much for the moment, look what’s coming home tomorrow
Of course, it’s for my daughter. Maybe, hopefully, she’ll let me take it for a spin
You'd better hope she doesn't let you ride it. You'll find that the 300 is a sweet bike, and that'll be the end of your 650 love affair.
Hey, if it's better, it wouldn't be the first time I traded in a bike.
If I was your daughter I would not let you ride the bike, just saying.
Well, she brought it home today and let me ride it. I did a 14 mile ride with about one mile being gravel road. The rest was a mix of 35, 45, 55, and 65 mph pavement. THAT BIKE HAS A LIGHT CLUTCH PULL. It’s going to take some time to get used to that for her.
I liked it too. But the “love affair” with the KLR will continue, as will my affection for my other bikes. Still, if she ever wanted to swap bikes for a few miles, I wouldn’t mind.
Here they are
It's payday and I just ordered Tusk engine guards for my KLR. They're supposed to arrive by Dec. 4th. My daughter also ordered engine guards for her Versys. Hopefully they'll come in soon. Gotta get them mounted next weekend. There's going to be a meetup and ride out to a motorcycle only off road ranch on December 15. I talked to the guy who usually leads the weekend ADV group rides I attend monthly about my lack of confidence off road. He said maybe he can put me through some drills and stuff out there at a relatively controlled environment. I think my confidence level will jump up quite a bit just having some crash protection.
It's funny that the guy who leads the group rides, who usually smokes everyone with his DR650 any time in the dirt or when the pavement gets really twisty, I believe grew up riding trials bikes. Someone who had to be so proficient riding so slowly is such a great fast rider as well. I think he also raced motocross. I guess it makes sense. If riding in dirt gets you used to riding with limited traction, riding with little to no speed must get you used to riding on the limits of stability. I wish my parents would have put me on trials bikes when I was a kid. But no, they wanted to put me on a horse instead. Yeah, I fell off the horse a lot too.
I always had horses growing up and also here in FL until several years ago. Even rode mounted duty when I was a deputy sheriff. They are fun but required constant care. You can't just park them when they act up like you can a motorcycle.
I'll be riding with a bit more confidence now.....
Nah, it's still missing a sidecar....
Fair weather rider? Hell, no. Not me. All weather rider. My bikes are always filthy.
Didn’t get a chance to wash my bikes today, but I did install engine guards on my daughter’s Versys.
That does it, you will NOT be allowed to park in Starbuck's parking lot now.
The engine gaurds are cool but I'm digging the cup holder
I'll bet it's for hot chocolate with those tiny marshmallows
You're probably right or pretty close. If not hot chocolate, it's probably some sort of mocha or other coffee/tea concoction. My daughter's commute is only a few miles and she stops at a local foofoo coffee joint most days on her way to work. That cup holder came off my Scrambler. I used it when I worked less than two miles from my house. I'd make my coffee at home and take it to work with me.
I first saw a coffee cup holder on the handlebars of a Honda dual-sport that some Master Sergeant rode on and around Camp Lejeune. I'd see this guy almost every morning on my way in to work. Wearing the hi-viz vest, I couldn't see what his rank was. Most of the guys riding dual-sports back then were very junior enlisted; privates, pfcs, and lance corporals. I'd see this dude riding in wearing what looked like his kevlar helmet. I made it my mission to stop him one day and let him know that was unauthorized and how stupid it was. One day I was riding in and was very early, so I had time to follow him to his destination to let him have it before I reported to work. He gets off his bike, I get off mine and I yell, "Hey there devil-dog, you should know better than to ride a motorcycle with a kevlar. Get a proper helmet before I see you riding again." He took off his helmet and tossed it my way. I caught it and immediately realized it was much lighter than a kevlar and that it had totally different padding inside, not much different than my own helmet. I realized it was a real motorcycle helmet shaped like one of those German WWII helmets that cruiser riders are so fond of. He had just put a camouflage helmet cover over it, making it look like a kevlar since the shapes are so similar. He then pulled off his vest and I saw the Master Sergeant chevrons and thought "Oh shit, I'm done for". He asked who I was and what unit I was with. I told him I was Sergeant Waller and told him my unit and apologized for yelling at him, telling him I thought he was just an idiot private riding with a kevlar. He laughed and told me I might be right about the idiot part but was wrong about the private and the kevlar. He also told me not to worry about the yelling I had done and told me good job trying to look out for others and to keep up the good work. It was some time after that interaction that I started seeing him drinking coffee at traffic lights and stuff. Of course, once I had a bike with handlebars (I was into sport bikes with clip-ons back then), I had to get a cup holder too. It was fine for the short commute but serves no purpose for me now since my commute is fifty miles and the speeds are so high.
Something that recently has been on my mind when considering the differences between the three KLRs I've owned is how much better the Gen II is over the Gen I in cross winds and on the freeway with turbulence off the big rigs. I don't know if it's really all that better or if it's just that I'm an older, wiser, more experienced rider than I was when I was riding a Gen I. My perception has been that the more bulbous fairing of the Gen II reacts better in crosswinds than the slab-sided Gen I. Still, I don't think the KLR is the best bike to ride on a blustery day, especially if the wind is perpendicular to your direction of travel. Yesterday, NOAA put out a wind advisory for my area. I opted to commute on my Triumph Scrambler due to its lower center of gravity and figured it presented less of a surface area for the wind to push around. There was a wind of 20 mph from the north with gusts in the 40s. My direction of travel was west to work and east home. I certainly felt the wind, felt a few strong gusts, but had no problem with control of the bike. Nothing that scared me. I had a much easier time than the truck, van, and SUV drivers. I got up this morning and checked the weather forecast and saw that the wind advisory had been lifted. So I rode my KLR. It certainly was more susceptible to the wind than the Scrambler was yesterday. On my way home I had a sudden strong gust which pushed me from the left side of the lane I was in all the way to the right edge of the road. It happened in the blink of an eye and caught me totally off guard. Scared me quite a bit. But that wasn't even the worst scare of the ride home. I was just a few miles from the house on a two lane twisty road with very little shoulder to the right, but thick woods right at the road's edge. It's the same way on left side as well. But there is an occasional house here and there on either side of the road. Right as I was coming to a part of the road with a cleared lot and house on the left side, a large garbage can came flying out of the lot, into the road. I was close enough and fast enough that I'd probably go by with the garbage can going right behind me, especially as I began a gentle swerve to the right to avoid the garbage can. But there's also a large utility truck in the oncoming lane who sees the garbage can. The only way to prevent hitting the garbage can is for him to swerve into my lane, so that's what he did. In a fraction of a second, I thought I was done for. I'm only going about 40 mph, but if I hit the tree line that fast, I'm probably done for. The truck is definitely going to kill me if I hit it head on, probably at a combined closure rate of around 80 mph. Maybe I can swerve left, into the far side of his lane or maybe just hit the damned garbage can while trying to avoid the truck. Probably wouldn't have had the space or time to have avoided the truck no matter what decision I made, by the time I made the decision to take action. Fortunately, the truck driver, right after beginning his swerve toward me, noticed me, then decided it would be better to flatten a garbage can than a motorcyclist.
It's funny, the song that was streaming to my Sena Bluetooth during the incident with the truck was "Working Them Angels" by Rush. I guess I really was "working them angels overtime" today.
Nothing like a truly scary moment to help appreciate life!
In particular your own.
I hope you keep the survival rate well and truly up there.
My Vstrom catches cross winds more than the V9 Guzzi. something to do with height and acres of plastic.
Being a leaner sidecar may add a bit there.
Alright, I do have a riding buddy now. My daughter and I went and met with the San Antonio chapter of the Texas Adventure Rider Association for breakfast and then a ride to an off-road vehicle ranch. Sorry, I didn’t get to test the durability of my new Tusk crash bars, but nearly did so a couple times. I’m a very experienced street rider but still a relative rookie to riding off road. But today, my daughter took her first ever ride off pavement. We took the easiest trails we could find. But even on some of the easy trails we’re some boulders and tree stumps. Neither of us have skid plates on our bikes, except the plastic one which came stock on the klr. So we spent some time riding a supermoto track allowing my daughter to build up her confidence riding in dirt on her Versys, still wearing stock street tires.
After a while of the supermoto track, a fellow told me he’d take us to the perfect place to ride our bikes. So we followed him. Getting there was pretty difficult. Seems he forgot to tell us about the dry creek bed we had to cross to get to this cool place for us to build up our skills. We got there and he said, “Sorry, forgot all about that part, but now that you’re here, this place should be no problem.”
He was right. We got to ride on a pretty good sized circuit with fairly well groomed dirt surface without too many rocks or gnarly ruts or mud. It was a place to spend some time, a place to increase your speed as your confidence grew. I could have stayed there all day and will definitely be going back soon..... But probably not until we both get skid plates for our bikes. We had to take that creek bed slowly to keep from bashing our engine cases on the limestone. So no momentum. Leading the way back across the creek bed as we were leaving, my front wheel fell into a rut in the creek bed which became so narrow as to halt my forward motion. The rear tire just spun. First ever burnout for my KLR. But I didn’t fall either because the rut held my bike up like some sort of front wheel chock. My daughter found a level place to park her bike and helped me get the wheel out. But by then a procession of about eight jeeps came by, some getting stuck. We decided to just sit and watch the show while eating our packed sandwiches. After the jeeps left, I got our bikes past the worst of the creek bed. Who ever said that I’d really like that Versys was right. It is so much lighter and easier to maneuver than the KLR. With the right tires and a good bash plate, it would be far superior to the KLR for the terrain we were riding in today.
But I’m still glad I have the KLR instead. The reality is that I take dirt road excursions most weekends and will really ride off road maybe a few times per year. But five days a week, I have a 100 mile commute on 60-65 mph two lane back roads through the countryside.
Just as we were getting close to home, my daughter motioned to me that she needed gas. Really? At 120 miles since the last fill up? It’s typically another 100+ miles from that before I hit reserve. We got to a gas station at 125 miles. I went ahead and filled up. I wanted to see just how much more gas my KLR used over the same distance. My bike took 2.4 gallons to fill. Hers took 2.8 gallons.
What a surprise. My daughter easily undercuts my weight by 100 lbs I’m sure. Still, my archaic carburetor fed bike got better gas mileage hauling my fat ass around than her modern fuel injected bike weighing a lot less than my bike.
So my KLR still reigns supreme as the best bike for me and my commute. It’s great on the backroads, paved or otherwise. It’s better off road than I am (though it does give me a good workout which I need). It served me well slabbing it on my iron butt ride. It’s a compromise at everything it does, doing nothing great, but good enough. Just about everyone has owned one at some point or another, so there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from any time I need it.
At some point I probably will get a much lighter bike for really riding off road. Those guys on the light Huskies and KTMs just seem to glide right over it all, making it look so easy. Alas, with my meager teacher salary, I don’t think I’ll ever have the scratch to spend that much on a one trick pony bike. But if I stay at the school I’m at, there’s a retention bonus that could fund a brand new Pitster Pro 250 enduro which I can easily get plated in Texas........
Would a Chinese built enduro give me as many fits as my old Russian built sidecar rig?
This is why I have a GoPro recording in 720p loop mode on every ride. I, or my heirs and assigns, will have incontrovertible proof of how I came to a bad end due to the actions of other drivers.
Free sample: a POS daycab drayage driver running a stale red.
Look closely and you'll see that I had a green turn arrow. My spidey sense told me to stay put, though, and this video still proves why.
"Would a Chinese built enduro give me as many fits as my old Russian built sidecar rig?"
Probably not, but even if it did you wouldn't be in the thing for so much money that you'd care. If it pisses you off just dump it in a creek and buy another one.