Last year I purchased a KLR 650 hoping for it to take me on a grand new adventure down to South America. The contingency being my Gurls visa had to be finished, well as usual plans rarely fall into place and her Visa would not be ready until the end of May.
Instead of South America, I would spend a week riding around the deserts of Nevada and California. I did fall in love with the KLR, but with a new life comes new requirements, and as much as the KLR is one of the most chosen steeds for grand adventure, it is anything but a two person bike.
I tried, really I did to make it work, when she got here we Embarked on a couple of 300 mile trips, one with 60 miles of dirt road, the KLR did fine thumping along as only a thumper could do, but the engine struggled up Montanas Grand passes and the brakes are anything but barely adequate with a single person, with two we actually rolled thru a stop sign rolling slowly downhill, yea enough is enough.
I went shopping, and looking at a V strom 1000 used purely because I could afford it I thought maybe a sport touring bike would be the ticket until I got a chance for my big trip. I thought the KLR would be nice simply for some off road use as well, but alas I kept adding up to close to the price of a new bike. I also had made a promise to myself everytime I bought something new, to get rid of the old Vya con Dios KLR!
I drove over to Hamilton last week to look at a new legend on the cycling market. They had a great price on a Demo Model blue Demon.
The bike is amazingly well put together with stunning looks that beg the bike to be flogged off and on road. I drooled but the proof is in the pudding, I saddled up and after a quick introduction in all the unnecessary bullshit electronics I do not need, nor care about I was off on the New Yamaha Super Tenere.
Lemme just say this bike has sportbike DNA, less than a mile from the dealership I ran into some twisties and it was everything I could do to keep from dragging the pegs, not normally something I will do on a bike I am unfamiliar with. It begged, to be beat, the torqey motor yanked at my arms and the akropovic system told the story of a motor made for power.
I hit some dirt and damn, the 600lbs was quickly forgotten as the traction control and ABS I previously did not want, did their job. The amazingly well balanced machine never once felt heavy or awkard, superior in every way save price of the KLR.
I took it back grinning ear to ear and thought about it overnight, and less than a week later a good friend would help me unload it from my pickup proclaiming to his co worker "If I am not back, know that I sacrifised my body for Craigs bike" fortunately that was not necessary, but the crap weather would prevent anything more than a couple trips around the block.
Yesterday I had enough, unable to contain myself I tossed on some Saddlebags I had told mom I never wanted "They are too damn big" I had stated back in my sportbike days "Well use them when she can" she said. THe KLR came with Aluminum paniers so I just could not fathom when I would need them, however enter the new bike and a perfect fit.
We would leave saturday at 11:30 to make a nice just sub 400 mile loop. Not sure what I was thinking but I could have sworn when I mapquested it that it stated 250, oh well. The thunder clouds looked ominous but using my usual theory of riding to them they would part, it worked all day.
The Bike ran amazingly well and cruised at speed like it was gliding in the air. The motor is scary torqy and honestly with the jumper mod it makes it so the passenger really has to hold on tight at all times. For some reason and maybe i simply did not notice in my test ride the engine seems viby, almost anoyingly so on quick accelerations then quickly levels out.
The suspension does its job amazing and the tires grip well.
We would stop where my fathers ashes are buried first off for his blessings. The road going in was somewhat muddy and gravely, the bike again acted like a light 250, not the beast it truly is.
From there we headed north and the power of the motor was apparent going up the Boulder Hill not needing to even think about grabbing a gear.
We would circle from Helena to White Sulpher springs and the bike would again soak up some twisties checked only by me worrying about a ticket. Passing again with the big 1199 cc engine was easy as hell and effortless.
We would stop for a ocuple of Photo Ops and to speak with some local ranchers. My gurl had never seen cattle so it was a must for her.
I get a kick out of people, for some reason people have always thought I was a city boy despite growing up in the country with our own livestock. The Cowobys approached me as such and laughed when they found out otherwise, we chit chatted and I eyed the predictament I had put myself in. I had pulled down a incline facing their gate with my only out thru the burrow pit back to the tarmac. Or I could push the heavy beast back up the drive, ok times like this you realize how heavy it truly is. I decided to shoot down into the marshy section knowing that help was only a fence hop away should I get stuck, nothing, not a wheel spin it just ate up the marshy area and climbed back on the road like it had claws, DAMN! what a ride!
We would continue down with my Gurl being amazed at how big Montana really is, one cannot truly appreciate the vastness of hte area until you ahve visted, when you do, be prepared for hours and hours of driving wondering when your destination will appear.
We would make one more stop on the way home, at the grizzly rescue just outside Livingston MT to see us some bears! I have only seen one Grizzly in the mountains so it was more than worth while and I encourage you to do stop should you see the signs.
We would finish up the ride at 7:30 Pm finally rolling home with the ODO showing exactly 380 miles. I was sore as your butt always is when stuck in the same position but overall I loved the bike. My Gurl was very comfy and would often simply sit on the bike when I stopped for a photo op, mission accomplished finding a proper two person ride!
I need to do some reading to see if the buzzy feeling when accelerating is normal or if I need to adjust the power commander. Iti s minor compared to the ride and the stability, I look forward to longer ridesin the future and I will not hesitate to hit more 300+ day rides in the future.