To those of you out there who have been following my adventures on an old outdated thumper I’d like to say thank you for the support. The idea behind this blog came together as a place where someone whose on a budget can turn to for some ideas on gear and adventures on one of the most economically friendly dual sport motorcycles one could buy…a Kawasaki KLR 650.
I picked up my KLR in the summer of 2016 and kind of thought it would be the bike that I would stick with forever. She was easy to work on, a blast to ride, and could almost go anywhere. If you had to make a motorcycle resemble a Swiss Army Knife then the KLR was it. For four years my KLR and I wandered along forgotten mining trails, river valleys, farm land, and mountains in an effort to find places that people had forgotten or hadn’t seen in years. It was kind of like a time machine in some regards which was ironic considering that for 30 years the KLR changed very little and put the theory of evolution to the test…at least for motorcycles.
The upgrades I made to my KLR were made of necessity. Things such as crash bars, folding mirrors, and a skid plate were key items when riding around the back country of Colorado or rallying down the gravel farm roads of Minnesota. One of the things that I loved about my KLR was its simplicity. Since it debuted in 1987 very little has changed with the overall design and the aftermarket greatly benefited for this. Today, thiers so many companies out there that can turn any model KLR into a bike thats capable of traveling around the world. However as much as I modified my KLR it did leave me wanting more power, more technology, and well a modern bike. I guess you can say the final nail in the coffin was my cross country trip that I took early last fall. In five days I covered over 1,700 miles on highways, back roads, gravel, and dirt roads while staying ahead of thunder storms in Illinois, crazy sport bike riders in Tennessee, and dealing with the scorching heat in South Carolina. On this trip I was on pavement a lot more then I wanted to be and the KLR just didn’t have the power I needed. Overall it did well on the trip but after spending 7 to 8 hours a day in the saddle it was pretty brutal at times and I grew quite envious of some of the larger adventure bikes that I saw on the way.
I had been kicking around the idea for quite a while on replacing the KLR with a bike that could travel further and faster. After spending days reading articles in magazines and online as well as watching hundreds of hours of YouTube videos it really started to become a reality. I had a general idea what I wanted my next bike to have but with so many options out there I felt overwhelmed and honestly many of the bikes I was interested in were way out of my price range. Despite all of the research on what my next bike might be one thing still needed to happen. I had to sell my KLR.
The market for dualsport motorcycles in Charleston is pretty interesting to say the least. While many of the local dealers sell brand new GS’s, Africa Twin’s, and Vstrom’s not to many had used dualsports or adventure bikes in their inventory. The market for motorcycles down here is built around the ability to ride all year long and is geared towards sport bikes and cruisers. Throw that in with a private market that is nonexistent and well you can see why it took me some time to move my KLR. Eventually, a local guy who was interested in adventure riding wanted to get a bike that was simple to maintain yet easy to ride. He didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a bike to try something and discover that it wasn’t for him. After talking to him for an hour about what was on the bike and the places it had been he was hooked not only on my bike but the sport of adventure riding. It was kind of neat to watch him light up as I told him about wrestling the KLR up mountain passes in Colorado or running flat out down arrow straight farm roads in Iowa. To me it was kind of like passing the torch of where the protege became the master.
So that’s where the story ends of a blog that was developed around an econmically friendly dual sport. I enjoyed my time writing about the past adventures that my KLR had taken me on and it seems like I’ve offered you guys the abridged version that leaves out some of the best stories. Maybe overtime they will be told however time is always one thing I rarely have these days which is ironic consider how much time Kawasaki gave us with a fantastic bike. So in closing I hope all of you guys enjoyed this blog and the content and again thank you for being with me every step of the way then again, is it really the end or the start of something new….like a British invasion.