New Bike and New Adventure

Last summer I sold the KLR650 I bought in 2010. To be honest, I never really liked the bike from the beginning. I know people rave about them about how cheap they are, easy to fix, and that they will ‘go anywhere’.

For me, it just never really started any kind of love affair. The suspension was old and too light for the size of the bike let alone an average sized guy and gear. It felt ‘old’ – old technology, styling and ergonomics. The 650cc engine always felt bogged down and taxed and was slow on the highway and ‘vibey’. It did do everything the fans claimed just not in comfort or well. So off it went last year.

I toyed with the idea of a CRF250l Honda to do trail and offroad but the small tank and highway manners would limit touring to short bursts and wouldn’t be a long-distance bike. Although, it is tempting in the future as a dual purpose to get out to the mountains. I needed something that would tour and take a bit of offroad/gravel/fire road use.

I also thought about the BMW F800S/GS bikes. They are nice, useful, technology-filled and great tourers. But the fact that I’ve read about engine failures, electrical failures and expensive dealer maintenance, as well as inability to find dealerships on tours made the decision for me. Nope!

So then what…. A new dual purpose bike is supposed to be forthcoming from Honda – The True Adventure. But when…. I looked at the Varadero XL1000V after I bought my VFR and before the KLR but didn’t have the $14,000+ that Honda was asking at the time. So for the last year since I’ve sold the KLR I’ve been watching for other bikes. Well I found one at a local Powerhouse dealer.

$7500 which is loaded with: ABS, linked brakes (like my VFR),  heated grips, Leo Vince exhaust, newish Michelin Anakee 3 tires, Trax Luggage, PIAA running lights, bash bars from SW Motech and only 20,000 kilometres (barely broken in). It had been sitting at the dealer since last fall and finally I went for it.

It will do highway touring better than my VFR, good engine that is reliable and relatively fuel efficient, comfortable and wind protection, and can easily do some gravel roads (just not heavy duty off road work). My first spin was yesterday for about 200 kilometres and it’s a great bike.

It’ll give some more flexibility for route planning and camping this summer. Has a good range (about 400 kilometres per tank) and is better suited to a bit of light offroad work and bumpy roads than my VFR.

The goal is to do some camping this summer on my trip down to San Francisco. This will let me get a bit farther afield and open up options for exploring.

2008 Honda Varadero XL100V

The new bike. First few days of riding and I really like it so far.