It’s automatic, it’s systematic, it’s hydromatic… Well, it’s got new electrical farkles….

Added a few more components to the XL1000V Varadero last weekend. Power to the handlebars, new heated grips (ones on the bike failed), cleaned up and replaced a bunch of the wiring, and added a power centre to keep track of everything.

I’m not that handy with electrics but this was necessary and really cleaned up the underbelly of the bike. There were a lot of wires not fastened to anything or floating under the fuel tank. Now they are clean and organized and the fuzes are located under the seat for easy repair if need be.

I learned the hard way that the two (yes, two) petcocks to stop the fuel from leaving the tank on this bike are ‘touchy’ and because they are on the underside of the tank difficult to find on/off/on. Needless to say, I was a human jerry can and spilled about 3/4 litres of fuel before I got the damn thing off the bike successfully and stopped the fuel flow. Oh well, lessons learned I guess.

The rest of the additions and changes went very smoothly and allowed me to go out for an afternoon ride to test things out. I love heated grips on days like last weekend when it’s hovering around zero degrees – toasty warm hands are what make happy riders.

I got to check out a few roads that I haven’t been on before with some gravel exploration. I actually feel a bunch more confident on this bike in spite of the extra weight – it just feels more up to the challenge than my previous bike (KLR). Maybe a bit too confident on my part.

I went up a 200-300 metre hill to a radio tower as a lookout. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Turned out that it was really loose dirt and because of erosion the middle part of the track which looked solid was actually hay and mixed light dirt. The bike did surprisingly well tugging up the hill with my feet as rudders and was a bit hairier coming down due to its weight. I made it successfully but I’m out of my element and wouldn’t enjoy lifting the 6-700 pound beast if I weren’t.

The bike has been a dream to ride so far and done everything I’ve asked of it. Plus, it’s pretty comfy on longer road days so I’m looking forward to a few long freeway or highway days as it eats up the distance. That said, getting on my VFR800 Interceptor again just proves what an absolutely fantastic bike it is. It felt like a toy compared to the Varadero and how it makes power with the V4 is silky smooth much more direct. It’s lonely in the garage lately but certainly hasn’t been forsook.