Long, long ago I grew up in a motorcycling family. My Dad raced motorcycles, then my brother raced motorcycles, and even my Mam rode a 650 Triumph Thunderbird. Naturally I became a motorcyclist, also, and regularly competed in Trials (off road events that involve riding a bike over apparently impossible terrain!). I stopped riding when I came to Canada in 1971 but fate decided I should meet Hal Scott and his Yamaha in Arizona earlier this year. The bug bit and I'm now back in my second childhood! Here it is:
For the technically inclined, it is a 1994 Suzuki DR350SE. This a Dual Sport (a Street-Legal off-road bike), 350cc single, air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke. It has electric start, 6 speed gearbox, disc brakes front and rear, HUGE amount of suspension travel, lights and turn signals, and weighs 280 lbs. The picture above is the stock 1994 model - mine has a few extras, like an oversized fuel tank (standard is only 2 gallon), 'bark busters' (hand protection), brake rotor rock guards, fork guards, and a custom luggage rack (used by the previous owner for carrying camping gear into the outback). Here's mine:
The Suzuki is a great bike for solo riding, either on or off-road. What it is NOT good at is 2-up riding, and that is a must for when we go exploring the countryside. Sightseeing from a car is like watching a movie - you just observe views through the windows. Motorcycling makes you feel like you are there - right in the middle of things. Our efforts at "touring" on the DR were too uncomfortable to try it again so we bought a more suitable bike before heading to Arizona for our winter trip - a 2001 Kawasaki KLR650 - sort of the motorcycling equivalent to a Jeep 4X4. To check out the pictures and specs on this bike click here.
The KLR served us well for almost 3 years and 55,000 Kms, but before heading south for the winter in ‘04 we decided to trade it for a new ‘04 Suzuki 650 V-Strom. This bike is described by Suzuki as a “sport enduro tourer” - not sure what that means as it’s not a Sport bike, it’s definitely not an Enduro, but it would be great for touring paved and dirt roads, with occasional forays on forest fire roads and jeep roads over mountain passes. However, no more single-track or rocky trails and river crossings that the KLR handled. For more on the V-Strom, click here.