Budget Adventure Touring – webBikeWorld

24 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Budget Adventure Touring – webBikeWorld

The Budget Adventure Tourer


Welcome to the newest webBikeWorld.com project bike!

The Ducati GT1000 Blog and Multistrada 620 Blog have been very popular destinations for webBikeWorld visitors.

But the GT1000 was sold last summer, while the Multistrada 620 is still here; it’s both the test mule and winter hack bike but it’s also a modern classic, due to its brief production run of two years.

The 620 version of the Multistrada is easy to ride, a heck of a lot of fun and the upright riding position is more comfortable for me than the GT1000.

The Multistrada 620 is proof once again of that old saying: It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.

Don’t get me wrong — the bike has plenty of power. But it proves that you don’t necessarily need 100 HP and 24 degrees of rake to have fun.

In fact, too much power can be a burden. The Multistrada demonstrates that the average motorcycle rider can have much more fun on a much smaller bike.

Not that I’m saying anything new here; it’s just that very few will admit it!

Let’s face it — the print magazines scoff at any motorcycle that can’t come within 1% of Jorge Lorenzo’s lap times. And any motorcycle with less than razor-sharp handling is considered a dog.

It took me many years and a lot of experience to realize they were wrong and to discover this truth about motorcycles. The key is to disregard the horsepower status insanity that only serves the ego and to think about fun. Once I learned the lesson, I now have more fun with fewer worries than I ever did as a horsepower-crazed youth.

Good thing I lived long enough to become enlightened!

Which brings me to the next part of the story. It was time for a new project bike to farkleize and write about, and I would use these lessons to guide the choice.

Motorcycling 2011

So what would it be? I always wanted a Moto Guzzi, so how about a nice Stelvio? Or maybe a BMW R1200GS or even a big RT? Or how about the new Multistrada 1200?

No, maybe I should wait for the revised Speed Triple or the Triumph’s rumored shaft drive tourer?

Every motorcycle owner knows how this goes. The game was on!

Then fate intervened. By the summer of 2010, the effects of the continuing worldwide economic slump finally started to affect the motorcycle industry, motorcycle owners and any potential new motorcycle buyers.

Email from webBikeWorld visitors indicated a new-found concern about value — questions about pricing, best bang for the buck, lowest cost. Motorcyclists were clearly not willing to spend as much as they used to on gear.

Which Bike?

The concerns of webBikeWorld visitors got me thinking that the next project bike should reflect their concerns. Maybe simpler was better.

The project bike would be a reaction not only to the flat economy but it would also take a stand against the complexity and expense of modern motorcycles.

So what does simplicity mean when it comes to motorcycles? Air cooled is better than water cooled. A real cable working the throttle, clutch and brakes. Shifting with the foot.

Looking under a gas tank and actually seeing an engine. Removing said tank in 60 seconds or less.

And — heaven forbid — a real carburetor! Remember those?

This was about the time when I happened upon the Triumph Bonneville Scrambler at the 2010 EICMA show. What a cool-looking bike! It was decked out in matte military green with a leather dispatch bag on the left and a chrome luggage rack behind the solo saddle.

This was simplicity! It was 1963 again. A simple time. Steve McQueen. The Great Escape. Spokes. Tubed tires. AM radio. 40-pound Longboards.

The Bonnie seemed perfect for the times. So I searched around and found one for sale at a local dealer at a good — but not great — price. But the economy was getting even worse and the more I thought about it, the cheaper I was getting. Which brought on another round of thinking — $9,000.00 for a new Bonneville is still a lot of money.

Suzuki DR 100

And on top of that, it would take another $3,000.00 or so for farkling.

But that Scrambler was cool. And it has a sort-of off-road persona. It might even make an Adventure Tourer of sorts.

Wait — Adventure Touring! The hottest thing to hit motorcycling since the sport bike! A Scrambler would sorta/kinda fit the bill, but what about something even more Adventure Touring like, and — a bonus — even simpler?

Which brought to mind those Kawasaki KLR650 and Suzuki DR650 riders. They seem to have an awful lot of fun on not a lot of money — and the retailers’ shelves positively drip with accessories for the bikes.

That’s when it hit me — it would be the Poor Man’s Adventure Touring series!


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The Suzuki DR650SE Project Bike

So I took a ride over to the local dealer, JT Motorsports in Frederick, Maryland, who happens to sells both brands (and KTM motorcycles). He had a new KLR650 sitting right next to a nearly-new 2009 DR650SE on the showroom floor. I had actually never seen a DR650 of any type up close, but my first impressions were that I liked the rugged, no-nonsense look.

But could I really see myself owning one? The last on/off-roader I had was a Honda XL185, a long time ago. It could barely get out of its own way and the electrical system didn’t have enough pluck to keep the battery charged. Were these on/off road bikes still like that?

Could this thing actually make a decent Adventure Tourer?

I also considered the KLR650 sitting in the showroom. But somehow, next to the big air-cooled 650 cc Thumper engine of the DR650, the KLR seemed too complex. After all, it has a water-cooled engine and a fairing!

In the end, it was the DR650SE that became the focus of my attention.

So here it is: the 2009 Suzuki DR650SE. Our next project bike and the basis for the Budget Adventure Tourer! Be sure to read the Suzuki DR650SE Blog and follow along as we build this bike.

It’s a nose-thumb to modern complexity, high cost, high insurance rates and barge-like weight. It’s the answer to every emailer who complains about the all-too-expensive 21st Century motorcycle and who yearns for the-way-it-was simplicity.

Suzuki DR 100
Suzuki DR 100
Suzuki DR 100
Suzuki DR 100
Suzuki DR 100

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