The bike selection was a difficult one. Initially we started with the idea
of riding a Suzuki Vstrom1000 two up. We even bought the bike and started
to prepare it. Going on short weekend rides I think we both started to
realize that this may not be the best idea - well actually I think Casey
realized there was no way she was going to sit on the back for that long.
So Casey decided she was ready to learn to ride, but still hesitant to embark
on a long ride with limited experience. After attending the June 2006
Horizons Unlimited meeting, she became convinced and we began the search for the
perfect pair of motorbikes that could take us anywhere we wanted to go.
We considered the following
- BMW F650GS - Suzuki DR650 - Honda XR650 - KTM 640
But decided on the Kawasaki KLR 650. We went for the KLR
because of it's mechanical simplicity, price and reputation for going the
distance. The bike has been in production since 1982 with not too many
changes apart from a 50cc increase in engine size.
We managed to acquire two low mileage bikes. One a 2005 with 2400 miles
on it, the other a 2006 with only 7 miles on the clock. Both bike
purchases were weird to say the least. First we purchased the green 2006
bike from a very drunk and talkative hillbilly type in the Northern suburbs of
Atlanta. He made sure to tell us about all the relatives who were buried
nearby as we completed the transaction. This guy was straight out of
'Deliverance'. He must have purchased the bike on a whim and sobered up to
find...7 miles later...that he really didn't want the bike. It was a great
deal - albeit a a bit strange. The red 2005 was found in Alabama from a
very friendly Santa Clause look-alike. We had hardly begun to prepare for
the trip and already these bikes were putting us in contact with some
interesting characters in unexpected places!
Like all bikes it needs modifications in order to go the distance. As we progress on the trip I'm going to offer an
honest evaluation of the components.
God where to start. Here's the quick list
- Doohicky upgrade
- Stator and Rectifier