29 March 2008

At some point this week, I decided that I should take a look at all of the bikes that I have been thinking about before I decided finally on the KLR.

Yesterday I headed out to Beaudry’s in Post Falls to take a look at a 2001 Bandit 1200S that they had on the floor. I really liked the bike and found it a nice fit for my style of riding. I have always been intrigued by the idea of putting a big GSXR engine in a Standard style motorcycle thus easing up on the aggressive riding position of the GSXR and making the power band a little more street user friendly. The bike on the sales floor had a few things going against it for me though. It was seven years old and had 20,000 miles on the clock which really didn’t disqualify it in any respect, but there was a small dent in the tank, and I think that the tank bra that was on it was there in an attempt to hide the dent. The real killer however, was the aftermarket pipe that was on it. I’m going to be logging an awful lot of miles on this bike, and I really don’t want to listen to the annoying sound of a loud pipe droning along behind me all day long, also I don’t want my neighbors to have to listen to it at 5 o’clock every morning while I’m warming it up. Some pipes can sound fine but this one was just plain obnoxious when they fired it up on the sales floor. No thank you, I think I’ll pass on this one. Adjacent to the bandit was a brand new R1200GS and I just had to invent a reason to go perch myself on that beauty. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder, and I realize that to some, the GS might be a little garish, but every year that I grow older, that style just seems to look more and more delicious! Somewhere in the not too distant future my love, promise me you’ll wait. I did manage to walk out of Beaudry’s with a killer Ducati Corse hat, and at $34.00 that is about the most I’ve ever spent on a cap, but it is cool, and I had to have it.

Today, Flicka and I went into town to check out what KDR powersports had on the floor, anyone looking for a nice used bike no matter what it is, at a fair price, I definitely recommend going to KDR, whether it’s Japanese, European, or American all of their bikes are very clean; Somehow Randy knows how to find pristine bikes and then offer them at decent prices. Today, I had four to choose from, five for about ten minutes until a kid came in and almost immediately bought the SV650 that I was considering, I don’t think he even threw a leg over it before writing a check. What were left were a 2005 FZ1, a 05 Triumph 900 Sprint, a 05 Concours, and a 2005 Kawasaki 1200 ZRX. The ZRX was piped so I had to kind of rule it out although it did look really cool, the Triumph’s aftermarket paint job was a little too glittery and er...... Flamey (is that a word?), even the seat had a flame job embossed into it, and the FZ was a little too cramped for any long distance traveling. The Concours that Randy had on the floor was an extremely clean example with 20,000 on the clock. I can certainly appreciate the luggage and that wonderful 7 plus gallon tank, I don’t know why I salivate over big tanks they way I do, I just do. At $5400, it would come in just a little under the KLR after all of the additional costs were added on. It was on the short list.

From there, the plan was to go to Pier 1 to get my Mom a birthday present and then a little grocery shopping and back home again. As I headed towards Pier 1, I remembered that Roundy’s Kawasaki was only a couple of blocks away, I hadn’t been in there for a few months, so I thought that I would check to see if they had a green KLR in stock. I kind of told myself that I would be happy with either Green or Blue, but the more I thought about it, I realized that I was just settling on the Blue one, if there were no Green’s to be had. The more I thought about it, the more I concluded that if I am going to finally buy a bike that I have had my eye on since 1989, I had better get exactly the one that I want.

Roundy’s had all three colors, with the matching KLR bags to boot......Shit. When I asked how many Green ones they had left, they said that this was the last one.......Shit. Brian, the salesman asked if I wanted him to figure out the exact numbers and almost defensively I replied, “Yes.” Maybe it was the bags, or maybe it was the impending remorse that I would have felt if I would have bought something else after finally deciding to buy the KLR after twenty years of procrastinating. I knew it wasn’t just because it was the last Green one that they had. Even if it had sold, they would have been able to find another one for me somewhere. Needless to say I wrote a check out for a deposit on the green one today. I guess now I have to go to the bank and arrange some financing. Man I hope this snow melts soon! Couldn’t wait just a couple of more weeks could I?

23 March 2008

Temperature 42 degrees, sunny afternoon, cloudy evening

I took the XS1100 for a ride Saturday afternoon. First up to Spokane to get tabs for the car and truck, and then a 180 back down to Pullman via 195 to Rosalia and then 27 through Oaksdale, Garfield, and Palouse. I’ve been trying to ride if the temperature threatens to get to at least 45 degrees, the big fairing on the XS coupled with my electric vest helps to make the ride bearable. One good thing about this weather is that I am not too hot and bothered to spend my money on the KLR just now. Once the temperature starts poking around the mid 50’s to lower 60’s, I won’t mind poking my head and chest out in the wind. I imagine that I’ll have about the same percentage of my body exposed to the elements as I used to on the FZR, but I won’t know for sure until I actually ride one. One thing that I can be sure of is that it won’t offer near the wind protection of the XS. I’ve never had a bike with so much fairing and windscreen that the wind hits me in the back.

I don’t know if the temperature ever really hit 45 degrees, but on the ride home from Pullman, the sun went behind the clouds, and that was enough to make me tuck in and turn the vest up another notch. It wasn’t exactly a comfortable ride home, but I’ve had worse. Some of them occurred during the dead of winter on my dirt bikes in Montana; no wind protection and what in the world is electric gear? I did wear a helmet that time of year though. I can recall other rides on the FZR600, riding over Lookout Pass on the Idaho-Montana border in the middle of night. I didn’t have electric gear then either, instead, I used to stuff my pants with toilet paper at the Rest areas and ride in a tuck all the way to Missoula, I like to think of myself as being pretty limber, but I don’t think that I could tuck in behind the windscreen on a sport bike for 90 minutes at a time anymore.

I’m glad I went out yesterday though, the weather went south today and the rain has been coming down sideways for the better part of the afternoon. Man I’m going to be spoiled once the temperatures hit 50. Any day now.