Riding season is just around the corner, and I hope to do much of my Ohio River Towns photography project on the motorcycle. So, I needed to equip the bike with sufficient luggage to make it utilitarian.
I have always liked the Givi brand of motorcycle luggage. They are rugged and good looking. Secondly, I love the way you can use the same mounts to put different bags on the bike. Below is a great example of how that looks. First, the bike without bags.
You can see the new engine guards and the luggage mounting racks on the rear. Next, is the set of smaller bags I purchased when I first bought the bike. Givi E-22s. These are great for around town and running small grocery errands. I have used the smaller bags to go camping, also.
What about a top case? I decided to go with the Givi Trekker series of bags. The 52-Liter top case will hold a lot of stuff like camera gear and audio equpment, and it doesn’t look too bad with the E-22s—just a slight difference in styling.
Or, how about riding with just the top case. Many do. Without the side cases, it’s a narrower profile.
For the bigger loads, such as motorcycle touring and/or extended camping, the full set of Trekkers will do just fine—52L top case and 33L side cases, better known as panniers.
That’s some serious load-hauling capability. Still, it’s best not to try to carry everything. Think backpacking or minimalist motorcycling.
There are several state parks within an hour’s ride from my home. Cowan Lake State Park is to the east southeast, about 30 minutes away on some nice two-laners. Even though the V-Strom is still in the break-in period, this bike is so smooth, a joy to ride.
Next time, I visit this park, I’m bringing my fly rod.
I was out on the motorcycle yesterday. The weather was gorgeous, although just a little breezy. The KLR hummed down some of my favorite back roads. I felt like I could ride forever.
I did not feel this way a year ago. In fact, the past year of riding has been somewhat erratic. No long trips; at the most only long day rides to visit family. In my post, Soul searching on a motorcycle, I wrote: …”the reason—that thing that seemed to be missing—came to me. What I discovered: I have lost the joy in motorcycling.” In January, I actually created a flyer for the sale of my V-Strom. I put it aside and pondered posting it at several of my frequent hangouts. Through the Spring and Summer, I kept searching, and decided not to sell the V-Strom but rather buy another motorcycle—the Kawasaki KLR 650 New Edition—that would give me a different kind of ride.
On paper, the V-Strom DL650 and the KLR 650 are very similar. On the saddle, they are quite different. The V-Strom is a very smooth reliable motorcycle with plenty of power. The KLR is like a big dirt bike also capable of running down the highway. The V-Strom is a joy to ride. The KLR is a hoot to ride. Maybe it’s because of the newness, but I have found myself riding the KLR more than the V-Strom. The V-Strom will get the nod in the long distance rides.
Somewhere along my route yesterday, with the sun shining down on me and the breeze in my face, I began to think that it was nearly a year ago that I almost quit motorcycling. The rides this year have given me plenty to think about what it is I am doing with a motorcycle. Yes, I believe my riding pattern is changing, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll return to long-distance tours. Maybe not. The important thing is that I have rediscovered the joy of motorcycling, and it’s a hoot.
Finding the joy in motorcycling again has been like remembering that tune you used to listen to all the time, and have rediscovered. It’s like watching that favorite movie that you haven’t seen in a long time—you want to watch it again and again. And so it is with the motorcycles. I’d rather jump on the bike to run an errand than take the car.
Now, if I can only resolve that other nagging question from that post a year ago. “Why am I here?” What is my purpose at this stage of my life.
Are you one of those individuals who reads and researches to the Nth degree and ponders your reasoning before you buy something. I am one of those, especially on big-ticket items.
I have looked at other motorcycles for some time, and scrutinized a couple … very closely, reading up on all the forums, basically anyplace I could find credible information and feedback. It’s probably overkill, and may be considered part of my borderline mental health issues.
In my last post, I wrote about not buying a KLR, I thought that if I put it down on paper, out there for every one to read, that act alone would be my confirming decision. Instead, that little voice in my head nagged me even harder.
I surrendered. I bought a Kawasaki KLR 650, the 2014 New Edition.