Wednesday 10 May 2023

Quick Recap - 6 yrs

Walkaround Inspection:-

You know that feeling, when you have been away from a hobby or activity for so long that you find it hard to think about starting with it all over again. Well, as I write this post, am going through exactly that. So, there have been a few (of what I remember) epic trips since the last post in this blog. However, either the media (photos/videos/etc.) wasn't handy or I didn't get (make?) the time to write about it. The last I remember, most of the readers (mostly actual friends and a few internet friends) used to be regular readers here via the Facebook page. With the rise of YouTube, I really don't see many people still spending their time on blogs. Having said that, this particular blog wasn't meant to be a commercial platform of any sort. I used to have a scrapbook (lol, it's true), with magazine cutouts of motorcycles, engines, racers, etc for my own amusement. That eventually turned into a website (in the era of Yahoo! GeoCities), which later (eventually) turned into this blog, in a digitized form, as the internet replaced automotive magazines as the source of my motorcycle content. 

Choke start:-

Also, the fact that I could afford (Thanks Dad!) to buy my first motorcycle, a Hero Honda CBZ (the engine was from Honda CRF 150F). I loved that motorcycle so much. I started doing long trips on it and eventually sold that when I moved to the UK. When I returned back to India a year later, I got my hands on a 350cc single (Royal Enfield Electra 5s). That is still with me (back home in India covered up in my parent's garage. In my eyes, it's a museum-worthy piece of history to be preserved for the next generation of bikers in the family (if any) to take a look at. lol. So I traveled within and out of the country on many occasions, but always made sure to be around motorcycles somehow. This was until a few years ago when I moved to Canada. I think am well traveled to know a thing or two about different countries of the world. But nothing could prepare me for the shock I got when I enquired about insurance for a 650cc (not even a sport bike) living in downtown Toronto as a newcomer. The lowest quote I got was CAD $5000/yr. Well, apart from getting busy adjusting to my new life and work here, the 2nd biggest reason I didn't get to ride for the first few years of living here, would be the shocker called "Motorcycle Insurance in Ontario"!

Let it idle:-

Long story short, after a few years of living here I could finally get my first (yet long-awaited) motorcycle here, which is a 2016 DR650SE. Unlike India, where most larger engine motorcycles were imports, hence charging 100% tax (yep, you read that right. This meant even if one could afford the inflated price, it just didn't make sense to buy a bigger bike at double the price, at least for working individuals like myself.). Anyway, so getting back to the choice of DR over anything else. My first preference was Tenere700, which I (and most likely many people from all over the world) had been tracking from the day the prototype was unveiled at EICMA in 2017. It took a long time to be available in North America. Finally, when I had a chance in 2019 to see it in the flesh in Toronto, I realized how top-heavy it was. Still an amazing ADV machine in its category, but I was looking for something else - an Overlander with longer service intervals and more off-road pedigree. The most popular and highly recommended KLR 650 (Gen 2) is great for highways but I found it to be a bit too bulky/heavy for off-road. So my choices were narrowed down to Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650. Both are pre-historic creatures (lol) and hence carburetted. This might sound bad to a new adv rider but for me, it sounds familiar and highly repairable, especially in the middle of nowhere. Don't ask me how I know, given the fact I have clocked thousands of miles on a super reliable (pun intended) 350cc thumper. :-P So in the end, DR650 got picked up over XR650 because of the lower seat height (which is still pretty tall by street bike standards). 

Hop on the saddle:-

So after a bit of deliberation over buying a new vs used one, I pulled the trigger on a used 2016 model, and so glad I did. In the first 6 months of owning the DR, I clocked over 8000kms of highway and offroad. I never used it for commuting, so all that mileage was from long (many multi-day) trips only. I didn't have the patience or time to go through the running in of the new engine and with the short-riding season here in Canada, it would've taken me at least 2 years to get to the point where I could use the motorcycle the way I intended. So all in all, it has been a great decision and as I write this, am getting ready for the 2023 riding season here in the "great north". :)

Let's Ride:-

I will try and cover my learnings with the DR, motorcycling in Canada (Ontario to be specific), and general ADV-related stuff. I guess anything that interests me, you will hear me ramble about in future posts. Also, I can't ignore the fact that YouTube has become an amazing source of knowledge on any topic one can think of. So from time to time, I may share a few videos I found educational, informative, or entertaining. Hope you find some of the posts to be of your interest.

Ride Safe & Ride Far,