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The main purpose of this blog is as a permanent record of my adventures throughout the Americas by motorcycle. Feel free to comment or ask me any questions - I'm an open book.

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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Bike

The most crucial element in this trip, and the aspect that is bound to cause the most frustration and joy is undoubtedly the bike. The make, model and intricacies of my (hopefully) trusty steed is something I've pondered for some time now, ans I believe I've picked a winner: the Kawasaki KLR250.

Designed from the ground up in 1986 as a dual-sport motorcycle, and remaining relatively unchanged until 2005, the KLR jr is a model of stability and reliable engineering. As a purpose built dual-sport, it avoids the weaknesses of both road bikes with knobblies, and dirt bikes with indicators.

Unlike the BMW equivalent, the KLR doesn't cost more than my car, and parts are available everywhere. This bike was used by the US army, and is still used by the Chilean national police. Seriously, if a village has even heard of the internal combustion engine, they'll have parts for a KLR.

Lastly, it gets ~65 miles to the gallon (28km/l) and I know I can pick it up out of the dirt when I drop it, unlike some of the behemoths on the market today.

Once I had made the decision to ride the KLR250 in the Americas, it was time to practice. So I bought a KLR250. And I loved it. And it got stolen. Lesson learned (And if I find you Mr Thief, I will take a body part of yours in recompense). I recently bought another KLR250, which didn't run (and so couldn't be stolen). It has been a steep learning curve getting it back on the road, but I now feel confident that I can deal with almost any situation that is likely to occur with the bike.

After getting the bike working (sort of - there's still issues), it was time to test out the bike. Called some friends up, this was the result. Clicky
While you don't see the KLR until the end of the clip, it's a rough guide to the kind of terrain I rode.

The bike held up ok, and my off road abilities are getting better. Definitely starting to feel more confident about the inevitable bad roads and jungle tracks.

I will be buying the bike when I arrive, as shipping costs almost as much as the bike itself.

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