Archive for the ‘V-Strom’ Category

That Funny Smell Of Gasoline

Monday, June 19th, 2017

I’ve wondered about that smell of gas for a long time.

Don’t you love it when you solve a mystery that has puzzled you for ages?

I’ve had my 650 V-Strom for what, three years now? And from about as far back as I can remember I have noticed this smell of gasoline when starting off on a ride. It has gone away after awhile and there has never been a problem so I’ve just lived with it.

Now, I did ask Ron Coleman to check it out once when he was doing some other work on the bike for me, but he couldn’t find any problems. And of course because by the time he was looking at it it had been ridden awhile, he couldn’t even detect the odor of gas.

So Judy and I were just about to take off on this four-day ride with Willie and Jungle and friends a couple weeks ago and I decided to do something that, frankly, I don’t do often enough: check the oil. First I had to figure out how to check the oil. That’s how negligent I am.

I pulled out the owner’s manual and it said to rock the bike up on the center stand, start it up and let it warm up, then shut it down, wait about three minutes, and then check the sight glass on the side. So I rocked it up, fired it up, and then started looking around to find the sight glass. Not on the left side so I moved around to the right side.

The engine was still running, still warming up, as I crouched down to look for the sight glass. That was when I spotted a rapid drip of what was clearly gasoline coming from directly underneath the gas tank. Whoa, golly! I shut it off and told Judy we had a sudden change of plans and she needed to shift her gear from the V-Strom bag to the Concours bag. And off we went on the Concours.

Now it occurred to me that it would probably have been OK to ride the V-Strom, considering I’ve been riding it for years with this odor of gas, but I didn’t want to take any chances. So this past Tuesday I took it over to Joel at Mountain Thunder Motorsports and gave him the low-down. I explained that he needed to let it sit and then fire it up and look for the drip.

He called me a couple days later to say he had found the problem, a gasket getting old that would allow gas to pass out when dry, but would then soak up fuel and seal better. The bad news was that the gasket is an integral part of a larger part and that part is only available from Suzuki for $230. With labor the fix will cost me $500. Oh well, it’s only money, right?

Biker Quote for Today

Just bought bike parts . . . let’s see if I have enough money to eat.

The Test Of My Developing Dirt Bike Skills

Monday, August 29th, 2016
Dirt Bike On Beam

First one beam, then two, and then two separated by a few feet.

After we rode Mike’s maze up to the house I needed to catch my breath. It’s a lot of work whipping a motorcycle around in an extended series of tight, extreme turns. Mike was ready to keep going. “What do you want to do next?” he asked.

I was loath to call it a day. I don’t get this kind of opportunity often enough. But just to ride the trail back to the track and then ride it to the house again felt like not enough. But Mike had an idea. We took the trail back to the track, this time with me in the lead.

So once again, tight turns where you have to turn your head absolutely as far as it can go in order to see the exit of the turn. Multiple times where the only thing to do to keep from falling over was to goose the throttle. Getting to be fun.

And then back at the track Mike set up the beams I had ridden straight over before into a couple end-to-end balance beams. The idea was to get up on the first beam, ride the length of it, and continue on the second one. This looked interesting!

It also turned out not to be too hard. I had a lot of times to work at it, too. It didn’t take long before I had made my first run the length of both of them. Most of the time I went off before I got to the end but that was no big deal. It wasn’t as if going off meant falling over; the bike just kept going but now I was on the ground. And sometimes I was hardly aware when I went off.

But of course Mike wanted to challenge me. So he separated the two beams by about two or three feet. Now the idea was to ride the length of the first one, come off, and then get up on the second one. This was a lot harder. Although I took my shot at it quite a few times, there was only one time when I was able to get down off the first and then up on the second. The rest of the time I just couldn’t get off the first and redirect quickly enough to get up on the second. But it was fun trying.

Then it was time to ride the maze/trail back up to the house to drop the bike I was using at the garage. Once again, riding the tight twists and turns, standing as much as I could, sitting as much as I needed to. And I was getting better and better. Which set me up for the real test. My own bike, my 650cc V-Strom, was down at the track. Kathy drove me back down to it and Mike came on his bike. I had two choices: just ride straight back to the house or take my V-Strom on Mike’s trail. We’re talking here a much heavier and less agile bike than these little dirt bikes I’d been on all day.

No one who knows me will be surprised I chose to take the trail. I mean, the whole point of getting some dirt bike training is so I will be more comfortable and more skilled at riding the V-Strom off pavement.

I was really glad Mike had suggested earlier that I put the bike in one gear and leave it there, avoiding having to even think about the clutch or shifting gears. You can do that on these bikes that rev really low. So off I went, whipping my bike hard around these turns that had seemed tight on a much smaller bike. And doing it. Wahoo! And then there were the times when it became suddenly very evident that this was not a dirt bike, and–most importantly–didn’t have dirt bike tires on it. My V-Strom has tires that are a compromise between full dirt and full street. They lean more heavily toward dirt but they’re not all-out dirt tires.

I counted three times in that run where that rear tire just came totally loose and started spinning out. In each case I dabbed, putting my foot down to keep the lean angle from going too far, and at the same time I goosed the throttle to make it stand up more. Was I thinking this all through in my head? Of course not, it was all just instinct coupled with experience. At times I ran way wide of the trail but no big deal, just head back to it as quickly as possible.

And then we were back at the house. Mike, ever the serious instructor, took another 10 minutes to discuss dirt riding etiquette with me and then I was headed home. And you know, their gravel road was just as simple and non-challenging as it could possibly be. That’s my objective right there.

Biker Quote for Today

A bike makes you a motorcyclist. Attitude makes you a biker.

First Peak-to-Peak Ride For 2016

Monday, April 18th, 2016
Motorcycle along the Peak-to-Peak highway

Along the Peak-to-Peak.

Friday was hazy so the temperature never got up to what had been forecast but it was still nice enough I decided it was time to head for the hills.

I make it a point to just stay out of the hills all winter because even when it’s nice down here on the flatlands it can be cold and icy up there. Of course, if you ride on three wheels like Dom Chang then it doesn’t matter. I don’t, so it does.

I took the V-Strom up Clear Creek Canyon and it was a great day to be out. I didn’t wear any electrics because I figured it was warm enough I wouldn’t need them. That has been a mistake at times in the past but I was confident this time. Traffic was light and I didn’t have anybody behind me. I like not having anybody behind me on roads like that. And the people in front of me were making good time, no laggards.

Reaching Black Hawk it was still warm and I had not even seen snow in the shady areas. A little past Black Hawk and that all changed. Now the shady areas on the north-facing slopes had a lot of snow and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. My legs were getting chilly because all I had there was jeans; on top I had layers.

All the way up Clear Creek Canyon and along the Peak-to-Peak the road was completely clear–no ice, no sand. But by the time I got to where the road down through Golden Gate Canyon peels off from the Peak-to-Peak there was snow everywhere (except on the road) and even cooler temps. I was looking forward to heading down.

And then there was sand in several places on the Golden Gate Canyon road. You’re definitely going to want to take it easy if you go up that road any time soon.

But what a great day it was to be riding up in the hills, nevertheless. Did you know the roads up there have a lot of curves? I’ve been riding down on the prairie the last few months and you don’t see near as many of those down here. Wonder why?

It was especially fun, too, being on the V-Strom. That bike is light and agile and you just zip around those curves. My other bikes are both heavier and just don’t have that feel to them. If I was in a place where I could only have one bike I could have the V and be plenty happy. But I’m glad I’m not in that place.

And then I was getting back near out of the canyon and I passed a guy on a Ural sidecar rig going the other way. I can’t help but wonder, was that you, Dom?

Biker Quote for Today

Meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit still.

First Rides of 2016

Thursday, January 7th, 2016
Motorcycle with snow behind it.

Sure there's still snow on the ground but that's no reason not to ride.

OK, I was wrong about our street being clear enough to ride on Tuesday. So I went down the sidewalk again. I’ve got motorcycles that need to be ridden, you know.

I took the Kawi out first, then the Honda, then the Suzuki. There’s more snow predicted for Thursday night and you never know when you’re going to get trapped at home again, and bikes need to run. So I ran them.

It was a warm day but I bundled up and put on my electric gear. The Kawi has good wind protection so I never turned the vest on and while the heated gloves were only set on the lowest setting, I considered turning them off.

The Honda has a lot less protection, just a windshield. Now I was wishing the gloves were set warmer.

Finally, the Suzuki was just about right, enough protection and enough electric warmth.

I also had all the other gear on. While I agree with ATGATT for the most part, the fact is I rarely wear my chaps. But I had them on on Tuesday, along with helmet, gloves, jacket, and boots. ATG. At this time of year you never know when you’re going to hit a bit of ice or gravel or something that is going to put you down. And that was almost exactly what happened.

I was coming north on University Boulevard past DU and was amazed how much new construction is going on along that stretch. It seems every old building for several blocks on the east side of University, south of Evans, has been removed and new multi-story buildings are going up. So there is a good bit of mud on the street from the construction vehicles. No problem, though.

Then I went to turn east on Evans and ran across what I took to be just a wet spot on the street. Wrong. It was a thin layer of mud and my back end swung way, way out to the side. I’m sure the guy behind me was wondering if this guy on this bike was going to fall right in front of him. I was wondering, too.

But the tire caught dry pavement and found traction and then, as I knew it was going to do, it stood up straight and shook the way a bike will do when you high-side. But I was going slowly and did not give it any throttle so I was able to ride it out. That definitely gets your attention, though.

By the time I got back from the third ride more of the street was clear and I only needed the sidewalk for a short distance, but even on Wednesday when I went out again the sidewalk was necessarily part of my route. We’ll see what happens with snow on Thursday.

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycles are like girls: It’s always better to have two.

The Bike On Dirt, Dirt On The Bike

Monday, July 13th, 2015
Muddy Suzuki

The dirtiest this bike has ever been since I've owned it.

I was out 10 days on this last ride and on almost every single one of them there was at least some dirt to ride. I expected this and that was part of the reason I took the V-Strom.

Now, Kevin has tons of experience on dirt and gravel and Jeff, although he was on a Moto Guzzi Le Mans, “is not allergic to gravel.” Jeff could never be allergic to gravel because he lives up a small side canyon in Idaho where the road goes to gravel long before you get to his driveway and then his driveway itself is much worse gravel than the road. I’m not in a league with either of them, though I hope I’m getting better and it is experiences like this trip that are making me better.

The first time we got off the pavement was when we got a campsite between Alpine Junction and Jackson, up in Wyoming. This was alongside the Snake River in a narrow and steep canyon. It was loose gravel and, as I said, steep, so I was intimidated. But I was also determined and I took it very slowly and carefully and was relieved when we got parked. Then I worried about getting down the next morning.

Getting down, however, turned out to be no problem. Kevin had told me the first time we rode together to keep my hand off the front brake going downhill on loose gravel and I had learned the hard way riding once with Ron Coleman what can happen if you do touch that brake. So I just took things nice and slow while using the rear brake and it was far easier than going up.

Later, after we had been up on the Beartooth, we turned north out of Red Lodge, Montana, headed toward Helena. It was blazing hot so it was no surprise when Jeff, who was in the lead, braked suddenly and turned off down a fishing access road. He has one of these vests that soak up and hold water that evaporates as you ride to keep you cool. He wanted to soak it in the river. Kevin wanted to soak his t-shirt. And being on the V-Strom I just went right along, not the slightest issue at all. It would not have been that way on my Concours. The Connie hates gravel. And there were other pull-offs like this that were too small and numerous to mention.

A couple days later we arrived at Jeff’s so I got to ride up to his house and yes, I had a little apprehension, but made it fine. I also had some apprehension about leaving the next day but that went smoothly, too. I do think I am getting better.

Two days after that Kevin and I were heading back to Colorado and we camped up a side canyon in Utah. The road turned to gravel–no problem–and after we set up camp we wanted to run up the road to see more of this gorgeous canyon and where the road went. Where the road ended in a turnaround loop it was the roughest piece of dirt we encountered the whole trip. This was stuff that threw you around harshly and we also rode through some water and some mud. I’ve been through water before but never mud. So I didn’t know what to expect.

I just hit it with some speed and tried to keep the front straight and rode it through. No big deal. And I got the bike dirtier than it has ever been since I’ve owned it. In fact Kevin’s bike didn’t get anywhere near as dirty as mine did and we’re not quite sure why that was. But I’m a little proud of that mud and haven’t gotten around to washing it off yet.

Riding out of that canyon was our last run off the pavement. Out of my 3,053 miles on this trip it all added up to less than 53 miles but whatever it was it was more miles than the OFMC ever rides off pavement. I like having a chance to ride with other guys as well as with the OFMC. This was a good trip.

Biker Quote for Today

A bike in the dirt is worth two on the pavement.

A Motorcycle Trip Like The Old Times

Monday, June 29th, 2015
motorcycle at Flaming Gorge

Kevin coming down into the Flaming Gorge area.

I left to go on a motorcycle trip with Kevin very suddenly. Kevin has a way of calling and making me offers I can’t refuse. One time he called out of the blue and asked, “Do you want to buy a V-Strom?” So I did.

Last week Kevin called and told me he was meeting a friend from Boise at the Flaming Gorge and they were just going somewhere north. Would I like to join them? Well here I am in Cooke City, Montana, so you guess what my answer was.

The whole idea just thrilled me. It would be just like the early days of the OFMC: three guys, no plans, frequent camping. I have missed those trips for as long as it has been that we’ve had way too many guys on the OFMC trip to be able to just roll into some small town and expect to find enough motel rooms.

I rode to Grand Junction on Friday to spend the night at my brother’s, and then Kevin and I met up at the City Market in Fruita on Saturday morning. We rode on up over Douglas Pass, caught US 40 west at Dinosaur, turned north at Vernal, Utah, and cruised to the Flaming Gorge.

Kevin and I are both on our 650 V-Stroms and Jeff showed up later on his Moto Guzzi Le Mans. It was old home week for those guys, having known each other for 40 years, and I soon found myself looking closely for opportunities to get a word in myself.

Up the next morning and we came up with a general idea of heading to the Beartooth Pass. Planning beyond today was forbidden but as a general goal that’s a starting point. We’ll head in that direction. We cruised north into Wyoming, crossed over into Idaho, and ran up some roads none of us had ever been on. Heading back into Wyoming, to the Star Valley, there was the sweetest campground on this pass and we were all tempted. But we didn’t have any food so we needed to press on, even if we came back.

We reached a store and got food and beverages but decided to push on past Alpine Junction to some campgrounds the map showed along the Snake River. We ended up high up the canyon wall on a road of loose gravel that our V-Stroms are made for. As for Jeff’s Guzzi, as Kevin told me early on, “he’s not allergic to gravel.” He’s actually a heck of a lot better on gravel than I am.

So that made it Monday. We cruised on up to Estes Park, passed through Grand Teton and on into Yellowstone. We weren’t really there to see the park but both of those guys had to pay $25 to get in so we might as well do some touristing. (Of course, my senior pass got me in free. Jeff now has something to look forward to when he turns 62 next year.)

We exited the northeast entrance to the to Silver Gate and Cooke City and found a sign telling us that none of the campgrounds in the area allowed tent camping. The girl at the store in Cooke City told us someone got messed up by a bear several years ago and they still haven’t gotten past that. So it was time for a motel. Which is why I now have wi-fi.

Tomorrow we ride the Beartooth. From there the plan is to go north heading toward Missoula and Lolo Pass. We don’t know how long it will take us to get there or where we’ll be staying, but it’s a direction. The OFMC used to be like this. Now I get to be here and in another three weeks after I get home I’ll go out with the OFMC boys on that trip. The summer is shaping up very nicely.

Biker Quote for Today

Adventure is what happens when you thought you were going to have a good time.

One Less Colorado Motorcycle Rental Source

Monday, April 6th, 2015
V-Strom on Cinnamon Pass

Out on Cinammon Pass with Kevin back in 2010.

I was sorry to get the word from my friend Kevin Smith that he is shutting down Colorado Mountain Moto, his motorcycle rental business in Gunnison.

Said Kevin, “Seems I just can’t do enough volume here in Gunny. The good news is I can back to more riding and less working.” And yeah, we’ve already got some riding planned for the summer.

Kevin was the first one who ever got me out on the dirt on a V-Strom. He and I, with me on one of his V-Stroms, rode over Cinnamon Pass back in 2010 and to this day I swear that was one of the best days on a motorcycle I have ever had. It was the height of fall colors, a stunningly beautiful day, and what a total trip it was to be up in the mountains on this little dirt route having a blast.

Kevin is also the one responsible for me having my own V-Strom now. About two years ago he called me to say he had a line on a really good ’06 V-Strom that I could have very inexpensively if I wanted it. I said yes and a couple days later he showed up at my door with this bike on a trailer.

It’s too bad he needed to shut the business down, but I think I understand it. I did a post here awhile ago about the proliferation of motorcycle rental outfits in Colorado and at the time I quoted Ron Coleman, who runs Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures, telling me that business is good and he just figures that the market is growing and there‚Äôs room for everyone, at least everyone who is out there now.

Presumably true, except that Kevin had one disadvantage: he was in Gunnison. Now you might think that would be an advantage because he’s right there in the midst of a lot of gorgeous riding. But in reality, most people who want to rent bikes to ride in Colorado fly into Denver and then pick up a bike from someone reasonably close by the airport. By the time they get to Gunnison they already are on two wheels.

So one note here: If you have an interest in a V-Strom or dirt bike, Kevin is now in the process of selling his. Drop me a line if you’re interested and I’ll put you in touch with him. I hoped to list here what he has for sale but he hasn’t replied to my query as of right now.

Update four hours later: Kevin just told me the only one has left now is “an 09 strom with 20k on it. it is orange and is lowered. Comes with tank bag engine guard ,skid plate, and soft panniers. Askin $4500 obo. ”

Biker Quote for Today

Dirt is for riding. Pavement is just to get you there.

New Tire, Chain, Sprockets, Air Filter for the V-Strom

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Putting a new chain on a V-Strom

Ron Coleman putting the new chain and sprockets on my V-Strom.

I consider myself very fortunate to know and deal with motorcycling people who are a lot more adept at some things than I am. Such is the case with Ron Coleman, who runs Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures.

It’s not that I don’t have a mechanical bent, but I do not have the tools to even try doing some of the work it takes to keep a motorcycle running. Ron recently helped me get a new rear tire on the V-Strom as well as a new chain and sprockets. He also replaced the air filter. Out of all these tasks, the only one I could conceivably do myself is the air filter. Having seen it done twice now I’m actually thinking I could do it.

For the tire, forget it. I don’t have a tire changing machine and I know from experience how tough it is to change a tire without one. Ron does and he made short work of getting this new Shinko on. Now I have matching Shinkos front and rear and can’t wait to get out in the dirt and see how it feels. I was on the dirt a little when we went to the Black Hills in July and the bike was very unstable. When you figure that I had a nearly bald street tire on the rear it’s no surprise. Now I’ve got real rubber back there.

The one thing I did see from the tire change was how to take the wheel off the bike and put it back on. I might be able to do that, which could be a good thing if it ever came to needing to take the wheel and tire somewhere to have someone else do the tire replacement.

And there is no way I’d ever be able to replace the chain and sprockets myself. For one thing, getting the old chain off entailed using a grinder to cut away the heads of two pins in the chain, so as to open up the loop. Replacing the sprockets was pretty straightforward but even then the fact that Ron had the right tools made the job so much easier than it might have been. Putting the new chain on also required cutting away an extra link and then using a specific tool to pop in the connecting links and peen (as in ballpeen hammer, I presume) them to spread the ends so they don’t slip out.

I watch this all going on and I see exactly why I generally pay someone else to do it. I don’t mind getting dirty, and I’ve always enjoyed taking things apart and fixing them and putting them back together, but this is just out of my league.

To get to the air filter it is necessary on this bike to remove the gas tank. That stopped me once in the past when I was going to replace the spark plugs on my Concours. I had no idea how to remove the tank. I still don’t.

On the V-Strom it just takes removing a few screws and then raising the tank up on a hinge while disconnecting the fuel line. Best to do this when you do not have a full tank–all that gas is heavy. So you lift the tank off and then take four or five screws out to remove the housing and presto–there’s the air filter. Lift it off, put a new one in, replace the housing and drop the tank back on. Put the screws back in and voila!

It really is good to know people like Ron. I’m very indebted to him for everything he has helped me with on this V-Strom. Ron knows V-Stroms really well because he has several that he rents along with a bunch of other bikes, including his latest, a Yamaha Super Tenere. After the work was all done we went for a ride and I rode the Tenere. I’ll tell you about that shortly.

Biker Quote for Today

There is no physical training regimen so strict that it can’t be undermined by a rigorous program of deferred motorcycle maintenance.

Listing Motorcycle Rentals in Colorado

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Kevin Smith of Colorado Mountain Moto

Kevin Smith of Colorado Mountain Moto was one of the first rental folks I ever went riding with.

I’ve been in touch recently with Ron Coleman, who runs Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures, and I asked how business is doing in the motorcycle rental field here in Colorado considering that so many more companies have gotten started in the last few years. I said I hoped there was enough business that people don’t start folding left and right.

Ron’s reply was that business is good and he just figures that the market is growing and there’s room for everyone, at least everyone who is out there now.

That is so great. Before I ever bought my first bike my roommate and I decided one day to rent a bike just to see how much we might get into riding. We naively went to a nearby shop and found that there was nothing. No one rented bikes back then. What were we thinking?

Times have changed a little, haven’t they?

So I thought I’d do a run-down here of the rental places I know of here in Colorado. I’ll make note that I’m not going to go into the list of Harley dealerships because I think pretty nearly all of them do rentals. Just add them to the list of the others.

Of course there’s Ron with WDSMA. He used to run strictly Suzuki V-Stroms but now also has Suzuki DR 650s and a Yamaha Super Tenere. He used to have a BMW GS800 but I don’t see that mentioned on his site so maybe he got rid of that one.

Kevin Smith, with Colorado Mountain Moto, runs V-Stroms out of Gunnison and he also now has at least one Honda XR650L.

One of the newcomers is Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Adventures, owned by Paul and Marsha Minock. Unlike many of these folks, I don’t know them. Their website says they offer BMW F800GS and F700GS.

Colorado Motorcycle Adventures (do you start to see a theme in the names and the types of bikes rented?) is run by Scott Lee. I rode with him earlier this summer and had every intention of doing so again sometime soon but boy the summer is flying by in a hurry. Scott has a whole herd of bikes, from KTMs to BMWs to Triumphs and Kawasakis.

Ben Kriederman has been operating House of Motorrad for a few years now. He specializes in BMWs, as the name suggests, and recently opened a store in Boulder. I haven’t ridden with Ben but he did fix me up with some good gear for my V-Strom.

Colorado Sports Rent is run by Brad Pester. Brad rents a lot of recreation gear and dirt bikes are just a small part of his offering but they’re the only bikes he has. I spoke with one of his employees recently who told me they were considering getting a couple street bikes as well.

Another outfit that has a whole stable of different bikes is Colorado Tour Bike Rentals and Sales. They have a lot more road bikes than the others I’ve mentioned so far. I don’t know much else about these folks; I’ve never met or talked with them.

Of course along with all the Harley dealerships there is also EagleRider. EagleRider rents mostly Harleys but they do have other bikes as well. I’ve met the manager of the Denver location several times but can’t remember his name just now. I’ve also rented from EagleRider and was on a media tour with them once. Recently another EagleRider location opened Grand Junction.

Another one I really don’t know anything about is Extreme Rentals. They appear to have a number of Honda dirt bikes. is out in Durango and they rent KTM and BMW dual sport bikes.

The folks at San Juan Backcountry rent some dirt bikes plus ATVs and Jeeps.

And finally, there is ScooTours, a scooter rental outfit in Denver. This is run by David Howard. David and I went out scooting one day. I keep intending to touch in with him to see how business is going. Scooters are fun, you know. One of these days I’m going to buy one.

So those are the ones I know of. If you are aware of any rental outfits I haven’t listed please send me a note. It’s just amazing to me that all these companies have gotten going and they’re all staying in business. That’s just great.

Biker Quote for Today

A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous. The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul.

More Gear for the V-Strom

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
V-Strom Crash Bars and Skid Plate

The new SW Motech crash bars and skid plate make my V-Strom much more prepared for riding off the pavement.

I’m not much of one to add stuff to a motorcycle. The V-Strom is proving to be the exception.

Besides the throttle lock and top bag I already added to that bike, I’m now pleased to say that I have added crash bars and a skid plate. Next up is highway pegs, although that has proven trickier than I expected.

I wasn’t planning to take the V-Strom on the OFMC trip last week but the Concours had a rear tire that was so on the cusp of whether it would make it or not that I decided not to chance it. But I didn’t want to go on another long ride, like last year, on a bike with no highway pegs. We’re talking about you, V-Strom.

The problem was, there is nowhere on a stock V-Strom to attach highway pegs. A related problem with the V-Strom is that the radiator and oil filter are just hanging out down there, fully exposed to anything flying up off the road. I don’t understand Suzuki’s thinking on that. That’s just too vulnerable, especially if you go off the pavement.

Fortunately the solution to one problem provides a solution to the other. Put on crash bars, which gives you a place to attach a skid plate, and that protects the radiator and oil filter. It also gives you something to attach highway pegs to.

Thanks very much to Ben Kriederman at House of Motorrad, I got the crash bars and skid plate on on Thursday evening before we left town on Friday. I’m truly grateful to Ben for putting these things on for me because there was no way I was going to be able to do it myself.

I did try. The problem was, although attaching the bars was pretty simple, just four bolts on each side of the bike, busting those bolts loose was beyond my meager tools. I had an allen wrench and an extender but I quickly saw that if I applied enough pressure to bust the bolts loose, all that would actually happen would be that I would bend the heck out of my allen wrench.

It’s wonderful having the right tools for the job. Ben did and he quickly took care of the bars, but then the skid plate even gave him some trouble. It seems the (supplied) replacement bolts fit fine but the (not supplied) washers were just too small for the new bolts. They had to be drilled out.

Ben got ‘er done and even threw in an oil change while the bike was up on the lift. Nice guy.

The next day, on my way out of town, I stopped at Vickery and bought some highway pegs. I figured I’d put them on in Brush or in Chadron when I had a moment. Uh-uh. The pegs came with two sizes of strap to go around the bars, but the small (7/8″) was too small and the large, with the provided spacers, came completely together without being tight enough to hold the peg in place. So I made the whole ride without highway pegs again. Fortunately, this trip was mostly short rides so I didn’t miss them terribly.

I figure now the thing to do is put some rubber strips under the strap to both prevent scraping metal on metal and to take up room, making it possible to tighten things and have it hold in place. I was hoping to do that yesterday but it didn’t get done. It will get done this weekend.

Then, let’s see . . . what else does this bike need?

Biker Quote for Today

Money can’t buy happiness. But… it can buy a motorcycle. And you can’t be sad on a motorcycle.