A couple weeks ago I realized that my 60 day grace period between registering the Kawasaki KLR 650, and having it’s first inspection, was rapidly drawing to a close. Since I keep the bike registered in Vermont, that meant I needed to get the bike up there fast – necessitating either a trailer rental or a long ride. No argument there. I quickly ordered up a new EZ-Pass tag, dusted off my jacket and boots, and plotted a route…
On the CB350, which is the only other bike I’ve ever ridden any distance, I would have carefully planned a route that would keep me off of highways. I can get the CB up to about 80 mph, but it’s not the most comfortable. Part of the reasoning behind buying the KLR this spring was to have a bike that could handle highway miles. So straight up the Merritt Parkway I went. I snagged I-91 in Meriden, and hoofed it all the way up through Connecticut and Mass. Stopped in Bratlleboro to do the inspection and chatted with a mohawk-sporting R1200GSA rider (only in VT!), and then moseyed on home – about another 80 miles from Brattleboro. That was Friday, so then I spent Saturday with my family – my 2 year old niece is reason enough to make the trip – and enjoyed some of the nicest May weather I’ve ever seen in the northeast. The weather was really perfect the whole trip.
Hopped back on the bike on Sunday and high-tailed it back to New York. All in all a delightful trip, and except for a few fixable gripes, the KLR is a fantastic long distance bike (this was about 600 miles round trip). The front suspension dive is really intense, and the braking definitely leaves something to be desired. Look for some fixes of those problems in the next month or so. I really can’t complain, though – this bike is a real workhorse!
I picked up a GoPro while I was in VT. It doesn’t have the best mounting hardware for the KLR, so I apologize for the crummy angle and heavy vibration. I’m already cooking up a solution to that problem.