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Beez' Blog of Moto Greatness - My Stable


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I thought I'd write about me this week and tell you about the motorcycles I currently have. My main bike is a 2005 BMW R1200GS that I bought new. It is an "adventure bike" but I think any bike can give you an adventure. It's just a category like cruiser or sportbike. Adventure bikes can loosely be defined as street bikes that have long travel suspension, 19" or 21" front wheels and have hard or soft panniers (saddlebags). They make good sport touring bikes with the ability to traverse dirt roads and even off-road trails, as long as you're careful.

My GS has the traditional BMW boxer twin cylinder engine with 4 valves per cylinder, EFI, a 6-speed transmission and shaft drive. The 2005 was a brand new model that was lighter and more powerful than previous generation which is why I opted to get new instead of a used one. I outfitted it with Jesse panniers which are made of welded aluminum and made in the USA. I'm not sure how many liters of storage they are but it's enough to hold most of my camping gear. When camping I also strap a large dry bag and camp chair over the back seat to carry the rest of my stuff.

I haven't done any really long trips with it but I have ridden it off-road on some trails that are difficult even on a small dirt bike. It just takes a slower pace, careful line selection and using just enough but not too much momentum to get this 500 pound beast through rocky trail and river crossings. A lifetime of riding dirt bikes helps too.

The power characteristics of this air/oil cooled, horizontally opposed 1200cc Twin is somewhere between a Ducati 900SS and Harley-Davidson 1340cc Big Twin. It makes about the same torque as the H-D but is revvier and makes more horsepower than the Ducati. It's very smooth, tractor like in the low end, happy in the mid-range and makes good hp but feels flat in the top end.

The riding position is very neutral and comfortable and allows me to stand on the pegs when going over obstacles or fast, bumpy terrain which is something you can't do easily on most street bikes. It also has a powerful alternator, more powerful than most bikes, that allows me to easily run auxiliary lights (coming soon), heated grips, GPS and a heated vest. The heated stuff and the right clothes lets me ride comfortably in temps down to the high 30s F.

All in all my R1200GS is the perfect, do-it-all bike for me. I can ride it like a sportbike, I can ride it like a dirt bike and I can go on long tours with my camping gear in comfort.

My other bike is a 2007 Husqvarna TE450 which I bought used from a guy who rode it on the Trans America Trail (TAT). The TAT starts in Tennessee and ends in Oregon and was mapped to be as close to a 100% dirt route as possible. So this Husky was already outfitted with a larger than stock, 3.7 gallon gas tank, strengthened subframe, soft saddlebags & racks and a super comfortable, aftermarket seat from Renazco Racing. The previous owner also set it up with mounts for an Ohlins steering damper and he fixed the jetting. Most bikes come too lean from the manufacturer.

The TE450 has a 4 valve single cylinder engine with a short stroke and a light flywheel so it revs very quickly. Transmission is a close ratio 6-speed which I think is its only problem. It should have a wide ratio transmission since it is an enduro/dual-sport bike. See, Husqvarna makes their XC line of bikes that are competition ready, those need the close ratio gearbox. The TE line is based on the XC but also has all lights, blinkers and equipment to make it street legal. It needs the wider gaps in the gear ratios or at least an overdrive 6th for street riding.

The other thing that's cool about it is it has electric start and a back-up kick starter. There have been times when I've gotten on a gnarly trail and killed the battery from repeatedly restarting it, the kick start got me home. I use my Husky mostly for tight woods trails and riding organized dual-sport rides and if it's far from my house I'll haul it in my pick-up to the start. It's just not a good bike for long distance on the street.

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