Here I find myself testing the big KTM’s . The new 1190R & S are really something. I assume that was not a spoiler, unless you have been in a cave you surely have heard the news. But I am pestered by a nagging question every time I am on the bikes. Am I an adventure rider?
It seems like a simple enough proposition. Yet I have an ongoing love/like relationship with the ADV world, sort of stuck in the friend zone. I have always considered myself an adventure bike rider. But for some reason, in the few years we have been online I can only help but wonder. I have developed a few different reputations, mostly good ones I can hope. Yet, street cred with the ADV crowd seems to elude me for some reason. Or should that be dirt cred?
If you have not noticed the change in the wind, ADV bikes are slowly becoming the new Harley. The ADV world is evolving on a path that very closely mimics the big American cruiser market and culture. Don’t get me wrong, it is nothing bad, just an interesting phenom where perception is a key ingredient to success. That must be where my problem is. I am just not an ADV hipster I guess.
It is time for me to give myself a good ADV PR makeover. Here are a few of my resolutions to do so:
Drink more micro-brew beverages
Now for this one we are going to ignore the fact that I grew up in Bend Oregon and was flipping steaks at the Ore House on Bond St. when they were building the Deschutes Brewery across the street. I was in love with Black Butte Porter when like 50 people knew it existed. In those heady days of craft beer, there was nothing like a nice porter (on the cask of course) with a blue cheese burger and a half order of wings to make a wonderful evening.
Find the Next New Hip Gear To Wear
Klim gear is Sooo 2012. Forget that it will keep you warm, dry and comfy, everyone is wearing it so the next new thing must be on the horizon and I need to be the first to get it! When Klim came out with the original ADV suit, they had people literally begging to buy the show samples. No kidding, credit card out, “don’t care how much you charge, I just have to take the only sample in existence home with me”.
Buy a cool motorcycle
Seems like this should have been at the top of the list, but not necessarily. So that means I have two routes at my disposal. I can plunk down $20k on the latest greatest, or buy a KLR. By the time I am done with all the mods recommended by the good folks at ADVrider, the KLR will end up being only slightly cheaper than a new 1190. But it will be Awesome! Never mind the fact that my slightly modded 525 will ride circles around any other thumper on both the dirt and street, it just doesn’t fit in with the crowd.
Buy a retro-cool motorcycle
While just anyone can whip out the Diners Club card at the dealership. Owning a retro cool ADV bike takes some real planning. Of course the 950SE is top of the heap for this crowd, but it just isn’t really retro yet. It is more of a classic in waiting, put one in the corner under a tarp and pull it out in another 5 years.
No, this has to be something like a NX650 or a good ole BMW airhead. Oh wait, I owned two of those. Right out of college I put myself in hock for some unbelievable amount of money and took possession of a shinny new ’91 R100GS bumble bee. I had 50,000 great miles with that bike. Yet that wasn’t even close to my other airhead, the ultimate in retro-cool. It was an original R80GS that had long since lost it’s stock parts. The motor was a hopped up screamer from an R100S. It had bodywork from the ’89 Gs with the bigger tank and headlight mask fairing. I painted it to bumble bee colors too. Alas, it was never as good as it sounded, poor brakes, suspension and jack hammer shaft drive.
Go Race At The End Of The Earth
Seems I have done that a couple of times already, once was even a rally. But since it wasn’t really on anything that looked like an ADV bike, apparently it doesn’t count.
Go Ride At The End Of The Earth
It isn’t exactly the end of the earth, but to hear some folks tell, you might think so. I do it just about every week it seems. Motorcycle, saddle bags, dirt, street, exotic food and locales, that must be adventure riding. But if your bike doesn’t weigh 500 lbs, apparently that doesn’t count either.
Add More Flair
I am pretty sure I have my requisite pieces, but that just isn’t doing it. There must be a whole bunch of stuff that I need to show how unique I fit in, no matter how superfluous it is. You see, I have things like a spare radiator cap, levers and even a stator in my kit. But those just don’t carry a bling factor. If no one can see it, what is the point? Maybe I will add lights. Nothing says bling like adding more lights to a bike. Never mind the fact that the one small I have will cause eye damage if you look at it too long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-74Jo85ji9Q
Blog About Myself And Take More Selfies
I can’t imagine how I don’t have that one covered. I think it is a matter of needing more pics of me standing around a campfire with a molasses colored beer in hand. Although for campfire photos I think going the opposite direction is acceptable also, so a PBR is okay in that situation only.
Get A Dog
Nothing says ADV rider like having a dog. Oh, and he needs to be a lab, retriever or maybe a collie and he needs to be in those campfire photos. Just how did he get to the campfire anyway?
Throw Away My GPS
No, it isn’t losing the GPS. I just have to ditch the Garmin and move to the iPhone. Everyone knows that having an iPhone mounted to your dash for navigation is the ultimate in cool.
Buy Some Really Hideous Shoes And A Cool Ski Cap
For apres ride time around the campfire, it is important to look like a cross between a Nordic skier and a Volvo owner. This is no time to be timid in fashion choices.
Spend A Year Planning The Most Obscure Ride Possible
We have found a tour that where you have to disassemble your bike and use Alpacas to cross the Andes. Then you arrive at the Atacama where you camp with Chilean miners who prepare meals of stewed goat in solar powered ovens. You need the year to tell everyone about it before hand.
So there you have it, my love/like association with adventure biking. I think it is a classic case of ” I was country when country wasn’t cool”. But probably more a case of just showing my years, in motorcycle years that is. Kind of like the old racer who always wants to tell you how he used to be fast, faster than you are now. No matter how fast you are, there is always someone faster and always someone cooler.
I did buy the ADV helmet, that was one step in the right direction. But now all the dirt bike guys think I am a weirdo because I wear it all the time. Fitting in is hard work.