Monday, August 16, 2010

Back With Another DR350

Pics of the new (to me) DR350SE:

After a back surgery last year, I impulsively and stupidly sold off my Dual Sport Bikes, KLR650 & DR350. I tried the world of street bikes with a 1985 Honda Nighthawk CB700SC, and just did not get real excited over that. After some thinking it over I sold the Nighthawk and just picked up another DR350SE, this one a 1996. I should have never sold the DS bikes and learned a lesson, the hard way. It will take some time to replace the both, but I got off to a good start with this new to me DR350.

I did not realize how much I would miss the Dual Sport bikes until I did not have them anymore. Never again will I make such a big decision withour some serious thought first.

The Dr350 is a 96 and is almost stock with the exception of a Progressive 420 rear shock, and an upgraded front suspension. This is much nicer riding than the 94 that I sold, but i now have to build it up to where my 94 was. I've got the exhaust and carb jet kit on order, I need to get the Clarke 4.2 gal tank, the Pro-Taper bars, and a new seat cover and I should be back in business.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

SPOT Personal Tracker

This is the SPOT Personal Tracker, I just picked this up last week. They were on sale for $99.95, but was $49.95 after the $50 rebate that is available until 3-31-10.

The SPOT is a fantastic device that will track your progress, check in for you, alert family of you need help or alert 911 if you have an emergency. The basic service is pricey at $99 per year, and the tracking service is $49 per year. There are occasions where my cellular service is not available, and the SPOT is just the ticket. I can e-mail my family a link where they can track my progress in real time or I can send them an OK message at any time. The tracking will send a satellite signal every 10 minutes then it will be visible on a map where way points will be available to anyone I send the link to. I have used it the past week or so and it has worked flawlessly, here is a link to the map where you can see how it works.

This is a map of my last weeks testing of the SPOT personal Tracker.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Clarke Tank 4.3 gallon Install

I have decided that after having to get to a gas station every 80 miles or so, that a larger gas tank is in order. I ordered the Clarke 4.3 gallon tank and put it on yesterday. So far I like the looks of it, it fits very well, and it went on in about 30 minutes, very easy install.

The stock tank holds 2.1 gallons of fuel and at about 75 miles I need to switch to reserve, that is not a lot of miles of riding, before having to worry about gas. The Clarke holds 4.3 gallons and I figured at 55 MPG's I should be able to go for around 180 miles before looking gas, that is a big difference, believe me.

I got about 115 miles on a tank of gas with the stock tank, with the Clarke I should get about 236 miles to a tank. That makes those extended trips now more of a posibility.

The only think I don't like about after market tanks is the fact that theyare plastic and you cannot put a decal on the tank, the fumes escape through the tank and don't allow the decals to stay on. They start to bubble and eventually come off, with the stock tank, it is metal and the decals stay put. I like the stock decals so the fact that I will now have a plain white tank is not the most desireable thing, it sure beats the crappy mile range of the stocker tank. There are some alternatives out there that are supposed to work on the plastic tanks, but I have not really seen any that I like well enough to put on my bike, so I will just keep looking.

Here are some pics of the new tank:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

3 Days Riding The Mono Basin.....UPDATED With Pictures!

Here are a few pics of the ride.

Just got back from a 3 day riding trip to the high desert, in and around the Mono Basin. This was the first real trial of the DR350, and as expected it passed with flying colors. I was a little unsure if the smaller displacement DR350 would handle the rugged terrain and heat of the desert. All I can say is it handled it as if it were made for it.

I spent about 70% of the time on the dirt, mostly sand, loose gravel, and very rocky. The ramainder of the time was cruising the interstate and the two lane asphalt roads that surround the Basin. The DR was unbelievable on the asphalt, the 350 was enough to maintain speeds of 70 MPH on the 395, and keep ahead of traffic on the twisties.

Off road was where it really shined, it gobbled up the sand and gravel with ease. There were very few times that the bike got a little out of control, some of the sand was just a little bit too much for the tires that were on the bike, Kenda 270's. Better tires would have made the sand no problem. The power was more than enough, there were no times where I felt that more power was needed.

There are more roads than anyone will ever need, they just seemed to be never ending. My ride usually started early in the morning, and ended well after dark. I managed to stay upright during the entire trip, not one spill, total control for the most part.

If anyone ever doubted abilities of the DR350, you can put your mind at ease. The DR350 is just at home on the interstate as it is on the miles of sandy, gravel roads. I rode hard and did not go easy at all. I pushed the bike to it's limits each and every day, and the bike handled it with out a hiccup. As a matter of fact I tired out long before the bike did. I did long stretches of freeway, followed by miles of dirt riding, and the DR was flawless and highly recommended.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SugarPine Trail & Miami Trail Coming Tomorrow (Actually it is here Now!)

OK here are the Pictures I promised, a very fun ride. I rode Nelder Grove, Miami Trails, and Sugar Pine areas. There was some rain this morning, but by 2:00pm it had started to clear up amd turned out be a very nice day. Full Ride report to come later, maybe tomorrow, or if the mood strikes me, you may see it here tonight, who knows? Stay Tuned.

OK,OK heres the ride report, see that did not take long:

This was the first real test of the newly aquired DR350, I decided rain or shine I was riding in the mountains, and man, am I glad I did. First I have to say pictures just cannot do justice to the Northern Sierras, they are one of the most beautiful spots in the state of California to ride any time of year. It is just beautiful year round. Today I went to Sugar Pine and the backroads there, Miami Trails and Miami Trail Road, then up to Nelder Grove. A couple of dissapointments, one some of the roads I used to ride behind Sugar Pine are no longer open to motorized vehicles, it kinda sounds temporary, but we shall see. Second the road to the big trees in Nelder Grove is closed to all motorcycles, but there are so any places to ride there, I was able to get over it pretty quick. It has been years since I have been to Nelder or Sugar Pine, but I have been to Miami trails many times, I like it there, some people don't. Today was good only about 10-20 other riders that I saw there.

Now for the bike, in a word, incredible! I can't imagine what else anyone would want in a dual sport bike, it is light, nimble, and has all the power anyone would ever need. I ran the gamut today, big climbs, rutted trails, wet, sandy roads, wide open straight aways, never once was i feeling like I neede more power or extra throttle. I am used to riding the backroads on a KLR650, and a Honda XR600R, the KLR is a big overweight pig off road, and the XR600 is just a powerful torque monster that happens to be big. I did not at anytime miss the power of the XR600, because it is really overpowered for the kind of riding I do. In the desert on a wide open plain, oh yeah, it flies, but in reality I do very little of that kind of riding, once or twice a year.
The DR is a fantastic bike, I was able to tear up the dirt roads and then jump on Hwy 41 and get to my next destination easily at Hwy speeds. Riding the Fire roads and trails on the XR when I would get on the throttle it would throw a huge rooster tail with very little effort, on the DR when I got on the throttle it would throw a rooster tail with ease, and still be under control, and thats the difference. The XR has raw power, the DR has manageable, useable power, power and torque are great, but they can get you into an out of control situation very quick. I found my self most of the time between 3rd and 4th gears today on almost every road, that seems to be where the power is the most usuable. 1st and 2nd just get you going, and 5th and 6th were for the most part not necessary with the exception of the Hwys. Seriously I really don't see why anyone needs any more power and torque than the DR350 delivers, I can see why they would WANT more, but not why they would need more.
This is what I would call the perfect trip, it did rain on me this morning for a couple of hours, but it did clear into a beautiful day later on. It was not blazing hot, and long sleeves were actually comfortable to wear. AS for the bike, no hiccups at all, none, it fired up each and everytime I hit the button, and I stopped alot. It did not use a drop of oil, and I was on the throttle very hard for many, many miles today. I just had to fill up once today, but I kept resetting my ODO during different legs of my ride for tracking purposes, so mileage was not kept track of. I started at 8 am and loaded up the truck at 6 pm, so as you can see I rode a few hours. It was a very nice feeling to ride a bike that I did not have to muscle around all day, and still felt like I was tearing it up. Like I said, I never once felt like the bike was not able to handle anything I gave it today. I do't know the differences between the DR350 and 400's, but I can see why people prefer the 400 over the 650's as a true dual sport bike. The 650's are a bear to muscle around and even with the extra power, I'm not sertain it is really relevant in the pure dual sport riding environment. I would assume the DR400 has a bit more power and better suspension, and of course is water cooled, but other than that i would say you are probably not giving up much by going with the DR350 over the DR400. I know my 350 was staying with the big boys today with out feeling like I was pushing it to the limit at all. I would say based on the 2 Dual sports that I have owned, the DR350 is a more pure spirited dual sport, it sacrifices very little, but is able to do what it is designed to do, on road/off road, and both very competently.
OK now for some pictures, in no particular order, they are from all the places I rode today. Enjoy!

Yes I will finally get to the backroads, a report and photos will be here tomorrow evening, I promise, well hopefully, no really I will, just kidding. I have been salivating to get this bike to the trails and I am going tomorrow rain or shine, considering thunderstorms are in the forecast, that should make for some fun riding. Wet is always good, especially when it comes to riding conditions. Stay Tuned. On a side note I just got a book that is excellent and I highly recommend, it is called "Backcountry Adventures-Northern California" $39.00 at Barnes & Noble. It is worth far more than the price paid, there are more roads and trails than anyone could want ride. Get this book, or email me for any information in the Northern CA area where you may want to ride or get into your 4X4 and get out of town,very good, and I will happily share this information with anyone needs it. It has mileage breakdowns, maps and GPS coordinates, would be useful with a good map. Good stuff!

The DR350 Tested

If you are having doubts about the power and abilities of the Suzuki DR350 Read this article, it may open your eyes. I have a link to it below, but i think it is worthy of its own headline. Check it out:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Suzuki DR350 Specifications

Manufacturer Specifications

DR 350 1994

Overall Length: 2 165 mm (85.2 in)
Overall Width: 885 mm (34.8 in)
Overall Height: 1 250 mm (49.2 in)
Seat height: 920 mm (36.2 in)
Wheelbase: 1 440 mm (56.7 in)
Ground Clearance: 310 mm (12.2 in)
Dry Weight: 122 kg (268 lbs)
Engine type: Air/oil-cooled 349 cc SOHC single-cylinder, 4 valves. 30 hp (22.1 kW)/ 7.600 rpm, 29,4 Nm/ 6.200 rpm (Sweden). 6-speed transmission.
Top Speed 75 MPH (This is not accurate, I have had my bike to 90 MPH Indicated)

Some other information that may be useful:

Sparkplug- CR9EK-NGK, U27ET-R Nippondenso, I'll have to get the specs for the gaps. The information got was incorrect.
Drive Chain- 520 X 110
Front Sprocket- 15T
Rear Sprocket- 41T
Front Tire- 80/100-21
Rear Tire- 110/90-18
Oil- SAE 10w40 API SE or SL, 2.0L with oil & filter change.
1.8L with oil change without filter change.
2.2L with engine Rebuild.
Front Fork Oil- 10 WT Oil.
Brake Fluid- DOT4
Fuel capacity- 2.4 US Gal/2.0 IMP Gal, 49 State and UK, 0.5 US Gal Reserve.
2.1 US Gal/1.8 IMP Gal, California, 0.4 US Gal Reserve.
Valve Clearances (Cold)
Intake- 0.05-0.10 mm, 0.002-0.004 in.
Exhaust- 0.08-0.13 mm, 0.003-0.005 in.
Idle Speed- 1,400-1,600 RPM
Drive Chain Free Play- 25-40 mm, 1.0-1.6 in.
Headlight- 60W/55W 12 Volt
Tail/Brake Light- 21W/5W 12 Volt

Torque Specifications (FT LBS):
Crankcase Oil Plug- 13-16.5
Frame Oil Drain Plug- 11-14.5
Oil Strainer- 18-21.5
Front Axle- 36-58
Rear Axle Nut- 61.5-83
Front Fork Cap- 21.5-29
Cylinder Head Bolts- 25.5-29
Cylinder-cylinder Head Nuts- 16.5-19.5
Exhaust Pipe Flange Bolts- 13-20
Exhaust Pipe-to-muffler Clamp Bolt- 13-20
Muffler Mounting Bolts- 16.5-20

No Ride Today

I went to fire up the DR350 and nothing, dead. After 2-3 hours of troubleshooting, I finally found a wire that had shorted out and killed what was left of the battery. The battery is 4 years old and just could not handle it. I spliced another wire in and got a new battery and viola, it fired right up. So instead of riding I ended up just going through the entire bike and got it ready for the next ride. Now I'm sure it is all ready to go, new plug, fresh oil, new oil filter, lubed the cables, and cleaned air filter. Now I just have to find a day to go and ride, soon I hope, maybe tomorrow, who knows.

Some information on Oil for your motorcycle

Motorcycle oils

Brief Introduction
Along with keeping things adjusted properly, using a good quality motor oil and changing it regularly is the key ingredient to keeping your motorcycle running happily for a long time. You cannot go wrong using one of the various "motorcycle-specific" oils, now available also from some of the major oil companies. However, many motorcyclists object to the higher prices of those oils and for convenience prefer to buy oil at their local Canadian Tire store, which is a still a good option. This article will provide you with information to make an informed choice.

Price of Motor Oil
So how do you make an intelligent choice? Will $1.00 a quart automotive oil work okay or do you need to pay $4 to $12 a quart for "motorcycle" oil? You have to answer that question yourself, but here are a few facts to help you make the best decision for your situation.
The owner's manual of your motorcycle probably says something very similar to the following:
Use only high detergent, premium quality motor oil certified to meet API Service Classification SF or SG (shown on container). The use of additives is unnecessary and will only increase operating expenses. Do not use oils with graphite or molybdenum additives as they may adversely affect clutch operation. That's pretty clear. But what do you do since automotive oils now say on the container meets SL Service? That's easy! By consensus of the API and the manufacturers, the current SL classification meet all requirements of SF, SG, SH, and SJ plus all earlier API gasoline categories. The current SL actually offers some additional benefits over the older classifications. So, if the motorcycle requirement says SG, be confident that SL indeed meets that requirement.

The Vanishing Zinc and Phosphorous
It is a fact than many SL oils now contain lower levels of ZDDP (the zinc/phosphorous extreme pressure additive) and that is a big concern to a lot of motorcyclists. ZDDP is a last resort protection against metal-to-metal contact. Whereas a few years ago the zinc level was typically 0.12% to 0.15% in SG automobile oils, some SL oils now have as little as 0.05%. However, this in itself may not be a problem since normal operation of a motorcycle on the street would never result in metal-to-metal contact any more than it would in your automobile. Remember these SL oils meet the most demanding protection requirements of modern, high-reving, powerful 4-stroke automobile engines (among others). And there is no reason to believe the lubrication requirements of street motorcycles is measurably different.
However, if you race you probably need higher levels of ZDDP and should use appropriate oils or ZDDP additives.

NEW Motorcycle Oils
Seeing an opportunity to bridge this perceived gap between motorcycle oils and automotive oils, many traditional oil marketers like Castrol, Mobil, Motul Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Valvoline now sell their own "motorcycle" oils at very competitive prices, and alongside their automotive oils. I have found them at several of my local autoparts stores and even at one WalMart store. Call or visit the auto supply stores in your area and ask. Even if they don't routinely stock them, they probably can order a case for you at substantial savings because their mark-up is generally quite a bit less than motorcycle shops.
Although not a motorcycle oil, oils with the designation "Racing Oil" are not intended for street use, generally meets SG requirements and has somewhat higher levels of additives, like ZDDP. An example is Valvoline's VR1 Racing oil available in 20w50 weight. These should work fine in our motorcycles.

Energy-Conserving Oils
Some are concerned that the new "energy-conserving" motor oils may have "friction modifiers" which will cause clutch slippage. Since that is a legitimate concern it is best to use only oils which are NOT "energy-conserving for motorcycles with wet clutches." Read the back of the container. It clearly identifies this. In general, only the very lighter oils, like 10w30, 10w20, 5w20, are energy-conserving. All 5w40, 5w50, 10w40, 15w40, 15w50, and 20w50 oils which I have found are not energy-conserving and can be recommended for general motorcycle use.
It is commonly mis-stated that "SJ and SL oils have friction modifiers which will cause wet clutch slippage." In reality, all oils have friction modifiers, that's how they work. ZDDP itself is a friction modifier. The real issue is to avoid getting the friction so low, with very thin oils containing extra amounts of friction modifiers, that clutches will slip under normal use. Stay away from energy conserving oils and you should be fine, if your clutch is in good working order.

Synthetic or Conventional
What about synthetic vs. semi-synthetic vs. "dino" oils? All motor oils have several special additives formulated into the oil to protect from corrosion and wear, plus detergents to keep combustion products in the oil. For normal (non-extreme) use, "dino" oils protect as well as the synthetic oils. However, if you plan to race, run at extremely high temperatures, or plan to extend oil-change intervals, or simply want the best, then a synthetic or semi-synthetic may be your best choice.

Real World Test Results
Are there any "real world" examples of long motorcycle engine life using automotive oils? There is a good one in the June 1996 issue of Sport Rider magazine in a report called the "100,000 mile Honda CBR900RR." The owner used conventional Castrol GTX oil, 10W40 in the winter, 20W50 in the summer. He changed it every 4,000 miles, changing the filter every OTHER oil change. No valve clearance adjustments were required after the initial one at 16,000 miles. And a dyno test against the same model with only 6,722 miles showed torque and horsepower virtually identical. The 100,000 mile bike was even used for some racing. In a subsequent follow-up, the same CBR had passed 200,000 miles and was still going strong! Oils have changed over the past 10 years, but that just means we need to be more careful in our choices.

Frequency Asked Questions
What is a reasonable oil-change interval?
Most manuals recommend not to exceed 8,000 miles after break-in. But short-trip riding is considered severe service and the most common oil change interval is 3,000 to 4,000 miles. However, a long trip is the easiest service for the oil and going 6,000 to 8,000 miles between changes while on a cross-country ride is routine. Also, the use of synthetic oils can easily double the oil-change interval.

Q. Will changing the oil even more frequently, like every 1,000 miles, prolong the life of the engine?
A. Not very likely, because even at 3,000 to 4,000 miles, the oil and additives are not degraded very much. Changing more often just wastes money.

Q. What about the claims that motorcycle-specific oils contain special polymers which are resistant to breakdown caused by motorcycle transmissions?
A. Oils usually require the addition of polymers, called VI improvers, to create a multi-viscosity oil, like 10W-40. Whether it is a motorcycle oil or an automotive oil, all polymers are subject to some degradation in the transmission. Full synthetic oils tend to have less polymer than conventional oils and therefore degrade less.

Q. Why are motorcycle oils so much more expensive than automotive oils?
A. Cost of doing business is higher per quart of motorcycle oil. Large oil companies make so much more product that their profit margin per quart does not have to be so high. That's why the newer motorcycle oils being marketed by some oil companies are only marginally more expensive than their automotive counterparts.

Q. What about the claims by specialty motorcycle oil manufacturers, that their oil is better?
A. That's a good one. Next time you hear that line, simply ask, "What evidence do you have?" I've never seen any. If you do get any, please let me know! I don't believe that there is any. Now, armed with all this information, you are ready to make your choice between automotive oil and motorcycle oil. Either will work fine. Your motorcycle probably cannot tell any difference. There are many riders, the author included, who use nothing but good quality automotive motor oils. There also are many who use nothing but motorcycle oils. All indications are that both choices work equally well because motorcycle engines are designed so well that the oil really doesn't make any measurable difference. As long as it meets SG, SH, SJ, or SL service requirements.
Full Synthetics - for Maximum Protection
For years Mobil One 15w50 has been a favorite of motorcyclists. In recent years it has gone from its original formulation to an improved SJ "TriSynthetic", and more recently as SL "SuperSyn." several of us have received conflicting information on this new "flavour" of Mobil One, but the consensus appears to be that the new SuperSyn has additional friction modifiers and may no longer be a good choice for motorcycles. However, I have heard from several VFR owners still using it with favorable results. Therefore, YMMV. Mobil naturally recommends their motorcycle Mobil One.

A fairly new player in the synthetic market is Shell with Rotella-T Full Synthetic 5w40. It is not energy-conserving and according to Shell performs competitively with Mobil Delvac One full synthtetic, which means it offers even more protection than does Mobil One 15w50.
Delvac One should be an excellent motorcycle oil but is generally available only at truck stops or in commercial quantities. For those who may have connections with a long-haul trucking operation, where Delvac One is known to be used in oil change intervals up to 150,000 miles, or even more, you may want to try it if the price is right.
There are a number of other synthetic and semi-synthetic oils available and I have no reason to believe they are in any way inferior. Just follow the advice and use one which is not energy conserving.

Important Note: Do NOT use synthetic oil untill your bike is properly broken in and be sure and use the recommended viscosity range, e.g. 10w40, 20w50, etc. for the climate in your area. In general, to protect your motor use the heaviest oil you can that still meets the manufacturer's guidelines. For example, 20w50 is better in warm weather than 10w40, because it gives you a thicker oil cushion between bearing surfaces at operating temperature. For racing, a thinner oil will offer less resistance and thus more power, but will offer less protection.

A Note on Warranties
Since it is generally accepted within the industry that current classifications also meet all older ones, there can legally be no warranty issue. In fact, some oils actually say on the package "SG" in addition to SH , SJ and SL. However, if any of the very newest motorcycles specify oil meeting the new JASO, or other motorcycle-specific oil specifications, and no reference to "SG" or similar automotive specs, then you may have a potential warranty issue so behave accordingly

Here is a Bike that has been in our family since 1979

The 1979 Honda XL185S, A fun Durable Bike for the ages.

And is still running strong. It was purchsed brand new off the showroom floor at the local Honda Dealer, who will remain unamed, because I can't stand them. They are the only game in town and are the biggest collection of jerks who were ever assembled in a motorcycle shop.If you need parts or a tire change please do yourself a favor and go to your local Cycle Gear. Friendly knowledgeable people there and always willing to lend a hand, their customer service is second to none. They can get most parts that you will need, and at a much better price. I have used them for years now and have no complaints. This bike is a 1979 Honda XL185S, dual sport street legal bike. I have ridden it for many, many years and it is still running strong after all these years. It needs rear turn signals, which were lost years ago and a new right side battery cover. Other than that it starts right up on the fist kick and runs very strong. Bikes were made to last and take punishment back in those days, they were big steel monsters that loved to be ridden and would reward you by not breaking down. I just put new set of Dunlop knobbies on it, since most of it time will be spent in the dirt, exploring the back roads, it makes a great camping companion, and will probably be going strong when I am long gone. I just hope my kids enjoy it as much as I have. Check out the pictures.

The big Test Tomorrow

Tomorrow I am going to take the DR350 out for a ride in the foothills. That should be a great teat of the potential of this motorcycle. I am going to give it an oil change and new filter first, then ride to the forestry roads and just get on it. So far I like the bike, it is light, nimble and has plenty of torque, it does not have the rip your arms out of your socket torque of the XR600 I just sold, but it is good manageable power. I like to push my motorcycles to the limit jst because that is the way to find out what they can or cannot take, plus it is a super adreneline rush. MY next test is going to be a 3-4 day trip fully loaded down and just head out somewhere that sounds fun. I know the DR is a bit smaller, but I have heard that they make great sport adventure bikes.
The DR350 weighs about 268 LBS dry, and my KLR weighs about 388 LBS dry, so there is more than a 100 LB difference in the two. Full of fuel and my stuff the KLR must top 425 or better. The DR will top 300LB with fuel and my gear. That makes big difference on how it will handle on the highways and freeways, but it should not be a problem for me. The other concern is the fuel tank the KLR has a 6 gal fuel tank (+/-) and I can go 200-225 miles before i need to start looking fuel, about 45-50 MPG. The DR350 has a 2.4 gallon tank and a 0.4 reserve, and i am going to estimate about 60+ MPG, which means at about 100-120 miles before I need to start looking for fuel. That is an easy fix though, there is an aftermarket tank that is 3.5 gallons, which should get me 200 miles per tank, so that is ok.
I spent the day fine tuning and riding the bike, so far I really like it, it is a lot of fun. It has the power to get it up in 1st and 2nd gears and will out gun most cagers from stoplight to stoplight. On the freeway it cruises at 65-75 with no real struggle and I had it up to 85 before I shut it down, with throttle to spare. I am certain that about 90-95 is tops, doesn't sound fast but we are talking about a single cylinder medium displacement bike, so really not to bad. I generally cruise 65-70 on the Hwy's anyway, I am not looking to get where I am going fast, but to enjoy the surroundings, and for that slower is better. I'll take a camera and shoot some pics of my ride tomorrow and post as soon as I can.

Next week I am going to LA for 3 days and will take the DR350 on the back of my motorhome, I can't wait to explore the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). I may actually just take a trailer instead and take both the KLR and the DR because I am visiting my brother who is also a motorcycle fanatic, and maybe we will do some riding. Yeah that would be a blast, I haven't seen him for 5 years and what better way to catch up than to take a ride together.

Here is a very good site on the DR350:

Unfortunately there is not as much information as I would have thought out there, but maybe I have missed some. The above site is a very comprehensive site for the DR350 and has good information, it is well worth a look.

Here are some others that are worth a look as well. These guys toured the world on DR350's Great story!

Just some stuff to get you familiar with this bike, which in my mind is very under-rated and underappreciated. I have had many bikes over the years, some I have kept for years and others I sold in a short period of time. I have a real strong feeling this will one that will stay in my possession for a longtime to come.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Newest Addition!

Yes this is the newest edition to the stable, a 1994 Suzuki DR350. No details tonight, just pictures, enjoy. I will get into specifics tomorrow, after I go for a ride of course!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

As Promised the Slo-Mo Video of the Casio FC100

I love the video features of the Casio EX-FC100, I have been playing around with it for the last week or so. It is in no way comparable to a quality Video Camera, but no consumer video cameras can give you the ability to shoot super slo-mo video. This video is of my campfire while I was camping in Yosemite, nothing special, but still it is just so cool that you can even shoot super slo-mo footage, check it out:

Hopefully I'll have something a bit more exciting tomorrow night.

Another Trip Planned on the Golden Chain Hwy.

As I said before I fell in love with the landscape of the Golden Chain Hwy (SR49), so I have planned another trip along this historic route. This time around I will be taking my family and the KLR will stay at home :sigh:. But that's really ok, I am going for 5 days and and going to stay at the 49 RV Ranch in Columbia, CA and then at the Coloma Resort in Coloma, CA. The Coloma Resort is at Sutter's Mill on the American River, it should be lots of fun. You can find information on both of these places at the following links, 49er RV Ranch-, and the Coloma Resort- . Both come highly recommended so I am certain we will have loads of fun. I just bought 3 new gold pans today, because they have an area set aside for recreational gold panning at the Coloma Resort. Hopefully I will strike it rich! OK, back to reality. Our plans are to visit as many of the historic old towns as possible and get to the many caverns that are around the area. The weather is supposed to be good and the motorhome is all ready to go, we will leave on Wednesday of next week. I am going to take loads of pictures, so expect to see lots of them when I get back.

This week has been one that has been very eventful, many ups and downs, we have seen the passing of Michael Jackson, Farrah, and Billy Mays. I did get some really great news though, one of my Yosemite photographs has been selected to be in publication that comes out in July, it is one of the many guides that are out there about Yosemite, I am pretty stoked. This will be my third published photograph, of course none have been for pay, but just for photo credit, but that's OK with me since I am not a professional photographer. I am happy anytime anyone wants to use my photos, and give my proper credit for them. The photo included here of Tunnel View is the one that will appear in the publication.

I just wanted to go back for a minute regarding the 3 deaths that I mentioned earlier. I am not really a Michael jackson fan, but it is still sad to see him pass away, I grew up listening to his music from his Jackson 5 times to Thriller. He was a very troubled soul, but a very talented person. Being a Heavy metal fan, I really wasn't into his music, but again he was a very talented person. Now Farrah on the other hand, what guy did'nt love Farrah, yes I had the famous poster hanging in my room when I was a kid, and I always watched Charlie's Angels, she was an intensely beautiful woman, it is just a shame that she had to suffer through with what she had to go through with the cancer. Everytime someone I grew up watching passes away it makes me feel like I'm getting old. The one that really shocked me was Billy Mays, he was loud and obnoxious, but he was great at his work, kind of the king of the pitchman, I think he was probably the best known pitchman of all time. Its just sad to see such young people in their prime losing their lives.

I'll close for now, gotta get ready for the 4th of July party, oh yeah, I love this holiday, alcohol and explosives, it's great to be an American.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Yosemite in the New RV

Tenaya Lake

The New RV

A View from Tioga pass

Meadow in Yosemite Valley

Bridalveil Falls

I spent the last several days in the beautiful Yosemite National Park, camping in Tuolomne Meadows. It could not have been nicer, the weather was picture perfect, and of course the scenery was as well. I spent a total of 4 days in the park and was treated by the bluest skies you ever saw and wild life that was just everywhere. Usually this time of the year the falls are starting to subside, but this week they were still going strong. We hiked all over the park and spent a day riding the bike trails, I had my daughter with me, so the KLR did not see much action this time, I will make a solo trip later this summer specifically to ride and photograph. It is hard to do when you have someone else with you, because no one really wants to stand around while you wait for the best light for pictures.

On the subject of pictures, I recieved an e-mail yesterday that a Yosemite Guide publication wants to use one of my pictures for their next publication. YES, every photographer wants to be published, and I of course said absolutely. It is not for pay, but fopr credit only, but since I am not a working photographer, any time someone wants to use one of my pictures for a publication, I consider it an honor, especially since there so many pictures of Yosemite floating out there. It is nice to have one of mine singled out. The following is a video of some bears I shot on Saturday, Enjoy.

Video of The Bears

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

High Speed 1000 FPS Affordable Performance!

Yep that's right I just got this beauty today, and it is just as advertised. It shoots lightning fast, up to 30 frames per second, and shoots movies at a rate of 210, 420, and 1000 frames per second. The quality of the 1000 FPS is just barely usuable, but the others are actually not bad. The HD is good as well, this is one fun camera and really lives up to its advertising. Juts the fact that you can get a camera that will shoot at those rates is just unbelieveable. Used to those kinds of performance were reserved for the high dollar professional cameras. I have a real strong feeling this is going to become one of my favorites, just palying around with it tonight I am blown away by what is can do. I will be back tomorrow with some specifics, pictures, and video examples. It's really hard for me to believe that a camera priced at around $300 is capable of the types of numbers that it is. There are so many features I still do not believe that I have seen them all yet, it is just one surprise after another. I will play away with it tomorrow and get a bit more familiar with it, and post hopefully tomorrow evening. I've had a great week and now have too many toys to play with, but I'll manage somehow. Until tomorrow...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Heres to hoping all the Fathers had a great day yesterday. I had the best Father's Day any father could ask for. I was awakened in the morning and driven 3 & 1/2 hours to Sacramento and recieved the surprise of my life. Here's what was waiting for me, a motorhome! My family got this wonderful gift for me for Father's Day, I can't put into words the emotion I felt. It was 1000 times more than I ever expected, I thought maybe we were going to Old Sac or something, but this was beyond anything I could have imagined. I am still today in the clouds, I have wanted one of these for years, and my beautiful family got me the one thing I thought I would never have, or at least not have it for a few years. We paid for it yesterday and the dealer is having it detailed, new tires, and a complete inspection done on it. It is not brand new, it is a 1999, but it is new to me, and I love it! I get to pick it up on Wednesday and then I am leaving from the dealer to take a 4 day trip, I don't know where, but I will be going somewhere. I am going to put my KLR on the back and just go find some place cool to go.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yosemite Today

We went to Yosemite today for a family function, the weather was beautiful and as always the park is spectacular. I took alot of photos but all were of the family, so I won't subject you to that. I took my Nikon D80 and my new Casio EX-Z29, I took the Casio for its ability to shoot video. I only shot one video of a deer that was grazing in the field next tothe hotel we were in, the quality of the video is surprising good, but it does have its limitations, as expected. It did serve its purpose, I wanted a camera that could shoot useable video without dragging along another camera. The Casio is perfect, it fits in my pocket and is out of the way when I don't need it, exactly what I want. I can also use it to take pictures when I don't want to take the D80, the quality of the photos is very good if the light is good, again no surprise, and what I expected.

So here is the video, it was shot handheld and is abit shaky, OK, no problem, I can adjust to that with practice or a tripod if needed. I will need to take more footage to determine the capabilities of the camera for video, but I am not expecting perfect, just useable. At the end of the video you will notice that the camera goes off the subject and up into the trees, that was because someone bumped me while I was shooting, no problem. The video is very short, so don't worry about having to sit through a long drawn out ordeal, it was also shot in the lowest resolution the camera has, but is very clear and the file is not huge. I am hoping to sometime this week use the bracket I made for my KLR to mount the camera and shoot some video on the bike. It will be interesting to see how that comes out, I am thinking it will be alright, but we shall see. If it does not work out I will bite the bullet and just get a Ram Mount that is specifically made for mounting cameras and other things on a motorcycle. I am going back up to Yosemite next week for 4 days to camp, I am taking the KLR so I think that will be a good test for it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

2004 Kawasaki KLR650 Specifications

I guess after all this talk about my bike I should give some specifics on the motorcycle. I have owned this Red 04 KLR for 2 years, I traded a 1987 Jeep Wrangler straight across for it. When I got it, it had 2500 miles on the odometer, I am now up to 11,700 miles. I had my Jeep for sale for $3500 and found this KLR in San Diego listed for $3500, I think I got the better end of the deal. For you Jeep fans, don't fear, I have another Jeep which was the reason I let the Wrangler go. I now have a 1974 Jeep CJ5 which belonged to my father-in-law, he had it built at his Chevy dealership about 15 years ago. It was built for raw power and climbing, its built up, I'll get more specific in another post later on for those who actually care.

Anyway the following are the specs from Kawasaki for the 2004 KLR650:

Specifications for 1987-2007 U.S. Model
Engine Type
Single Cylinder, Water Cooled, Four-Stroke, DOHC, 4 valves
Keihin CVK-40 constant velocity carburetor
651 cc
Bore × Stroke
100 mm × 83 mm
Peak Power
44 bhp (33 kW) @ 6,000 rpm
Peak Torque
34 lbf·ft (46 N·m) @ 5,000 rpm
Compression Ratio
9.5 : 1
Fuel Capacity
6.1 U.S. gallons (23 L) (5.6 gal usable)
Oil Capacity
2.64 U.S. quarts (2.5 L)
Charging System Output
238 W @ 14 V
Seat Height
35.0 in. (88.9 cm)
Dry Weight
337 lb (176 kg) claimed, 402 lb (182 kg) wet weight actual
738 lb (330 kg)
Front: 90/90-21 in. Rear: 130/90-17 in.
Front: 1 disc, dual piston caliper; Rear: 1 disc, single piston caliper.
Final drive
520×106 links O-Ring Chain
After 2 years of ownership I have to say this the most fun bike I have ever owned, and I have owned alot of bikes. For the past 15 years I have ridden Harley-Davidsons and have really enjoyed them. But after riding the KLR I have not been on a Harley since, I have 2 Sportsters just sitting in my garage that I really need to sell.
As a kid I owned many enduros, which is what we called the Dual Sport bikes back then.But I actually started out with a 1975 Honda XR 75, then got a 1972 Rickman Montesa, then a 1974 Kawasaki DE 175, and then a 1979 CR 125. After that I got my first real street bike a Yamaha 360, it was 1 year old when I got it for $475, very cool bike. After that I had everything from Triumphs, Honda CB's, Honda Shadows, and then the HD Sportsters. I love anything on 2 wheels and am a huge motorcycle fanatic.
I currently have the KLR650, an 883 Sportster, a 1200 Sportster, a 1979 Honda XL 185, a 1970's Indian Mini-Mini, a 1992 Honda XR 600R (street Legal), a pink Chinese Quad for my daughter, a Honda Elite 150 Scooter, and a 1974 Honda XL 125.
Out of all the bikes I have the KLR is by far my favorite and the only one I ride for the last 2 years. I have loaded the bike up and just ridden anywhere I felt like going and the KLR is always ready and willing to go.
The KLR's are very easy bikes to maintain and work on, they use technology that is a bit outdated but that what motorcycles are supposed to be, somewhat primitive and not very refined. Maintenance is quick and easy, I change the oil every 1500 - 2000 miles and at the oil changes I do the remainder of the maintenance. Total it take me about 1 1/2- 2 hours to do the maintenance, but I like to be very thorough. I have not had any major malfunctions on the bike, and it has never left me stranded, it is extremely reliable. I keep close track of my costs on the bike and it is very inexpensive to operate, less than 10 cents a mile, including fuel and maintenance, and not including extras I buy for the bike, that would add up quick. I average around 50 - 53 miles per gallon of gas, and usually fill up around 200 -225 miles on the odometer. The specs say the fuel capacity is 6.1 gallons, but I think that's not quite true, I think it is around 5.7 or so.
The KLR is a fantastic all around motorcycle, it is better suited for the street than the dirt, but it can in the right hands do an OK job off road. It is a very heavy dirt bike, just a bit too top heavy for most. On the street it is much more at home, it cruises at 70-75 MPH all day long without struggling. At 70-75 MPH it is about 5000 RPM's and that is where the best power on this bike is, it is no hot rod, but ist is a very good sport-touring bike and with some modifications, is very comfortable and can keep you in the seat all day long riding. Because of the height of the bike it is very good in the twisties, and handles its best, the KLR is a corning fool, and fun on that type of road.
All in all the KLR is a jack of all trades kind of bike, it does everything and is not perfect at anything, but most bikes don't have the wide range abilities that the KLR has, for the price and what it is capable of, there is really no better value in a motorcycle anywhere. Sure you can get a better motorcycle, but at double the price in most cases. I think the Suzuki DR650 is the closest match to the KLR, and that is a bike that I am seriously getting as a companion to the KLR, but it has its drawbacks in some areas, it is however a very good motorcycle. Now finish reading and go ride! That's where the good times are.