A great day of road riding with this great stretch of road as the peak. It points out that this machine is fun on paved surfaces as well. Although, these tires are not the right tool for that job !
2003 Honda XR650L
Shorely, this is what they mean when they talk about dual sport motorcycling. 15 miles to the trailhead, several hours of pursuing every gravel and dual track and one single track path that you saw, and then 20 miles back on the tarmac. Only about 110 miles all told, but that was 35 on road and 75 off. This ride was about the offroad. It was the first time that the XR was out doing what it was born to do for a full day. I barely shut the bike off during a 5 hour escapade.
Now for a few comments about the mods made so far. First, the pedals are a huge difference. Standing for extended periods is now possible without discomfort. IT also makes steering with your legs really easy. Second, the Motofizz bag is all you need. Snacks, toolkit, poncho, cell phone, and more. It did get a light sprinkle of rain, and protected the contents well. The ram mount is far too vibration-prone on this bike to be used for a camera or video via phone. I will test the Sony next trip. Lastly, the IMS handguards do their job well. No lever damage this trip!
Summary. A great day of Dual Sporting.
One of the great things about the XR is the size of the aftermarket. If you produce a billion of something forever with few changes, there is a market for bigger, stronger, faster, better, different solutions. I wanted the option to attach soft or hard luggage, and I found many options. The best for my needs were from Dirtracks. Just over $100 for a good sturdy set of side racks. I tested them out with the Nelson Rigg dry bags and then without bags on this evening ride along the river. Job done. I also tested the handguards I picked up. Ok on the left, but the right anchor did not fit through the throttle grip hole. I also need to check out 2nd gear as the bike needs heavy foot action to engage it.
A number of changes were accomplished today in a flurry of activity. They included a replacement clutch lever, new turn signals, better shift lever, and new pedals. It is amazing what a few hours and a few parts can do.
Based on a little running, it was obvious that the carbs could use some clearing out. A strong dose of sea foam was applied, and then an extended run to get a good flushing done. The bike ran great after warming up. Off idle response became tolerable, and higher speeds became smoother. Big improvement that made the first gravel road a pleasure.
The best machines go unchanged for years, perhaps decades. So it is with the legendary XR650L. A dualsport machine that defines the term. A 650cc thumper with lights and a spot for a license plate. Plentiful cheap parts, terabytes of internet information, a large community of owners. This will be much more fun than the big GS offroad, and tolerable onroad.