AdvTrail.comRiding the Trans America Trail


The point of an ADV trip is companionship, nature, travel, the people you encounter, and the challenge of pushing yourself physically to endure in hard conditions. Ultimately the motorcycles are just wheels.

Now we've said that, here's the bike porn.

There are a lot of different "dual sport" motorcycles out there which could work on a trip like this. We are both fans of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's The Long Way Round. They use BMW 1200's, the classic adventure bike. But the BMWs are super heavy, large and expensive. For our dirt-oriented trip we wanted lighter simpler bikes. Jon went with the bike he had - a Kawasaki KLR 650. Sam got a Husqvarna 610.

Jon: My KLR is kind of the tractor of the motorcycle world. It will do anything, if not exactly elegantly. It's big for a first bike - but I'm 6'1 and the bike fits me comfortably (thanks Karl Peterson for the suggestion). It uses 80's technology, so its not super-powerful like some of the modern 650s. Its reliable and easy to get parts for. Perfect for learning. On the trail, however, I discovered its limitations. Its not really optimized for technical dirt riding, and some sections of the TAT pushed the brakes and clutch to their limits. I'm ready for an upgrade.

Sam: (winking) I love my bike.

Jon: That's all you are going to say?

Sam: Yep.

Jon: What about your work converting the wheels?

Sam: Well, it was a bit squirrely filing down the front brake caliper so it would fit the dirt wheels. But its all dialed in now. Good to go.







Converted to fit TE dirt-ready tires.
Husqvarna SM 610 Supermoto 2009. Converted to fit TE dirt-ready tires.