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What was it that got you started riding big adventure bikes?

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I really don't recall for sure what it was that got me into riding big adventure bikes.  No, it was NOT "Long Way Round."  I hadn't even heard of that series (and "Long Way Down") until after I got started.

 

I had seen these bikes here and there around town and I was fascinated by the square metal boxes.  It was actually at a coffee shop in Newport Beach, CA (Kean) that I started a conversation with a few guys who were riding BMW R1200 GS Adventures.  I was fascinated where they rode to, what they saw and that they simply camped off their bikes.  One day I had a pretty good tax return along with a good bonus from work and decided that's what I was going to do.

 

I later found this short film Jon Beck did that I feel is a pretty good representation of how I got started down this dirt road...

 

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Years ago, I started hunting on an XT350.  The XT350 was my poor man's 4x4.  I don't hunt anymore, but started riding again a few years ago.  

 

I was completely self taught and have been in some places completely in appropriate for a XT350 with DS tires.......anyway, longer trips, more gear, equals bigger bike, but I'm usually happy with 650cc.  

 

We'll see what the future brings.

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I got the K1200S in 2008 and my first long trip was with a friend who had a R1200GS. That trip and few other long ones always ended up with a neck and upper back pain.

Therefore I started thinking about changing to more upright position. In 2011 while in Greece i noticed quite a few people traveling on R1200GS bikes. However i wasn't ready to get rid of my awesome K! Then again in 2013 I went to Greece and again i saw same: lots of R1200GS from different countries. Came back home, did a couple test rides and was instantly sold!

I got a 2014 model last November and gone Beyond Starbucks a few times with many more to come! I just did a 1000 mile ride on and off road and I am not even tired.

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My husband had a R1100GS and I at the time a GSX600R. At a motorcycle trip in Wales he suddenly decided to take some soft offroad just to spicen the trip up. My GSX600R did brilliantly ! But alas, it wasn't the best bike to continue riding softoffroad or begin real offroadriding, so we bought a F650GS Dakar for me. And from that point on, there were no more limits.

 

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I've been riding single track for over 35 years now. My dad introduce me to it, growing up in Portland Oregon. And, I had an amazing time doing it! I'm now 45 years young and maybe a few years back, I somehow contracted the adventure riding bug. Now, I'll admit, my dreams of packing up with my best riding buddy and riding around the globe over the course of a year probably won't happen. Time, money, work, family.... You know the story.

After many years of rippin' it up in the woods, desert, etc., I found myself riding less. I sort of felt guilty about it too. Sometimes it was because riding buddies had moved on or couldn't go. Sometimes I just had too many irons in the fire with work and family stuff. But, sometimes I just didn't have the burning desire to load all my stuff up and drive. I was attracted to the idea of gearing up at home, starting my riding from the driveway and getting lost, even if it was for a just few hours in the morning before the family was up for the day. I tried to sell my 2008 KTM 450 XCR-W a few times, but I could never bring myself to hit the "publish" button on the ad. I loved that bike! But, last summer, when Las Vegas was hotter than hell, I managed to get her listed and within a couple of days, I watched her pull away in the back of another man's truck. And, it didn't take long before I wondered what the heck I just did.

 

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Later that year, I ended up selling my house, landing in Tampa Florida. There just isn't the off-road opportunity here like there is out west (very little public land) and I began to really feel disconnected from the sport. And, that was a good thing. I was craving riding again! I decided that going the adventure bike route was my next, new path, so I began to research what might be my new skoot. Now, if you think dirt bikes are expensive, dive into the ADV pool! I really wanted a late model KTM 990 Adventure, but they are almost non-existent in my neck of the woods and I couldn't stomach plunking down 15k+ at the KTM dealer for a new machine.

I finally found the right KTM Adventure just outside of Houston Texas. I called the guy and pointed out that he must be a ThumperTalk fan because of the TT sticker on the bike's skid plate. We talked, the bike sounded perfect, so I had my long time buddy and site moderator (Mike Berg) who happens to live about 45 minutes away arrange for a time in the morning to have a look. So, I was pretty excited that night about the prospect of a KTM ADV in my garage. But, as luck would have it, the guy sold it the next morning. I was a little ticked that he didn't bother to call me to give me the 1st right to buy or go away, but it was what it was. Back to the search.

I was also looking at the BMW F800GS and the new Triumph Tiger 800XC. I found a few BMW's that I liked, but I had a hard time with the price. Most of these guys wanted a couple of grand less than the original MSRP of the bike with 20-30k on the clock. I know they are good bikes, but who's paying that for a well used bike? Maybe some, but not me. I tried to be patient, waiting for the right deal to come along.

Eventually, an ad popped up for a 2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC in a little town outside Chattanooga Tennessee called Soddy Daisy. Soddy Daisy? I know that place! My buddies that invented/own KnobbyKnife live there! Now, my relationship with Mark and Jennifer, the owners @ KnobbyKnife had only been by phone and email, but none-the-less, people that I felt that I could trust. So, I reached out to Jennifer, she said that she'd talk to her husband and Mark was more than happy to go check out the Triumph for me. :worthy: Why was I willing to drive almost 10 hours to look at this bike? It had 950 miles on the clock, the owner described it as "new" and the price rather good.

Interestingly enough, when I told Mark @ KnobbyKnife the owner's name, he said that he went to grade school with the guy and they've both lived in the same, small town for almost 40 years! Mark made the less than 4 mile drive to the seller's house and gave the bike a good rip for me. When I talked to him, he said, "I'm jealous!" Mark is a heck of a good rider and after only a short time on the bike, he said that he could see an ADV bike in his future (he rides dirt and supermoto). So, my confidence level was brimmin' about the path that I was going down. As you might have guessed, I came to a deal with the seller, Mark picked up the bike for me and waited for me to make arrangements to drive up to get it. I have to mention, I love Mark and Jennifer (and family)! They are such good, honest people. Mark stored my bike in his dad's climate controlled basement, so that absolutely nothing happened to it. I think he might have washed and waxed it for me a few times before I got there too. ;) Thanks Mark & Jen! I owe you guys!

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The way that this was all turning out, it is exactly what adventure riding is all about; exploring your world and seeing what happens along the way. Now I was set to meet some great people face-to-face and when my wife heard that we needed to head up to Chattanooga, she was excited because she wanted to checkout Nashville for the first time. Nashville? Wait? Doesn't the founder of ThumperTalk live there? Yep! Bryan Hulse, the founder of TT calls Nashville home! I was living in Portland Oregon when I took over TT from Bryan and he was living in Denver. Some years later, I ended up moving to Denver and I missed him (he moved to Nashville). I ping'd Bryan through Facebook and we set-up a date/time to have some lunch. I was excited to meet the guy that started it all! Bryan is very tall, super funny, a hell of a smart guy, spells him name the right way, and isn't riding because his Ducati needs parts. Bryan, fix than thing dude! Interesting factoid: the founder of TT is named Bryan and the current partners in TT are Bryan Bosch (me) and Brian Wilson.

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I also had a chance to explore Nashville. My wife and I left the kids at the hotel and we picked a hopin' country/western bar on famous Broadway Street. There were three older guys playing acoustic guitars and singing; they were pretty awesome. Broadway Street was a lot of fun, the people are very nice and there are plenty of "interesting" characters. Of course, lots of neon and beer.

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A highlight for me was our visit to Andrew Jackson's Hermitage. Being from the west, it's interesting to get up/close/personal with the early history of my country. Kind of weird to think that I stood in the same place that Jackson did, looking out over his plantation from the same window.

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After we left Nashville, we headed down to Chattanooga to meet up with Mark and Jennifer for dinner. Again, talk about the nicest people. The least that I could have done was buy them all dinner for the time, effort and care in helping me line-up and store the Triumph. We all enjoyed our time getting to know one another and I'm proud to call them friends.

The next morning (Easter) we drove up to Mark and Jennifer's place, as we were heading back to Tampa that day. This was the first time seeing the Tiger. It was as new looking as Mark had described, but man, it looked huge! Having ridden light weight, single cylinder dirt bikes my entire life, I was excited, but at the same time, wondering if I'd get used to the size & weight of this bike. I brought my Sarge Industries rail carrier that is rated for 500lbs, but I could tell by Mark's face that he was thinking, "You're putting the bike on THAT?" At 473lbs. ready to ride (all fluids, including fuel), I knew that I was under max weight for the carrier, but when you have a nice, somewhat expensive bike to haul 570 miles, you still think about "What if this thing lets go?" But, I was there, that's what I chose to haul it with, so no turning back now!

For the first hour or two I drove pretty cautiously, but we had a long way to go, so I settled into highway speeds. Long story short, the bike arrived at home without a scratch the the carrier never missed a beat! So, I feel like before I even had a license plate on the bike, I had a great adventure that I won't forget. The bike is cool, but the highlight was putting faces with people that I've known for years and the time with my family.

 

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I'm currently on the injured list, healing up from having my distal bicep tendon reattached to my forearm bone. It's what happens when middle aged men try to play weekend badass warrior at mud runs. I SHOULD be back on the bike by end of month, but only for street duty. I'll take it!

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I still can't believe you ride FL sugar sand with those street tires!  

 

They're called Pirelli Scorpion TRAIL tires. Pirelli wouldn't lie! :P  It's not all that bad, but I bet I'll think differently when I put more off-road oriented rubber on. Ignorance is bliss, right!

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This is a great topic, that I think deserves a bump :thumbsup:

 

The short answer for me is, EVOLUTION -

I've been riding on the street for 20 years.  I grew up camping, hunting & fishing, and loving the outdoors in general.

My early motorcylces took me a lot of cool places but never very far off the pavement.  Here's just a couple examples:

 

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To combine my two passions,  I needed a bike that could carry my camping gear,  Enter the V-strom.

A fantastic bike on the road and plenty of room for all my junk.

 

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In my never ending desire to see what is around the next corner, the trails got "tuffer and ruffer" 

She served me well for many years, but I had pushed the strom to and past her limits.

 

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I debated a lot of smaller dual sports, but they always left me wanting on the tarmac sections.

I had drooled over the big KTM's and BMW's for years, but they were always out of my modest budget.

Then the 1190's showed up on dealer floors and lots of 950/990 owners put there machines on the block to move up.

I scored a deal on a 2005.5 950ADV with S spec suspension and the rest is history.

For me the 950 is the best combo of hwy comfort and off road prowess.  AND IT HAULS ASS,  Love it -

 

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Edited by greedyg76
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i love the 950's!  Thanks for sharing.

 

One other factor I forgot to mention is that I used to camp with my kids; my daughter in Indian Princesses and my son in Indian Guides.  That ended after they finished the 4th grade but by then I'd learned to camp comfortably and enjoyed it.  ADV riding was a way for me to continue doing something I liked; just off a bike now.

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I learned to ride when I was 12 years old.  There was 12 inches of snow on the ground and only ruts to ride through from the garage to the road (about 100 yards).  I took off from the back of the garage on an XR 80 and promptly hit the fence.  Since I didn't get hurt, I kept on trying.  So I pretty much self taught myself in the snow how to ride.  When spring came, I was hooked.  

One of my fathers friends left his Trail 110 one summer, so I moved up (sorta).  It gave me the freedom to visit my friends who lived miles away.   I live in Shingletown CA then.   

Most of my highschool years went by only riding quads or 3 wheelers.  I left at 18 for the Air force and was station in Okinawa.  Being an E1 and broke didn't let me afford much.  I found a honda areo for $125 and took the MSF class on base.  After a few months on that scooter, i was ready for something else.  I got a Honda XL200 for $1000, ordered tires from Jcwhitney, and my adventure riding began.  All my friends had crotch rockets.  In japan, they had 400cc katana's and ninjas.  They were wicked fast for 400cc.  So I always got left in the dust.  I could only beat them across the intersection.  Our destinations were usually a beach or seawall and that is where my bike was suited.  I would ride up the stairs and get up on the seawall or leave the ninja's on the side of the road as i road all the way up to the campfire on the beach and take their girlfriends riding though the ocean.  =)

 

After my time in Okinawa and back stateside, I got a Suzuki Quadracer.  After toasting a piston a few times, I sold it and went toyless for a while.  

I tried my time for a while on a Honda Shadow VLX600.  Used it to go to college at UA.  It started having issues and wound up in a BMW dealer.  I was floored when the sales guy said "wanna take on for a ride?".  Never had any dealer offered me a test ride.  The only bike I could remotely afford was the 1997 F650 Funduro.  I rode the bike for two hours, traded my Honda for it and was hooked.  

 

About 4 years on the BMW as my primary transportation my first daughter showed up and I had to sell it.  

5 years later, I picked up a new XR650L.  Great bike, bullet proof, and powerful when uncorked. I had a lot of fun on it, but uncorked and riding in sand got me a great 50 miles range till reserve.  Never got a desert tank for it, so it was a usually short day trips on that bike.  Five years later I sold it due to divorce.  

 

All this leads up to my current girlfriend, err motorcycle.  Living in Yuma leaves me with one dealer, Honda/Yamaha/Polaris.  I looked hard at modifying an CRF450X.  It just would do what I wanted though.  I wanted to be able to ride 50 to 100 miles, then go off road and then come home.  

I went back to what I knew and found the F800GS.  I researched it for a year, then the F800GSA came out and I was sold.  It fit all my requirements.  

 

I am still developing my skills but I find this heavy bike very capable of going where I want to go.  

 

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Interesting question that made me realize I have gone full circle!

Started out on relatively heavy bikes, 1972 Suzuki TC125, I weighed 132 and it had over 100lbs on me! Went to a 1978 Yamaha DT 175 at 245 lbs. Jumped to all off road with a 1981 IT 250 at 275 lbs, then to 1982 YZ 250 at 255 lbs, started racing some and stayed on MXers and my body weight stayed around 145 lbs but the last 250 MXer weighed only 220 and I was around 160.

Then I went back to heavy dual sports and got a Suzuki DR650 2007 at 260 lbs. Another 100 lb delta. Kept it for many years and finally upgraded to a 2014 Vstrom. My weight 170 now and Vstrom is way out of my weight class at over 500 lbs!

Said all that to say I wish the Vstrom was lighter, but the seat height is more of a concern. The weight isn't really a factor until you get it into a tight spot.

Riding comfort is the most important thing for me now, acceleration and agility are a close second. To be avoided; loud pipes, all that heavy chrome to make some kind of statement I guess, not interested!

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Well, to keep it short and sweet...

I've been riding and have owned a motorcycle since I was 11 years old. I will be 61 this month, do the math.  I have ridden the US as well as most of Europe.  I didn't own a car until I was 23, and that was a hoopdee pinto station wagon I owned for about 4 years, then digressed into English sport cars, but that is another story.

My first street bike was a Yamaha 180, 2 stroke twin I got at 15.  I rode a Kawasaki H2 as well as a Triumph Trident in high school and I was THAT kid.  I was totally a "Cafe" racer.  Club man bars, dunstall seats, Avon speed master tires, and dragging foot pegs down to nubs while everyone else was emulating "Easy Rider". I lived for any motorcycle magazine that had any road racing coverage.  I followed people like Pat Hennen, Agostini, Hill. I eventually started club racing and progressed into AMA road racing in the early eighties. (yeah, I was in my thirties by then) I raced in the good ol days of 4 cylinder two strokes as the premier class (I've competed on a TZ 750 as well as a Suzuki Gamma, Ducati 850 super light, GSXR, Interceptor and god forgive me a BMW) I stopped road racing late in the eighties and didn't compete again until the early 2000's, when I started racing enduros.  I've finally stopped competing a few years ago. 

SOOOO, I was riding my Ducati 996 one afternoon and ran into a fellow around my age on a KLR 650 at the local peg dragging hang out, who started telling me about Adventure riding.  Next thing the wife knew I had traded in the Ducati for a KLR and a check.  Rode the KLR about a year and 15,000 miles, traded it in for a KTM 990 which I rode for about 4 years and 50,000 miles and have just traded it in for a Moto Guzzi Stelvio about two months ago.(5,000 miles)  I'm a 40% dirt 60% road kind of guy and still love bikes. 

The reason for the Moto Guzzi?  I was in Target with the wife and saw KTM tee shirts.  Never have been much of a "herd" type rider, figured I needed a bike that was a bit more obscure, you know, no dealer network, three accessories from the factory, and no "motor clothes", not to mention you have to go to a "specialty" forum if you really want to discuss your bike. Sorta like road racing a BMW, sure Reg P. did it, but damn that thing was a freaking handful! :)

Edited by Mooney78865
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This is easy. I grew up in Florida riding mx & trail, I never heard of a dual sport or Adv bike. Then I moved to Colorado...... THE END

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This is easy. I grew up in Florida riding mx & trail, I never heard of a dual sport or Adv bike. Then I moved to Colorado...... THE END

 

Don't worry, they still haven't. I'm 1 of 5 known ADV riders in the state.

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Don't worry, they still haven't. I'm 1 of 5 known ADV riders in the state.

I actually feel sorry for you Bosch after living out here. I can only think of a few decent places to go down there, but then again I really thought about it. Speaking of, where do you live and ride!

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I actually feel sorry for you Bosch after living out here. I can only think of a few decent places to go down there, but then again I really thought about it. Speaking of, where do you live and ride!

 

Well, any day of riding is good, but yeah, it's not great compared to the places that I've lived  & ridden, including Oregon, Colorado, S. Cal and even Vegas. But, I don't mind jumping on an plane, flying somewhere epic, and renting a nice bike. About 10 hours from me there is some great riding in/around NW Georgia and S. Carolina. On my list to explore.

 

I'm in Tampa, Florida. But, what is nice is that I can ride year around and I also love to Kayak and go Jeepin'.

 

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My cousin Marlin who lives about a mile from me (St. Petersberg Beach)

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My story is as another mentioned, and likely as others have evolved, in that I started in my first year as a teenage with a Honda 100, followed by a Honda MT125 that I bought new. A KLX650, WR400F, and many street bikes and some road-racing laps later, I picked up a 690R a year ago this month for use out west. The 690R is gone and a Honda AT is in place. I will be getting out west again in early 2018, but will not self-deploy with the AT. It will be trailered across the two days of the mid-west states into my first destination in Colorado.

This will begin my big-bike adventures. Mostly a basecamp arrangement, but I can foresee times when an overnight adventure is always an option. Having ridden the Concours 14 over 50k miles going and seeing places, I realized there were dirt roads that looked interesting, and also that I was zooming through areas I needed to explore in more depth. This is the basis for the basecamps. 

So, we'll see how this works out for me, and already leaning forward to the departure and the AT is getting set-up nicely. 

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