by: Bruce Mike
Earlier this summer, through a series of fortunate transactions, I obtained a 1985 250KLR or as some call it, a KLRette. This particular bike came with a positive history and the price was right. One of the deals necessary to get the bike required the sale of my 1975 Kawasaki F7. It was an ugly old enduro but ran like a champ. The KLR is just as ugly and runs just as well. I took the bike out a couple of times and ran it up and down some gravel roads and basically just got comfortable with it. I’m a pretty short guy so finding a dual sport bikAe that I could be comfortable on was a challenge. This bike appears to be just the right fit.
My original need for a dual sport bike came to be from my desire to ride the I-Cycle Derby on New Years day and the Pop-Cycle in February. My little F7 worked fine for both of these rides but this KLR is going to be much better. It’s a liquid-cooled 4-stroke and it’s 75cc bigger.
The other reason I wanted this type of bike was so I could do some trail riding and also have a bike that I can ride when we have those 40 degree days during the winter and the roads are clear. I haven’t had the chance for a winter ride yet but I did get in a day of trail riding this summer.
It was one of those hot and humid late July days when we headed down to Snake River State Forest which is located in the northeastern corner of Kanabec County. I had not ridden off-road for about 20 years so I was pretty excited. I went with a couple of guys from the paper who have much more skill and trail experience than I do. I figured I could watch and learn.
We pulled the bikes off the trailer at the trailhead, got geared up and headed out. The trail starts immediately with a water crossing. I was all excited with visions of rooster tails of mud and high flyin’ adventure. I made it through the little creek and started up the trail. Within about 10 minutes I was asking myself what the hell I had gotten into. The trail was steep, rutted and there was mud on top of mud and then there was more mud. We stopped after about 5 miles, which felt like 50, and took a break. I was thinking these guys are off-road maniacs until they told me the trail was tough, really tough. This made me feel a little better. They had been on the same trail a week before and it was nothing like it was on this day. We drank some water, wiped off some mud and continued on.
My limited off-road experience had been on small dirt bikes on relatively smooth dirt trails. This trail was nothing I had ever experienced before. We came to a spot where the DNR had buried a Bobcat and it looked like it was going to be there a long time. The DNR guys we ran into said they got it stuck doing trail maintenance. These same guys told us that they had 4.5 inches of rain recently which explained the never ending mud and ruts.
By the end of the ride we had traveled about 15 miles and I had crashed about 10 times. I had an extremely sore thumb, a fairly sore toe and I was covered with mud. On the upside, I can kickstart my bike in 10 inches of mud, trail riding is even more fun than I imagined and any day that ends with a great piece of pie is a great day.