As Different As Different Can Be

The wall-o-carbs that blast
the Concours to warp speeds.

I’m looking to expand my riding experience so a second bike had to be as different from the Concours ZG1000 that I have as possible.  The Connie is a 999cc, sport touring heavy weight with shaft drive, full fairings and an inline four cylinder with a row of carburetors that create astonishing power.  It’s a blast to ride on the road.

The KLX I rode home today is a rev-happy 250cc single cylinder bike that weighs an astonishing 370lbs less than the Concours.  Everything the Concours does well the KLX doesn’t and vice-versa, which was kinda the point.

Having never ridden a fairingless bike before I was surprised at the wind blast from the very naked KLX.  It could get to 100km/hr with some judicious gearing and a willing throttle hand.  If I squeezed the Concours that hard I’d be travelling well over 100mph while vaulting over the horizon.

A very different riding experience, and I haven’t even taken
it off road yet!

What else is different about the KLX?  Knobby tires offer some weird feed back.  The KLX comes with some fairly serious off-road tires which make a kind of slapping sensation on pavement.  They almost feel like whiskers, picking up seams and other details in the pavement with surprising detail.  It makes me wonder how nuanced the feel is on dirt. Once I got used to the change in feel it wasn’t a problem to make full use of the 250ccs.  The KLX pulls away from traffic lights in town with aplomb.

The tallness of the KLX makes cornering nothing like the Concours.  Where the Concours (and the Ninja before it), tuck in and conquer corners in a buttoned down way the KLX feels like you’re on a ladder.  Tall rims and seat, long suspension and a clear view ahead conspire to give you an unobstructed view of the road.  Again, once I developed some confidence in the bike’s strange geometry managing corners, I had no trouble rolling on throttle through turns and getting things more settled on the floaty suspension.

A two Kawi garage


The skinniness of the KLX is also a shock after straddling the wide and heavy Concours.  You feel like there is nothing around you and virtually nothing under you.

Looking down, the wasp waisted KLX is barely there.  Strangely, it has a less cramped riding position in spite of it being a skinny, 370lb (!) lighter bike.  With more relaxed knees and taller bars it feels like a good fit; it’s funny how such a small bike can feel so big.

I’m hoping to have the paperwork in order by the weekend then it’ll be time to see how the KLX handles what it was build for.  Taking it out on some trails is imminent!


Yamaha PW80

After doing a partial dismantling of my son’s new (to us) ’04 Yamaha PW80, I put it back together again and learned a valuable lesson in dirt bike ownership:  always turn off the fuel tap.  Other than carb pressure and gravity, there is nothing else stopping your garage from smelling like gas and a puddle forming.

The second dismantling came when it wouldn’t start after the flood.  The spark plug was always dodgy, so I’ve gotten a pair of new ones (no problem finding them at Canadian Tire).

Good advice, straight from Yamaha

A tiny amount of Googling found me the Yamaha shop/operating manual, that covers everything from not carrying dogs on the bike with you to how to tear down the engine.

This is such a simple machine that it’s a great way to get a handle on the basic motorbike system.  If you want to get handy with bike maintenance, start with a dirt bike (I started with a Concours…).

The next strip down has been more comprehensive, though to remove the tank, fairings and seat takes all of seven bolts.  The air filter was pretty bad with chunks of mud in the air box.  It’s a shame that people treat a bike like that then just chuck in storage.  Why not clean it first?  In any case it’s clean now.

The metal shop at school
sorted out the broken muffler.

I’ve got a busy hands afternoon after work checking the new plugs for spark (it’s definitely getting gas) and putting it back together again knowing that I’ve taken it right down to the engine.  With how it took off last weekend (I impromtu wheelied down the driveway thinking it would barely be able to move me on it), I’m looking forward to seeing how spunky it is with a complete tune up.

With a new plug in it has strong spark – the carb is stinking of gas and it still won’t start.  Time to pull the carburetor and sort it out before giving it another go.  Leaving it open overnight doesn’t appear to have done it any favours.

The unhappy carburator
A Yamaha PW80 down to the mechanicals

I’ve got to get my mits on a me-sized dirt bike so we can go into the woods together up at the inlaw’s cottage.  That DR600 Dakar is still for sale, I wonder if he’d take a grand for it.  It’s a bit more than a mid-sized dirt bike, but it would do the business and also eventually adventure bike for me too.

It’d make a good Swiss army knife bike.