In my more recent years of riding, I started off on a Kawasaki KLR 650. It has a great reputation for being a solid Adventure bike. This photo was my first trip in the Wet Mountains of southern Colorado.
Although I was generally pleased with the KLR (other than the seat being insanely uncomfortable), I started thinking more about traveling longer distances and decided I wanted a bike with a little more "highway presence" (power) and comfort. But still be able to hit the forest roads.
I decided on the 2012 V Strom DL1000 (Adventure model). Although it doesn't have a great reputation for off roading, it was the closest I could get to a good highway touring...semi off roading bike without paying the price for a BMW GS or similar. I asked the salesman if Suzuki was planning any updates for the V Strom and he said "no...the V has had this design for years and they'll probably stick with it. So, I bought it.
Over the next two years I spent hundreds of dollars making modifications...even making my own panniers out of Pelican cases. I had it looking good with all of the bells and whistles you can think of, preparing it to be that perfect touring / adventure bike.
Then in 2014, Suzuki released the new updated V Strom and I couldn't resist. It's exactly what I wanted. So I bought the DL1000 Adventure model and started all over from scratch, tricking the bike out to make it yet... another...perfect touring / adventure bike. I haven't looked back since!
MORE ON MY 2014 V STROM
If you're interested in more details of the modifications I made to my 2014 V Strom and haven't seen the video series yet, click on the video. You'll see all of the updates I made to the bike prior to and after the 2015 Alaska trip. I think you'll find it very interesting.
ANOTHER BIKE JOINS THE FAMILY
THE "EUROPEAN EXCHANGE BIKE"
It was time to retire Kevin's old 2004 V Strom that had been living in my garage, for a more suitable bike that can handle the abuse that a trip to Alaska and the Dalton Highway can dish out.
I found the perfect replacement. A 2018 Honda Africa Twin DCT (automatic transmission). This particular Africa Twin was used in the filming of The North East Backcountry Discovery Route movie, by cinematographer Michael Bielecki.
The benefits of buying this bike and parking it in my garage next to my V Strom will be three fold...
One, I'll always have a back up bike.
Two, Kevin will have a great bike to ride whenever he comes in from Ireland.
Three, My friend Erik, who lives in The Netherlands, also owns an Africa Twin DCT and we've made an arrangement that whenever he comes to the U.S., he'll use my Africa Twin and whenever I go to
Europe, I'll use his Africa Twin. Beats the heck out of renting. Hence "The European Bike Exchange"!
ABOUT MY BIKE RENTALS
You may have noticed in my Ireland and Scandinavian video series, I'm not riding my V Strom and I'm riding a BMW GS. After some extensive research, I discovered that renting would be far less difficult than shipping.
For both trips I rented my bike from Celtic Rider, just outside of Dublin, Ireland and both times were a wonderful experience.
Paul, the owner is very good at taking care of his customers.
Just tell him Terry, the guy who rode one of his bikes to the most northern point on the European continent (The North Cape in Norway) sent ya'. He'll know who you're talking about!