A big step closer to South America

<IMG src="/images/14229-13631/BlackKLR.jpg”><IMG src="/images/14229-13631/RedKLR.jpg”>
<IMG src="/images/14229-13631/BlackKLR2.jpg”><IMG src="/images/14229-13631/REDKLR2.jpg”>

Yesterday I put a deposit down on not one, but two new 2007 Kawasaki KLR650’s (a red and a black).  The reason for the purchase of the second bike is that Tom has decided to buy a KLR for his 3 weeks in South America instead of renting a bike.  Since the KLR is not available in the UK, I bought it here for him.  We plan to ship the bikes to Buenos Aires by plane, and then Tom will ride with me as far as Lima, Peru, at which point he’ll ship himself and his bike back to the UK.  I will continue on by myself all the way to Canada.

Buying the bikes was a big step.  The momentum is definitely building towards the launch of this trip.  The next step is to modify the bikes to get them ready for their upcoming overland journeys through the Americas and Africa.  We plan on ordering dozens of replacement parts to improve the durability of the bikes.  Modifications will include armour (e.g. hand guards, skid plate, muffler guard, etc.), engine improvements (e.g. doohickey kit, indestructible oil filter, etc.), new seats, aluminum panniers, and a plethora of other stuff (e.g. tall windshield, centre stand, etc.). 

Tom will come to Toronto during March break so that we can work on the bikes.  I’m guess he doesn’t realize that Toronto is not exactly Miami Beach during Spring Break.  He got a deal on the airfare because nobody in their right mind would come to Toronto in March.  More than likely he’ll be riding his new KLR back from the dealership in a snowstorm.

With the purchase of the new bikes, I have to sell Helen.  This pains me, because I’ve grown to really like her.  She’s nimble and fun to ride.  Unfortunately she’s scratched and a bit beat up (see picture below).  I plan on repairing the damage to the fairings and front fender, and replacing the signal lights, mirrors, and windshield before I put her on the market.  New fairings are ridiculously expensive, so I’m going to see if i can get the old ones repaired by a plastic welder and then repainted.

To get the front fender off the bike, I had to remove the front wheel.  This job was the perfect opportunity to break in my new MasterCraft ratchet and wrench set.  The jack from my car also found a good use, propping up the front end of the bike.  I quickly ran into trouble because some of the bolts requiring a Hex wrench to turn were on so tight that they might as well have been welded.  In desperation, I put the Hex wrench through the closed end of a normal wrench to add extra leverage, but I just ended up lifting the whole bike without budging the bolt.  Finally, with my foot through the front wheel to keep the bike down and torquing on the wrench-hex wrench assembly as hard as I could, I was successful.  It was satisfying to solve the problem and see tangible results.  If medicine doesn’t work out, maybe I should train to become a motorbike mechanic instead.

<IMG src="/images/14229-13631/Helen1.jpg”><IMG src="/images/14229-13631/Helen2.jpg”>

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