After a hard decision to sell off my small collection of bikes the Suzuki GS750, GS400, Honda CB350 and Yamaha XT350 all found new homes. I will admit the CB350 and the GS750 were hard to let go of. I loved that GS750 and sold it out of my own ignorance really. I had it set up nicely for Ghost Rides but found it only moderate on the gravel. It was never intended for gravel but with the low wide super bars and Shinko 705 tires I hoped to get it as close to a vintage ADV as possible. If you look at the original scrambler style bikes they were just street bikes that had knobby tires and small mods to make them dirty worthy. The GS had all of that done and I was hoping it would make a really great gravel bike. James and I did the Victoria Trail in spring which was almost 165 kms of gravel and dirt. The bike did well but I felt like I was constantly fighting the bike. I was a little frustrated and when I got home the decision to sell it was made. Now I should have waited and rode it some more on the gravel because it wasn’t the bike it was the rider that wasn’t skilled enough. Hind sight is 20/20 and that is for sure. James and I both have a real love for old Suzuki’s. They are really great bikes that are super solid and very well made even for bikes from the late 70’s early 80’s. Unfortunately for me the bike sold within a day of being on the classifieds.....and so did the CB350....and so did the GS400....and so did the XT..
The next day James I went out riding and did a big loop east of us. The engine was magic in the Versys but the transmission was hard to shift and the chain super noisy. The plastics buzzed and the windshield.....oh the dang windshield....generally I hate them and this windshield fit into my general hatred. It had to go. I took a trip to Home Depot for some sheet aluminum and I started making a few prototype windshields to keep the look but not the buffeting and turbulence. I also took all of the plastics off and polished them. They had a few years of pollution on them and they buffed back up perfectly. Some o rings on the bolts and replacing plastic clips with bolts cured the buzzing plastics. I made two designs for the windshield and the second one is spot on. My head is in the clean air and my shoulders protected. The hard shifting was easily solved with dumping the black as tar oil that was in the bike, replacing it with Motul 5100, lubricating the gear shift pivot and getting the chain set on the loose side of spec. This bike was just getting better and better.
The key to this bike is that it is lightweight, powerful, well slung and basic. It is a true riding experience with no computer interaction, no traction control and no ABS. This is an adventure bike for riders and doesn’t compromise the ride by being weighted down with gadgets. You can put heated grips on it and other gadgets but it doesn’t need it. It needs a rider who wants to ride. This bike will take you down a forest road at 90kph or carve the canyon curves with a knee down. I couldn’t have asked for a better bike to find this year. It got 8600kms on it this year with over 2500 being on gravel. This is a true ADV bike if you are in the market for one don’t pass up a chance to try one.