Wednesday 15 July 2015

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!