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Old 11-03-2008, 08:38 PM   #62
viola-tor OP
Needs to ride!
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
Oddometer: 2,071
It looks like the KAT (as in KAT-OOM!!!) is out of the bag! Yes.

Orange. Powerful. Excessive. Obscene, even. My new partner in crime is indeed the mighty KTM 990 Adventure, the bike I’ve been lusting over since discovering ADVrider and purchasing Neduro’s clever DSR dvd. Damn you all for contributing to my madness!!!

After Gary dropped me off defeated at my doorstep I had some tough decisions to make: Do I fix my bike? That’ll take a week at least, and MULAH. I could delay the trip, but that sucks, THIS is my time! (Summer only comes around once a year, ya know...) Perhaps I can find a suitable used bike in the Texas area to start the trip on, like tomorrow...

I’ve been squirreling away my meager musician money for years, for the future and also for a new bike/gear. Throughout my life I tend to horde my money, foregoing small pleasures so I can live BIG. This has played itself out time and time again from childhood through the present. I can (and do) live on Clif bars and mixed nuts, and I can’t remember the last time I bought new clothes (moto gear being an exception), but when it comes to my tools I’m extremely motivated to have nice equipment that is suited to me, be it instruments or motorcycles. After extensive research the KTM 990 Adventure (with ABS) stood out as the only choice for me (the BMW R1200GS is also an obvious pick, but Big Orange ultimately revealed it’s self to be “the one” for various reasons).

Could I have chosen something more fitting a man of my means? Sure, and I probably should have. The venerable KLR is an obvious pick, and I sure do like that tall Honda XR650. My mind has this hang up about ABS, however, which complicates things and narrows the options. There are a lot of passionate riders who are anti-ABS, but it’s very important to me, and buying a bike that doesn’t have it would be a “downgrade” from my BMW in safety, so that rules out every thumper (except the BMW F650) and the KTM 950 Adventure, which is a damn shame ‘cause I’ve seen some screamin’ deals on that one over in the flea-market. When I started looking at the prices for “newish” dual sports (such as the KLR and DR650) I was surprised at how much I’d have to pay for a highway-worthy bike. I want what I want and I know I won’t be happy with a sub-50 HP single after coming from 100+ horse power... 990. That’s it, or I stick with what I have. Upgrade to the new bike I truly want or repair the one I have, nothing in between. Riding is about passion, so why would I ride a bike I don’t love? Okay let’s check the flea-market...

What’s this?!? Inmate Bwana just listed his nearly-new, tricked-out 990 Adventure, probably about the time my rear bearing was giving out. Drip, drip, drip...

Too perfect! The only hitch is that he (and more importantly the bike) are in Sacramento, CA...

Last season I was holding down two jobs, one of which was the Principal Viola position with the Tucson Symphony, so I had to fly a lot. It was the rock-star lifestyle, except without the rock, money, fame, drugs, groupies, fancy hotels, and outrageous wardrobes... So basically it was just the travel. BUT, I earned enough miles for a free direct flight to take me to my new adventure/assault vehicle.

After agreeing on a price and date Bwana picked me up at the airport and I started this portion of my adventure from Sacramento. Not too shabby. Packing all my gear for a month making music on the road on a flight to then pack onto an unfamiliar motorcycle was quite a challenge! The bike had luggage racks (thankfully), but no bags, so I bought a set of cheap-o throw-overs and brought them along, plus my POS top-box and tank bag from my BMW. Not knowing the tool kit or really anything about KTM’s I brought all kinds of tools: tire levers, compressor, ratchet, sockets, leatherman, zip-ties, bungees, a tire repair kit, and enough tie down straps to retrieve a beached whale from the sea if necessary. First-Aid kit, toiletries, clothes, camping gear (tent, bag, pad), trekking poles, riding suit, rain suit, heated vest, two sets of gloves, air-hawk seat cushion, chargers/adapters/computer accessories, maps, paperwork, and of course my Mac. Yikes, a big list already. But wait, there’s more: Carbon fiber viola, bow, shoulder rest, case, extra strings, a small stack of sheet music (some basic warm-up material all the audition material I need for later in the trip), plus the new Kelty pack that I carry the instrument in. Whew.

Here’s what I see waiting for me in his driveway. He pulled it out of the garage so I’d see it in the setting sun from the car as soon as we turned the corner. I freaked out! That’s MY bike! She’s even more beautiful in the flesh...

Bwana patiently waited and chatted with me as I started packing MY new bike (WOW! I like saying that!). I warned him that I’d be hanging out in his driveway for a while... Eventually he had to leave for a meeting, so we shook hands and said our goodbyes, but I still had a long ways to go... Sure enough, I was still packing when he returned, and I continued well into the darkness of night. Strap this here, secure that there, or maybe over there? The bike came with knobbies installed, PLUS the slightly used Pirelli Scorpions, so I have to come up with a way to haul these off into the night too. Bwana finally finds the solution: put them around the saddle bags. Damn, this thing is LOADED!!! Normally I would never travel this heavy, but these are extenuating circumstances!

This is the nicest vehicle I’ve ever owned, hands down. I’m so excited! This is the first time I’ve chosen exactly what I want, and purchased it so new. I’ll probably never buy a brand-new vehicle, bike or otherwise, and this seems better than new in many ways! FMF exhaust, Renazco suede seat, and it’s bristling with protectors for the gas tanks, controls, brake reservoir, radiator... all upgrades I would eventually make myself, cost allowing. Bwana said that he wanted someone to buy the bike that was going to really ride it like it was intended. I'm there for ya, bro!

Thanks for the amazing deal on the bike at an amazing moment in my life, and taking some great pics too! Bwana, you da man!

Now I’ve got to find some camping in the dark. I’m already mentally exhausted from all this excitement of the new bike, plus the “puzzle” of packing this thing. I finally hit the road at 9:30 pm. Nice test ride, eh? Riding into the mountains on an unfamiliar bike in the dark, dog tired...

viola-tor screwed with this post 11-05-2008 at 08:14 PM
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