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Out with the old – A touch of Touratech magic

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series Adventure Rider Issue #22

Adventure Rider Magazine’s editor deals with a dilemma.

Touratech boss-man Robin Box fitted a few premium bits and pieces to the bike and loaned a set of hard panniers for the highway run.

In general, when a bike finds a place in my shed, it stays a while.

I’ve had one stolen, I gave one away once, I’ve sold a couple (not many, and very reluctantly) and I’ve written off a few. Now I’ll have another to add to the list: I’ve retired one.

My personal favourite adventure bike has, for many years, been a 1995 Honda Dominator. There’s lots of reasons why I hold that particular bike in such high regard, some of them relating to fond memories from last century.

A minor off in the rocks should’ve been nothing more than an expensive pest, but parts were becoming difficult to find.

In recent times the bike’s carved out to Cameron Corner and back a few times, seized a couple of times, thrown its chain and locked solid, devoured endless kilometres of highway and dirt, and never yet failed to make it home.

But the latest mishap – a decking in some rocks – brought forward a whole new problem: parts are just becoming too scarce.

It was time to consider the age and future of the bike. It still runs like a dream, it’s earned its stripes with me 100 times over, and I couldn’t bring myself to part with it.

So it’s been retired.

New plastics, some careful attention to paint and trim-mings and the bike is set for an easy life of dirt roads and leisurely rides. A stick-on grey ponytail for me and the picture will be complete.

But now what?

The Adventure Film Festival in Bright attracts bikes and adventure fans of all kinds.


It’s not easy to replace a bike like that one, but I stumbled on a 2007 KLR at a great price, so I took a chance and grabbed it.

I always liked the KLR. I really enjoyed the magazine’s Shop Bike and I still treasure a memory of receiving in the mail a voodoo doll of a DR650 with pins stuck through it. I’d just bought my second DR650 and one KLR owner at the time clearly thought it was Kawasaki’s turn. Maybe they were right.

I feel a Kawasaki should be green, and when this one arrived ad man Mitch quickly dubbed it ‘Kermit’. After a typo in an interoffice email it will be forever known as ‘Kremit’…or sometimes ‘Kemrit’.

It was a good omen. The fun with this bike had started straight away.

Touratech hard panniers, but not as we know them, Jim. Without all the plastic trim, locks and other fancy bits and pieces, these ones are very light. They’re the same metal and construction as the more expensive units.

Good to go

A Safari Tanks fuel cell was one of the first things on the shopping list, and during conversation with Safari Tanks owner Robin Box – also the importer of Touratech – it turned out Touratech was keen to build a KLR that would be given a hard life. Hands were shaken and Kremit found itself at Touratech headquarters in Victoria. A Safari Tank was fitted, as was Touratech Level Two suspension front and rear, Touratech pannier racks and a Touratech headlight protector.

The bike already had some good fittings, including an FMF full system, a high screen and a good bashplate, and I’d added a dash to take the GPS, some cheapo ‘trail blinkers’ I found in my shed, my choice of ’bars and some bits and pieces from Adventure Bike Australia (those guys keep a great range of KLR fittings).

With a pair of new Motoz Tractionators, that’s how the bike looked when it went on display at the MotoExpo in 2016.

An outdoor cinema under a full moon is a very special occasion.

Hot stuff

The Adventure Film Festival in Bright offered a great opportunity get the bike back in my shed in northern NSW. After a couple of planes, buses and a train, I stood in Bright, Victoria, contemplating the heatwave conditions.

The town was buzzing with bikes of all kinds, adventurers of all kinds, and the film festival was rockin’.

As the sun went down and the temperature plummeted into the low 30s I sat under a full moon beside a clear, chuckling stream and enjoyed the outdoor cinema.

It was an experience that made a big impact on me.

The next morning I fired up Kremit and hit the road.

I can’t say the next 1200km or so of Hume and Pacific Highways was one of my favourite rides ever, but I did learn a few things about the bike and some of the equipment it now had.

The first was obviously the Touratech suspension, and while it seemed way more supple than I remembered, the highway is no place to make a judgement.

The pannier racks were solid, well-made gear, and Robin loaned me some Touratech hard panniers for the road trip.

They were brilliant.

There was one small thing that made a huge difference. Motorrad Garage had sent an Omni Cruise Control for me to try. It wasn’t an impressive-looking item, but holy suffering cats! On a droning ride like this one I could lock the bike on 110kph, then just sit back and monitor my rapidly increasing arse numbness.

Hooray. It made the long, boring road kilometres a very great deal easier to take.

By the time I hit Sydney the state of my rear was the least of my problems. The heat was savage, and with a few red lights the temperature gauge began to head ominously northward.

It stopped about halfway up the scale and went no further, much to my relief.

The 2007 KLR650 as it appeared in the ‘for sale’ ad.

More to come

There’s a tough year planned for this bike, and this introduction is just so you readers know where the bike came from and what sorts of things it has going for it.

A couple of things it doesn’t have going for it are the front brake – which hardly works – and a seat that’s bloody awful over long distances. So those things will be addressed first up.

Hold on tight. We’re going to find out what a beat-up ol’ KLR can do.

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