Kim's Bike: 

 Red 2009 Kawasaki Versys

Modifications:  

Motowerk lowering kit

Happy Trails alluminum panniers

Bar end mirrors from Ebay

Review: 

Overall, I like the Versys.  It posses all the qualities I've come to love about Japanese bikes: dependable, fun, cheap (compared to European bikes), and there is a dealer on every corner, so parts are easy to come by.  The engine is great.  It has plenty of mid range, and revs high and is punchy enough to pass big rigs a highway speeds (even riding two up).  The seat is comfortable, and the handling is responsive if not a bit soft.

There are a few things I don't like, however.  First, let's talk about the brakes.  They are spongy, and in my opinion take a lot more force to stop then should be needed.  I could be a little biased, because my Aprilia has the hands down best breaks of any bike I've ever ridden, but I don't think that's the case.  I've ridden many bikes over the years, and I feel confident saying the breaks are sub-par.  Next is the peg assembly.  Not only are the pegs a little high for taller riders, they seem to be awkwardly placed in that they catch your legs as you come to a stop.  This is more of a nit-pick, but I feel it's worth mentioning.  The real problem in my eyes is that the pegs are attached to the bike with a flimsy cast aluminum plate that breaks very easily.  Kim has fallen over in the parking lot (not rolling) 3 times, and every time the pegs have broken completely off the bike.   This was when she was first learning, and she doesn't fall any more, but this is a cause for concern considering we like to ride fire roads and camp off our bikes.  We are currently looking into crash bars and frame sliders to help mitigate the problem when just falling over.

My Bike: 2010 KTM 990 Adventure

Modifications: Touratech Zega 41L panniers

Review: Still to come!

 

Past bikes

2007 Aprilia SXV 4.5 Supermoto

Modifications: Cut the stock license plate holder off and attached the plate to the frame.

Review: 

Anyone who's had an Italian bike probably knows they can be a bit "high maintence".  I mean that in the "super hot chick, gets all the attention" sense of the phrase as much as I mean it in the "they're a lot of work to keep running" sense of the phrase.  Keeping the proper amount of oil in the bike is black magic considering it drinks a lot of oil (because of the high sustained revs that road riding demands), and the fact that checking the oil requires a lot more than just tipping the bike up and peaking in a site glass on the case.  Couple that with the fact that you have to remove the rear break lever completely just to check the crank case oil means a lot of time making sure she's even read to ride.

After you lube the chain, figure out how much oil you've got in her, and move it out of the garage, you get to listen to it struggle to start at any temperature below 60 degrees.  This bike is incredible cold blooded.  Because I live in Denver, cold morning starts are a fact of life.  On more than one occasion, she's refused to start using battery power a lone, and a quick push start had to be performed (after replacing the stock battery, things got a little better, but not much).

All the quirkiness in the world quickly fades into memory once you get on the bike.  The Aprilia is weapon in even the most novice rider's hands.  It can out break, corder, and handle any sport bike around.  You're in for a rough ride on the street, but that's because everything about this bike is tuned for the track.  The V-twin motor may be a little foreign compared to todays 450 thumpers in that it makes it's power like the 2 strokes of past.  Keep the revs high however, and you are constantly rewarded.  This bike begs to be ridden as hard as you can, and you will be limited by your skill long before the bike hits it's limits.

And like most Italian bikes, the looks of the SXV can only be described as sexy.  Sleek lines, under the tail dual exhaust, and a great fit and finish will have people asking you about your bike every time you get off it.  In the end, the character and the out and out tactical way in which the SXV chews up pavement makes it one of my favorite bikes of all time.

Our Riding Gear

First let me say that Kim and I try to prescribe to the "All The Gear All The Time" (ATGATT) methodology.  Although you'll never catch me on a bike without a helmet, there are times when I don't wear my boots or jacket.  This is a bad idea and I strongly discourage it.  You'd be surprised how easy it is to high side a bike when you're taking it around the block to "test out some adjustments".  Ok, enough of that, I'll climb off my soap box ;).

Although we both have most of our gear, we both need to get pants. 

Kim's riding gear

1. Fieldsheer Drifter Jacket

2. Scorpion EXO-700 Dahlia Helmet

3. Icon Bombshell Boots

4. Fox motocross gloves

My Gear

1. Arai VX Pro Helmet

2. Alpinestars Tech 6 Motocross Boots

3. Fox Cold Weather Motocross Gloves

4. Firstgear Kathmandu Jacket