I currently have four bikes. A 2015 Honda CB500X, a 2013 Ducati Multistrada, a 2012 Triumph Tiger 800 XC, and a 2009 Yamaha WR 250 R.
They are all very nice bikes and fit the gradient that to me best describes my favorite riding mode: adventure riding. The Ducati is the sport/touring, the Triumph is the touring/enduro, and the Yamaha is the enduro/dirt bike. The Honda fits somewhere in between the Triumph and the Yamaha.
So how all of this started?
1983 Honda XL 250
It all started with a Honda XL250 (the red one on the photo below), long time ago.
Within a month of ownership I took it on a ride sponsored by a local Honda dealer. The ride leader took me and a group of local riders through single track trails on the hills around Porto Alegre, in the southern most state of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul). I was simply ecstatic about how easily the bike conquered all sorts of terrains. I could not believe how much fun it was to ride steep and narrow trails with a motorized vehicle. When I got home, I parked the bike in the garage and stared at it for several minutes. It had dirt, dust, and dried up mud all over. I wanted to bring my sleeping bag and spend the night with it in the garage. It was a bonding experience, the idea that the machine was my buddy, my ticket to adventure, going with me, taking me through challenging terrain. It started there and the idea of adventure and riding stays on my imagination through today.
A couple of months later I entered an enduro race. A total newbie, not even with the proper riding equipment, or appropriate knobby tires. Out of the 90 entrants, I finished 30th. Not bad at all. I rode this bike for a few thousand miles after that. A few years later I sold it when I was about to move to the United States to start my graduate studies in Ohio.
When I moved to Ohio, the motorcycle scene did not entice me to go and buy a motorcycle. Winters were cold, the Ohio landscape was not that enticing for the kind of riding I like, there weren’t too many gravel and dirt roads on open fields and big sky landscapes. And my priority was graduate school.
In 2005 I started playing around with the idea of moving to Oregon. Months before I got the job that afforded my move I was already dreaming about riding on the high desert of eastern Oregon. I had flown over the area on work related trips, I had seen the landscape from far above. I registered on the ADV Rider website and read the many stories of riders and their riding adventures across the empty spaces of the western USA. I started researching enduro bikes and came across a few models in the 650 cc range that looked interesting. The candidates were the KLR 650, the Honda XR650, and the BMW F650GS.
2006 BMW 650 GS Dakar
I arrived in Oregon in November 2005. In February of 2006 I had a house with a garage to store the bike, and not a month after that I had acquired a 2006 BMW F650GS Dakar. Here she is, March 2006, just out of the box.
It is a great bike for not only round the world travel, but also mid range adventure rides, mixing paved and non-paved roads. It has been great for trips to eastern Oregon and neighboring states. Here is a photo of the bike in the Lone Mountain Loop, in Oregon, June 2006.
Although this bike was great, I really felt it being heavy and a bit too large for more spirited riding on dirt roads. I missed my little Honda 250 of years past. It was nimble and the rider/bike relationship seemed more symbiotic. But the 650 is a great all around bike, here she is at Roman Nose Mt., in Oregon.
It is a courageous bike, facing all sorts of terrain. Photo of the bike after descending from Nelson Mountain, also in Oregon:
2009 Yamaha WR 250 R
But the idea of finding that more symbiotic relationship persisted. In 2008 I read about this new offering from Yamaha. A 250 enduro, water-cooled and fuel injected bike. Light and powerful enough, almost double the HP of my beloved Honda XL250. So In 2009, in the middle of the housing bubble, prices down low, I acquired the Yamaha WR250R for a good reduced price. Here she is, at the local Yamaha dealer, the day I brought here home.
This Yamaha is simply a blast to ride. But now I was ready to move to the other side of the spectrum. I had two bikes that did well on dirt. The Dakar can do well on paved roads as well. It has that endurance quality, cruise at 65-75 mph and it will go forever and will do better than 60mpg. But I wanted something more street biased. More powerful and more comfortable for longer rides on paved roads. When I heard about the Triumph 800XC I thought it was the perfect fit. It looks like an enduro bike, but it has a great street motor. I test rode it and a month later I ordered one.
2012 Triumph Tiger 800 XC
It is the largest of the three. Although it will ride well on gravel roads, it feels a lot better on paved roads. Here she is, partially out of the box in July 8, 2011.
So what is next? Do I need another bike? At first I thought no. Now I think, yes! But I want to keep the number of bikes to three. Something is going to go. The Dakar is the candidate to go and in its place I will get something different… (to be continued).
2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848
And this something different has arrived. I went from this:
Now I have a more balanced set of bikes. The WR250R is my bike to be used on dirt rides. It does that very well. My Triumph Tiger 800XC will be used for touring, which it also does very well. And the new comer, the Ducati Streetfighter 848 will be my machine for the Oregon twisties.
This bike is a beauty.
But one day I realized that although I liked the beauty of the Streetfighter, and despite all the fun it provided in riding the nice roads close to my house, and because of that, I had changed my riding habits because of this bike. I was designing my riding days for this bike, all I wanted to do was to ride only this bike, and my riding days got shorter and options to where I went became more limited.
2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak
So I decided to look elsewhere and found the best compromise: another Ducati, but one that did all of that, but it allowed me to take it on longer riding days. That’s where the Multistrada came into the picture.
But because of my rule of three bikes, the Yellow Ducati had to go… I’m sad for that, but I’m really happy for the Multistrada and all the fun this bike provides. It is an awesome machine! I hope to have it for many many miles. I hope it will be with me on riding trips within and outside the state.
And I want to get the Tiger 800 XC a bit “dirtier”. I have plans to add tires on the Triumph with a slightly more aggressive profile for better grip when riding off pavement, add some protection for the motor, make it more of an enduro bike, more of an adventure bike. Something I did not feel I could do with it before, because I did not want to compromise its touring and somewhat sport capability. Now I can let the Ducati assume the touring and sport role. Which it does very well, mind you. And the Triumph can be the enduro/touring bike, a more appropriate role for it as well. And all is good in the shed. For now!
That was then. This is now… As of January 2016 the rule of three has been broken.
Now it is the rule of five. But for now I have four motorcycles. Time will tell if I will go back to three or go up to five.