Real Bikes, Real Riders

These are not factory bikes ridden by professionals; rather a cross section of what you see everyday on the street and in the dirt. Real riders discuss why they chose their bikes and what they love about them.

Kevin Hopper’s 2012 KTM 350 EXC-F

2012 KTM 350 EXC-F review

The original premise of the Real Bikes, Real Riders category was to focus on average bikes owned by the average rider - the girl next door, so to speak. Well, people actually do live next door to supermodels just as some people do own really tricked out, drool inducing dual sport motorcycles. So in the interest of equality we suppose they should … [Read more...]

Scott Whitaker’s Kawasaki 1995 KLX650C

1995 Kawasaki KLX650 review

CONTRIBUTING WRITER: SCOTT WHITAKER My off-road-biased, dualsport mentality harkens back to the days of making trails as a kid with my '79 Yamaha GT80 - a puzzling but true 80cc dual sport! The allure of a do-anything bike with signals, horn, and knobbies is as fundamentally appealing to me today as it was as a ten-year-old. While there's little … [Read more...]

Mike Gray’s 2009 Kawasaki KLR 650

2009 Kawasaki KLR650 review with performance upgrades and modifications

One of the constants in Mike Gray's life has been his love of two wheels. While he's dabbled in many other sports and outdoor activities throughout his life (including taking up rugby at the tender age of 38), the one thing he's done in earnest all along is ride a bike. First in the bicycling world where he competed in road racing for many years, … [Read more...]

Todd Simmler’s 2001 KTM 640 Enduro

2001 KTM 640 Enduro dual sport review

Todd Simmler has suffered from an acute case of wanderlust for many years. Originally hailing from the east coast, he migrated to the Pacific Northwest in the 90s to pursue his love of the great outdoors. For the past several years he has divided his time between Oakridge and Hood River, Oregon in the spring, summer, and fall and Baja, Mexico in … [Read more...]

Christopher Luis’ 1996 Suzuki DR350

1996 Suzuki DR350 review with modifications and upgrades

The Suzuki DR350 has a long-standing reputation as one of the best Dual Sport motorcycles available. Simplistic, reliable, and easy to squeeze extra performance from, these bikes have been the weapon of choice for many Dual Sport and ADV riders, including Austin Vince and the original Mondo Enduro team. Christopher Luis talked to me about why he … [Read more...]

Roger Beardsley’s 2011 Yamaha WR250R

2011 Yamaha WR250 review modifications

If Roger Beardsley isn't riding one of his motorcycles, he can be found rebuilding old trucks and hot rods or customizing some form of machinery in the shop behind his house - which is bigger and (arguably) nicer than his house. That's not to say he doesn't have a nice home, it just means he knows where he spends the majority of his time and has … [Read more...]

Karen Beith’s 2009 KTM 200 XC-W Dual Sport

2009 ktm 200 xc-w dual sport review

There's a fundamental nature/nurture argument that can be made about the adventure seeking personality. Is it inherent from birth or is it the result of exposure to experiences? Karen Beith believes she was born with it and thinks a person's adventurous streak is expressed in different ways throughout a lifetime; presently for her it's … [Read more...]

Jerry Young’s 1990 Kawasaki KLR 650

1990 kawasaki KLR650 upgrades

Jerry Young can't sit still. It's taken me MONTHS to pin him down long enough to talk with him about his 1990 Kawasaki KLR 650. If he's not out riding a motorcycle, he's out riding a mountain bike. If he's not doing either of those he's off camping somewhere. A true adventurer at heart, Jerry finally found some free time to talk to me about his KLR … [Read more...]

Tavis Bogue’s 2002 Suzuki DRZ400S

2002 suzuki DRZ400s review

Tavis Bogue is a Science Teacher from Pennsylvania that treats his Dual Sport Motorcycle like an Adventure Bike. A tech-savvy gear geek after my own heart, his website - MotoAdventure.Me - is the continuation of a blog he started when he rode the Trans-America Trail in 2010. Tavis was nice enough to share his thoughts with me on the bike that took … [Read more...]

Nelson Yaple’s 2012 KTM 350 EXC

nelson 1

  After a long hiatus from off road riding to raise a family, build a successful software engineering services company, and renovate a 100-year-old house (amongst other endeavors), Nelson Yaple has returned to the dirt with vigor. Easy going, laid back, and soft spoken, his personality stands in direct contrast to his riding style - on the gas and … [Read more...]