BikeMeet

DR350 joins the stable

DR350 joins the stable
« on: September 17, 2018, 12:13:46 AM »
My first ride after a 25 year layoff from biking was from the Black Country to Lydbrook, Forest of Dean, in January 2014 on my just-bought TDM900: the tail-end of a hurricane struck just as I left Radar's place in Kiddy where I'd popped in for a cuppa - it took nearly 4 hours to get back to the Forest as I dodged flying branches, swerving lorries, ninja hoardings, uprooted bushes and wind-borne ponds. I was shit-scared for the entire ride.



Then last month I rode from St Petrox in Pembrokeshire to Lydbrook in absolutely torrential rain. It felt as if I was driving a Tiger tank: my Knox clothing kept me dry and warm while the Explorer was unwavering, massive and powerful. With only a Kriega tailpack as luggage I filtered through 3 miles of dual carriageway tailback then flew through the rural A-roads, as if on rails through the saturated countryside. My most enjoyable wet ride ever - huge grin-factor!



Today I collected my new 20-year-old DR350 from Clee Hill, near Ludlow. Covered in cloud, with visibility sometimes down to two metres, rain slashing down and the back-roads broken up and greasy, at least this time I had my recent Bolivian ripio experience to draw upon. The big knobblies, no doubt brilliant on green lanes, squirmed and slithered over white lines, shiny tarmac, rough tarmac and manhole covers; there was no protection from wind and rain, and the slim single felt twitchy and unstable.
But at Bromyard the rain stopped and the roads started drying. Although still a tad skittish, I became used to the lack of mass, the relatively feeble front brake and the occasional vibes. Soon I was chucking the 130kg Suzi around, revelling in the bark of that torquey single cylinder and the different connection with the road - more vulnerable, but more intense.





It reminded me of my favourite ever bike: the 350cc Triumph 3TA that I really learnt to ride on in the late 1970s. With its' top speed of about 75mph, poor handling (it would weave violently when cornering), houdini rocker covers and dirty gold paint job it was no match for the new generation of Japanese rockets starting to make an impact. But I loved it: riding on full throttle, glorying in the twin cylinder roar, hanging on as it bucked around country bends, willing it to stop as I grabbed and stamped on the brakes, almost too late yet again.



So although I love the power and handling of the Explorer (and its' capacity to load up pillion, panniers and top box with no loss of either), it is a big, expensive brute. I'd moved toward power and complexity as I'd climbed up the motorcycle technology ladder: after the 3TA came an A10 Road Rocket, Z650, XJ900 and the TDM900 (amongst others), culminating in the big 1215cc Tiger. But this DR350 is a kind of return to my roots: simple, relatively cheap and great, great fun.

So I'll never be first to the pub on any ride out, but I bet I'm having as much fun as anyone on their techno-marvels.   8).


« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 12:24:19 AM by elessimo »



Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2018, 06:31:01 AM »
Awesome stuff, the engine in those is bullet proof as well! :)

Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2018, 09:08:07 PM »
Awesome stuff, the engine in those is bullet proof as well! :)

Hoping so!
The exhaust started popping a bit when the engine warmed up, so I'll have to remind myself how to adjust the carb jets to make it run leaner....
Long time since I used an old-style fuelling system    ;D
First ride out on it will be Wednesday evening to the Gamekeeper pub at Five Acres - very close so I'll have to find a long way round    8)

Radar

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Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 12:12:42 AM »
Looks great, really looking forward to seeing it. Outs me in mind of Toggsy's Honda that you liked so much.

Are you going back to Adventure Ride in Shropshire with it?

Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2018, 10:11:50 PM »
Looks great, really looking forward to seeing it. Outs me in mind of Toggsy's Honda that you liked so much.

Are you going back to Adventure Ride in Shropshire with it?

Would love to go back to Shropshire (it's where I got the DR) - it's pretty cheap at Adventure Ride with your own bike.
First I'll take it up some trails to see how the gearing is; also got to sort the fuelling - it's running a tad rich....  8)

Radar

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Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2018, 11:36:06 PM »
Looks great, really looking forward to seeing it. Outs me in mind of Toggsy's Honda that you liked so much.

Are you going back to Adventure Ride in Shropshire with it?

Would love to go back to Shropshire (it's where I got the DR) - it's pretty cheap at Adventure Ride with your own bike.
First I'll take it up some trails to see how the gearing is; also got to sort the fuelling - it's running a tad rich....  8)

Let me know if you go, I will happily come along and rent a Gas Gas again

Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2018, 02:50:49 AM »
In the (hopefully) near future, I may be getting myself a small cc bike that will kinda "do it all", be ace if we could do a dirty visit.... with a salad or somit too? :P

Radar

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Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2018, 11:34:33 PM »
In the (hopefully) near future, I may be getting myself a small cc bike that will kinda "do it all", be ace if we could do a dirty visit.... with a salad or somit too? :P

I think we have the beginnings of a plan!

Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2018, 02:38:04 AM »
I like plans! :-)

Radar

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Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2018, 10:25:42 PM »
I like plans! :-)

Me too, I will have chat with the troops and see what spring 2019 brings!

Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2018, 07:52:43 PM »
In the (hopefully) near future, I may be getting myself a small cc bike that will kinda "do it all", be ace if we could do a dirty visit.... with a salad or somit too? :P

Good call - I'm loving my 'less is more' biking  ;D 

Definitely up for another trip to Salop - and the salad & somit sound mandatory  8)

Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2018, 07:54:24 PM »
I like plans! :-)

Me too, I will have chat with the troops and see what spring 2019 brings!

Well, I'm up for it!  8)

Radar

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Re: DR350 joins the stable
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2018, 08:46:54 AM »
I like plans! :-)

Me too, I will have chat with the troops and see what spring 2019 brings!

Well, I'm up for it!  8)

Well looks like we need to have a natter and get this sorted!