Introduction to smmwheels

Everybody has always called me “Wheels”. I have been riding motorcycles for thirty plus years and had my first car at the age of fourteen. There have been many times in my life where I have owned several bikes and several cars. I have never been one to leave anything the way it was purchased; I have always enjoyed personalizing my vehicles. Wheels was always kind of a cool name until it took on a new meaning in 1999 when after spending a month in a coma with no physical therapy, I was told I would never walk or drive again. WTF. I did all the normal physical therapy stuff and quickly was on my feet and driving again. It took me a little more time to get the strength and desire back to start looking for a new lightweight motorcycle with a way to shift with my toe and heel since I no longer had any strength lifting up my feet. I have been riding dirt bikes since a very young age and went looking at Dual Sport bikes that I could stand flat footed on. I found a very enthusiastic Kawasaki salesman who really wanted to get me riding again. He suggested the 2006 KLR with KoubaLink lowering links -1⅝” and a low Corbin seat which would give me the proper height I needed. He had a welder that owed him a favor so he took the KLR over to him to weld on a toe/heel shifter that would let me shift normally (well like somebody with no disability). He delivered it to my house and I learned to ride again in my neighborhood of familiar turf.  Just like never forgetting to ride a bicycle the love and skills burst forth and I was riding like the old day but this time with an ear-to-ear grin that still exists today. I suffered a little set back at work in December after purchasing the KLR in October; I fell and broke both my tibia and fibula which one again sidelined me for about six months. Red and I worked together at a place neither one of us want to admit but that's where we became friends. During time on the sideline I decided to “personalize” the KLR. I ordered a slip on Supertrapp ISD2 racing exhaust and high performance normal maintenance supplies. I called red and he came over and helped me install the new parts. I had the need to ride again so spent some time in the garage removing my cast; the leg was fine I had a metal plate now holding my leg together. The next winter I ordered new tires switching from the slippery knobby's to a set of Michelin Anakee’s and spent a cold December day on the KLR riding around looking for someone to install my new tires. I rode for hours and finally decided to stop by the Ducati shop by my house. The main tech in that day happened to be the co-owner, he provided great service and we talked about bike and stuff that could be done to help the KLR. So in January I returned to the shop to have some performance modifications like jetting, new gears and a couple hours on the Dyno. The improvements were amazing. That day at Ducati I fell in love with the Ducati Monster 1100 (naked sport bike) and sold the KLR in September of 2009 and got the Monster. The Duc was powerful, well balanced and a lot of fun but it hated temperatures below 45°, so it got put away in the winter, which really was the hardest thing I have ever done. In March I purchased another bike, one that I could ride all the time. I bought a 2010 BMW F800GS (Lava Orange) and quickly fell in love with it. The Monster had an unfortunate demise in July after sliding through a corner with a little gravel on Indiana State Road 135.  Now if I’m out trail riding, I have a favorite motorcycle. If I’m riding on the road, I’ve got a favorite. If I’m jumping, I have a favorite. If I’m racing, I have a favorite. If I’m just doing anything, I’ve got my favorite. All my favorites happen to be my F800GS. Oh’ as for the car I drive an extremely high performance VW GTI.

smmwheels - Steve


Alan said...

That's a good story. I'd like to hear more about your experiences with your KLR. I'm running a 2011 right now. Got a 'jones for a Kaw Concours 1400 but every time I look at it, I remember the KLR will take me anywhere I would sanely want to go.

red said...

welcome to the madhouse!

smmwheels said...

The KLR will take you anywhere you want to go and in any condition. The KLR has never been known for a lot of power but they have are bombproof. After I had the work done to mine I used to be able to out run most crotch rockets stop light to stop light. The gas mileage was great I used to get 300 miles per tank, which is nothing like the Ducati or even the F800GS. I used to ride the KLR all the time no matter what the weather was. I rode the bike on some of the crappiest days when I was the only motorcycle on the road and occasionally only one of very few vehicles on the road and I have witnesses just ask red. Due to the injuries I really only rode it for about a year and a half and put close to 20,000 miles on it. I am always looking for another one to have as a second bike to teach friend how to ride or if I wanted to do more serious off-roading. I grew up riding dirt bikes and that as close as I have had in 20 years.