Six Reasons to Add a Dual-Purpose Motorcycle to Your Garage
I currently own three bikes that serve three distinct purposes. I’m often asked what bike I like the most, and while I can’t really answer that question in a straight-forward way, I have to say that I have the most fun on my Yamaha TW200. If you’ve never ridden a small off-road bike, you may not fully understand where I’m coming from. So here are a half dozen reasons why it makes sense for a motorcycle enthusiast to add a dual-purpose bike to his/her garage.
1. The ultimate in riding freedom. Bikers are always talking about the “freedom” that motorcycles give you, but how free can you truly be when you have to stop when the pavement does? On my dual-purpose I can leave my house in the centre of the city, ride on the street until I spot a trail, and within minutes be away from it all in the middle of nowhere. No need for a pick-up truck or trailer to get my mode of transportation out of the city.2. It gets you away from traffic. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds themselves often at the point of screaming when riding through heavy traffic (we’re not allowed to filter in Newfoundland). Getting off the road onto a trail gives you a break from texting drivers, construction, and all other traffic pet peeves. Strategically hitting a trail to avoid major gridlock is an amazing feeling, and never will you feel more superior to everyone sitting there in their cars.
3. It makes you a better street rider. To ride with any degree of competence off-road, you need an entirely new set of skills. Braking, cornering and ascending/descending hills are just some of the things you have to master. You learn to use your body position to control the bike, look well ahead of you for obstacles and plan your line, and your balance and co-ordination improve. All these things will make you a better street rider. I’ve also found that I’m a lot more confident on gravel roads on my Vstrom since owning my TW, because I have a better understanding of how a motorcycle handles off-road. Bonus!
4. It’s actually exercise. I haven’t gotten around to actually measuring my caloric output with my heart rate monitor, but believe me, you hit the right trails and you’re getting a workout. There’s a reason why elite motocrossers are some of the most fit athletes in professional sports. Though trail riding is to motocross what a casual jog is to a marathon, it’s still better than sitting on the chesterfield. Unlike street riding, when you’re off-road you’re constantly wrestling with the bike to ensure it does what you want it to do. Just don’t use it as an excuse to end every ride with a feed of fish & chips.
5. It’s economical. My TW200 gets about 77 miles per gallon in the city. I literally can go back and forth to work for a week on a handful of loonies*. She’s even more efficient when she’s crawling over rocks and through mud like a tiny tractor. Insurance is dirt cheap too, since it’s based on engine size.
6. It’s fun. Who am I kidding. I ride a dual-purpose because it’s fun. There’s not many times in adult life that you can play in the dirt and feel like a kid again. Since buying my TW in April, I’ve had so many amazing experiences exploring the trails in and around the St. John’s metro area. It’s been said that a dual-purpose bike will give you more “smiles per miles” than any other sort of motorcycle, and I definitely echo that sentiment.
*loonie: Canadian $1 coin