Failed Generic Hand Guards – 6/24/2018

In an effort to save money and make my motorcycle more safe, I decided to get a set of hand guards. I went to Cycle Gear in town as I try to support the local guys and found this generic set.The handlebar guards are designed to to do two things. First, keep wind and branches off your hand when riding. Second, should the bike be dropped (and yes, I’ve done that twice already), protect the clutch and brake levers from bending/breaking.

I spend a long time trying to get this Trackside set to go on and it just wasn’t happening. In the end, I had to get the bike back to stock and would have to spend more money on a brand (Barkbuster) that was designed to fit my V-Strom 650.

Hogan Haake


Motorcycle Parts – 3/21/2018

My new V-Strom is awesome, but like all motorcycles, it needs to be customized to be mine! So I got engine guards, a skid plate, and highway pegs from Happy-Trail. These may not sound that special to you, but they each have a valid use.

With the family still on spring break, I was able to unload in the living room and check it all out…

Engine Guards protect the bike from falling down. If you ride in the dirt, you’ll fall like I did on my first adventure ride… They stick out a bit, but that is just to give lots of protection.

The skid plate protects the oil filter and exhaust pipe from breaking if I hit a rock or one is kicked up from my tire. Attached to the skid plate are the highway pegs. The pegs vibrate a TON and are really. I would be disappointed in the purchase, but they were only $25. Its nice to have an extra place to put your feet on a long ride, even if its only for a few minutes while they start to go numb.

Not to steal future me’s thunder, but the engine guards do good if you lay the bike over…

Hogan Haake



First Adventure Ride – 3/17/2018

I’ve been reading about adventure riding and hoping to get this type of bike for a while now. One of the rides I read about was the Missouri Swinging Bridges ride. Its an annual ride through back roads in Missouri and goes over very old swinging bridges. I had downloaded the tracks and been over them a few times on Google Earth thinking about riding them.

It didn’t take long for me to take my new WeeStrom out on its first adventure ride.Danelle and the kids went to Dallas Texas for spring break, but I didn’t have enough time off of work. So I took the Wee out for a ride. This was also good because I needed to get more break in miles on the bike.

So I set off on a cold Saturday morning by myself hoping to get some distance in. It didn’t take long before I was freezing on the highway and re-thinking my plans for the day. I re-routed to a non interstate highway to have slower speeds and try to keep warm. That helped and I rode around ending up at our property, Waterfall. I decided to try and continue on and see what happened. Along the way, I went through some mud at George Winter park and got the bike its first taste of dirt.

You can laugh at how little dirt there is, but I have street tires and the bike has less than 300 miles on it!

So I finally put on my 1 piece rain suit and started to warm up quickly. I found the start of some tracks near St. Clair, MO near Highway 47 and Highway 30. I blindly followed the GPS tracks everywhere I could. Eventually, I ended up in the Mark Twain Forrest on some seriously deserted and remote roads.

Around this time, I saw more vehicles and yellow tape blocking off several side routes. My tracks went through some taped off lane and I had no idea where I was. I was going to go under them, but by the time I turned around, the only other car I had seen had done it as well, so I just followed along.

Again, not knowing where I was, I nearly missed a turn and pushed the handlebars to make it. Only the mud was very slick and my tires didn’t grab…

I was fortunate that I wasn’t hurt and the bike didn’t suffer any mechanical issues from the fall. I had around 300 total miles on the bike when this happened. I also had a skid plate and engine guards ordered, but not before the first fall.

When I finally got out to a paved road, there were some cars there and more of that darn yellow tape. Turns out there was a rally race that day called the Hundred Acre Woods. I was very fortunate that when I fell I wasn’t on the race track. It scared me enough that I was done riding for the day. So I looked at the GPS and realized I was close to the MWA Whitewater championships that was on the same day. I have many paddling friends.

So I went there and met several friends and ended up hanging out with Cindy, JoJo (the river wife), and her lovely sister Jan. It was the perfect end to an adventurous day!

Jan and Cindy

Hogan Haake

2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650

After 10 years and approximately 13,000 miles, I wanted something different. I was trading in my Kawasaki Concours for a different motorcycle.Over the years, I had spent far more in repair cost than the cost of the bike and I was starting to loose confidence in the bike. There were many little things that were off, but it is a 15 year old bike.But I won’t forge the time in Arkansas with Hiatt, or the Colorado trip where I had to purchase a truck to bring the bike home, or the 5 corners of Missouri. I had fun, but the fun was getting long. I didn’t ride it much. Part of this was due to the thread of breakdowns, and the other because it takes a while for the engine to heat up before its ready to ride.

I did research online and got permission from the wife to make the purchase. The only dealer near St. Louis was about 80 miles away. But the price was fantastic and I worked out the details over the phone before heading out.

Eric and I left on a 40 degree day. The ride out there was long and cold, even stopping for Eric to buy some snow pants to help him warm up. Eventually, we made it out to ATVs and More which is on the site of an old Target, so its beyond HUGE! I got to business quickly making the deal I came for. There was a bit of back and forth, but they committed to the original quoted price and I appreciate that!

So while they prepped the bike, Eric and I wondered the store…

When the time finally came, I wrote the check and we were out of there! The V-Strom 650 was mine. And most cool, it had 0 miles on it!!!

Here I am riding out of the parking lot for the first time!

Fortunately, it warmed up for the ride home. Without that 1000cc engine of the Concours pouring heat out on me, the increased temperature was appreciated. And finally home!

Hogan Haake