About Road and Trail
Welcome to Road and Trail. My name is Randy, and I created this website to share my experiences with, knowledge of, and perspectives on, motorcycles and motorcycling. The name "Road and Trail" was chosen to reflect that the website focusses on both road and trail riding from a recreational aspect (laidback and fun). I created this website because of my long running passion for motorcycling.
This website launched in July 2021. It replaces another motorcycle website that I created and ran for a number of years: Motor Sport Rider (motorsportrider.net). I've shut down that website.
Currently there are three main types of content on this website consisting of BC motorcycle rides, motorcycle reviews and motorcycle servicing, but there's some additional content too. I've also recently started posting videos on YouTube.
The BC motorcycle rides that are documented here include paved (mostly) roads and dual sport / adventure (varied surfaces - gravel, dirt, mud, rocks, some pavement). There is some overlap in these ride types. For example, the dual sport / adventure rides may contain sections suitable for street bikes as well as sections that are suitable for dirt bikes. The paved road rides are predominately pavement, but some may contain short sections of good gravel road. Consider all the information when deciding if the ride is suitable for you and your bike. Often you can choose to ride just a portion of the route. I don't consider all off-pavement riding the same as off-road riding. In the future I may add a third ride type, "trail / off-road", limited to FSRs and trails.
Although the rides that are documented on this site are all in the southern interior of British Columbia, I have ridden in other parts of BC as well as in Alberta and in a few of the north-western US states.
The bike reviews are mostly of bikes that I, or family members, own or have owned, but a few are of bikes that I have only test ridden. I make the distinction in the review.
Now, a little bit about me...
I started riding over 40 years ago. I'm a recreational rider. I ride solo quite a bit, exploring backroads, forest service roads and trails. I also enjoy riding the twisty, scenic secondary highways. I usually try to avoid the main highways. I've done a number of multi-day motorcycle trips. I also frequently ride with my wife and kid. In the past, I would often commute by motorcycle, but these days I don't ride in the city much except to get out of it.
I have owned several motorcycles over the years including dirt bikes (ex. MR175, XR200, XR200R, CRF250F), dual sport (ex. DR350S, KLX250S, DR650SE, ...) and street (ex. 550 Seca, NT650, VFR750, V-Strom 650, ...). I (and my family) have owned many others, and I have ridden many more. My current bikes are a 2010 Suzuki DR650SE and a 2022 Honda CRF250F, though I ride my wife's DR200SE quite a bit and sometimes her CBR250RA.
I perform most of the maintenance and repairs on my (and my family's) motorcycles, and I have done so for many years. There's a certain satisfaction in doing the work yourself, and you can save yourself quite a bit of money. A lot of the maintenance tasks are not difficult. My advice is to get the factory service manual for your motorcycle and get some decent tools, including accurate torque wrenches if you don't already have some. Other than taking shop classes in high school, I have no formal training in servicing vehicles. My knowledge comes mostly from experience and reading service manuals, although I've searched for and found some good information online (you have to be critical of what you see on the Internet, though). I've also had several poor experiences with having dealerships perform work (including PDI and warranty work) on our motorcycles in the past (work not done correctly or damage done), so that's another reason to maintain your motorcycles yourself.
Career-wise, I worked in healthcare for almost a decade before going back to university and making a career switch. I then worked in software development for many years. When I was younger, I considered taking a motorcycle mechanic training program combined with a business program with the idea of having my own motorcycle shop one day. In the end I went a different route.
My kid on a CRF250F, Aberdeen Plateau, near Vernon BC
Some thoughts on buying new motorcycles...
I was looking forward to buying a new motorcycle last year, maybe even two, but I have been soured on the whole bike shopping experience. The inventory for the bikes I'm interested in have been low (or sold-out early regionally), and the out the door prices have been sky-high: MSRPs keep going up and the added fees are outrageous! One dealer wanted $2090 in fees (+ tax) for a Tenere 700! I also got a quote for a 2023 KLX300: $9300! Here's another example (Jan 2024): $1588 in fees on a 2024 XT250. Tell me that isn't greed (I don't care what Fortnine says). None of the dealers that I contacted were willing to negotiate except one which was willing to take $100 off. Early in 2023, one dealer insisted on a $1000 non-refundable deposit for a bike they didn't even have in stock and couldn't guarantee an arrival date for. Used bike prices are pretty high too for the most part, and in BC we still have to pay 12% sales tax on them. With improving motorcycle inventories, maybe (hopefully) we'll see some more reasonable prices; on the other hand, maybe not as there always seems to be a lot of people with no shortage of money to spend.
I buy motorcycles that I want to ride and own, not solely to create content like some YouTubers do. I also don't have an unlimited budget, so I have to consider value when making a purchase and the cost of ownership. I'm not willing to pay additional dealer markup in terms of high fees even if I really want a particular motorcycle. I am willing to pay a fair price, though (MSRP + reasonable fees). For a non-current model year bike, or if it's near the end of the riding season, I expect the price to be discounted, otherwise I might as well buy the next model year. Paying high dealer fees just encourages dealers to raise their fees even more. It's gotten totally out-of-hand.
I'll probably end up buying a new bike (CRF300L) for myself and likely one for my kid for the 2024 riding season. My kid just got a motorcycle learner's permit and will be taking a street riding course this year. My kid would like to ride dual sport and off-road this year, so we're weighing the options: for off-road, maybe a KLX230RS or the CRF250F; for dual sport, if I buy a CRF300L for myself, maybe my kid could ride that sometimes or my wife's DR200SE. If we were to buy my kid a dual sport, I think the top choices would be a CRF300LS (if it becomes available in Canada), a CRF300L or an XT250 (I wouldn't pay the price above, though). My wife could ride a CRF300LS or an XT250, but the CRF300L would be too tall for her. We'll see.
I've been wanting to get a new street or mild adventure bike for sometime (since I sold my V-Strom 650), but there hasn't been much that really interested me (or was available) within the budget I had set for myself. I don't need serious off-road capability in an adventure bike as I likely would use it only on paved and good gravel and dirt roads. I was excited when I first heard about the new Honda Transalp, but I would prefer tubeless tires, which it doesn't have (I've had a lot of flat tires in the past 5 years) and greater fuel capacity (I've done rides where an extended fuel range was necessary). Anyway, I went to check out the bike. I thought it looked very bland in person with it's all matte-black paint scheme. The reviews of the bike have been mostly positive, but if I'm going to spend over $15,000 on a motorcycle (before any add-ons), I want it to tick more boxes and look more impressive. How many people really like matte-black or grey paint on a motorcycle anyway? I also don't understand the logic of putting tube-type tires on a "soft adventure" bike that will likely be ridden mostly on paved or good gravel roads by most people.
Our motorcycles are currently stored for the winter, but I'm thinking about the upcoming riding season and new adventures.
Have fun and ride safe,
Road and Trail
Green Mountain Road near Penticton, BC