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Happy Trails Blog

  • Riding A KLR 650 4600 Miles Through Southern South America

    Robert Runyard used to be a test rider for Yamaha Motors (and Yamaha Parts Distributors) back in the 1970s.  In 1977 he borrowed an XS650 and rode it to Tierra del Fuego.   He decided back then that he really liked southern Patagonia and that one day he’d return and stay there.   He made good on that in 2008 when he quit his job as an engineer for Lockheed Martin, and started running tours on his small fleet of KLR650 bikes --  that just happened to include a bunch of hardware that Happy Trails sells.   Runyard’s  tours operated from Puerto Natales in Chile, to the end of the road in Tierra del Fuego, and up into the glacier parks in the Andes in Argentina.

    These days Runyard works more as a translator for the Chilean Antarctic Institute than as a tour guide.  But in early 2017 he was wondering if he might be too old to do a good, long adventure ride. So he took a ten-year-old battery off the tenders, stuck it in a 2006 KLR, and set off for what turned out to be one month and 7500 kilometers of riding.  Had it not been for competing commitments, it just might have been for two months.

    It started with a boat trip through the fjordlands, to reach the southern end of the Carretera Austral.

    Then a ride through the Chacabuco valley to the frontier with Argentina

    Up into the Andes again to cross back into Chile

    Then from Chile back into Argentina…and repeat…

    And then as the autumn rains set in around southern Chile, he took the Navimag ship home to Puerto Natales.

  • Happy Trails SL Rack & SU Rack Comparison

    KLR650-SU-m SU Rack on KLR

    KLR650E_SL_m SL Rack ON KLR

     

         How are Happy Trails SL Rack and SU Rack different?

    The SL Rack is designed to carry soft luggage, while the SU Rack can carry soft or hard luggage of any kind. In construction the SU Rack differs in that the loop tubing is 3/4" square steel as opposed to 5/8" round. But even more important every SU rack has a third mounting point for greater strength. Finally it has a rear bumper which ties both sides together. If you only want to carry soft luggage, then the SL Rack is for you. If you might want to carry hard luggage at some time, then you need the SU Rack. People use our SU Rack for every kind of hard luggage imaginable. They fix the luggage to the rack using our mounting puck system. Our mount kits make it a cinch to take your panniers on and off. Dimensions:

    • SL Rack: The SL rack loop is 8" x 12".
    • SU Rack: The L to R inner dimension is 10.5 inches and inner bottom to bottom of pem insert is 5 1/8 inches.  Although not usable the inner top of loop to bottom loop would be 7.5 inches. Thus overall outside measurements of the loop would be 12" wide and 9" tall since the loop is constructed of 3/4" square tube.
  • Optimal 1000 Adventure Motorcycle Ride Day 2

    Imnaha Oregon to Orofino Idaho via the Zumwalt Prairie.

     

    Starting the morning out in a deep canyon has its benefits. You have the sunshine but not the total brightness of the light. I guess you can say it is like a having a great stretch in the morning. You know the kind where you wake up easy, nothing harsh, no alarm clock, just start that easy wake up process and in the midst of it get a great stretch in. Arms stretched wide and head turned a bit,waking up from the inside out, nice and easy.

    The sun hitting the ridges, Imnaha Oregon The sun hitting the ridges, Imnaha Oregon

    As the bright sun hits the ridges and starts illuminating them,  you feel the day as a new beginning.

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  • Konkolville

    The Konkolville Motel is located in Orofino Idaho.

    Orofino Idaho is located just off of Highway 12 on the Clearwater River in Northern Idaho. Orofino is Spanish for “fine gold” and was originally a trading post set up in the 1890’s. The expedition of Lewis and Clark along the Clearwater is well documented in the book Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Authored by Stephen Ambrose the book is a must read for exploring Idaho. Another resource is Discovering Lewis & Clark.

    In 1805 Lewis & Clark stayed nearby at what is now called “Canoe Camp” and built five dugout canoes for the trip downstream to the Pacific Ocean. They departed from Canoe Camp on October 7,1805.

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  • Optimal 1000 Adventure Motorcycle Ride Day 1

    Optimal 1000 August 2016 Day 1

    The adventures of two men on their KLR’s as they travel through Idaho, Oregon, Washington and back into Idaho.

    Day 1 would take us from Boise To Imnaha Oregon. I had traveled this route quite a few times and every time was a unique experience, some good and some bad. I had not traveled the true route since July 18 2011.

    day-1-route-overview Continue reading
  • How HT Panniers and Crash Bars Prevented A Serious Injury

    When our designers and engineers set out to create equipment or accessories for an adventure motorcycle, they start with the desires of the rider in mind – after all, all of us here at Happy Trails, are motorcycle enthusiasts ourselves.  We want to create products that we would want to use, products that are functional, reliable, easy to install, and strong enough to hold up to the rigors of off-road riding for years to come.  In short, we want to create products that are better than anything else currently on the market.

    Because of that focus, we often get feedback from our customers thanking us for our high-quality products, however, last month we received customer feedback describing a situation that we thought was amazing, and want to share.  In his letter, Nick explains how the HT panniers and crash bars he had added to his Triumph Tiger prevented a serious injury when they were struck by a car.


    Hey guys, A week ago, I was hit on my Triumph Tiger by a vehicle sliding sideways down the road after losing control.   I was traveling at about 20-25mph. I had my Happy Trails Denali Panniers and crash bars equipped on my Triumph Tiger.

    Thankfully because of the pannier, the car made impact with that first instead of my passengers’ leg. We walked away near scot-free and went about our day like nothing had happened. The pannier saved my passenger from what easily could have been a horribly mangled leg.  Thanks to your steel construction and tough rack mount a tragedy was avoided.

    So, thank you. Thank you for the high-quality products that prevented a serious injury, and saved my bike from any damage!


    We are grateful to hear that everyone was OK, and thank you Nick, for sharing your experience with us.

    As a company, we could make more money by outsourcing our manufacturing to other countries, and by using lower quality materials, however, we decided a long time ago we would employ members of our own community, and we make only the highest quality parts right here in Boise, ID USA. Receiving letters like this is a great reminder to us that that decision was the right thing to do.  

    car car2 car3
  • Happy Trails Panniers 101

    Happy Trails manufacturers panniers at our shop in Boise Idaho. We have five families of panniers and various Top Boxes. We also make custom aluminum panniers and boxes as well as some custom aluminum tanks.

    The five families of panniers are:

    • Teton 15" H x 18" L - Width options: 7.5" 33 liters, 9" 39 liters and 10.5" 45 liters
    • Cascade 18"H x 18"L x 7.5" width and 38.5 liters.
    • Denali: 20"H x 18"L x 7.5" width and 47 liters
    • Imnaha 12"H x 15"L x 5" width and 13.8 liters
    • Owyhee: 21.5-31.5L - 14" H x 16" L - Width options: 6" 21.5 liters, 7.5" 27 liters and 9" 31.5 liters

    Note: A 3/4" lip makes the opening on all boxes 1-1/2" smaller than box measurement. This lip provides a watertight seal and the strongest in the industry pannier.

     

    The Teton Panniers have two other options, Clif Cut and Exhaust Cut.

    The Clif-cut (shown below) is a term describing a 1.5" - 45 degree cut-out on the inside (tire side) of the pannier. It is designed for bikes with wide protruding exhaust  to create a more symmetrical weight distribution when panniers are mounted and loaded. For bikes with asymmetrical racks it keeps the load on the exhaust side box as close as possible to the center of the bike. This also allows for a wider lid opening.  For bikes with symmetrical racks the Clif Cut option can also be used on both sides.

    The Exhaust Cut  is a term describing a 1.5" - 90 degree cut-out on the inside (tire side) of the pannier. This option is used on BMW Oilheads.

    Continue reading
  • Happy Trails Adjustable Centerstand

    Who builds an adjustable centerstand for an Adventure Bike? Better yet is to ask the question "Why you would want one.?" That was the question we asked ourselves at Happy Trails quite a few years ago. The bike we were looking at was the Kawasaki KLR650. The KLR has two models since 1987; the “A” Model from 1987 to 2007 and the “E” Model from 2008 to 2017.

    We soon found through our R & D that the same centerstand did not fit the both models of the KLR, it was close but just would not work out.

    img_0034 KLR Centerstand with adjustment

    You can see in the picture above the built in adjustability.

    Continue reading
  • Travesilla Adventure

    Travesilla: trav-a see-a. A very old vaquero (va-qa-ro) meaning to take a different or some other route.

    A Tale of two Motorcyclist driven by passion and fueled by a spirit of humanity using tools such as motorcycles to accomplish a calling. You can call it an adventure.

    Adventure defined by Dictionary.com

    Noun

    1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
    2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
    3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.

    Dr Randy McKinney and his wife Lana have set out for Africa to treat children and adults for dysentery.  Randy stated “Very much un-like most real long motorcycle expeditions, we will not  be supported by chase vehicles.  With the exception of some re-supply items that we will pre-position at several points on our route (new motorcycle tires and spare parts, new clothes, a spare tent in case ours is destroyed by a bear in Russia, spare (read clean) sleeping bags, additional medical supplies, and etc) we will be completely on our own….just two people on two motorcycles. “

    travesilla Randy's KLR

    Randy and Lana are not just two people on motorcycles going for a ride, they ride so they will be ready for the challenges they will face in Africa. They ride so that others will be aware of the mission. They ride because they have been called to serve others.

    Follow the Travesilla Trail of Adventure at http://www.travessillaexpedition.org/

  • 09 KLR Project Bike, the Doctor makes a “House Call”

     

    I recently received an email from Dr Gregory Frazier. The Doctor and I had been corresponding about a trip he was planning through the Northwest on his 09 KLR Project Bike. One the stops on the trip was the Rally in the Gorge in Hood River Oregon. Well the Doctor had a need,“I put a new chain and sprockets on the Project Bike at 36,000 miles.  When I arrive at Happy Trails Central August 22 or 23 they will have 50,000 on them. While not shot, I'd like to schedule a new set?”

    The Doctor typically pays me an “Annual Visit” as he navigates East to West or West to East on one of his ventures. I was excited; a little work, a little food and a lot of great conversation.

    We had prepared an 09 KLR Project Bike for the Doctor in 2009 and it appeared a little maintenance was in line. The 09 KLR Project Bike build included Happy Trail Teton Aluminum Panniers, Odyssey Battery Kit (which is still cranking everyday), Fork Brace, PD Nerf with Skid Plate, T2 Tail Plate along with a host of other modifications to the KLR.

    As I was thinking about the upcoming work on the 09 KLR Project Bike I  got to thinking about the A Model KLR Doctor Frazier had dubbed his ‘round the world KLR™650. The A Model KLR had served well and had taken Doctor Frazier around the world in 2002. I came across the ROK Accelerate Magazine article A Road Warrior's Final Ride. that gives more details on the KLR. Check out the article and I will get back to you on the “Chain Gang’s” performance later.

    09 KLR Project in the background, the Doctor is working on an R100 GS with electrical gremlins!

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