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Dual Sport Riding Gear for a Montana Commuter

Here's my set up for riding in NW Montana.

Riding Season

Motorcycle season in the Kalispell-Polson-Missoula area runs, at best, from April 15th to November 15th. We usually have snow in early April and early November.

My Size

I am 5'9" (175cm), 165 lbs (75 kg), and of average build. In jeans and Carhartts a 33 waist x 32 inseam, right between Medium and Large in clothing.


Honda XR650L with Acerbis 5.8 gallon tank, better foot pegs, 2" bar risers, DoubleTake mirrors, Grip Puppies, UNI foam air filter, and Kuba lowering link. I've lowered the front forks in the triple clamps by 1-1/8" and raised the bike's resting seat height up to ~36" using the rear shock preload screw (~1" lower than standard). Rear clicker is at the middle setting. Air valves on forks are equilibrated to atmosphere. I really like the windshield, a $60 model off Ebay (xitomer) - no buffeting, air flow is excellent. Bike does better than 75 mph no problem, but gets buzzy at speeds above 60 mph. The XRL lacks the modern geometry of the CRF300L and CRF450RL, but the seat is comfy, its not too heavy (375 lbs), is stable on the road, has darn good suspension, and can carry luggage. Its faster offroad then you've got balls to ride, but prefers not to lead the pack. In short, its a big, comfortable farm bike with plenty of torque made for athletic guys over 30. #rickybobby

Carburetor & Jetting

Stock Keihin. Jets = 158/58. Mixing screw 2-1/2 turns out. One washer on OEM needle. FMF Q4 exhaust. Snorkel removed. Smog pump deleted. I live at 3000 feet elevation. I run regular gasoline (87 octane). Choke to start. The bike rips.

Typical Ride

For work, I commute 20 miles on a two-lane highway in fast traffic. For fun, I'll take 2-hour roundtrip loops from my house using local farm roads, fire roads, rough canal roads, and two-track mountain trails. This is farm country.

Previous Motorcycles

I used to own a 1967 CT90 and a 2009 Suzuki VStrom DL 650 ABS. The VStrom was great on long rides, but too heavy for everyday use or offroading.

Next Motorcycle

My next bike will be something like a CRF450RL w/ Taco-GET ECM, Kove 450, or maybe a KTM. When I go round the world, I'll pimp out a brand new DR650 from Poet Motorcycles in Helena.


Alpinestars Corozal Black 10.5. These are warm, comfortable, protective boots that I enjoy wearing. Small amount of flex in the sole. Fine for short walks, but not good for hiking.

Knee Guards

Leatt Dual Axis in L/XL. Great fit, very comfortable, a little heavy, more than adequate protection. Good for day trips, but I would opt for something more compact for a multi-day trip or BDR section, especially in a hot weather (see what Mosko offers).


Klim Adventure Short and various cheap Amazon gloves. The Klim gloves are a bit clumbsy, but well made. I prefer simple, lower-profile gloves most of the time. No glove is perfect.


Mosko Moto Woodsman Enduro Over the Boot 32" in Obsidian. Really, really nice pants. They fit great, look good, and don't have a bunch of useless bells and whistles. Highly recommended. I upgraded from Aerostich Darien 34R (3-layer Goretex bonded to cordura w/ knee armor), which are protective, hard-wearing, handle the wind better, but are decidedly old school. Lack of stretch is noticeable offroad. Losing their waterproofing.


Shoei GT Air II White Medium. Light and quiet. Upgraded from LS2 Valiant 2.

Armor Jacket

Rev'it Eclipse Medium mesh w/ D30 shoulder, elbow, back armor. I don't love this jacket. Its good in hot weather, but a little snug when work with an insulating layer underneath. Looking at the Klim Induction.

Rain Jacket

Patagonia Triolet Large. Will likely replace with Rev'it Cyclone. Have always wanted a one-piece Aerostich Roadcrafter R3 for commuting.


Mosko Moto Medium. Great in summer over an armor suit.


Chase Harper Aeropac 4000 carries tools, stretch net, and has room for a jacket and water. Sits atop Nomadic Enduro rear rack. Looking at Mosko Reckless 40.

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