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Old 11-17-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
Pantah
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: India Wharf
Oddometer: 9,705
Life with a new KTM 690R

Maybe I'm wrong about riding singles 14 hour days, but after riding my 950 all over the continent for seven years, I decided to ride the Continental Divide Road and thought I would be solo. I did my research and knew I could hit some serious mud plus two water crossings. Maybe 1500 miles of dirt farm and forest roads from Canada to Mexico. There would be a few side jaunts to ride sections of the Oregon Trail too. The big twin was out for that if I was solo. I bought a Yamaha WR250R on the recco from this site. That was after reading every RR posted on that route. At first I thought it was a big mistake. More like a scooter than a motorcycle, but it turned out to be a revelation. I was shocked at the stuff I could roll with that little thing! Rock gardens, miles of deep sand washes, creek crossings. Dang, it made me feel 40 years younger!

I added comfort and luggage parts like a windscreen, power outlets for heated things and a Wolfman system. I even bought a sheepskin butt pad. Then I shipped it to Salt Lake City and flew to meet it. Last minute a buddy joined me from California and he was aboard a new KLR. It was 9 days worth. Maybe 250-300 miles per day on the dirt paths and another 400 or so on the two pavement days we had. Let me say, that Yamaha was every bit as comfortable as my KTM 950, I was shocked! Its only weakness was it was most happy slabbing all day in the mid 60's. KTM twin liked mid 70's.

Like I said earlier, I left the Yam in Phoenix after that trip and now fly out to ride it a few times per year. The last was the Pony Express trail from SLC to Hwy 93 in Nevada, and then on to Reno. Awesome!

After the CDR I replaced my 950 with a much more powerful version of the Yamaha. That is my new 690R. I set it up exactly the same way as the Yamaha too. The sheepskin didn't work, though, so I bought a Seat Concepts seat and after today, think it will solve the butt burn for at least 6-8 hours. The stocker was only good for 3. After that it's just butt burn until you get where you are going.

On the negative side, the 690 is a little unstable above 80 so I added a steering stabilizer. I think it has to do with round cross section DOT knobbies, though, because my 950 was unstable too when I used TKC 80's.

That little bit of thumper vibration is a negative. If mine continues to vibe between 65-73, I'll be riding above or below that when riding long slab days. The Yamaha is electric smooth, so it is more friendly I'd say.

The FI is snatchy around the city. I end up short shifting mine into a gear too tall and it doesn't seem to mind. The fuel range is a problem too. Out west I'd say 210 miles range is what you need. The 690 has about 170 miles (140 to the light) if you are gentle. It really needs another gallon and there are no efficient ways to increase your tank capacity. $600 buys you the Rally Raid rear tank that gets you that gallon. Ugly and expensive. Over $1k for the front tank options and they are an overkill. I don't need 350 miles range!

Lastly, it's a real expensive motorcycle for what it is when you want to use it for travel. I'm into mine over $13k! But it is probably my last motorcycle so I don't really mind. It delivers what I wanted most; Yamaha 250 weight and agility and soft enough to use principally as a streetbike.

I rode three dual sport rides with it so far. I flopped in the mud twice and filled my boots with water. I picked it up and I even did a couple of hero sections without much drama. And that's the other objective...no drama.

Still, I'd jump on that 950 and ride to the west coast in a heartbeat. I'd Interstate all the way to Badlands or the The NM border. Then 2 lane it to my dirt road loops along the way as I worked west. Not sure I'd be so eager with the 690, but we'll see. I'm sure I'll do it at least once. If no fun, than maybe one more bike before I'm done...

New Seat:


Before:


Packed for travel. Even a Kermit Chair
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Pantah screwed with this post 11-17-2012 at 01:45 PM
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