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Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by Tumbleweed ADV, Jul 27, 2013.
The 'ADVENTURE' bike marketing trend is saving the motorcycle and the hard parts manufacturers.
If I was predominately single seat touring I would go with a 600ish bike. Probably an 690 with a larger tank and fairing. I have done about 100,000ks since April last year on a 950 and 990 across all sorts of stuff. At the moment I am doing the TCAT solo - I got stuck (as in needed to find someone to help) last week crossing some stuff I wouldn't think twice about on a 690, a flat front on a gravel road saw me down the road, wouldn't likely not have happened on a 690.
But I travel mostly with my wife and can ride a 990 loaded, two-up down gravel roads at 100km/h + all day long even 120-140 is generally not a problem. Also I can still spin the back wheel at 130 on gravel and get it sideways with a 990 - I would struggle to do that on 690.
for me i spend a lot of time on the blacktop to get where the adventure begins.. So something to get there in comfort is a must, but then i want something to take down the single tracks and mini jumps etc.. i encounter as well.. so I guess its something that can handle both.. and although the f800 was appealing, the 1190 r seemed to be better off road and MUCH better on road..
I wouldnt take it around a motoX track but Id take it anywhere I would take the KLX 650A but i'd also feel comfort when i hit the road for the ride home again..
I wouldn't know... This one's mine:
Its the weight. I travel pretty light by Friday myself. But loaded and gased up I am still toting 300 kgs when I ran it over the scale yesterday. (I was very surprised to be this heavy)
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No Something like this:
I think adventure touring is all about compromise. What are you willing to give up for what you want and how your going to ride and where.
Another thought is with the 950/990 as your skill improves and are willing to commit the bike becomes lighter in a sense. Ok its still heavy but if your ride it like a dirt bike and are willing to and able to I don't think there is any better bike out there.
As soon as you pucker up it changes everything in a negative sense. The thing is the consequences can be so bad with the big ktm. I always trying to improve my skill level and find myself doing things I never would have years ago but also keep the mind set and talk to myself to remind me what I am riding and doing so I try to keep maybe ten percent back from the limit giving me a little cushion as these bikes go from feeling light to heavy really fast.
So what if I have to go a little slower in the technical stuff anyways. I am not racing I am out to enjoy my bike.
For a one do it all you couldn't take this bike and there is no better!
thank you KTM image Bones. Very nice looking bike!...even better when viewed next to the BMW
My goal is to get that 690 of mine as comfortable as possible to get down the
slab, so when I get to the real part of the ride "the trails" I'm not exhausted
and still have a 300 pound bike with 75 hp.
300 lbs. with all your gear on board? 75 HP? I'd like to find that Dyno you got 75 HP out of! (60 HP in stock form is more realistic) Still, way stronger than my 35 HP DR650! But on an ADV travel bike, HP isn't everything ... in fact ... it's good for nothing.
If you ever get out of the Northwet ... and more than 1000 miles from home, I'd say at that point you'll start learning what compromise really is, and what works for YOU. The reality for many is that ADV Travel (or RTW) won't take you to pristine single track everyday. If you do find good trail riding, I'd suggest unloading your bike and ride Day Loops, take only basics.
If your desire is to ride single track or trails everyday ... then you're on the wrong bike ... and you'd be better off staying close to home as Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nor Cal have some of the BEST trail riding IN THE WORLD ... and I'd rather have a KTM 500 for that. For good trails, the grass is NOT greener anywhere else. But RTW type travel is very different.
As mentioned, on the long road in international situations all your priorities can change and ideas about "what bike is best" may shift. Good luck out there. It'd be nice to see more 690 riders getting out and doing RTW ... with success and lack of problems.
I so totally agree with your last line...spoken perfectly. Yet, completely disagree with your first.
Adventure is not an ad marketing creation AT ALL. This travel concept is very "Old World"... pack up a raincover, gunnysack and some jerky... and go explore the world.
Modern international marketing now simply affords us MANY choices... " Would you like it small, medium or SUPERSIZED"? And with choice, often times comes indecision.
Getting back to your best point... Make the best out of what you've got!
A tall person may walk further, a short person may walk less... yet the one who finds the most challenging experience is only the one who longs for it.
IMO, the HUGE ADV phenom over the last 10 to 12 years comes from a variety of sources ... which, when blended together, have brought us to where we are now.
You have to count this very site ... ADV RIDER ... for being a Prime Mover in the whole thing. But pioneers were there earlier ... add guys like Ted Simon, Helge Pederson, Austin Vince ... and many others who have used both Books and Movies to inspire us.
As far a OEM's go ...you have to give credit to BMW for pushing the ADV theme before anyone else (since 1981) ... and hooking their Dakar cred and using it to Market Dreams to millions.
The main stream Moto Media have been (unsurprisingly) VERY LATE in coming to this game ... and so were most of other OEM's. Companies like Suzuki and Honda both had ample opportunity to jump on the ADV band wagon early. They did not.
Main stream magazines let years go by before ever featuring travel bikes and travelers. ADV Rider and Horizon's Unlimited have to be counted as two major influences to both riders AND to Media. Magazines learned what was going on via ADV Rider and HU. Now, it's all the rage. But to them, just a fad that will fade away.
It won't, IMO. It's becoming a lifestyle, way of life and a direction for retirement for millions of riders.
For KTM the transition to the ADV theme was easy. With Dakar victories and solid off road racing history ... their marketing direction was clear.
KTM are lucky indeed that not one of the BIG FOUR chose to enter this arena. Had they done so ... KTM would have been Blown Up before they ever got started.
You can be sure ... this was well known by the big four .... the Japanese need KTM, Husky and BMW badly. These small, innovative companies keep the overall market healthy and thriving and do things the Japanese are afraid to do. This innovation ... and risk taking, of course benefits the Japanese too. The Japanese are JUST NOW beginning to toy in the ADV area ... ten years behind and several billion Yen short. IMHO!
Lots of aftermarket guys have jumped in on this ... and plenty have become zilliionares as a result. But how far can they go without innovative new bikes from KTM, BMW, Husky ... and hopefully, someday ... the Japanese companies?
KTM are going there ... look at the new 390. But will Bajaj continue to head in a positive direction? I have my doubts.
Husky? Total mystery at this point. BMW? They are OUT! Going GREEN.
Honda too ... look to be going GREEN. Look for the most amazing All Electric off road bikes in the near future from mass producers.
there's such a variety of "adventure" bikes because everyone's idea of "adventure" is different. to some it's crossing the world or large chunks of it. to some it's just going down a road they don't know and finding out where it comes out. Some its gravel roads, some want single track.
Most of my friends have gravitated towards smaller bikes the past few years, mostly WR250r with some well placed mods. But that's for some trips they were doing out west. They would trailer out and ride the fun stuff on the WRs and had a blast.
The big advantage for some is having the right bike for the right type of riding you want to do. When friends ask me for bike advice, my first question is who will you be riding with? what bikes do they have? that's the direction to follow. because if you want to ride with them, they want to ride stuff that's appropriate for their bike. if they have KLR's don't buy a KTM 500 you'll only get frustrated on the paved or smooth gravel roads the KLR's are wanting to ride. If they have KTM 500's don't buy a KLR as you will be miserable riding single track and picking up your KLR.
everyone has touched on what they feel is important to the buyer- comfort for long range, ease of maintanance, durability, ability to find parts in other parts of the world, handling, weight, seat height, fuel range, etc. etc. etc. The list is endless. that's why there are so many "adv" bikes out there. something for everyone. I have a tagged 450 and it's fun in the right environment but when few DS rides I did I hated. 5% of fun stuff on the 450, 90% boring riding. I had to do stuff to make it fun. I've also been on rides with people on everything from a 200 to a 1200. everyone had fun, just some liked different parts of the ride differently. :)
Now that I have a 950, it makes those rides fun again. the smooth stuff is easy to ride, but the middle ground is more fun, and the 5% stuff is even still fun (for me!). after riding the past two weekends, I think it's the best of both worlds. I won't take it down super technical singletrack but just about anywhere my friend will take his 690 I'll take my SE, but the pavement portions of the ride are probably more fun for me. Even on some tight twisty roads this past weekend, it almost felt like a decent SM (minus the trail braking on knobbies).
different strokes for different folks...
More on point is the constant debate between single vs. twin as adventure bikes...and their inherent properties.
No doubt a discussion our grandfathers had when creating early scramblers. And the Japanese jumped in with their retro scramblers in the early 70's... an homage to the 60's bikes.
The advent of the Dakar certainly glorified what many extreme adventure riders already were lusting after exploring the African Continent.
The US market was so fixated on MX, Strret bikes or Cruisers their just wasn't any attention paid to adventure bike options.
And the US DOT places such high costs for "stamps of approvals"... I think it's a million US dollars or more per manufacture model. Honda simply couldn't make up those costs on the Transalp in '88 and '89. to warrant importing the Africa Twin, as those bikes sat unnoticed.
Cycle World and Jimmy Lewis wrote adventure articles to somewhat def ears in the 90's, as Jimmy documented his Dakar campaigns.
The manufacturers and magazine press aren't the ones lagging here... It's our US government beauracracy... as well as the tunnel vision approach of the buying public.
Finally we now have an aware buying public, who also appreciates choices.
And we also have ATGATT options.
Hell, I can remember when I had to import an Italian Biefe helmet to have a pull down visor. Now there are a million options.
I say let the adventure floodgates open. We'll all be the better for it... for wanting small, medium or Super 1190 sized.
People with the money to buy a mid-size adv bike pretty much all live where there are good roads and less trails, because they likely have a good job that requires all that infrastructure. Yes America/W.Europe have trails, but you don't need to use them. Unfortunately there aren't enough people in these places who actually ride to the places a mid-size adv should be ridden to sell enough to make one, because that would take a month or two riding to Africa or S.America, which means losing the sweet job that paid for it. So no demand.
The day that people in Africa have $10000 burning a hole in their pocket is the day you'll be able to buy a decent mid-size adventure bike. And that day will likely be about two decades after the Chinese have paved most of Africa, so they'll just want a GS anyway.
Look at the pixelation on those balloons! You must have a very low res camera (the background looks nice though).
@ADV Grifter: for the most part I agree with what you say about larger adv bikes. I just recently completed the Great Divide ride (2200 miles in 6 days) with 2 friends on 990s---with me on my GSA wishing I was on a KTM...the only problem with the 990s was they kept running out of fuel and my GSA became the tanker.. It's ironic since I learned the same lesson the summer I completed the Alcan 5000.
So now I've got the 690 and I feel it would be even more fun to do that trip from Montana to New Mexico again. In preparation, I have developed a unique fuel system that will give my 690 a 300 mile fuel range. My design includes an integrated rack to tie down all my gear: tent, Giant Loop bag, and Rotopak water tank...all the while retaining the passenger foot pegs for around the town trips with the wife.
I can only hope that KTM starts downsizing their V Twins to have a small light weight bike combined with the power and smoothness of their V Twins.
I have owned several 650 class bikes, still have a GS, and decided after all my research that the best bang for the buck mid sized adventure bike was the KTM 640 Adventure, it had the large tank stock, suitable sub frame, great suspension travel and you can still find a later year model at a reasonable price. You can really deak one out and pay for some trips for the cost of a 690 and all the parts to make it comparable to the 640.
Ok the 690 is FI but is a carb really a bad thing when your adventure traveling or world traveling?
I find that FI is not much of a failure item, but seems to allow consistent running conditions in all environments. The two 640's shook themselves apart
On the Alcan 5000 " the engines blue up" but they were hard to keep up with while they held together!