Well the bikes have now landed in London and Darren is busily running them both in. Meanwhile, here in Australia, KTM have kindly provided me a 690 to test for a couple of weeks. Yesterday a couple of mates and I took it for a 13 hour, 350 k ride taking in freeway, tar, sand, twin and single forest trails. Here are a couple shots of the bike in action. The first thing that impresses you about this bike is the engine. Just GOBS of consistent, linear power. The next thing is the handling......feels like a 450. Light, nimble, precise. But no matter how much power, if you hit that soft sand, you're going to get stuck! The bike does single trail well. So what's not to like? The seat! We spent 13 hours in the saddle and I've had to make an appointment with a Proctologist! It's no coincidence that in most of the shots we are standing! Fortunately KTM have a soft ergo seat and Darren and I have already acquired one each for London to Sydney. So what do we have here? A very strongly dirt oriented dual purpose bike. In summary it handled freeway and black top admirably. Is surprisingly nimble when it comes to single trail....great in the sand, great fun in the dirt. The way Darren and I see the conversion of this bike from dirt to adventure is pretty simple. Get a softer seat (done) get a small fairing to keep the wind off our chests (done), extend the fuel range and carrying capacity (booked in at Rally Raid) protect the engine with a good bash plate (another Rally Raid job), oh and one 12Volt plug and that will do us. Hopefully that will be enough to get us over what I consider to be the biggest challenge of the ride, The Simpson Desert. Also great opportunity to try out my KLiM Badlands Pro riding suit, that will be home for three months. In summary very comfortable. Lots of vents to keep cool....particularly around the nether regions. Unrestricted movement. When it gets chilly just zip those vents up. After riding in this stuff, the comfort level is so much higher in varied conditions, I couldn't see myself returning to my old gear, which was water proof but sweaty inside. First visa submission to the Ukraine this week. Meanwhile Darren keep running those bikes in! I'll be there soon.