The 950 Super Enduro, Wyoming 2 tracks, and a stretch of I-80

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joe Motocross, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    Warning! This story contains sarcasm and is not appropriate for those who are easily offended. For a lighter tale, please refer to one of the abundant TAT reports in this forum.

    Prologue:

    The short prologue is I live in Utah but ended up in Michigan with my Super Enduro which I intended to ride back across country to Utah this summer.

    The KTM 950 Super Enduro is perhaps one of the dumbest motorcycles ever built. Only being available in the US for about 3 years is perhaps a tribute to how ludicrist they are. This tale is as much about that particular model bike as it is about the journey I had crossing the country.

    I have always had some sort of street bike that I use as a commuter and to do some road trips on as well. I wanted to replace my road bike with something that I could ride with my friends who have the big GS's. I didn't think the BMWs were quite the right fit for me though. Don't get me wrong, those Gravel Goldwings are nice bikes, just not for me. I am a dirt biker so I wanted something a bit more oriented toward off-road. I started looking at the KTM 950 Adventures but still didn't like all the plastic faring and everything. Too much to break when I lay it down. I have seen two different Super Enduros during my journeys over the years so I started looking into them. Bingo!

    I found one and purchased it, almost an impulse buy. Afterword, I thought "what the hell have I done "?! Oh well, I figured I would try it and if it didn't work out for me I would sell it even if I took a little bit of a monetary loss.

    The 950 Super Enduro is an obscenely large dirt bike with no frills what so ever. Make no mistake, it is a dirt bike with the 950cc LC8 carbureted engine from the Adventure crammed into it. Chain drive 6 speed with a 21" front tire and 18" rear. White Power inverted forks and non linkage rear shock

    It is by no means ready for abuse stock from the factory. The electric fuel pump (only needed when gas in the tank is lower than the carbs) is prone to failure as is the waterpump seal and shaft. Solid aftermarket solutions are available. The suspension needs work. The twin exhaust system should be modified to get rid of the emission crap and the carbs subsequently jetted properly. I chose to weld up a 2 into 1 exhaust to ditch weight and make room for camping gear. You need to relocate the kick stand so you don't crack the case when you slam down on a rock. Shave the seat foam down; the bike is too tall stock even for me at 6'2". I also chose metal reusable oil filters and a reusable air filter. And the 8.5 gallon aftermarket tank is an absolute must. Now she's ready!

    I had full intentions of fabricating a rack and welding up some giant aluminum saddlebags for it. After riding the bike in the deserts of southern Utah and learning how capable of a dirtbike she is, I couldn't bear to think of her shackled and all constrained with the bulky saddlebags. It would be cruel and unjust to handicap such a beast taking away her ability to get into her natural habitat and stripping her dignity. I vowed at that time that I would always travel with her using the minimalist approach which I do with all of my off-road adventures allowing her to stretch and roam free as she would in her natural setting.

    I did purchase a windshield from eBay which I retrofitted to her for civilian duties. She takes to it kind of like a dog that doesn't really like to wear it's collar but has to because it has no choice. I only make her wear the shield sparingly.

    Here she is in Michigan with minimalist style gear strapped on, ready for the voyage across the Plains.
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    #1
    v4play and junkyarddog like this.
  2. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

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    All right! Another Joe Motocross thread. Bring it!! :clap:clap
    #2
  3. blake716

    blake716 nine toes

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    Hell yes. I'm in! :clap
    #3
  4. slimy

    slimy Wanabe Adventurer

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    Flatland Florida
    Joe Motocross......a new bike and a new story. Let the adventure begin. :clap:ear
    #4
  5. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
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    Nairobi, Kenya
    This should be fun to watch. I'm from Wyoming, so I'm keen to see the doubletracks... not so keen to see I-80 though.

    Ah what the hell. I'm in.
    #5
  6. workmybollocksoff

    workmybollocksoff wmbo

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
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    46
    Location:
    Calgary
    I'm in, love to read stories about my next bike. Had a 640 ADV and loved it for everywhere I could take it, turned a few heads at the top of a few high single track trails I rode.:clap
    #6
  7. Hodgo

    Hodgo TWIN Cylinder ADV

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    Brisbane
    Gday Mate,
    Hideous windscreen you have, but i guess it would be ok in snow / rain & hail.

    Great bike by the way, your right up hits the nail on the head for anyone considering this great piece of machinery.

    Carry on....:1drink:1drink
    #7
  8. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    So as time gets nearer to crossing country, I'm starting to envision my route going north into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and casually drifting west slowly and camping at lakes along the way until the plains where I'd pick up the pace for a day then slow down again as I leisurely make my way down into Utah.

    At that time, another a-hole friend of mine who was dumb enough to buy a Super Enduro asked when I was coming west. I gave him an approximate time frame and asked if he wanted to meet somewhere. He said yes and it was decided that we'd meet north of Laramie on Monday. I couldn't leave until Sunday so you do the math. My northern route was out, and, it was looking like I-80 was in. I didn't like the sounds of it. At first.

    As I thought about it more, I started to realize that this was just the route that the Super Enduro needed to do to prove it's status as 'most versatile bike'. I kept thinking about it and started looking at is as a challenge.

    Yep, I have installed a totally hideous windshield. It is the same height as the one on my road bike. I can either look over the top of it or slouch and look through it. You can do 100mph on it with sunglasses and no buffeting. I have a helmet with a visor. I-80 would be the test. I was shooting for somewhere in Nebraska Sunday night to line up with meeting my bro north of Laramie on Monday.

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    #8
  9. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    Here is the text messaging that set everything in motion:
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    #9
  10. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    I like how Blurry asks if I'll be on a bike only AFTER he already agrees to meet me. WTF?!?! And then I reply "I think so", like, what else am I gonna be riding when we meet? WTF again?! Whatever, Blurry thought it was 'nice' anyway.
    #10
  11. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    The thing about going minimalist fashion is it requires basically no preparation. Strap a few things on and go. I left at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

    I blasted through Chicago with no slow downs and was making good time. This shot was taken somewhere around 'who gives a fuck where it is', Iowa. It is a classic shot though because I'm resting by leaning against the front tire (the true minimalist's chair) yet a freeway sign is in the background. Usually this stance is only seen in vast regions far away from humanity.
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    At this juncture, the Super Enduro was starting to show it's ability on the freeways. You see, 8.5 gallons of gas at 39 miles per gallon doing 85 miles an hour = A DAMN GOOD PACE. I was only stopping every 300 miles. This is actually better time than I can make on my road bike!

    I kept flying by all these guys on Harleys. Finally, at my last gas stop of the day, I pulled up near some Harley riders, jumped the curb to get under some shade and lean against my front tire. I said hello and one of them looked over and said "tell me you're going up there with that!" I honestly didn't know what he was talking about and dumbly said "up where?" He says "you didn't tell me you were going up there!!!" I looked at him trying to figure out the joke when one of his bros says "Sturgis". Ah, I get it now.

    At that point I wanted to say something like "you better speed up or you'll never get there at that snail's pace you're going" but I didn't. See, I like ALL motorcycles whether they're scooters, mopeds or Harleys except Royal Enfields (Kidding but see THIS for the whole story). I make some sarcastic cracks about different bikes but I do love them all and would ride most any of them. I didn't get the feeling that this guy was being too sarcastic and I thought it was lame. After all, I wasn't making fun of them for dressing up like pirates and riding two wheeled couches up to South Dakota.
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    Continuing to pass Harley riders with a slightly different attitude now, I made it to Grand Island where there is a little state park right off the freeway. Perfect place to unroll my sleeping bag. I found out it's 'free camping'. All you gotta do is come in after the camp host leaves at night and be gone when she returns in the morning.

    There were some Harley riders camped in the tent area. I decided not to join them and went and took an RV site instead. Got a few odd looks when I laid my sleeping pad out beside my bike on the tarmac. True minimalists don't use tents.
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    True minimalists also don't use stoves. They cook over an open fire. I wimped out and brought a stove because I was pretty sure I wasn't going to do too well scavenging for fire wood along I-80. No doubt, I coulda easily done with out the stove. As a minimalist, I'm embarrassed of my actions. However, here's a shot of a little dish we call "Steppe Stew" (Documented HERE).
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    A little Old Crow whiskey and day 1 was complete. Great push and I was satisfied that I had put 930 miles behind me. The Super Enduro had proven itself as a freeway-worthy machine.
    #11
  12. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Enjoyed your other ride reports. Looking forward to this one as well. :lurk
    #12
  13. oldenuf

    oldenuf Been here awhile

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    Port Angeles, WA
    Regarding the picture of the HD. I just love how some, take an outfitted touring motorcycle and, vertically, just keep piling it on.

    Art
    #13
  14. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    Taking advantage of the free camping, I got up early and had a cup of croffee (old crow and coffee) and was gone by just after sunrise. At the first gas stop I had another cup of croffee. You use Old Crow sparingly in croffee, kinda like just adding a little sweetener. With the second exhaust pipe removed, this makes the perfect place to strap on a half gallon of Old Crow.
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    I was ticking off the miles nicely again however I had to pee before the next gas stop. Oh well, I was still on schedule to meet my bro Blurry later in the day.
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    I hit Laramie about noon. That ended my freeway segment of the journey and I decided to remove my windshield and send it to my house in Utah.
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    The Super Enduro got to run fast for a day and a half so she wasn’t feeling all cooped up but she was definitely happy to ditch the windshield. She knew what this meant and what was ahead.
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    #14
  15. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
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    326
    Out of Laramie, off the interstate, a highway turns to two lanes which brings you up to the town of Medicine Bow. Not much there, but, there is a really neat looking old hotel on the main drag. Also, one gas station which I took advantage of.
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    Now we’re talking! Onto the dirt. I’m not all that excited about my tires at this point but I’ll make do.
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    An hour or so later, I pull up to the bridge where Blurry and I thought we’d try to meet. I got there first and hadn’t even gotten my helmet off when I see Blurry pulling up. He pulled a piece of slab from near Salt Lake and hopped onto gravel to get to this bridge on the North Platte River just north of Seminoe Reservoir. Talk about good timing! Chalk that up to dumb luck. We took a beer break to catch up a bit then continued on.
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    Now we were getting into the type of terrain that we would be riding until we got back into Utah. Wyoming has thousands of miles of two tracks running across it. Easy riding for the big dirt bikes.
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    Super cool bridge going over some narrows on the North Platte.
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    Now we’re getting into more familiar terrain where the trails become much more sparse. When you’re in the west, you kinda have to learn a sixth sense that’ll tell you whether your route will go through or if it’s going to dead end, or be blocked by private property, or be closed by county, state or federal authority. Maps only do part of the job.
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    After loosing the trail and sniffing it out again, we were slightly questionable about if it was going to go through. The old two track was very sparse and hadn’t been used much lately. Sure enough, at the bottom we found ourselves on the wrong side of this gate.
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    We made it down to the marina where we thought we might get a few supplies but they were already closed. A girl came out and I talked her into selling us some more beer out of the bar till which they weren’t finished counting for the day. I came back out to find Blurry and a puddle of oil under his bike. We quickly turned off the gas and laid it over as to not lose anymore oil. This is never a pretty sight.
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    At least we had beer to drink while we tried to figure out where the oil leak was.
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    The Super Enduro has one SERIOUS flaw in my opinion and that is the location of the engine oil reservoir tank which hangs right at the lower front of the engine, right where the skid plate takes the most abuse from rocks, stumps, barricades, etc. This is a major flaw for a bike that is supposed to be built to withstand a serious beating. We are working with some guys in Salt Lake that build skid plates to build a GOOD ONE that is attached to the frame of the Super Enduro rather than just being attached to the reservoir itself.

    JB Weld is an amazing patching tool but it turned out we didn’t need any. An oil line fitting had gotten bashed out of shape when blurry came over the log past that closed gate. We clamped it and tweaked it almost back into shape. We thought we might have to make a gasket out of the Budweiser cardboard box but we got it to seal back up without a makeshift gasket.
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    It was almost dark when we got the repair finished and Blurry was low on oil. The marina attendants were gone so we decided to just sleep on the grass in front of the place, grab a quart of oil from them in the morning and keep going. (poor photo, sorry, iphones only on this trip)
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    This was actually a super sweet camp site!! But then the marina manager walked up to us. We explained our situation about breaking down and how we wanted to camp there for the night and buy some oil in the morning. He was totally cool and said enjoy the grass!! But he said the place was closed on Tuesdays so we couldn’t buy any oil then. Instead he unlocked the place and grabbed two quarts which he gave us and wouldn’t take any money. The more I run into people who do stuff like that, the more generous I become with anything I can do to lend a hand to others. Perfect. We got drunk and called it a night.
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    #15
    Tallbastid and pratered like this.
  16. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    Enjoying your RR and those two bikes are great advertisement for Giant Loop. Love your use of the Pronghorn straps.
    #16
  17. ata

    ata expat in the jungle

    Joined:
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    Bilbao, close to the fu****ng Guggenheim
    very interesting stuff right here

    suscribed

    :lurk
    #17
  18. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    The "Pronghorn" straps are actually made by Voile Equipment (check them here: VOILE STRAPS) and are hands down the best type of strap ever made for motorcycling. They have been around for years and are crucial for a minimalist to secure his gear well enough to pound whoops. The Giant Loop is a 'johny come lately' but is the only type of commercially made gear retention system that minimalists endorse.

    I have two friends now that are running Giant Loops. I believe they have the Coyote model. The only downfall I've seen is that it allows them to bring too much stuff. The longevity of the large zipper is a bit of a concern but time will tell. All in all, they got a good system going.
    #18
  19. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    326
    We hop on the bikes and start riding early quickly finding more obscure routes well off the beaten path.
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    We were climbing up into the Rattlesnake Hills I believe, northwest of Pathfinder Reservoir.
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    There is almost as much cattle fencing in Wyoming as there are two tracks.
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    We were loving the views from up here.
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    When I come across stuff like this, I always wonder what the story was as to how it wound up out there.
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    Back down into the basin for some high speed buttery two tracks!
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    We were hitting a number of easy creek crossings. No recent heavy rains but we knew there were going to be a couple of bigger rivers to fjord ahead. We were looking forward to it.
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    Just gorgeous territory!!
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    Oops!! I ran out of gas. This didn’t seem right as I rarely run out of fuel. That ain’t Budweiser I’m dumping in there by the way.
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    I started off my journey from Michigan knowing I had a weak battery that was on it’s last legs. I just wasn’t able to replace it before heading out. So, I ran it dead trying to get the bike started again. Another downfall of the Super Enduro is it doesn’t have a kick starter. We towed the bike to bump start it.
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    #19
  20. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile

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    Wyoming sure has its remoteness for sure. Looks like you are having great weather too. Thanks for the great ride, looking forward to more!
    #20