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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jean-Luc, Oct 6, 2003.
Having ridden with JL I know the feeling!
Me thinks you is standing when ya could be sit'n
And sit'n when ya should be stand'n
Rad, you're right in your comments but I think Turk knows the theory, he just needs some more dirt practice to get the necessary confidence. As he stated himself, that last trail was "way above his head" considering his dirt riding experience and you get tired much quicker in these riding conditions. Despite all that he went on and on without complaining and I know it was not easy for him. Good job there Turk !
Gotta agree with ya there, that's why I feel ok pick'n on him.
He's a very skilled street rider and ballsy dirt rider for his amount of experience. I learned that about him last year in Death Valley
Hey J-L, would love for you to do a review on the big Katoom and it's off road abilities compared to yur other "dirt" bikes
Well thats not an easy task for me since Im more an instinctive rider than an analytic one. It must be the reason why I suck at setting up my shocks. Ill give a try though since I realized I got now about 55,000 miles of riding experience on big dual-sports: 1150 GS, 650 GS Dakar, V-Strom and KTM 950. And I think I pushed all of them to their off-road limits and for one, over the limit .
My first comment is that the KTM is by far the best of the 4 for off-riding. Not a big surprise there, but the gap is larger that you may think and I only tried it off-road with loaded Jesse bags on it!
The biggest difference might come from the shocks that are just awesome! And again, I dont even know how to use the multiple ways to adjust them. Obstacle after obstacle, I became more and more impressed with them. I dont know about jumping but for everything else they can handle it perfectly. Jimmy Lewis was right in saying that even the non-S will have the same great quality, the only real difference being the clearance. You can go confidently above rocks and boulders, letting the bike do its job and youll be over the obstacle before you even know it. I seriously think that in that regard its very close to a real enduro bike.
The chassis is also very impressive! For a long time the KTM enduro were in general very stable (like being on a rail), which is obviously a quality but were somehow lacking agility and maneuverability. Looking at the long swing arm and imagining the inertia of a big twin I was a bit afraid to find the same behavior on the 950 which would be great for the big spaces of the Dakar for example but not so much for technical stuff. Although I didnt do any single track yet, I was happily surprise by the very good compromise this chassis offers: very stable and agile in the same time. The only thing is that, for very slow speed maneuverability it would nice to be able to turn more the handlebars.
The combination of great shocks, chassis and high clearance is what makes the 950 so efficient in rocks. I know that, on Sunday, I would have destroyed the bash plates of the 1150GS or Strom in more than one occasion and maybe crashed too. There was no trouble with the 950! I had no chance to try it in deep sand so I dont know how good it will be there.
The engine is wonderful on pavement and actually very usable off-road too. Since the power is only brutal over 6,000 RPM (red line: 9,500) you can navigate off-road from 3 to 5 K with great ease and enough torque for most of the situations. The gearing is a bit too high but certainly not as bad as the GS or Strom and it never was an issue even in tough hill climbing. Having a smooth wet clutch was also extremely useful there.
The weight is on par with the 650 and the Strom but the 950 feels inexplicably lighter. I guess its because the bike is very reactive and that the off-riding position is much better than the Strom for example.
So far, only good stuff for the big Katoom! However, even KTM cannot change the physical laws and I reached the limits of the bike (or mines) in a stiff hill climbing with rocks and very loose sand all around. The combination of a heavy weight (vs a dirt bike) and street oriented tires didnt give the bike enough traction to go further up.
Speaking about tires, the Scorpions are really decent on the pavement and are not too bad off-road if the ground is not too loose: overall an okay compromise even if I would drop them immediately if the TKC80 were available.
Those black tank protector thingies for the 950 are only about $3 each. I just ordered a six-pack figuring that I'll go through 'em pretty quickly.
Good comments/info J-L
I look forward to hear'n a review of the beast from ya after you have a set of knobs on it
Hey, I just found more pictures in Turk's galleries: with all the pics I've posted of him, I see no reason for not "stealing" them from him :):!
They are a bit "look-a-like" for me but Ricky insisted!
bring them ON!!!!!!!!!!!
I love this shit.
I did not see this one,,,yeah I'm "Borrowing' from turkish too...
Sorry, but he has no more! His camera (and him!) takes great pictures but since it's quite bulky he didn't take if off the top case then off it's bag too often. I'm very tempted by buying one of these SLR type cameras but the convenience factor seems to be a real issue in motorcycle trips...
Fuckin' Awesome report!
I took JL School this year, but looking at your pics and report tells me I havta ride a LOT more before I come out west next year. Yowzah. You guys are gods.
The Katoom is lookin' better every day...
the pics of you helping the HD guys and chick were priceless. ATGATT wins. Woohoo!!!!
Hey Kirk, I hope my comments on the off-road stuff answered your question!
As you know the bike runs pretty hot if you don't go fast and so off-road the fan is often on. No big deal though since it never goes over 5 bars. My bike has some issue though (even on pavement): when I push it a little bit and then take a break I have some overflow and cooling liquid flowing on the ground. Even when there is no liquid coming I hear this bubbling noise
About the Jesse's I like them very much and the flat plate too. It's the 3rd bike for which I'm using the same bags: they are undestructible and preserve the narrowness of the bike much more than any other hard bags I'm aware of. They were never on the way and their weight (rather low and close to the bike) was not a big handicap even in the tough off-road. I do however have some issues on the 950 as I've posted somewhere else: I get a lot of wobbling starting at 95-105 mph (variable). With the same bags on my V-Strom that didnt start before 110-115 mph. Its not an issue with the weight (I cranked the preload just to verify) but more with aerodynamic. I tried the tank panniers on the front to see if that would improve the flow but there was very little impact.
Riding long distance is much better than expected: the wind protection is OK (for my size), you can barely feel vibrations and the seat although hard is not that bad. We wanted to spend as much time as possible for the scouting and so we ended up taking the I5 for a while and the KTM was fine cruising at 95mph for hours on the freeway. Not what you're supposed to do with it but nice to know she's fine for that too.
Jean Luc, what an incredible ride on the 950! Truly demonstrating the off road ability. I also have a Strom, and have ridden a GS, and I agree the KTM is the best!
I attribute a lot of the handling to the focus of low center of gravity on the bike. And the suspension of course.
Also, the picture of both bikes by the sea is great. KTM should buy that one from you.
why do I hear banjo music?
Ride Forest Ride!!!
Hey WARPED is happening soon - is this all to high up to be open?
Effectively LC8 is waaay over other big bikes on enduro terrain... probabily the only one capable to make same things than a thumper.
Definitely go for new rims , Excel or another interesting possibility may be here :
Ah , here several are using LC8's for "motorally" competitions .;enduro races similar to Baja , 2 to 5 days each with 250/400 kms
Luca Manca's bike at Rally di Sardegna 2004