myth of the light weight adventure bike for dirt and adv riding?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by B1, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    You can walk around the world but that doesn't help dirt hokie who is looking for a bike meeting these criteria.

    "I need a bike that can do a 10 day 2800 mile adventure ride around the Rockies, e start, fuel injection, able to carry some gear, and be competitive Senior C class hare scrambles and last me 10 years."

    The racing part eliminates the Japanese soft bikes and any heavier dual sports availablele the USA.

    You ask where 80+ mph matters. West of the Mississippi. Where one finds the Rocky Mountains.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Speed_Limits.svg

    A KTM 500 EXC is happy at any posted speed limit in North America, will carry some gear, be competitive in most any class hare scrambles, and last over 10 years. Go back and read his post. Anyone have a better suggestion for dirt hokie? And please, don't suggest another Honda Ruckus.

    Oh, and dirt hokie, don't fall in love with a KTM 690 until you've ridden one fast on rough trails. It has great power and is fun on dirt roads but the suspension sucks when things get rough. A 20 year old 640 LC4E would be a better bet than a 690 for what you say you're looking for.
  2. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    I never asked where 80 mph meant anything. I will tell you in nearly every one of those places you could run along at 60 mph and do fine. Only place where it would be an issue is in some more urban interstate areas where the flow of traffic will push it up. Seems speed limits are meant for top speed, not minimum... but I think you know that.

    I will venture to guess that a rider's butt won't be happy with a KTM 500 EXC on those 80 mph flat long runs. But the key point to give any advice is to actually know enough about the rider to know what conditions they plan to encounter - where will the NOT go is as important as where they will go. Another point would be how tall of a seat height will they be willing to tolerate. Another would be weather protection. Another might be engine performance characteristics. Another would be just how much "stuff" is going to be stacked on the bike. Lots to consider. I'm betting neither the Ruckus or the KTM 500 EXC is the answer for the OP.

    Odds are a KLR650 would actually be one of the best most well rounded lighter weight adventure bikes possible for many riders to drone along on those long adventure rides. Unfortunately it's gone now.
  3. Black Hills

    Black Hills Long timer

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    a KLR and a older 300XC would cover the bases, not sure there is one bike that meets the criteria? the 500 has the same ergos as my 300 and you would have to have a tough ass to do 2800 miles in 10 days IMO.
  4. Dualsport4ever

    Dualsport4ever Been here awhile Supporter

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    What is your brother doing to prepare his KTM 500 for the ride? What are his thoughts on taking it on this adventure, or is he actually buying a KTM 690 for it?
  5. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    I can't speak for dirt hokie's brother but I can tell you what I have done to make a race bike into a light weight, long distance, adventure bike without losing any performance capabilities. It doesn't really take much.

    Starting with a used 2014 KTM 500. Additions/replacements include:
    • Doubletake mirrors. These replace to vulnerable stock items. They work great and come off easy for races.
    • Bajaworx windscreen. This screen provides great wind protection even at high speeds, weighs almost nothing, and doesn't get in the way when riding difficult single track. It doesn't come off super easy but you don't notice it's there except when enjoying it's benefits while riding on the road.
    • Globetrottin rack. This came with the bike. I'm not sure it's needed so long as a person keeps his load around 35 pounds but it's handy for around town errands.
    • Soft luggage. I just use whitewater dry bags strapped onto the rack but there are lots of good options such as Mosko Moto, GiantLoop, Wolfman, etc.. All of these will work with a bare fender or with a small rack. Green Chili makes some nice strap systems for rackless bikes.
    • Fisher seat. All day comfort unless you're a Princess and the pea kinda guy.
    • 5 gallon gas tank. Necessary for riding in the west where 200 mile range is often needed. The bike gets +/- 50 mpg so five gallons is good for around 250 miles. If you want the smaller stock tank for racing, it's a 15 minute job to switch out the tanks.
    • Hondo Garage phone mount. I use my phone for navigation while adventure riding. I have a Kyocera Dual Force Pro which is ruggedized and waterproof so no worries about getting wet.
    • Edit: Steering stabilizer. Almost forgot. This came with the bike and is very beneficial both when riding on the highway at speed with a load of gear and racing/riding off road where rocks, tree roots, or ruts try to deflect the front tire.

    None of these take away from the ability to race the bike in enduro, hare scrambles, or desert racing. The only thing I've found is the rack will hit you in the ass in some fast whoops or steep drops. If racing is a goal I would suggest concentrating on packing light and skip the rack. Your mileage may vary but I have found these modifications make the 500 suitable for riding any of the BDRs (a light bike makes the difficult options fun), including 80+ mph interstate slogs to get there, and is still great for racing in events like the Desert 100.

    You can always add more modifications but those go more towards want versus need. Here is a good resource. https://therollinghobo.com/bikes

    Some folks worry about the short oil change intervals on the 500 when travelling on longer trips. When riding and not racing, conventional wisdom is that 750 - 1,000 miles is safe for oil changes. That means you might still need a change during a trip. It only takes a few minutes and is easy to perform. What I use is a Platypus container for carrying the oil and a folded piece of aluminum foil for a makeshift drain pan. The Platypus is easier to store than the bottles oil comes in and you only need to bring 1.5 L. Shape the drain pan, drain the oil, button everything back up, pour in the new oil, pour the old oil into the Platypus for proper disposal, fold the drain pan up and put it in a Ziploc bag, and away you go.
  6. Dualsport4ever

    Dualsport4ever Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yep, definitely great info here. I've got some firsthand experience in this area:

    image.jpeg

    I think I'm gonna borrow a few of your "oil-change-while-travelling" ideas. Sounds pretty slick.
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  7. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    Beautiful Berg. I wish management would have kept making them.
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  8. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    There are many places in the west where traffic is averaging 85 and riding at 60 mph will likely get your ass run over by a triple-trailer semi doing 75. Back roads are always preferred but sometimes you gotta make miles.
  9. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    And where's the adventure in just making miles? I avoid crap like that on my regular street bike, much less my dual sport. I wouldn't run a 500 motocrosser in that sort of place. Wouldn't be particularly enthusiastic about doing it on a Gold Wing either. No place for any light weight adventure bike.

    I will say I'd sure try to plan better than being stuck on some slab somewhere. Worst case scenario for us is if we get stuck having to make time on a 2 lane main state or U.S. route instead of some state or U.S. byway, county or township road. Fact is some of the more popular sport bike roads are more open than we try to ride when doing a bit of adventure riding, whether for a day or a few days. I don't particularly like the odds when someone may just run me over because I'm not doing 85 mph. I don't care if the bike can do it or not, that kind of crap just plain isn't sensible nor is it safe.

    For example, I'd rather ride Cleveland Avenue through Columbus Ohio than run I-71. If I'm going to take a risk I'll take mine at 45 mph with someone doing something stupid in front of me than taking a chance on some distracted anus coming up at 90 mph on the interstate in heavy traffic, running up my rear end or cutting me off in their blind spot. If I can't do that I don't want to ride that area. I'd rather plan for 50 miles of back road time at 45-65 mph than 30 miles of four lane 70-85 mph, which is pretty much what we do. Look for the crookedest lines on the map or talk to others, then go there. We seldom run late in the day due to that kind of planning. It isn't about making miles for us, it's making the most of the miles we do ride.
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  10. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    ^^ No argument from me. However, if you're in Seattle and your adventure starts in Moab, taking back roads is going to add several days for the transit, taking time away from the Moab adventure. One can load the bikes on a trailer or truck if you have such a thing, you can grit your teeth and suffer the interstate for a couple of days if you don't, or you could stay home and read ride reports from Joe Motocross.

    I'm old enough to have toured around WA, ID, MT, OR, CA, and BC on a Honda CB77 and later a Kawasaki Mach 3. My KTM 500 EXC is set up to be better than either of those bikes on the freeway. Maybe I'm just not too picky about comfort.
  11. Colorad0

    Colorad0 Long timer

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    Some great ideas there with the oil change. Do you also clean the screens and change the filter, or does that get done when you're back at home?
  12. Colorad0

    Colorad0 Long timer

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    What do you think of the suspension on the Husky 701? Different shock/fork vs the 690, right? Also an extra 25mm of travel.

    IIRC the 2020's are the same amount of travel (250mm) though, which is a shame.
  13. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    It depends. If it's once on a trip I don't bother with the screens and filter. If it's longer I'll do the works every other time. It's fairly easy to find a KTM filter in most towns of any size and they don't take up much space to carry one or two.
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  14. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    I'm not sure. I suggest looking through the bike specific threads in thumpers to get your answer.

    The 690 I rode for a week was a 2015 if I remember correctly. I was riding a '00 640 LC4E at the time and thought a 690 would be a good next bike. The stock suspension was so horrible the first time I took it out on some serious terrain I lost interest in a 690 and haven't kept informed. It bounced and bucked when hitting rocks and ruts so bad it wasn't much fun to ride. I fiddled with the adjustments but it didn't improve much.

    It's a flawed design in my opinion and throwing dollars at it will only get you so far. However, if your riding mostly paved or dirt roads without big rocks and such it's a fine choice.
  15. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    I have the truck and trailer as do a number of friends. We figure where we want to concentrate our ride and transport to the area then ride out around the area like spokes in a wheel. It also can protect against several days delay should one of the bikes break down or a rider be injured to the point of not being able to ride. But that is just how we do it.
  16. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Good plan! Going the fun way always beats going the fast way when time allows. For weekend ripping in my region backroads and forest roads are always my preferred route. Sometimes the slow route options are still boring and less time spent on boring roads (big or small) means more time to enjoy the good stuff if time is a consideration. Even so, I often ride secondary roads or forest roads even if they parallel an interstate because it's all about the ride.

    Everyone has their own unique version of adventure and the right bike for the job is going to vary based on that individuals definition of adventure. I ride small bikes for fun day or weekend rips in my region. I occasionally throw the small bike into the back of my truck to ride some place cool far away. I wouldn't call either type of ride an adventure, but that's just me. For me an "Adventure" is loading the bike and heading to parts unknown, not knowing whether at the end of any given day if I'll be camping on public lands or chilling in a motel room. Heck, not all that rare that I don't even end up staying in the state I thought I'd be in by the end of the day. :)

    trip camping.jpg trip moose.jpg
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  17. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    That's my definition of adventure riding - when there's no destination and no time limits to get there. Just going, then figuring where to stay early enough it isn't a problem.
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  18. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    He is thinking of buying the ktm 690. I wants to be able to carry luggage without worrying about the lack sub frame, and he wants a better seat.....He also has the budget for it....
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  19. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Inmate

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    I just wish more of the big singles came with a rally fairing from the factory without costing well over five figures - the CRF250L Rally is honestly pretty tolerable on the [East Coast] superslab thanks to the extra wind protection (the steel frame and porky motor certainly don't hurt), if I need to do 100+ miles.
  20. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    My Kawasaki Mach 3 was not much of a long distance tourer. I don't think I ever did more than a 150 mile loop on that thing. So if that is your base, the 500 EXC is fantastic for some freeway, but I sure would plan on seeing the back roads as often as possible.
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