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Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by ktmrandy, Jul 13, 2015.
I try not to, but he keeps creeping up on me.
I don't know that I agree that we've been mislead, I think sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our skills. Perhaps we've mislead ourselves?
I'm 56, have a bad back (ruptured disc L5/S1), two bad knees the surgeon wants to upgrade with some aftermarket parts, and I am far from being in shape anymore. I love my 990, though I admit I'm intrigued by the sounds of bikes like the 790.
What keeps me on the 990 really is that I ride almost exclusively two up. I've yet to come across a significantly lighter bike with the ergonomics for two people and camping gear.
We do spend a significant amount of time off pavement, and not just easy gravel. This summer we rode a portion of TCAT from southern Quebec to Wawa Ontario, and did drop the bike a handful of times, hell three times in one day. Even fully loaded, we do OK picking the bike up together, though my wife is small, and far from a strong powerhouse. I've done it myself. Again not easy but doable. Honestly I think it's a matter of technique for us.
One thing I learned from my Enduro racing days is sometimes you have to slow down to go faster. The time and energy wasted in dropping the bike is a killer. So, we go as slow as we need to. It's not a race. I know I'm not Chris Birch. If I have to paddle along pokey slow at less than walking speed, so be it. Oh, one other big help is having a Rekluse clutch. I'm certain it's helped prevent many a bike drop.
So I'm sticking with my big bike as long as I can! Some day I'm sure that will change.
Riding two up you are unlikely to be riding anything much harder than formed dirt roads. For anything more technical you would struggle. The 990 is great for dirt roads and lots of luggage and two up riding.
In Aus a lot of the iconic adventure tracks (eg. The Simpson Desert, Canning Stock Route, the Anne Beadell) you wouldn’t be doing two up on any bike. All very sandy 4wd tracks with plenty of dunes. And in sand you need to keep your speed up which keeps the bike more stable but the consequences of coming off increase.
uhh...if these are your idea of "unlikely to be riding anything much harder than formed dirt roads" I would say you are correct. (those are just from one ride.. and fairly representative of what we routinely do
That is awesome! I hope I'm still riding the woods at 70.
A few months ago I stopped on a country road to help a box turtle cross ....I went to put my foot down on the right side but did not find the ground because it sloped down sharply. Down I went with the 990. I just power lifted it up from the downside of the hill. I did not think to much about it other than I wanted to get back on quick before someone drove by . I'm 6'1" 220 and 59. I've been active all my life and I'm glad to still have plenty of strength.
I usually ride alone because organized rides are hard to put together with every ones schedule. My wife and friends think I'm crazy to go alone and it has me pondering my judgement. I did finally brok down and get a Garmin InReach.......which I hope to never really need.
BTW: I got the golf monkey off my back about 10 years ago and have not missed it one bit....rather be riding the mountain bike or the motorcycles.
I am at the younger end of the spectrum, just turned 52. I had a 990, which I sold to KTM Mike above! Solo riding I realized the 990 was just too big and could get me into trouble real quick. It is a truly capable bike in the right hands, and a blast on 2 tracks and forest roads. I marvel at how some guys manage to ride these big bikes off road. I downsized to a 690, which I think of as a mini 990. It is perfect for most ADV type riding. But I find I enjoy riding my 450 much more. I don't do the high mileage rides anymore, so the need of a big bike to swallow up the miles is no longer needed. I just load the bike in the van and drive to the good riding. Lots of older guys in the thread ADV bikes under 400lbs in the thumper area. And they all seem to be going to a KTM 500EXC for the same reasons. Easier to pickup, more manageable off road, and just more fun. I hope I will be able to enjoy riding into my 70s as well. It's nice to have choices though.
They are capable bikes for 2 up, but sometimes the 2nd person has to walk. But usually for short sections. A lighter bike would be great, but for 2 two in our 60s, I haven't found a capable one we can fit on comfortably. We use to ride a KLR, but we've gained a few pounds.
The upper pads need to be bigger. Better for the fall.
That's really cool except what happens when the bike is down on the kickstand side?
I'd wager that the vast majority of your riding is more conventional dirt roads and better. No disrespect, but if that is all the riding you do, you probably have the wrong tool for the job.
I have also taken my KTM 990 across some pretty gnarly stuff (eg. 1300km of sandy tracks https://advrider.com/f/threads/ktm-990-f800gs-2017-july-august-anne-beadell-crossing.1246768/) but I rode 3000km of tar to get there followed by another 800km at the other end. On the tar the bike was fantastic. On dirt roads also very very good, had a blast. Once we got the the really sandy tracks with lots of dunes it was quite a challenge and probably the ride that convinced me that these big heavy adventure bikes 'dirt worthiness' is a bit of myth.
No matter how capable you are, the sheer mass of these bikes really works against. Yes, their are plenty of Chris Birch style videos showing riders really hustling these things along and some interesting videos like this one
which show what can be done (I am in awe of this guy). But it is damn hard work (notice how the WR250s were always waaay ahead). I really enjoyed the challenge and satisfaction of achieving some hard technical and adventure rides on the 990, but frankly the work was starting to take some of the pleasure out it. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be.
I probably spent way too much time doing this . . .
In my view the smaller DRZ400 which I currently ride gives up less on the highway than what it makes up for in the dirt. And it is a doddle to pickup when dropped. I will always miss the KTM990 but for the sort of riding "I" was doing and my skill levels, it was too big and heavy. But than I don't ride two up and travel pretty light.
If you are riding solo on difficult terrain, the 990 is not the best. But , if you are travelling distances and doing moderate jeep roads, especially 2 up, then it is much better than most bikes. Even a DR or KLR gets difficult to pick up in many situations. I've had trouble picking up a KDX 200 in certain situations even when I was much younger. You have to know your limitations on any bike.
In my dreamworld I have multiple bikes, one to fill each of my riding niches OR have the ‘KTM Unicorn Adventure 700’, the perfect twin cylinder 700cc, sub 150kgs wet, 30L fuel capacity, reliable, economical, equally at home on trails and tar . . . and than I wake up and find myself on DRZ400. Not quite the dream but scratches the dirt adv itch.
True. That's why I have the DR 650. I had a KLR before that, but bought the DR because it was less weight and more dirt worthy. I wish I had kept my XR 650R. Having multiple bikes is the way to go, but you can only have one on each trip. You just have to decide what kind of trip you're doing. Sometimes you run into more difficult terrain than you thought you would.
There are are a lot of opinions when it comes to dropping bikes. The extremes tend to range from: "It's unacceptable and should never or at most rarely happen" to the other end of the camp that says "If you don't drop it a handful of times during a ride you weren't trying hard enough."
For most the truth is somewhere in between.
One pays the price for mass in extremely soft terrain and in highly technical hard surface terrain at a walking pace. Doesn't matter how great the bike is, it would be better if it weighed less. On hard surfaces, even rocky ones, the mass doesn't really matter at less than race pace if the bike has a good suspension and decent geometry, in fact the extra mass can smooth the ride a bit. I subscribe to the notion that big bikes are easier to ride than small ones right up to the point they suddenly aren't.... LOL.
I try to limit the number of times I drop heavy bikes simply because of the energy consumed to get them back on their wheels cuts into the energy needed to ride, though I also often consider it just part of the ride depending on what I'm doing. My aversion to dropping any bike is highly dependent on the situation. Sometimes I couldn't care less, othertimes I might be mad at myself over it. If I didn't feel this way there are a ton of places I wouldn't take big bikes and that would be far too limiting (to me).
For some reason I was crashing. Found out that my kick stand shut off switch was damaged and when I hit something like a ledge the engine quit. 990's with out power do not want to stay upright. I had to unpack to lighten the bike and then was able to lift and right the bike.
I figured out the problem by then and used a bungee to hold the kick stand in the up position and was able to proceed. That was back when I was 65. Now at 70 and after a couple of surgeries I'm not so strong. But I still can lift the bike because I always have had strong legs, when I can't I will reconsider but for now I'm going to grow old with my trusted bike.
Riding the Colorado BDR solo, Ophir Pass.
I didn't get (back) into riding until I was 63. Had a 27 year "layoff" At age 67 I bought my '11 Dakar and it STILL plants a smile on my face
I just turned 44 last month, so i'm super exited seeing that all you guys who are older than me still rockin' the 9x0 bikes off of the pavement...whether is be easy gravel, two track, endless silt and sand, or even on the rocky single track! It gives me something to strive for in 5/10/15/20/25 years from now! Keep up the good work gents!
The key with getting old(er) is to get a bike you can pick up, poor Red Bull into the gas tank, practice hard with a load on the bike if that's how you'll travel with it, and make a point of keeping the rubber side down as much as possible. :)
I did a similar trip six & a half years ago: rode to Utah and then the Utah & Colorado BDRs and part of the Continental Divide Trail in Wyoming, on my DRZ400. Then I rode back home. That 4000 mile trip taught me that a DRZ400 was too small a bike for that trip. So, I went shopping for a 990, and here I am.