Not the first time I mention on ADV I love my KTM hack. It’s tough, beautiful, iconic. I dragged it up Monarch Pass, CO and drove it over the Million Dollar Highway, I hauled it through Death Valley NV and over the long hot Loneliest Road, I tortured it in the hot deserts in Utah, just saved it from being wrecked in the European-like impatient traffic in San Francisco and New Orleans, went from Miami to San Francisco and back. And I put it in danger on the busy roads of Europe and on some passes in the Alps. Packed it with too much stuff. A woman on the campground in Lee Vining, CA asked me if I put lots of shoes and make up in those cases. Yeah right. Here’s what I really dragged along in this picture on Tioga Pass, CA: A five person tent -we need our space-, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, a jet boil, coffee mugs, coffee, food, chairs, Dutch wooden shoes, tools, motor oil, chain lubricant, coolant, a jack, spare parts and a 55 gallon drum of mineral clutch oil, because my clutch slave cilinder leaked for 5000 miles on that trip. And a laptop, a radio, jumper cables, an 8-meter extension cord with American plug for our European gadgets, bank calculators and clothes. And the dirty laundry. Detergent. Oh, I forget a case: a tarp, a mosquito net, towels, rain gear, the glass of the Rainforest café in Nashville (still undamaged until today), a beautiful stone that Marc gave us in Cannonville, UT (still taking good care of that), at least 60 orange wooden shoe keychains, to give away to nice people, a cooling vest, old motorcycle pants from mr ktmtraveler aka Jan that he only (and really only) will put on during his track day at Laguna Seca and then throws away. Plus a cooler bag. And a brush to wipe the desert sand out of the tent. A toiletries bag. Yes, including a tiny bit of make up. And yes, shoes: sneakers and flip flops. With all those packs I had to shift to a lower gear regularly on the mountain passes. Not because of the steepness. It just lacked a bit power. I had to encourage my hack to go up. Whisper in its ear. ‘You can make it, buddy! Hang in there!’ I have the feeling that I push it too much to the limit and the bike wears out way too fast. Some time ago I asked the technical guru at our Dutch bike shop about this. He was shocked. ‘That bike is undestroyable! No worries, it’s fine!’ And so I rode off again on several trips. It sometimes leaves me standing in the rain with some kind of technical trouble. The tires wear out every 3000 miles. But it rides like a hoot and I’m so used to the wobbly character that wants to go left and right, up and down, all at the same time. Yes, I love my hack. Now the time has come to replace it. With pain in the heart. Like abandoning a pet. And so it goes. The King is dead, long live the King. Hope you like to follow along on this build. Sure, you can skip the babbling and go for the pictures. I won’t know.