Orangecicle v2.0: My KTM Basel 690 Quest story

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Orangecicle, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest" Supporter

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    Back in 2010, I was searching for a bike that would be my all-purpose bike. I wanted something that would travel well at highway speeds, something that would carry luggage, and something that would take me well off the beaten path. I thought at the time that the perfect bike would be something like the old Honda TransAlp 650 with smaller displacement and V-twin smoothness. But, those bikes brought a premium in the US if you could find them just because they are getting rare. And then there was the parts problem if you broke something on a long-in-the-tooth bike like that.

    It seemed like there was nothing out there that really checked all the boxes for me. Then I ran across some threads talking about the KTM 950 Adventure. It was way, way more bike than I needed, but wow. I found a listing on eBay and started talking to the owner in private messages. A few weeks later, he dropped off a new-to-me, well used 950.

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    Over these past few years, my 950 has been my constant companion. It has been the thing that I turn to when I need a break from the rest of the world.

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    It has given me that opportunity to just break away when the world seemed to be crashing down on me, like when my Dad was in a nursing home trying to recover from a stroke . . . and failing.

    Me and my sis on a day away from the nursing facility near Estes Park:

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    We were happy to be on the bike. Otherwise, we weren't happy.

    The 950 has taken me up the highest navigable road in the country. Here's sis at the top of Mt. Evans:

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    And, the 950 has given me every chance to "play" with all sorts of things, like digging into the internals of the bike, or just making up some new graphics.

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    One day while riding in Colorado with my sister, we stopped for gas in Idaho Springs. She tried to get back on the bike and couldn't get her leg over the seat. She nearly fell to the ground laughing and said, "Why do they make these orangecicles so damn TALL!" From that point forward, my bike was the Orangecicle, and I immediately changed my ADV handle to match.

    Over the past two years, my riding has been changing a lot. I ride a lot locally with a small group of guys who like to really explore the places where no one goes. Tracks that have me out of my element on the 950 due to the weight. And then there was that crash that I had in Colorado riding the Backcountry Discovery Route.

    Not this one:

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    This one:

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    Yeah, that hurt. Cracked ribs, and I think we still did another 100 miles that day.

    So, after riding a few smaller bikes and thinking about what I want to do next year at 50+ years of age, I decided that it's time to retool. I told my Dad once that he should spend all of his money before his death because I didn't want any, and that if he left me any money I'd buy the biggest motorcycle I could find and ride it all the way across the country. (He hated motorcycles and, more specifically, me on motorcycles). Well he didn't get the chance to spend all of his money, so I'm going to keep my promise. But I am going to vary the size of the bike a little.

    I think, and a lot of other people think, that KTM is really pointed in the wrong direction. Riders like me want a bike that will do everything reasonably well. Good range, low weight, reasonable power. I think KTM should be focusing efforts on the middle adventure market rather than on GS competitors. I have no desire at all to own an 1190, 1290, or the new "restricted" 1050. I would be frightened to take a bike like that back through Colorado off road. Nope. Not me.

    Instead, I'm downsizing. I picked up this really unused 2010 690 today.

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    A few months from now, it should look like this (borrow from Clare and Sam's Chasing Horizons thread):

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    This is a very happy day, but the picture of my old 950 and my new 690 leaves me a little sad. To me, it's a reminder that I'm preparing to say goodbye to an old friend. But such is life. I don't collect bikes. I ride bikes. I have room for one bike in my garage, and that bike is going to be a KTM Quest.

    Orangecicle version 2.0.

    Alright, let's do this.
    #1
    ErGuss likes this.
  2. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest" Supporter

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    Conversation with my wife tonight:

    Wife: "So, have you figured this bike out yet?"

    Me: "Right . . . . Did you know that this bike doesn't have carbs?"

    Wife: "What will you do with all of your spare time?"

    :lol3 Things I will not miss about the 950.

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    #2
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  3. michael1968

    michael1968 Long timer

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    :rofl
    #3
  4. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

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    I like your style man.

    So, did you order the kit yet ?
    #4
  5. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest" Supporter

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    Not yet. Talking to Basel is a bit challenging at times. Basel is a small shop, from what I understand. One thread in ADV advised to copy clare@ktmbasel.ch I did that and did get a response back from Clare of Chasing Horizons fame! She said that she and Sam have been working with KTM Basel to promote the kit. Hopefully we will be able to work out the specifics in the coming weeks. No rush, though. Mother nature just dumped three inches of powdery white crap all over the place here. :cry
    #5
  6. ZLTFUL

    ZLTFUL Optimistic Pessimist

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    Grats Brad. Looking forward to helping you pick up your new toy! :evil
    #6
  7. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    Should be a fun bike when you're done! I totally agree with you and wish that KTM made a 690 Adventure.

    I love everything about my KTM 640 Adventure, but would certainly enjoy fuel injection and more power...

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    #7
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  8. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT bring the rape whistle

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    cool story bro:D

    i agree with the 690 adv,,,, ktm shoulda done it

    i would get a 690 and build with either basel or dotori, but i just cant justify the expense

    i think you'll really enjoy the smaller bike, its always a compromise but the big singles do a good job across the board
    #8
  9. scooter noob

    scooter noob Been here awhile

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    As a 640 rider who can fall over at a standstill, I'll be happy to help ZLTFUL pick up his Husqvarna.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #9
  10. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

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    Well put, sir. I have a 04 950 that has been sitting in my garage, unridden, since the day I bought a 2014 690. The damn thing is just too big, methinks. Funny thing is my wife won't let me sell the big bike. She says we need a two-up monster. I don't know why, we rode together twice last summer. :deal

    I like where this thread is going.
    #10
  11. ZLTFUL

    ZLTFUL Optimistic Pessimist

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    Oh it's on now! :D

    If I remember correctly, I was picking mine up all by myself while you guys were trying to figure out some winch system from the trees above... :deal

    Seriously though, glad you both have smaller easier to pick up bikes now. Hehe.
    #11
  12. scooter noob

    scooter noob Been here awhile

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    LOL!!!!! SSHHHH!!!!!!

    In all seriousness, congrats on the 690 acquisition. If you need a hand in transforming it to the Quest, let me know.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #12
  13. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest" Supporter

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    You mean this event? I thought you were having an existential conversation with your Husqvarniarian little wedgy-inducing contrivance there about something important, like the interesting relationship between talent and gravity. :lol3

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    #13
  14. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest" Supporter

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    Yep, know what you're saying about the cost. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me, so I'm going to just deal with it.

    All bikes are compromises. I've compromised with having a bike I don't have the talent to ride for a number of years. Now, I'm going to compromise with not being able to dust off crotch rockets at stop lights. I'll never forget the time that I pulled up next to a 750 RRrrrrrrr, and the guy (in flip flops and shorts) gave me that knowing look like, "Hey, dude on your big dirt bike. Dusting you will be fun." He wheelied away from the light and was in probably third gear when he decided to look back over his shoulder at the same time he was leaning over into my lane. I was on his six just about to pass him. :) Scared him so much that he almost fell off. :) Ah, good memories.

    But, a reasonable compromise is in order. I think I'll like this compromise. :D
    #14
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  15. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    The 690 is such a hooligan to ride, I love it! Super short gearing combined with a ton of torque makes for a very fun ride on the street. I wasn't nearly as pleased with it on the freeway at 75mph tho, my 640 (shockingly) feels much more stable there.

    Check the 690 threads, I believe people are flipping something around in the headset, that's supposed to make the bike more stable at speed.
    #15
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  16. FlyingPenguin

    FlyingPenguin Been here awhile

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    What seems to be missing in this discussion is now that you're going you a smaller bike where is your sister going to ride?
    #16
  17. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest" Supporter

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    I'm afeared that's she's on her own. :lol3 We've made some good memories on that bike, but she needs to get her own. :D

    Here we are freezing at a gas station in Black Hawk, CO. :loco

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    #17
  18. FlyingPenguin

    FlyingPenguin Been here awhile

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    Since we're friends, I suppose I could offer up my 950 when she needs a fix.....
    #18
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  19. gen

    gen Been here awhile

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    There are a few Basel kit owners in the 690 WUNDERFEST thread also the Basel thread.

    You might also look into finding an inmate based in Basel who can go to the shop as your proxy if they are not responding on email fast enough.
    #19
  20. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest" Supporter

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    Kelly, are you suuuure about that? :lol3

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    #20