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  1. VIDEO: THE ERZBERG EXPERIENCE ON THE KTM 790 ADVENTURE

    VIDEO: THE ERZBERG EXPERIENCE ON THE KTM 790 ADVENTURE In search of the adventure of a lifetime, Americans Stephen Clark and Kory Cowan pick up two KTM 790 ADVENTURE bikes from Mattighofen and set off to experience a weekend full of riding action at the notorious Erzbergrodeo. © Stephen Clark/Upshift Following months of meticulous planning, Kory Cowan, an amateur enduro rider from Salt Lake City, together with Upshift contributor Stephen Clark landed in Austria a week before the Erzbergrodeo. Knowing there is hardly any better way to experience a new country than aboard a true adventure motorcycle, they collected two KTM 790 ADVENTURE machines from KTM’s HQ and set off to live the full Austrian experience. The plan was simple … spending a full morning at the KTM Motohall, Kory and Stephen would ride their KTM 790 ADVENTURE machines through the heart of Austria to Eisenerz, where they would stay for the best part of the coming week. With Kory also riding a rental KTM 300 EXC TPI in several of the Erzbergrodeo events, the duo was set for an unforgettable experience in the thick of the global hard enduro action. From riding through some of Austria’s most popular mountain passes on their twin-cylinder machines to Kory trying to qualify for the Red Bull Hare Scramble aboard his KTM 300 EXC TPI, the two Americans documented their whole week on Austrian soil in the two films below … [embedded content] [embedded content] The full article documenting Kory’s and Stephen’s adventure was published in issue 35 of Upshift. © Stephen Clark/Upshift Photos/Videos: Upshift
  2. VIDEO: THE ERZBERG EXPERIENCE ON THE KTM 790 ADVENTURE In search of the adventure of a lifetime, Americans Stephen Clark and Kory Cowan pick up two KTM 790 ADVENTURE bikes from Mattighofen and set off to experience a weekend full of riding action at the notorious Erzbergrodeo. © Stephen Clark/Upshift Following months of meticulous planning, Kory Cowan, an amateur enduro rider from Salt Lake City, together with Upshift contributor Stephen Clark landed in Austria a week before the Erzbergrodeo. Knowing there is hardly any better way to experience a new country than aboard a true adventure motorcycle, they collected two KTM 790 ADVENTURE machines from KTM’s HQ and set off to live the full Austrian experience. The plan was simple … spending a full morning at the KTM Motohall, Kory and Stephen would ride their KTM 790 ADVENTURE machines through the heart of Austria to Eisenerz, where they would stay for the best part of the coming week. With Kory also riding a rental KTM 300 EXC TPI in several of the Erzbergrodeo events, the duo was set for an unforgettable experience in the thick of the global hard enduro action. From riding through some of Austria’s most popular mountain passes on their twin-cylinder machines to Kory trying to qualify for the Red Bull Hare Scramble aboard his KTM 300 EXC TPI, the two Americans documented their whole week on Austrian soil in the two films below … [embedded content] [embedded content] The full article documenting Kory’s and Stephen’s adventure was published in issue 35 of Upshift. © Stephen Clark/Upshift Photos/Videos: Upshift
  3. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R put to the ULTIMATE RACE test

    The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R put to the ULTIMATE RACE test ULTIMATE RACE podium finisher Jordan Huibregtse reviews the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R he raced this year in the desert of Morocco. KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM An experienced adventure motorcyclist, Jordan Huibregtse has put in thousands of hours riding his own 2005 KTM 950 ADVENTURE in the gravel roads of Midwestern North America. Topping the ULTIMATE RACE qualifiers during the 2018 US ADVENTURE RALLY in Park City, Utah, Jordan secured a spot to live the riding experience of a lifetime in Morocco. “KTM was brave in giving 12 unknown riders brand new KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs to race in a major rally event,” told Jordan. “That speaks volumes to their confidence in this bike and their determination to set it apart from the other bikes on the market. Contrary to what a few places have reported, the ULTIMATE RACE bikes were largely stock. The suspension was stock, as was the engine, mapping, air intake, and nearly everything else that I’ve been asked about.” Kicking off with a short prologue, the 2019 KTM ULTIMATE RACE saw competitors cover five stages and more than 1000 kilometers of racing in Morocco. The race included a marathon Stage 3 with an overnight in a bivouac and no outside mechanical support. In total, almost 1100 kilometers of hard offroad riding and navigating pushed each one of the 12 selected participants to their physical and mental limits. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R© Marcin Kin/KTM Shortly after his return from Africa, Jordan shared a full review of his KTM 790 ADVENTURE R machine on the ADVRider.com forum. With his permission, we’ve selected Jordan’s top seven highlights on the machine that led him to securing an impressive third overall at the inaugural KTM ULTIMATE RACE. Modifications “Bike modifications were limited to what was needed for competition. Michelin Desert Race tires with mousses were mounted to narrower KTM PowerParts wheel sets and taller KTM PowerParts seats were. All bikes also had the aftermarket Akrapovič muffler. The street grips were removed in favor of foam rally grips, and the stock steering damper was replaced with an aftermarket piece as required by race organizers. Longer KTM rally footpegs were installed as well, and of course the bikes had a powered roadbook holder mounted to the bars and a rally computer mounted above the OEM display. The sidestand switch, ABS, and traction control were disabled for competition, though we got a chance to test the rider aids before racing. Point being, the bikes weren’t custom race bikes made to look like KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs in the interest of marketing. They were largely stock.” Engine “The new twin-cylinder engine impressed me. Compared to the engine on my KTM 950 ADVENTURE, the one on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is a lot less noisy and revs out way better at the top. The 790 engine feels like a rally bike engine in the sense that it is low inertia and likes a bit more revs. It feels very happy being ridden hard and pulls strong and smooth up to the limiter. It’s almost electric in its power delivery, a feeling reinforced by the nearly silent exhaust. At low revs, fuel injection feels ‘sharp’ in the sense that it is on the lean side. As with many new bikes, this one is ride by wire. Switching from the Rally throttle mode to Street makes it feel a bit more natural. Riding higher in the rev range and using more power, the engine feels fantastic.” KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM Weight “On a cheap bathroom scale, the bike weighed 224lbs [101kg] on the front tire and 237 [107kg] on the rear with a full tank of fuel. Compare that with my 950, which has had quite a bit of light-weighting done to it: 241lbs [109kg] front and 248lbs [112kg] rear with a bit of fuel in it. The 790 also carries its weight much lower than the 950 and doesn’t have that slightly top-heavy feel. It’s initially almost disconcerting because it feels light/low, but still has all the inertia that goes along with the weight. As with most bikes, it feels lighter as speeds go up, the weight only making itself known in really big hits or when traction is lost.” Transmission & Clutch “Transmission ratios felt slightly tighter than the LC8 models, but didn’t seem to matter because the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is happier at higher rpm on the road. Gear spacing is great; none of that silly short 5th to 6th jump found in some competitors. Shifting action is precise and positive as you would expect. I missed one or two shifts right when I started riding, but that was just due to my MX boots and an unfamiliar bike. The clutch took all the abuse I gave it in stride. Clutch pull is light and predictable, but the engagement zone is narrow. Personally, I would add a longer clutch pull arm, which would lengthen engagement and further reduce effort. I don’t really see any need to retrofit a hydraulic clutch at this point. While some people were more abusive, I never had issues with the clutch in the sand in Merzouga. It bit hard and consistently, and the adjustment never moved. KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM Ride modes “Ride modes are what we’ve come to expect from KTM. I tried rain mode and it worked well. Throttle response is mushy, ABS and traction control are aggressive. Rally mode also activates the multi-level traction control. I left it down at 1 most of the time, where it only made itself known if I lost all my momentum in the sand and was trying to climb a big dune. The highest traction control levels become more intrusive and cut power, which isn’t great for attitude adjustments. Rally mode also uses the most aggressive throttle map, which is great offroad. It was too aggressive for me on the street if I was just cruising around trying to be smooth … which is probably why there is a street mode. Rally is the mode I used the most, and is the mode I would use if I had a KTM 790 ADVENTURE R.” Chassis “The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has a steel frame with the engine suspended beneath as a stressed member. The trellis subframe is steel, which should resolve a lot of the problems people have had with toting luggage. It seems to be a solid design, with integrated bosses for mounting luggage racks. The bike has a small steel subframe supporting the front of the skidplate, with the bottom supported by the oil pan and some small steel brackets. Overall, the set up held up well for an OEM design, but I would be looking to the aftermarket for a solution if you plan to be double blipping over logs and bouncing through rock gardens.” Fuel tank “The fuel tank is the most striking difference from other adventure bikes. You get used to it, and it does a reasonably good job of protecting your feet and legs from brush, wind, and rain. I did drop the bike a few times and had numerous get-offs of varying severity in the sand and hardpack in the desert. The tank was unfazed by the hits and showed no damage beyond some cosmetic scuffs. I think the sacrificial plastic covers for the fuel petcocks do a good job to protect the tank even in more severe crashes on tarmac.” [embedded content] Discover more: www.ktm-adventure-rally.com Photos: Marcin Kin/KTM
  4. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R put to the ULTIMATE RACE test ULTIMATE RACE podium finisher Jordan Huibregtse reviews the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R he raced this year in the desert of Morocco. KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM An experienced adventure motorcyclist, Jordan Huibregtse has put in thousands of hours riding his own 2005 KTM 950 ADVENTURE in the gravel roads of Midwestern North America. Topping the ULTIMATE RACE qualifiers during the 2018 US ADVENTURE RALLY in Park City, Utah, Jordan secured a spot to live the riding experience of a lifetime in Morocco. “KTM was brave in giving 12 unknown riders brand new KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs to race in a major rally event,” told Jordan. “That speaks volumes to their confidence in this bike and their determination to set it apart from the other bikes on the market. Contrary to what a few places have reported, the ULTIMATE RACE bikes were largely stock. The suspension was stock, as was the engine, mapping, air intake, and nearly everything else that I’ve been asked about.” Kicking off with a short prologue, the 2019 KTM ULTIMATE RACE saw competitors cover five stages and more than 1000 kilometers of racing in Morocco. The race included a marathon Stage 3 with an overnight in a bivouac and no outside mechanical support. In total, almost 1100 kilometers of hard offroad riding and navigating pushed each one of the 12 selected participants to their physical and mental limits. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R© Marcin Kin/KTM Shortly after his return from Africa, Jordan shared a full review of his KTM 790 ADVENTURE R machine on the ADVRider.com forum. With his permission, we’ve selected Jordan’s top seven highlights on the machine that led him to securing an impressive third overall at the inaugural KTM ULTIMATE RACE. Modifications “Bike modifications were limited to what was needed for competition. Michelin Desert Race tires with mousses were mounted to narrower KTM PowerParts wheel sets and taller KTM PowerParts seats were. All bikes also had the aftermarket Akrapovič muffler. The street grips were removed in favor of foam rally grips, and the stock steering damper was replaced with an aftermarket piece as required by race organizers. Longer KTM rally footpegs were installed as well, and of course the bikes had a powered roadbook holder mounted to the bars and a rally computer mounted above the OEM display. The sidestand switch, ABS, and traction control were disabled for competition, though we got a chance to test the rider aids before racing. Point being, the bikes weren’t custom race bikes made to look like KTM 790 ADVENTURE Rs in the interest of marketing. They were largely stock.” Engine “The new twin-cylinder engine impressed me. Compared to the engine on my KTM 950 ADVENTURE, the one on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is a lot less noisy and revs out way better at the top. The 790 engine feels like a rally bike engine in the sense that it is low inertia and likes a bit more revs. It feels very happy being ridden hard and pulls strong and smooth up to the limiter. It’s almost electric in its power delivery, a feeling reinforced by the nearly silent exhaust. At low revs, fuel injection feels ‘sharp’ in the sense that it is on the lean side. As with many new bikes, this one is ride by wire. Switching from the Rally throttle mode to Street makes it feel a bit more natural. Riding higher in the rev range and using more power, the engine feels fantastic.” KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM Weight “On a cheap bathroom scale, the bike weighed 224lbs [101kg] on the front tire and 237 [107kg] on the rear with a full tank of fuel. Compare that with my 950, which has had quite a bit of light-weighting done to it: 241lbs [109kg] front and 248lbs [112kg] rear with a bit of fuel in it. The 790 also carries its weight much lower than the 950 and doesn’t have that slightly top-heavy feel. It’s initially almost disconcerting because it feels light/low, but still has all the inertia that goes along with the weight. As with most bikes, it feels lighter as speeds go up, the weight only making itself known in really big hits or when traction is lost.” Transmission & Clutch “Transmission ratios felt slightly tighter than the LC8 models, but didn’t seem to matter because the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is happier at higher rpm on the road. Gear spacing is great; none of that silly short 5th to 6th jump found in some competitors. Shifting action is precise and positive as you would expect. I missed one or two shifts right when I started riding, but that was just due to my MX boots and an unfamiliar bike. The clutch took all the abuse I gave it in stride. Clutch pull is light and predictable, but the engagement zone is narrow. Personally, I would add a longer clutch pull arm, which would lengthen engagement and further reduce effort. I don’t really see any need to retrofit a hydraulic clutch at this point. While some people were more abusive, I never had issues with the clutch in the sand in Merzouga. It bit hard and consistently, and the adjustment never moved. KTM ULTIMATE RACE 2019, #412 Jordan Huibregtse © Marcin Kin/KTM Ride modes “Ride modes are what we’ve come to expect from KTM. I tried rain mode and it worked well. Throttle response is mushy, ABS and traction control are aggressive. Rally mode also activates the multi-level traction control. I left it down at 1 most of the time, where it only made itself known if I lost all my momentum in the sand and was trying to climb a big dune. The highest traction control levels become more intrusive and cut power, which isn’t great for attitude adjustments. Rally mode also uses the most aggressive throttle map, which is great offroad. It was too aggressive for me on the street if I was just cruising around trying to be smooth … which is probably why there is a street mode. Rally is the mode I used the most, and is the mode I would use if I had a KTM 790 ADVENTURE R.” Chassis “The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has a steel frame with the engine suspended beneath as a stressed member. The trellis subframe is steel, which should resolve a lot of the problems people have had with toting luggage. It seems to be a solid design, with integrated bosses for mounting luggage racks. The bike has a small steel subframe supporting the front of the skidplate, with the bottom supported by the oil pan and some small steel brackets. Overall, the set up held up well for an OEM design, but I would be looking to the aftermarket for a solution if you plan to be double blipping over logs and bouncing through rock gardens.” Fuel tank “The fuel tank is the most striking difference from other adventure bikes. You get used to it, and it does a reasonably good job of protecting your feet and legs from brush, wind, and rain. I did drop the bike a few times and had numerous get-offs of varying severity in the sand and hardpack in the desert. The tank was unfazed by the hits and showed no damage beyond some cosmetic scuffs. I think the sacrificial plastic covers for the fuel petcocks do a good job to protect the tank even in more severe crashes on tarmac.” [embedded content] Discover more: www.ktm-adventure-rally.com Photos: Marcin Kin/KTM
  5. Interview of the Month: The Rookie – What’s it like in MotoGP™? Miguel Oliveira talks first tastes The irony of course is that the 24-year-old is far from a ‘rookie’. Miguel Oliveira is the first athlete to have progressed through Red Bull KTM’s newly established Grand Prix ladder: having represented the factory in Moto3TM (6 wins) and Moto2TM (6 victories and 21 podiums). The fresh link with the Tech3 MotoGPTM squad for 2019 opened up the perfect ‘learning’ opportunity for Portugal’s sole racer in the category, and he impressed with his hard work, intelligence, application and speed in the first rounds that his tenure with KTM was impressive enough and quickly confirmed again for 2020. Short and stocky and with an easy sense of humor, Miguel has integrated strongly into MotoGPTM with the newest motorcycle on the grid. At the time of writing he has even scored more points than his 2018 Moto2TM nemesis Pecco Bagnaia and has come close to the top ten on at least two occasions from the half-season so far. We find him in a chatty mood and still discovering the thrill and difficulty of the elite competition in motorcycle racing. Miguel Oliveira (POR) 2019 © Sebas Romero Miguel, you must have had an idea of what you needed to do for MotoGPTM but did you change anything for 2019 – physically, mentally, your program – to tackle the challenge? “The physical training changed a bit because we knew we were going to deal with more force on the body. We did more work on the upper body with the goal of having a bit more strength. When you make that increase in the muscles you kinda then have to work the rest as well to improve the overall condition and shape! So, nutrition also changes a bit when you are training in a different way. Apart from that it was like making another ‘step’ like I did when I moved from Moto3TM to Moto2TM. Just a bit more. It was a pretty normal winter.” You’ve spent two years tussling at the front of Moto2TM. Did you also need to adjust your mentality to the races in MotoGPTM and perhaps a new position? “Yeah … but it is something you do along the way. It was not a case of saying ‘OK, now it’s over [as a winner] I need to switch mentality.’ It is more about the people who are around you that make you realize ‘OK, it’s the first year with the bike, it will not be amazing and you won’t be on the podium.’ It is about facing your future long-term and once you ‘get’ this then it becomes easier to go into each race.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner Did you have a lot of internal questions about MotoGPTM? Maybe in the same way as when you first came into Grand Prix? Things like: How will it be? How will it feel? How will I do? “Yeah, you question yourself about a lot of things. Especially when you know you’ll be gripping a bike that is extremely powerful, and there is not much time to do that! The first test is a good example: I went from winning the race at Valencia to going back on the same track a day later with a bike where I had absolutely no knowledge or control! I was thinking ‘how am I going to dominate this beast?!’ It’s strange because you really feel like you have no control and that is not the normal situation! It is easy to get lost pretty quick. You need to take it slowly. But the team helped me a lot with this transition. They were very calm, and I was trying my best to keep calm and not look at the lap times. I was trying to absorb the information and work hard.” What kind of guy are you when it comes to preparation off the track. Are you someone that thinks and analyses a lot? “Every rider has his own way and it doesn’t mean that it is the right one, the best one or the correct one. I like to be analytical about my job but also keeping it fun and cool at the same time. I am not super-specific in watching images or footage. I also try to go with my feelings: This is important otherwise you will become a robot. If something is not working then you’ll perform worse in the short-term.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner So where does confidence comes from? Feelings? A result? The lap time? “Sometimes I’ve had different kinds of feelings in my career and different kinds of results. Most of the time the best feelings do not match the results! If you feel good about something and the result isn’t really what you wanted then you have to take care to carry that feeling into the next race. For me ‘feeling’ is more important than the result even if it is easier to go the opposite way because if the results are coming then it means you can relax.” It’s a journey of discovery then … “If you look at our sport then riding a bike fast is mostly based on instinct and feeling. When you go very close to the limit it is about how good you feel within that limit and whether you can go faster or not. There are limitations of course and complex things about the bike but in general that’s the basis of MotoGPTM: Riding as comfortable as you can on the very limit. For that you need trust in what you are doing and how you feel! That’s the very thin line that we are living on each time we go on the track.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Assen (NED) 2019 © T. Boerner You mentioned getting lost with the MotoGPTM bike: Is it also easy to be confused with how you feel? A sensation of a rapid lap time could be a second off what you really want … “Yes, at the end of the day everything is a balance. You cannot be over-critical of your job but you also cannot be super-relaxed and just go with the flow and hope that whatever comes out is good. You need to have a good mix of these two things: That’s what I try to do.” Having a balance must be a bit more difficult now what with all the success in Moto2TM and then jumping into MotoGPTM … especially when it comes to attention in Portugal … “Ha! In the last four years it went up like this [points hand almost vertical]. But this is a good thing. To be recognized for your job and for representing something. I’m lucky, in a way, to be the only Portuguese in the paddock. It is like when the Portuguese football team plays: There is only one player they are looking at.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) Austin (USA) 2019 © Gold and Goose You are like the Cristiano Ronaldo of MotoGPTM then? “[Smiles] I would say it is kinda like this. There are obviously other players in the team at Ronaldo’s level but they will need another one to replace him soon! I’m lucky enough to have this position.” For people outside of Portugal then can you describe what it is like for you there? Are you on the evening news? “Yeah. News-wise I’m probably second behind Cristiano. Overall probably third behind [Jose] Mourinho as well! I’m right there though! It is a good consequence of where I am and how things have gone. There is more recognition, but you just have to adapt your life a little bit. I’m not the guy who will make a bad face to someone who approaches me in the street because I have also been that person. I was also once a small kid asking Valentino [Rossi] for his autograph on every piece of paper I had. I know the feeling, and I know if he would have rejected me then it would have created a negative impact. So, I don’t want to do that. The fans watch you and the five seconds they might be with you is the real impression they get of you as a person.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Barcelona (ESP) 2019 © Philip Platzer That must be quite tiring though … “It is. But it is something bigger than me. I can be me when I’m home. It’s the job and either you accept it or you do something else in life.” What other sportsmen were important to you growing up? “I tried to copy Valentino as much as I could. I even had an earring like him! That’s the truth! It’s nice to have a role model, someone that you can watch and follow. You can be your own version of a guy you look up to. That’s quite interesting.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner It must be satisfying having an influence on people. It means the job is not just about the trophies, the thrill, the contract and a nice car … “I see people here becoming fascinated by the consequences of being a good rider but you can live ‘good’ for only a few years. I think if you understand that then you’ll have a more important purpose and things can come your way in the long-term. That’s how I look at it. To be a good influence for kids or those who write me messages saying they look up to me – even if it is something like twenty people – then I am happy. If you can have a positive impact in someone’s life then this has no price. It is bigger than any contract or fancy car.” How do you think people see you as a rider? You’ve had success but it always seems that you have worked really hard for it, pushed really hard … “That’s the story of my life and also my country’s. It seems like we have always fought double hard for anything: the Portuguese way! I have worked hard to get my results and to places and teams with a lot of challenges ahead and I’ve always succeeded. This experience has made me a stronger person and a stronger rider. When I am on a winning bike then I am going to win: It’s quite clear!” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Le Mans (FRA) 2019 © Marcin Kin Photos: Sebas Romero | T. Boerner | Gold and Goose | Philip Platzer | Marcin Kin
  6. Interview of the Month: The Rookie – What’s it like in MotoGP™? Miguel Oliveira talks first tastes The irony of course is that the 24-year-old is far from a ‘rookie’. Miguel Oliveira is the first athlete to have progressed through Red Bull KTM’s newly established Grand Prix ladder: having represented the factory in Moto3TM (6 wins) and Moto2TM (6 victories and 21 podiums). The fresh link with the Tech3 MotoGPTM squad for 2019 opened up the perfect ‘learning’ opportunity for Portugal’s sole racer in the category, and he impressed with his hard work, intelligence, application and speed in the first rounds that his tenure with KTM was impressive enough and quickly confirmed again for 2020. Short and stocky and with an easy sense of humor, Miguel has integrated strongly into MotoGPTM with the newest motorcycle on the grid. At the time of writing he has even scored more points than his 2018 Moto2TM nemesis Pecco Bagnaia and has come close to the top ten on at least two occasions from the half-season so far. We find him in a chatty mood and still discovering the thrill and difficulty of the elite competition in motorcycle racing. Miguel Oliveira (POR) 2019 © Sebas Romero Miguel, you must have had an idea of what you needed to do for MotoGPTM but did you change anything for 2019 – physically, mentally, your program – to tackle the challenge? “The physical training changed a bit because we knew we were going to deal with more force on the body. We did more work on the upper body with the goal of having a bit more strength. When you make that increase in the muscles you kinda then have to work the rest as well to improve the overall condition and shape! So, nutrition also changes a bit when you are training in a different way. Apart from that it was like making another ‘step’ like I did when I moved from Moto3TM to Moto2TM. Just a bit more. It was a pretty normal winter.” You’ve spent two years tussling at the front of Moto2TM. Did you also need to adjust your mentality to the races in MotoGPTM and perhaps a new position? “Yeah … but it is something you do along the way. It was not a case of saying ‘OK, now it’s over [as a winner] I need to switch mentality.’ It is more about the people who are around you that make you realize ‘OK, it’s the first year with the bike, it will not be amazing and you won’t be on the podium.’ It is about facing your future long-term and once you ‘get’ this then it becomes easier to go into each race.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner Did you have a lot of internal questions about MotoGPTM? Maybe in the same way as when you first came into Grand Prix? Things like: How will it be? How will it feel? How will I do? “Yeah, you question yourself about a lot of things. Especially when you know you’ll be gripping a bike that is extremely powerful, and there is not much time to do that! The first test is a good example: I went from winning the race at Valencia to going back on the same track a day later with a bike where I had absolutely no knowledge or control! I was thinking ‘how am I going to dominate this beast?!’ It’s strange because you really feel like you have no control and that is not the normal situation! It is easy to get lost pretty quick. You need to take it slowly. But the team helped me a lot with this transition. They were very calm, and I was trying my best to keep calm and not look at the lap times. I was trying to absorb the information and work hard.” What kind of guy are you when it comes to preparation off the track. Are you someone that thinks and analyses a lot? “Every rider has his own way and it doesn’t mean that it is the right one, the best one or the correct one. I like to be analytical about my job but also keeping it fun and cool at the same time. I am not super-specific in watching images or footage. I also try to go with my feelings: This is important otherwise you will become a robot. If something is not working then you’ll perform worse in the short-term.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner So where does confidence comes from? Feelings? A result? The lap time? “Sometimes I’ve had different kinds of feelings in my career and different kinds of results. Most of the time the best feelings do not match the results! If you feel good about something and the result isn’t really what you wanted then you have to take care to carry that feeling into the next race. For me ‘feeling’ is more important than the result even if it is easier to go the opposite way because if the results are coming then it means you can relax.” It’s a journey of discovery then … “If you look at our sport then riding a bike fast is mostly based on instinct and feeling. When you go very close to the limit it is about how good you feel within that limit and whether you can go faster or not. There are limitations of course and complex things about the bike but in general that’s the basis of MotoGPTM: Riding as comfortable as you can on the very limit. For that you need trust in what you are doing and how you feel! That’s the very thin line that we are living on each time we go on the track.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Assen (NED) 2019 © T. Boerner You mentioned getting lost with the MotoGPTM bike: Is it also easy to be confused with how you feel? A sensation of a rapid lap time could be a second off what you really want … “Yes, at the end of the day everything is a balance. You cannot be over-critical of your job but you also cannot be super-relaxed and just go with the flow and hope that whatever comes out is good. You need to have a good mix of these two things: That’s what I try to do.” Having a balance must be a bit more difficult now what with all the success in Moto2TM and then jumping into MotoGPTM … especially when it comes to attention in Portugal … “Ha! In the last four years it went up like this [points hand almost vertical]. But this is a good thing. To be recognized for your job and for representing something. I’m lucky, in a way, to be the only Portuguese in the paddock. It is like when the Portuguese football team plays: There is only one player they are looking at.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) Austin (USA) 2019 © Gold and Goose You are like the Cristiano Ronaldo of MotoGPTM then? “[Smiles] I would say it is kinda like this. There are obviously other players in the team at Ronaldo’s level but they will need another one to replace him soon! I’m lucky enough to have this position.” For people outside of Portugal then can you describe what it is like for you there? Are you on the evening news? “Yeah. News-wise I’m probably second behind Cristiano. Overall probably third behind [Jose] Mourinho as well! I’m right there though! It is a good consequence of where I am and how things have gone. There is more recognition, but you just have to adapt your life a little bit. I’m not the guy who will make a bad face to someone who approaches me in the street because I have also been that person. I was also once a small kid asking Valentino [Rossi] for his autograph on every piece of paper I had. I know the feeling, and I know if he would have rejected me then it would have created a negative impact. So, I don’t want to do that. The fans watch you and the five seconds they might be with you is the real impression they get of you as a person.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Barcelona (ESP) 2019 © Philip Platzer That must be quite tiring though … “It is. But it is something bigger than me. I can be me when I’m home. It’s the job and either you accept it or you do something else in life.” What other sportsmen were important to you growing up? “I tried to copy Valentino as much as I could. I even had an earring like him! That’s the truth! It’s nice to have a role model, someone that you can watch and follow. You can be your own version of a guy you look up to. That’s quite interesting.” Miguel Oliveira (POR) Sachsenring (GER) 2019 © T. Boerner It must be satisfying having an influence on people. It means the job is not just about the trophies, the thrill, the contract and a nice car … “I see people here becoming fascinated by the consequences of being a good rider but you can live ‘good’ for only a few years. I think if you understand that then you’ll have a more important purpose and things can come your way in the long-term. That’s how I look at it. To be a good influence for kids or those who write me messages saying they look up to me – even if it is something like twenty people – then I am happy. If you can have a positive impact in someone’s life then this has no price. It is bigger than any contract or fancy car.” How do you think people see you as a rider? You’ve had success but it always seems that you have worked really hard for it, pushed really hard … “That’s the story of my life and also my country’s. It seems like we have always fought double hard for anything: the Portuguese way! I have worked hard to get my results and to places and teams with a lot of challenges ahead and I’ve always succeeded. This experience has made me a stronger person and a stronger rider. When I am on a winning bike then I am going to win: It’s quite clear!” Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM RC16 Le Mans (FRA) 2019 © Marcin Kin Photos: Sebas Romero | T. Boerner | Gold and Goose | Philip Platzer | Marcin Kin
  7. Chasing the white tiger: Jordi Viladoms talks us through the brand-new adventure of the KTM rally team Posted in People, Racing After the amazing 1st-2nd-3rd podium in Lima and the 1st-2nd podium in Abu Dhabi, the KTM rally team is again READY TO RACE – this time by taking the road less travelled, diving into the unknown. “I am intrigued by the unknown,” says the team manager Jordi Viladoms, “which is good, but we still might be troubled by some questions.” Why have the members of the factory rally team spent so much time lately at the Russian, Mongolian and Chinese embassies around the world? Why have the assistance team set off for a 2-week road and ferry trip from Mattighofen over Finland to Irkutsk already on June 20 (and why will the road back last one more week)? Why has Jordi Viladoms been thoroughly studying the terrain of Siberia, Mongolia and East China lately, and some basic vocabulary of the respective countries? Why has the team decided to share a cook with another team for this adventure and stored some extra tuna cans in the truck? Why can’t we predict the race’s outcome with more precision this time around? The answer can be summed up in three words: Silk Way Rally, where for the first time in its history motorcycles are joining the party. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2019 © Sebas Romero Greetings from Siberia The last time the rally team tackled a very different adventure was back in 2009, when the Dakar Rally moved to South America. This year, however, many novelties are on the world rally-raid menu: for the team as for the team manager. “Still, the most difficult part of racing is always the most attractive one,” says the KTM rally team manager. For a former rally-raid racer and a Dakarian a new rally adventure is the best thing he could have hoped and wished for. If the latest versions of the Dakar Rally lacked a bit of this aspect, the Saudi Arabian edition and the upcoming Silk Way Rally surely won’t. The orange team has just passed the technical and administrative verifications in Irkutsk, Siberia. Racing in the footsteps of Marco Polo starts tomorrow. A little bit of history At the beginning there was silk. The Silk Way Rally derives from the Silk Road, which derives from silk, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into a transcontinental network. Even if Marco Polo didn’t label any road a “silk” one, the Silk Road is often associated with him. When asked about Marco Polo, the 39-year-old Catalan replies: “I know he was smart, and had great ability to adapt. He made himself known, even famous doing this route. We are no different from him, except that we travel a little faster.” The temptation to cross the wild countries of immense taiga forests, never-ending steppes and the magic Gobi, has always been there. Much before the first Silk Way Rally in 2009, which connected Kazan in Russia to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, there was another, much longer race. The Peking to Paris motor race was firstly an automobile race, originally held in 1907, between Peking and Paris. The winner, the Italian prince Scipione Borghese, needed two months to complete the incredible 15,000 kilometers. He started at the French embassy in Peking, now Beijing, on June 10 and arrived in Paris on August 10. It was a full “malle-moto” competition, with camels carrying the fuel, not to mention that the prince also made a little touristic detour to see Petersburg. Heinz Kinigadner, who won the 1995 edition of the Paris-Moskow-Peking rally, of course made no detours of any kind. White Tiger Trophy Back to the Silk Way Rally … In the next three years the event was held exclusively in Russia. After a three year break the 2016 edition consisted of the Moscow-Astana-Beijing route. The 2017 edition started in Moscow and finished in Xi’an in China. Last year the Silk Way Rally split in two parts, the Russian and the Chinese; the international crews battled on the route between Astrakhan and Moscow. This year the competition crosses three vast countries and is also introducing the motorcycle category. And while the Italian prince won a magnum of champagne for a win, the winner of the Silk Way Rally will get a White Tiger Trophy. The masterpiece was designed by Denis Simachev, a famous Russian fashion designer. In Chinese mythology the white tiger symbolizes courage and strong spirit, which will be needed to take the trophy home. Silk Way Rally Into the unknown 5,000 kilometers (well, 5,007.96 to be precise), 2,593.15 km of timed sections, 10 stages, 3 countries – these are the main figures of the 2019 Silk Way Rally edition. On paper it looks much like the Dakar some years ago, but Jordi Viladoms, the team manager whose first official assignment was the Dakar 2019, says the comparison with the “toughest race on the planet” is not necessary. “Of course, the urge to compare the two races is huge, though I am quite sure the Silk Way Rally is a race with its complete own identity, different character and different challenges to face. But firstly, and more importantly, for us this is a leap into the unknown. The main challenge will therefore be to adapt as fast as possible to all the enigmas we will encounter: to the terrain, weather, type of bivouac, people, different organization, and even food. We heard the food there is really … interesting. I guess we will just have to be flexible and to learn very quickly.” Three riders on the mission The Dakar 2019 left its toll, so two warriors will miss out on the newest Eastern front: Toby Price and Matthias Walkner still haven’t fully recovered from surgeries. “We go to the Silk Way Rally with Sam Sunderland, Luciano Benavides and Laia Sanz,” explains Jordi Viladoms. “Matthias and Toby are still not ready to compete at this point and they will only join the team for the Atacama Rally in September. For Laia this is the first rally she is taking part this year, after her brave performance at the Erzbergrodeo. Sam and Luciano are both in shape and hungry to race. After only one championship race, they are first and second in the world rankings. The three of them are big fighters, capable of taking on a long race.” Way out of the comfort zone “There is another interesting aspect concerning the most difficult race of the championship,” he continues. “Because of the length, the scoring in this race is different. Instead of the usual 25, the winner will get 37.5 points. This is a race and a half we talking about, so it will be massively important to finish it in a good position. The cross-country rallies championship has a new concept this year: there are only four races, but much more variety. I think the decision to include the Silk Way Rally into the World Championship is a smart one; it will make the discipline stronger and bring it back to its roots. One of the fundamentals of the rally raid is to leave your comfort zone and this rally will certainly take us way out. For instance, our assistance team had to travel 14 days to come to Irkutsk and will spend three days more to return home from China. Getting visas was no walk in the park, for some team members a trip to the Chinese embassy was the real first stage of the Silk Way Rally.” Sam Sunderland (GBR) & Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Rally Zone How to prepare for the unknown “I studied the history of the race, trying to understand what happened in the previous years, and looked closer at the route. Theoretically, I am aware of the challenges that await us, but we will see for ourselves when we get out there. Besides this there is another interesting point: We will visit countries with cultures we have absolutely no clue about. I’ve been also trying to learn some basic vocabulary, but there is no guarantee people will understand me. This new rally is a total new adventure, so in this sense it does remind me of the African Dakars and those endless deserts we knew nothing about. If there was one race I would still be tempted to do, this is the one.” Exploring the route The first stage (leg distance: 255.53 km, special stage: 50.87 km) will cross the Siberian taiga forest, leading the racers from Irkutsk to their first rally bivouac on the shores of Lake Baikal. In the second stage (leg distance: 413 km, special stage: 212.02 km) the rally caravan will reach Ulan-Ude close to the Mongolian border. In the third stage (leg distance: 691 km, special stage: 243 km) the rally will head to Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, trying to avoid many dangerous ravines down the road. The fourth (loop) stage (leg distance: 476.96 km, special stage: 470.19 km) is all about the speed in the steppes. In the fifth stage (leg distance: 364.59 km, special stage: 337 km) the racers will touch the Gobi desert, reaching an altitude of 1,600 meters on the way to Mandalgovi. The sixth stage (leg distance: 411.75 km, special stage: 408.17km) will lead to Dalanzadgad, still characterized by high speed on the wide steppe roads. The seventh stage represents a Silk Way Rally style rest day – the challenge of the day will be the Chinese border crossing, before reaching the city of Bayinbaolige after a 550.66 km long liaison. The eighth stage Bayinbaolige – Alashan (leg distance: 785.11 km, special stage: 326.6 km) will be the longest one and the first one featuring real dunes. The dunes will also spice up the ninth stage (leg distance: 501.2 km, special stage: 290.30 km) from Alashan to Jiayuguan. The rally will finish the next day in Dunhuang. The last stage (leg distance: 556.66 km, special stage: 255 km) will again lead the racers on fast gravel roads to finish the adventure full throttle on July 16. It’s gonna be fast and tricky “A lot of hard pack means the rally pace will be extremely fast overall,” comments the team manager, and continues: “Many stony kilometers will also be quite tasking on the bikes, particularly on the wheels. The starting position will have less of an affect because of predominately gravel tracks, but there are other challenges to take into account. For example, a lot of wild animals in the forest are another threat to the riders. On many days we expect to suffer the heat, while on the other days we predict thunderstorms. I will as always try to anticipate as much as possible and make the best possible plan for every next day. This is what a sport manager does. My business card says team manager, but I am also a rider’s coach as I have been for the last four years. All in all, I will always be an ex-rider, living and breathing the rallies as one of them. Part of my mind therefore takes care of the smallest detail that can happen to the rider, while the other part needs to see the biggest picture possible. So, here we are, in Siberia, the team as solid and motivated as ever, ready to go all-in, acting like a family, breathing for the same goal, dreaming the same dream.” Luciano Benavides (ARG), Sam Sunderland (GBR) & Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2019 © Rally Zone Photos: Sebas Romero | Rally Zone
  8. Chasing the white tiger: Jordi Viladoms talks us through the brand-new adventure of the KTM rally team Posted in People, Racing After the amazing 1st-2nd-3rd podium in Lima and the 1st-2nd podium in Abu Dhabi, the KTM rally team is again READY TO RACE – this time by taking the road less travelled, diving into the unknown. “I am intrigued by the unknown,” says the team manager Jordi Viladoms, “which is good, but we still might be troubled by some questions.” Why have the members of the factory rally team spent so much time lately at the Russian, Mongolian and Chinese embassies around the world? Why have the assistance team set off for a 2-week road and ferry trip from Mattighofen over Finland to Irkutsk already on June 20 (and why will the road back last one more week)? Why has Jordi Viladoms been thoroughly studying the terrain of Siberia, Mongolia and East China lately, and some basic vocabulary of the respective countries? Why has the team decided to share a cook with another team for this adventure and stored some extra tuna cans in the truck? Why can’t we predict the race’s outcome with more precision this time around? The answer can be summed up in three words: Silk Way Rally, where for the first time in its history motorcycles are joining the party. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2019 © Sebas Romero Greetings from Siberia The last time the rally team tackled a very different adventure was back in 2009, when the Dakar Rally moved to South America. This year, however, many novelties are on the world rally-raid menu: for the team as for the team manager. “Still, the most difficult part of racing is always the most attractive one,” says the KTM rally team manager. For a former rally-raid racer and a Dakarian a new rally adventure is the best thing he could have hoped and wished for. If the latest versions of the Dakar Rally lacked a bit of this aspect, the Saudi Arabian edition and the upcoming Silk Way Rally surely won’t. The orange team has just passed the technical and administrative verifications in Irkutsk, Siberia. Racing in the footsteps of Marco Polo starts tomorrow. A little bit of history At the beginning there was silk. The Silk Way Rally derives from the Silk Road, which derives from silk, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into a transcontinental network. Even if Marco Polo didn’t label any road a “silk” one, the Silk Road is often associated with him. When asked about Marco Polo, the 39-year-old Catalan replies: “I know he was smart, and had great ability to adapt. He made himself known, even famous doing this route. We are no different from him, except that we travel a little faster.” The temptation to cross the wild countries of immense taiga forests, never-ending steppes and the magic Gobi, has always been there. Much before the first Silk Way Rally in 2009, which connected Kazan in Russia to Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, there was another, much longer race. The Peking to Paris motor race was firstly an automobile race, originally held in 1907, between Peking and Paris. The winner, the Italian prince Scipione Borghese, needed two months to complete the incredible 15,000 kilometers. He started at the French embassy in Peking, now Beijing, on June 10 and arrived in Paris on August 10. It was a full “malle-moto” competition, with camels carrying the fuel, not to mention that the prince also made a little touristic detour to see Petersburg. Heinz Kinigadner, who won the 1995 edition of the Paris-Moskow-Peking rally, of course made no detours of any kind. White Tiger Trophy Back to the Silk Way Rally … In the next three years the event was held exclusively in Russia. After a three year break the 2016 edition consisted of the Moscow-Astana-Beijing route. The 2017 edition started in Moscow and finished in Xi’an in China. Last year the Silk Way Rally split in two parts, the Russian and the Chinese; the international crews battled on the route between Astrakhan and Moscow. This year the competition crosses three vast countries and is also introducing the motorcycle category. And while the Italian prince won a magnum of champagne for a win, the winner of the Silk Way Rally will get a White Tiger Trophy. The masterpiece was designed by Denis Simachev, a famous Russian fashion designer. In Chinese mythology the white tiger symbolizes courage and strong spirit, which will be needed to take the trophy home. Silk Way Rally Into the unknown 5,000 kilometers (well, 5,007.96 to be precise), 2,593.15 km of timed sections, 10 stages, 3 countries – these are the main figures of the 2019 Silk Way Rally edition. On paper it looks much like the Dakar some years ago, but Jordi Viladoms, the team manager whose first official assignment was the Dakar 2019, says the comparison with the “toughest race on the planet” is not necessary. “Of course, the urge to compare the two races is huge, though I am quite sure the Silk Way Rally is a race with its complete own identity, different character and different challenges to face. But firstly, and more importantly, for us this is a leap into the unknown. The main challenge will therefore be to adapt as fast as possible to all the enigmas we will encounter: to the terrain, weather, type of bivouac, people, different organization, and even food. We heard the food there is really … interesting. I guess we will just have to be flexible and to learn very quickly.” Three riders on the mission The Dakar 2019 left its toll, so two warriors will miss out on the newest Eastern front: Toby Price and Matthias Walkner still haven’t fully recovered from surgeries. “We go to the Silk Way Rally with Sam Sunderland, Luciano Benavides and Laia Sanz,” explains Jordi Viladoms. “Matthias and Toby are still not ready to compete at this point and they will only join the team for the Atacama Rally in September. For Laia this is the first rally she is taking part this year, after her brave performance at the Erzbergrodeo. Sam and Luciano are both in shape and hungry to race. After only one championship race, they are first and second in the world rankings. The three of them are big fighters, capable of taking on a long race.” Way out of the comfort zone “There is another interesting aspect concerning the most difficult race of the championship,” he continues. “Because of the length, the scoring in this race is different. Instead of the usual 25, the winner will get 37.5 points. This is a race and a half we talking about, so it will be massively important to finish it in a good position. The cross-country rallies championship has a new concept this year: there are only four races, but much more variety. I think the decision to include the Silk Way Rally into the World Championship is a smart one; it will make the discipline stronger and bring it back to its roots. One of the fundamentals of the rally raid is to leave your comfort zone and this rally will certainly take us way out. For instance, our assistance team had to travel 14 days to come to Irkutsk and will spend three days more to return home from China. Getting visas was no walk in the park, for some team members a trip to the Chinese embassy was the real first stage of the Silk Way Rally.” Sam Sunderland (GBR) & Luciano Benavides (ARG) KTM 450 RALLY 2019 © Rally Zone How to prepare for the unknown “I studied the history of the race, trying to understand what happened in the previous years, and looked closer at the route. Theoretically, I am aware of the challenges that await us, but we will see for ourselves when we get out there. Besides this there is another interesting point: We will visit countries with cultures we have absolutely no clue about. I’ve been also trying to learn some basic vocabulary, but there is no guarantee people will understand me. This new rally is a total new adventure, so in this sense it does remind me of the African Dakars and those endless deserts we knew nothing about. If there was one race I would still be tempted to do, this is the one.” Exploring the route The first stage (leg distance: 255.53 km, special stage: 50.87 km) will cross the Siberian taiga forest, leading the racers from Irkutsk to their first rally bivouac on the shores of Lake Baikal. In the second stage (leg distance: 413 km, special stage: 212.02 km) the rally caravan will reach Ulan-Ude close to the Mongolian border. In the third stage (leg distance: 691 km, special stage: 243 km) the rally will head to Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, trying to avoid many dangerous ravines down the road. The fourth (loop) stage (leg distance: 476.96 km, special stage: 470.19 km) is all about the speed in the steppes. In the fifth stage (leg distance: 364.59 km, special stage: 337 km) the racers will touch the Gobi desert, reaching an altitude of 1,600 meters on the way to Mandalgovi. The sixth stage (leg distance: 411.75 km, special stage: 408.17km) will lead to Dalanzadgad, still characterized by high speed on the wide steppe roads. The seventh stage represents a Silk Way Rally style rest day – the challenge of the day will be the Chinese border crossing, before reaching the city of Bayinbaolige after a 550.66 km long liaison. The eighth stage Bayinbaolige – Alashan (leg distance: 785.11 km, special stage: 326.6 km) will be the longest one and the first one featuring real dunes. The dunes will also spice up the ninth stage (leg distance: 501.2 km, special stage: 290.30 km) from Alashan to Jiayuguan. The rally will finish the next day in Dunhuang. The last stage (leg distance: 556.66 km, special stage: 255 km) will again lead the racers on fast gravel roads to finish the adventure full throttle on July 16. It’s gonna be fast and tricky “A lot of hard pack means the rally pace will be extremely fast overall,” comments the team manager, and continues: “Many stony kilometers will also be quite tasking on the bikes, particularly on the wheels. The starting position will have less of an affect because of predominately gravel tracks, but there are other challenges to take into account. For example, a lot of wild animals in the forest are another threat to the riders. On many days we expect to suffer the heat, while on the other days we predict thunderstorms. I will as always try to anticipate as much as possible and make the best possible plan for every next day. This is what a sport manager does. My business card says team manager, but I am also a rider’s coach as I have been for the last four years. All in all, I will always be an ex-rider, living and breathing the rallies as one of them. Part of my mind therefore takes care of the smallest detail that can happen to the rider, while the other part needs to see the biggest picture possible. So, here we are, in Siberia, the team as solid and motivated as ever, ready to go all-in, acting like a family, breathing for the same goal, dreaming the same dream.” Luciano Benavides (ARG), Sam Sunderland (GBR) & Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 2019 © Rally Zone Photos: Sebas Romero | Rally Zone
  9. Mr. Adventure – Part 1

    Mr. Adventure – Part 1 Joe Pichler has ridden over 350,000 kms outside of Europe and has toured on every single KTM with an ADVENTURE sticker on. We grabbed a quick chat with the 58-year old Austrian to see what keeps his adventure going. Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © Joe Pichler As motorcyclists, we meet many likeminded people on our rides. Motorbikes are a common language; there’s no time for differences in politics, race or religion – just a shared passion for two wheels and an engine. We are all members of a global club, ready to share stories and advice. Please excuse the self-indulgence for a minute, but I’ve been very fortunate to meet some of the world’s best riders and racers while working in motorcycling for over 20 years. And while it´s perfectly natural to be in total awe of the ability and achievements of these athletes, their often god-like ability on a bike reminds you of your place. But then there’s Josef ‘Joe’ Pichler. For the Moroccan launch of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R earlier in 2019, KTM brought in Marc Coma, Jordi Viladoms, Laia Sanz, Sam Sunderland, Chris Birch, and Quinn Cody. All legends. Incredible offroad riders. People who have got to the top of their chosen disciplines and still humble with it. But also invited to attend was this tall, Austrian man with crazy hair. He has no trophies to speak of but was the only rider at the event I wanted a selfie with (I know, I know … ) and felt truly inspired by. So, why is that? Ok, Joe is tall and Austrian and I’m short and English; both of these attributes aren’t likely to change. But Joe is just a normal guy who loves to see the world by motorcycle. He has no racing pedigree – just a self-taught explorer. After a day of carving up the Merzouga dunes on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, the assembled media and staff were treated to a presentation from Joe before dinner. No flashy PowerPoint show – just some incredible stories illustrated with photos that can be achieved by anyone with a motorcycle and the right attitude. You could say it was inspirational, because I could be like Joe. Only shorter. The Salzburg-born rider has been riding adventure bikes since 1984 and has since racked up 350,000 kms outside Europe. “I’ve no idea how many countries I’ve visited,” Joe says over lunch at an Oasis-like café at the foot of the Merzouga sand dunes. “It has to be around 80-90. I don’t count them.” Joe is not saying that in a boastful way, it’s just his manner that everyone warms to in seconds. This unassuming tall man has an infectious smile and a way of talking that leads you wanting to hear more. “Africa is my favorite place to be in with the bike,” he continues. “In 30 years, I must have spent over three and a half years riding there in different journeys; the continent is great. My favorite place is Ethiopia as it’s just so different from the rest of the continent in terms of the culture and landscape. And then there’s the Sahara.” Ah yes, the Sahara. Joe was given a pre-production version of a KTM 790 ADVENTURE R (he doesn’t need the extra suspension performance but preferred the taller seat h) and had the bike shipped to Chad in Northern Central Africa. He then rode 19,000 km in a counter-clockwise route of the northern part of the continent, arriving straight at the International Media Launch of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R on the outskirts of Merzouga. Aside from KTM’s own test riders, he remains the highest mileage pilot of one of these bikes. So, he must be a riding god? Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © Luke Brackenbury The right attitude “I’m a motorbike rider of course, but not like a hardcore guy,” he says drinking a hot coffee on a very hot afternoon. “I just learn by doing; not once have I been to a riding school. I’m not really a bike rider when I’m in Europe. Before all these big trips I would ride around home, but now it’s maybe once or twice or year I ride from home to Italy or Croatia. Adventure bike riding starts for me when I leave Europe. I usually ride with my wife, Renate, or sometimes alone. For me that’s the real freedom of riding.” The right time It is the dream of so many riders to make their own epic trip and see the world by two wheels. Would you advise that people jump straight into riding big riding trips? “It really depends on the person,” says Joe with no hesitation. “My first long trip was already 4 months. Before that I was just once in my life riding down to the south of Italy with a friend of mine. One night we were sitting down looking at the map of where we were, and the northern part of Africa was on it. After a few glasses of red wine, I was saying ‘it would be great to go to Morocco. Visit Casablanca.’ That idea became planted and a few years later I went.” With his experience, we asked Joe how long you should take to plan your epic adventure and when to start. “Just start,” Joe says. “I’ve met so many people who dream and plan for ages. When I started these big trips, I had never in my life changed a tire! I’m no mechanic. So maybe this isn’t the best approach, but it’s also good in a way.” “Don’t make too much of plan with Google Earth and all this stuff – planning day by day. You will lose the heart of the adventure like this. Planning can be done a little on the way. You need a bit of a plan, of course, but don’t plan yourself a rigid itinerary day by day. Be open to change. Explore. You can’t be rigid. The hardest thing is to start the engine and leave the warm, nice home. But as soon as you are on your way, you’re away.” The right place Joe says with so much info on internet on where to go and where people have been it can be so easy just to emulate someone else’s adventure. “Don’t try to go where others have been where there are all these pictures in Instagram and Facebook but try to find your own adventure. Sometimes it is much more of an adventure to go to somewhere which is unknown.” Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © KTM The right papers Being so westernized and European (for now), one thing that worries me is crossing borders. Not that I’ve got anything to hide, I just seem to have one of those faces that arouses suspicion. And that’s always scared me a little about international travel. “Border crossing is the main thing that you have to be prepared for,” Joe says with as much seriousness as I’ve so far witnessed. “You have to be organized with all your papers; for customs, visas. Even on small borders, between Senegal and Mali, they take your finger prints and everything. But I crossed 10 countries on this trip with no problems at any borders. But our papers are all ok. If they’re not, then you get problems. So, make sure your papers are ok. It was a lot different 20 years ago …” The right tools With so many miles and different countries, what does Joe look for in an Adventure bike? “For sure travel range,” Joe says without hesitation. “You need to be able to go around 400 km in normal conditions with the fuel range. This then allows you to explore more remote conditions. The next thing you need is a smooth and easy to handle engine. You are going for weeks – often riding every day – so an engine with enough power to handle two riders and luggage but easy to manage is essential.” “The chassis is also important because you need a good strong frame. I am usually riding with a passenger and luggage, so you don’t want this breaking. But good suspension is needed as there are maybe times you are not on good tarmac roads.” Stay tuned to read “Mr. Adventure – Part 2” and to experience what keeps Joe´s adventure going. Photos: Joe Pichler | Luke Brackenbury | KTM
  10. ktm Mr. Adventure – Part 1

    Mr. Adventure – Part 1 Joe Pichler has ridden over 350,000 kms outside of Europe and has toured on every single KTM with an ADVENTURE sticker on. We grabbed a quick chat with the 58-year old Austrian to see what keeps his adventure going. Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © Joe Pichler As motorcyclists, we meet many likeminded people on our rides. Motorbikes are a common language; there’s no time for differences in politics, race or religion – just a shared passion for two wheels and an engine. We are all members of a global club, ready to share stories and advice. Please excuse the self-indulgence for a minute, but I’ve been very fortunate to meet some of the world’s best riders and racers while working in motorcycling for over 20 years. And while it´s perfectly natural to be in total awe of the ability and achievements of these athletes, their often god-like ability on a bike reminds you of your place. But then there’s Josef ‘Joe’ Pichler. For the Moroccan launch of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R earlier in 2019, KTM brought in Marc Coma, Jordi Viladoms, Laia Sanz, Sam Sunderland, Chris Birch, and Quinn Cody. All legends. Incredible offroad riders. People who have got to the top of their chosen disciplines and still humble with it. But also invited to attend was this tall, Austrian man with crazy hair. He has no trophies to speak of but was the only rider at the event I wanted a selfie with (I know, I know … ) and felt truly inspired by. So, why is that? Ok, Joe is tall and Austrian and I’m short and English; both of these attributes aren’t likely to change. But Joe is just a normal guy who loves to see the world by motorcycle. He has no racing pedigree – just a self-taught explorer. After a day of carving up the Merzouga dunes on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, the assembled media and staff were treated to a presentation from Joe before dinner. No flashy PowerPoint show – just some incredible stories illustrated with photos that can be achieved by anyone with a motorcycle and the right attitude. You could say it was inspirational, because I could be like Joe. Only shorter. The Salzburg-born rider has been riding adventure bikes since 1984 and has since racked up 350,000 kms outside Europe. “I’ve no idea how many countries I’ve visited,” Joe says over lunch at an Oasis-like café at the foot of the Merzouga sand dunes. “It has to be around 80-90. I don’t count them.” Joe is not saying that in a boastful way, it’s just his manner that everyone warms to in seconds. This unassuming tall man has an infectious smile and a way of talking that leads you wanting to hear more. “Africa is my favorite place to be in with the bike,” he continues. “In 30 years, I must have spent over three and a half years riding there in different journeys; the continent is great. My favorite place is Ethiopia as it’s just so different from the rest of the continent in terms of the culture and landscape. And then there’s the Sahara.” Ah yes, the Sahara. Joe was given a pre-production version of a KTM 790 ADVENTURE R (he doesn’t need the extra suspension performance but preferred the taller seat h) and had the bike shipped to Chad in Northern Central Africa. He then rode 19,000 km in a counter-clockwise route of the northern part of the continent, arriving straight at the International Media Launch of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R on the outskirts of Merzouga. Aside from KTM’s own test riders, he remains the highest mileage pilot of one of these bikes. So, he must be a riding god? Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © Luke Brackenbury The right attitude “I’m a motorbike rider of course, but not like a hardcore guy,” he says drinking a hot coffee on a very hot afternoon. “I just learn by doing; not once have I been to a riding school. I’m not really a bike rider when I’m in Europe. Before all these big trips I would ride around home, but now it’s maybe once or twice or year I ride from home to Italy or Croatia. Adventure bike riding starts for me when I leave Europe. I usually ride with my wife, Renate, or sometimes alone. For me that’s the real freedom of riding.” The right time It is the dream of so many riders to make their own epic trip and see the world by two wheels. Would you advise that people jump straight into riding big riding trips? “It really depends on the person,” says Joe with no hesitation. “My first long trip was already 4 months. Before that I was just once in my life riding down to the south of Italy with a friend of mine. One night we were sitting down looking at the map of where we were, and the northern part of Africa was on it. After a few glasses of red wine, I was saying ‘it would be great to go to Morocco. Visit Casablanca.’ That idea became planted and a few years later I went.” With his experience, we asked Joe how long you should take to plan your epic adventure and when to start. “Just start,” Joe says. “I’ve met so many people who dream and plan for ages. When I started these big trips, I had never in my life changed a tire! I’m no mechanic. So maybe this isn’t the best approach, but it’s also good in a way.” “Don’t make too much of plan with Google Earth and all this stuff – planning day by day. You will lose the heart of the adventure like this. Planning can be done a little on the way. You need a bit of a plan, of course, but don’t plan yourself a rigid itinerary day by day. Be open to change. Explore. You can’t be rigid. The hardest thing is to start the engine and leave the warm, nice home. But as soon as you are on your way, you’re away.” The right place Joe says with so much info on internet on where to go and where people have been it can be so easy just to emulate someone else’s adventure. “Don’t try to go where others have been where there are all these pictures in Instagram and Facebook but try to find your own adventure. Sometimes it is much more of an adventure to go to somewhere which is unknown.” Joe Pichler (AUT) 2019 © KTM The right papers Being so westernized and European (for now), one thing that worries me is crossing borders. Not that I’ve got anything to hide, I just seem to have one of those faces that arouses suspicion. And that’s always scared me a little about international travel. “Border crossing is the main thing that you have to be prepared for,” Joe says with as much seriousness as I’ve so far witnessed. “You have to be organized with all your papers; for customs, visas. Even on small borders, between Senegal and Mali, they take your finger prints and everything. But I crossed 10 countries on this trip with no problems at any borders. But our papers are all ok. If they’re not, then you get problems. So, make sure your papers are ok. It was a lot different 20 years ago …” The right tools With so many miles and different countries, what does Joe look for in an Adventure bike? “For sure travel range,” Joe says without hesitation. “You need to be able to go around 400 km in normal conditions with the fuel range. This then allows you to explore more remote conditions. The next thing you need is a smooth and easy to handle engine. You are going for weeks – often riding every day – so an engine with enough power to handle two riders and luggage but easy to manage is essential.” “The chassis is also important because you need a good strong frame. I am usually riding with a passenger and luggage, so you don’t want this breaking. But good suspension is needed as there are maybe times you are not on good tarmac roads.” Stay tuned to read “Mr. Adventure – Part 2” and to experience what keeps Joe´s adventure going. Photos: Joe Pichler | Luke Brackenbury | KTM
  11. Getting dressed for work

    Getting dressed for work Posted in People, Racing Former World Champion and current Red Bull KTM Ajo star, Brad Binder, explains the kit needed for his ‘day job’ in Moto2TM. In a dark and undisturbed corner of the Circuit of the Americas vast Media Center, Brad Binder is happy to be wearing his full race kit. Outside, the Texan air is stifling. Inside, the air conditioning is chiming along with good effect so the likeable South African does not mind squeezing into his shiny, dark and occasionally squeaky leathers. The 23-year-old is fairly uncomplicated and undemanding when it comes to his requirements for what he needs on the motorcycle in order to race for the tenths of a second that divide vast numbers of riders in the ruthless Moto2TM division. He counts on excellent support from various brands and poses for Rob Gray’s impromptu camera setup to reveal what (and where) he uses and why. Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray 1. The Underlayer Binder pulls-on a special top and bottom fabric layer that sits nicely under his suit. It helps both regulate body temperature and increase the comfort aspect of the whole get-up. ‘Layers’ are one of the fastest evolving areas of sportswear in the last five years thanks to the complicated properties of the materials that deal with sweat absorption and even compression. “One cool thing is this special type of material where as soon as it gets wet and the wind blows on it then it feels very cool,” Binder says. “It has a cooling effect. It’s not ideal for winter obviously but helps a lot with temperature control. The pants are also made from a material that means it is super-easy to slip on the leathers.” “I used to wear long, motocross-style socks but now when the boots are tailor made and the suits are made to measure that it was all a bit tight. Nowadays I wear socks that are much shorter and come about ten centimeters above my ankle. It is actually difficult to find a good pair! When I get some that I like I stick with them all year.” “Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be that hot at a grand prix and you are wringing the gear out because it is so wet! It is quite normal to come in to the truck soaking. The leathers keep you quite warm and you are working hard on the bike so you can lose weight over a race weekend.” “Before a race I take off the team-wear and put on the under-suit, or layer, and then do some stretching and my normal warm-up routine. After that it will be the suit, the boots, back and chest protector, zip-up and then everything else is waiting for me in the box.” Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray 2. The Leathers Nowadays race suits are complicated mixes of (usually) kangaroo or cow leathers and other stretch fabrics to ensure flexibility, lightweight, ventilation and protection. They are carefully constructed, resilient and very modern with airbag technology now obligatory in MotoGPTM for the last two years. “The amount of steps forward for leathers suits in the last six years is incredible. If I compared the suits now to what I had a few seasons ago then it is like ‘another world’ for general fit and comfort when I’m on the bike. We also have airbags as compulsory now – it’s packed into the hump and the panels are in the suit – and I think I have one of the lightest in the paddock when all is fitted.” “The suit is made for me, so my body is being re-measured all the time. With all the training we are doing it is normal that your arms or chest can get a bit bigger. You might even get a bit skinnier. Every half year – and at the end of the season – I’m re-fitted and the suits are redone accordingly. The support at the track is incredible and anything that we want in terms of an adjustment can be done at the circuit. We get well looked after.” “Sometimes at the beginning of the year – or if you haven’t ridden for a while – it can all feel a bit ‘hectic’ with everything on but once you’ve worn it for a while you get used to it and once it’s ‘broken-in’ then it gets more and more comfortable. I finished 2018 having used around 18-20 suits. By the third round of this year I’d already used six.” Just before the final zip is done up Binder will place a small chest protector inside: another part of the MotoGPTM rulebook. “The chest pad is just to absorb any possible impact. It is flexible and super-comfortable. How much it can help you is unknown … but it is probably better to have it than not.” Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray 3. The Rest The last items for Brad will be his race boots, gloves and the helmet: all items tailored specifically to his fit and needs. “The boots are basically the same as the ones from the shelf but they are customized a little bit. I have extremely small calves! So, I need them adjusted enough so I can tighten them properly. I really like my boots tight! I also like the profile of the boot to be narrower around the toes so they are less bulky. I am well looked after. I think I had 12 pairs of boots last year and I used two, to be honest. If I have something that fits and works well then I like to carry on with them; I think it is a bit of a superstition as well. The ones I’m wearing now I think I’ve had since the mid-point of last season.” “I hear a lot of people talking about gloves and how they often need a new pair. Personally, whether it’s brand new this doesn’t bother me at all and again it is something customized for me. If any of the fingers are a bit tight then they stretch them out, or if they are long then they shorten them. I’ve had 3-4 crashes in the gloves I’m using now and they look brand new. I know there are different materials so that when you crash it slides on the surface, like a small carbon piece near the palm of your hand. It can be quite scientific but I’m lucky that I have not had many injuries at all with my hands.” “For my helmet a 3D scan of my head was made so that the inside was totally custom-fitted. It is almost like an internal liner that fits every little bump! It’s perfectly formed and I’m using the new model to fit the new homologation and it must be a kilo lighter! On a normal day I’ll wear a tinted visor. If it has been raining and there are some patches on track or it’s cloudy then I will wear a half-tint. The company I’m with brought out a visor with some new technology last year where water never sits on top and it never mists up. Since then I’ve never worried about it. Before we had that dual visor system that you get in normal helmets for the road but water could sometimes drop in between the two layers. Since the new visor it’s been really cool.” Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray Finishing our shoot we ask Brad if there is anything that he’d like to see changed or introduced to his race outfit. Riders obviously need to move and react to the full behavior of the bike so flex is key, but aerodynamics are also vital in the chase of winning lap times so keeping their shape slim and narrow is paramount. “I don’t know what else we can wear or do,” he thinks. “I think every aspect is covered!” Photos: Rob Gray
  12. ktm Getting dressed for work

    Getting dressed for work Posted in People, Racing Former World Champion and current Red Bull KTM Ajo star, Brad Binder, explains the kit needed for his ‘day job’ in Moto2TM. In a dark and undisturbed corner of the Circuit of the Americas vast Media Center, Brad Binder is happy to be wearing his full race kit. Outside, the Texan air is stifling. Inside, the air conditioning is chiming along with good effect so the likeable South African does not mind squeezing into his shiny, dark and occasionally squeaky leathers. The 23-year-old is fairly uncomplicated and undemanding when it comes to his requirements for what he needs on the motorcycle in order to race for the tenths of a second that divide vast numbers of riders in the ruthless Moto2TM division. He counts on excellent support from various brands and poses for Rob Gray’s impromptu camera setup to reveal what (and where) he uses and why. Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray 1. The Underlayer Binder pulls-on a special top and bottom fabric layer that sits nicely under his suit. It helps both regulate body temperature and increase the comfort aspect of the whole get-up. ‘Layers’ are one of the fastest evolving areas of sportswear in the last five years thanks to the complicated properties of the materials that deal with sweat absorption and even compression. “One cool thing is this special type of material where as soon as it gets wet and the wind blows on it then it feels very cool,” Binder says. “It has a cooling effect. It’s not ideal for winter obviously but helps a lot with temperature control. The pants are also made from a material that means it is super-easy to slip on the leathers.” “I used to wear long, motocross-style socks but now when the boots are tailor made and the suits are made to measure that it was all a bit tight. Nowadays I wear socks that are much shorter and come about ten centimeters above my ankle. It is actually difficult to find a good pair! When I get some that I like I stick with them all year.” “Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be that hot at a grand prix and you are wringing the gear out because it is so wet! It is quite normal to come in to the truck soaking. The leathers keep you quite warm and you are working hard on the bike so you can lose weight over a race weekend.” “Before a race I take off the team-wear and put on the under-suit, or layer, and then do some stretching and my normal warm-up routine. After that it will be the suit, the boots, back and chest protector, zip-up and then everything else is waiting for me in the box.” Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray 2. The Leathers Nowadays race suits are complicated mixes of (usually) kangaroo or cow leathers and other stretch fabrics to ensure flexibility, lightweight, ventilation and protection. They are carefully constructed, resilient and very modern with airbag technology now obligatory in MotoGPTM for the last two years. “The amount of steps forward for leathers suits in the last six years is incredible. If I compared the suits now to what I had a few seasons ago then it is like ‘another world’ for general fit and comfort when I’m on the bike. We also have airbags as compulsory now – it’s packed into the hump and the panels are in the suit – and I think I have one of the lightest in the paddock when all is fitted.” “The suit is made for me, so my body is being re-measured all the time. With all the training we are doing it is normal that your arms or chest can get a bit bigger. You might even get a bit skinnier. Every half year – and at the end of the season – I’m re-fitted and the suits are redone accordingly. The support at the track is incredible and anything that we want in terms of an adjustment can be done at the circuit. We get well looked after.” “Sometimes at the beginning of the year – or if you haven’t ridden for a while – it can all feel a bit ‘hectic’ with everything on but once you’ve worn it for a while you get used to it and once it’s ‘broken-in’ then it gets more and more comfortable. I finished 2018 having used around 18-20 suits. By the third round of this year I’d already used six.” Just before the final zip is done up Binder will place a small chest protector inside: another part of the MotoGPTM rulebook. “The chest pad is just to absorb any possible impact. It is flexible and super-comfortable. How much it can help you is unknown … but it is probably better to have it than not.” Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray 3. The Rest The last items for Brad will be his race boots, gloves and the helmet: all items tailored specifically to his fit and needs. “The boots are basically the same as the ones from the shelf but they are customized a little bit. I have extremely small calves! So, I need them adjusted enough so I can tighten them properly. I really like my boots tight! I also like the profile of the boot to be narrower around the toes so they are less bulky. I am well looked after. I think I had 12 pairs of boots last year and I used two, to be honest. If I have something that fits and works well then I like to carry on with them; I think it is a bit of a superstition as well. The ones I’m wearing now I think I’ve had since the mid-point of last season.” “I hear a lot of people talking about gloves and how they often need a new pair. Personally, whether it’s brand new this doesn’t bother me at all and again it is something customized for me. If any of the fingers are a bit tight then they stretch them out, or if they are long then they shorten them. I’ve had 3-4 crashes in the gloves I’m using now and they look brand new. I know there are different materials so that when you crash it slides on the surface, like a small carbon piece near the palm of your hand. It can be quite scientific but I’m lucky that I have not had many injuries at all with my hands.” “For my helmet a 3D scan of my head was made so that the inside was totally custom-fitted. It is almost like an internal liner that fits every little bump! It’s perfectly formed and I’m using the new model to fit the new homologation and it must be a kilo lighter! On a normal day I’ll wear a tinted visor. If it has been raining and there are some patches on track or it’s cloudy then I will wear a half-tint. The company I’m with brought out a visor with some new technology last year where water never sits on top and it never mists up. Since then I’ve never worried about it. Before we had that dual visor system that you get in normal helmets for the road but water could sometimes drop in between the two layers. Since the new visor it’s been really cool.” Brad Binder (RSA) 2019 © Rob Gray Finishing our shoot we ask Brad if there is anything that he’d like to see changed or introduced to his race outfit. Riders obviously need to move and react to the full behavior of the bike so flex is key, but aerodynamics are also vital in the chase of winning lap times so keeping their shape slim and narrow is paramount. “I don’t know what else we can wear or do,” he thinks. “I think every aspect is covered!” Photos: Rob Gray
  13. Husqvarna goes Enduro

    As the United States embraced the Husqvarna movement in the 60s, development and volumes played a major role at the Swedish factory. Now, the Motorcycle Olympics went from the International Six Days Trial to racing on most any surface. Enduro and desert riding changed motorcycling and paved the way for future Husqvarna success. On home grounds, the brand won almost all "reliability" races at hand… If you wanted to compete offroad during the 50s and early 60s, there were no race machines to buy at the local bike shops. Everyone relied on their own skills to convert a Silver Arrow to racing standards as best as they could. However, interest in riding fast offroad continued growing and Husqvarna reacted by further developing their now popular Silver Arrow models. There were a wide range of accessories to update this motorcycle. The engine was also tuned with a new and bigger cylinder, which became trendy among customers. Power was here to stay. At Huskvarna, the technicians started to make plans to produce a true racer on a bigger scale. As the 60s began, Husqvarna had fantastic results in the classic "Trophy of November". Rolf Tibblin had just won the European mx championship on his works machine, but now entered the gruelling enduro, which is the oldest and most well-known race in Sweden. Looking back, no other brand can claim as many victories in the "Novemberkasan" as Husqvarna. The feast of enduro to end all enduros began already back in 1915 when Swede Gunnar Enderlein won on his British machine. One of the more remarkable races was held in 1925 when Edvin Sagström became the sole competitor to reach the finish line. However, he was so late - more than a day - that the race was cancelled by the organizers and there was no winner appointed. In 1960, Rolf Tibblin started his winning crusade by taking overall victory. He then continued with four more victories in the coming years, which set a new "Novemberkasan" record. No one had been victorious for five years in a row in this staggering event. And he was close to winning also in 1965, but … In the summer of 1962, a reluctant board took the decision to manufacture a series of one hundred 250cc machines, to be sold in early 1963. These were motocross machines but could also be used for enduro with a little modification. As it happened, Torsten Hallman won his first 250cc title in the world championship then, which of course led to great interest in the purchase of a replica model. The orders kept coming to race manager Bror Jaurén and it turned out that more than 30 reservations surprisingly came from Norway and Finland while a single unit went to USA. The new 250 machine cost twice as much as the Silver Arrow and was sold at 4,500 Swedish Kronor (approx. 600 US dollars). The 1965 Novemberkasan winner was Olle Pettersson – a strong 250cc factory world championship contender for Husqvarna, who always did well also in enduro events. He fought hard with Tibblin, who finally had to give in to Olle at the end of this super-chilly “Kasa”. In 1966, Sweden hosted the International Six Days Trial event. It was run in mid-Sweden over 1,660 km with 287 starters in the "Blue Mountains" of Kilsbergen around the city of Örebro. The U.S. team was successfully represented by Bud Ekins and Malcolm Smith, both on Husqvarna. Swedes Hans Hansson won a gold medal on his 250cc while Curt Öberg managed to conquer in the half-litre class with his new 360cc Husky. Two years later, the same Hans Hansson was hired by Husqvarna to help develop a new 8-speed gearbox together with the technical engineers lead by Ruben Helmin. The 4-speed was OK for mx, but lacked speed range, revving too high in offroad competition. The complex solution was a high-ratio and a low-ratio gearbox where riders had to stop to shift from one to the other. The concept was a two-speed primary drive, controlled by a lever on the handlebars. Also, the installation of this kit was complicated and costly. The whole power plant had to be disassembled, which was time-consuming. With time, the pro's learned how to shift between high and low-range at speed, but Husqvarna never acknowledged shifting in motion. However, the result was positive and using the 8-speed Husky was more flexible than ever. When Hans raced in the "Novemberkasan" of the same year he took an outright victory with the new concept engine. In time for the new season, Husqvarna could finally introduce their first all-enduro machine for sale in 1970. In the US these machines were marketed as the Commando for the 250cc while the 360 C was simply called Enduro. The market reaction did not meet expectations and desert riders preferred the standard 4-speed version, changing sprockets whenever needed. But Husqvarna had a grand brand image at this stage and the U.S. customers stood in line to purchase a Viking product. The American racer John Penton was a true Husqvarna fan, racing the Swedish product to its first national enduro championship in 1969. He tried persuading the Swedes to make a 125cc version, but like many others who had tried convincing the Swedes he also failed at the time. Husqvarna declined stubbornly and so John set up his own brand, Penton, in 1968. He marketed the Pentons with great skill and was successful on the market with these 125cc machines, built in Austria. After some years the KTM factory bought the U.S. operations and renamed them KTM America. Since the Austrians previously only made mopeds and scooters – they suddenly had a new motorcycle name growing popular on the market.
  14. Chris Birch: 5 things I loved about racing the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Racing a 1,200km rally in Greece and going head to head with a wild bunch of enduro-powered riders to claim a stunning fourth place result, Chris Birch highlights the top five features on his race weapon of choice, the new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R. © Actiongraphers Highly experienced racer and riding coach Chris Birch continues to show the world the endless possibilities of KTM’s multi-cylinder ADVENTURE models. Clocking tens of thousands of offroad kilometers on 950 to 1290 KTM ADVENTURE machines, the New Zealander was involved in several stages of KTM’s 790 ADVENTURE models’ development. Blown away by the infinite possibilities of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R ever since he first rode the prototype machine, Birch immediately set his mind on trying out this new machine in real rally racing conditions. After closely monitoring the progress of all 12 racers as a riding coach at the 2019 KTM ULTIMATE RACE in Morocco, the time finally came for Chris to have a proper go aboard the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R during the Hellas Rally, held in Greece. [embedded content] The May 2019 edition of the Hellas Rally Raid saw almost 200 competitors take on a 1,200km adventure in the mountains of central Greece. “The Hellas Rally is really focused on 450cc enduro bikes,” confirmed Birch. “I was excited going into this event as I knew the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is more than capable in this terrain and I wanted to explore its full potential in real racing conditions.” Putting in a consistent run in the opening stages of the race, Birch made full use of his vast experience to climb up the overall rankings as the race went on. Eventually earning fourth in the event’s overall standings, Birch dominated the M6 class for twin-cylinder motorcycles over 660cc. Shortly after his week-long experience racing the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R in Greece, we quizzed Chris for his five favorite features on the potent twin-cylinder machine. © Actiongraphers 1. Handling & Suspension Developed alongside the KTM 450 RALLY, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R features a characteristic steel trellis frame suspended by fully-adjustable WP XPLOR suspension at each end. “It’s hard to believe how well the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R handles in the most extreme situations until you’ve raced one. On day three of the race I hit two huge bumps in a row whilst struggling with the dust. It just ate up the bumps and went straight ahead: incredible for stock suspension!” “The Hellas Rally is a great adventure and I knew what was coming my way when I registered for it. Seven long days in the mountains with always winding twisty tracks and some high-speed sections can be a lot of fun when you’re riding a machine you can trust and makes you feel comfortable to push.” © Actiongraphers 2. Brakes The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R runs twin 320 mm discs with 4-piston radial calipers on each side. At the rear is a 260 mm disc worked by a 2-piston caliper. This model has ABS, Offroad ABS and the ability to switch the safety system off altogether. “Riding and racing Adventure bikes for long days normally means you always need to be aware not to let your brakes overheat. Managing your brakes temperature in long rally stages is really a crucial thing.” “What impressed me in Greece was that I could hammer the brakes on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R without any problem.” “Some of the stages were massive and included more than 400km of riding in less than a day. The less I had to worry about, the more I was able to focus on my racing and my performance during the stage.” © Actiongraphers 3. Fuel Tank A 20-liter tank with the fuel positioned low in the chassis gives the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R a range of 450kms and balanced handling even when fully fueled. “With the extra fuel range I had over most of my competitors, I never had to worry about conserving my fuel,” said Chris. “This was a major advantage for me on some of the longest stages of the Hellas Rally. The shape of the fuel tank allowed me to sit at the front of the bike for more aggressive cornering. With most of the fuel sitting low and close to the heart of the bike, there was no noticeable changes in the handling either.” © Actiongraphers 4. Smooth Power Delivery Boasting 95 hp and 89 Nm from the 799cc parallel twin LC8c engine, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has four different ride modes – Street, Offroad, Rain and Rally – in order to be fully exploited in all conditions. “During the race we had conditions ranging from rain to extreme heat and dust. In such diverse conditions, it’s always a big advantage to have a smooth and tractable engine. Despite its potent engine, I was impressed by the ability of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R to find traction on the most tricky or slippery parts of the trails.” © Actiongraphers 5. Seat Thanks to KTM PowerParts, a huge array of seat types and hs are available for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R to best suit each ride and rider. “For the race I opted to run the KTM PowerParts higher seat. In total during the week we clocked more than 1,500km and it felt great to finish this long week of riding without a sore arse. The seat gave me total freedom to move my weight all the way forwards and back. It just made riding easier.” “Overall, it was a huge highlight for me to learn how to get the most out of this cool machine. It’s an amazing motorcycle and I enjoyed every moment of racing it in Greece.” Find out more about the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R here. © Actiongraphers Photos: Actiongraphers
  15. Chris Birch: 5 things I loved about racing the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Racing a 1,200km rally in Greece and going head to head with a wild bunch of enduro-powered riders to claim a stunning fourth place result, Chris Birch highlights the top five features on his race weapon of choice, the new KTM 790 ADVENTURE R. © Actiongraphers Highly experienced racer and riding coach Chris Birch continues to show the world the endless possibilities of KTM’s multi-cylinder ADVENTURE models. Clocking tens of thousands of offroad kilometers on 950 to 1290 KTM ADVENTURE machines, the New Zealander was involved in several stages of KTM’s 790 ADVENTURE models’ development. Blown away by the infinite possibilities of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R ever since he first rode the prototype machine, Birch immediately set his mind on trying out this new machine in real rally racing conditions. After closely monitoring the progress of all 12 racers as a riding coach at the 2019 KTM ULTIMATE RACE in Morocco, the time finally came for Chris to have a proper go aboard the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R during the Hellas Rally, held in Greece. [embedded content] The May 2019 edition of the Hellas Rally Raid saw almost 200 competitors take on a 1,200km adventure in the mountains of central Greece. “The Hellas Rally is really focused on 450cc enduro bikes,” confirmed Birch. “I was excited going into this event as I knew the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R is more than capable in this terrain and I wanted to explore its full potential in real racing conditions.” Putting in a consistent run in the opening stages of the race, Birch made full use of his vast experience to climb up the overall rankings as the race went on. Eventually earning fourth in the event’s overall standings, Birch dominated the M6 class for twin-cylinder motorcycles over 660cc. Shortly after his week-long experience racing the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R in Greece, we quizzed Chris for his five favorite features on the potent twin-cylinder machine. © Actiongraphers 1. Handling & Suspension Developed alongside the KTM 450 RALLY, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R features a characteristic steel trellis frame suspended by fully-adjustable WP XPLOR suspension at each end. “It’s hard to believe how well the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R handles in the most extreme situations until you’ve raced one. On day three of the race I hit two huge bumps in a row whilst struggling with the dust. It just ate up the bumps and went straight ahead: incredible for stock suspension!” “The Hellas Rally is a great adventure and I knew what was coming my way when I registered for it. Seven long days in the mountains with always winding twisty tracks and some high-speed sections can be a lot of fun when you’re riding a machine you can trust and makes you feel comfortable to push.” © Actiongraphers 2. Brakes The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R runs twin 320 mm discs with 4-piston radial calipers on each side. At the rear is a 260 mm disc worked by a 2-piston caliper. This model has ABS, Offroad ABS and the ability to switch the safety system off altogether. “Riding and racing Adventure bikes for long days normally means you always need to be aware not to let your brakes overheat. Managing your brakes temperature in long rally stages is really a crucial thing.” “What impressed me in Greece was that I could hammer the brakes on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R without any problem.” “Some of the stages were massive and included more than 400km of riding in less than a day. The less I had to worry about, the more I was able to focus on my racing and my performance during the stage.” © Actiongraphers 3. Fuel Tank A 20-liter tank with the fuel positioned low in the chassis gives the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R a range of 450kms and balanced handling even when fully fueled. “With the extra fuel range I had over most of my competitors, I never had to worry about conserving my fuel,” said Chris. “This was a major advantage for me on some of the longest stages of the Hellas Rally. The shape of the fuel tank allowed me to sit at the front of the bike for more aggressive cornering. With most of the fuel sitting low and close to the heart of the bike, there was no noticeable changes in the handling either.” © Actiongraphers 4. Smooth Power Delivery Boasting 95 hp and 89 Nm from the 799cc parallel twin LC8c engine, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has four different ride modes – Street, Offroad, Rain and Rally – in order to be fully exploited in all conditions. “During the race we had conditions ranging from rain to extreme heat and dust. In such diverse conditions, it’s always a big advantage to have a smooth and tractable engine. Despite its potent engine, I was impressed by the ability of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R to find traction on the most tricky or slippery parts of the trails.” © Actiongraphers 5. Seat Thanks to KTM PowerParts, a huge array of seat types and hs are available for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R to best suit each ride and rider. “For the race I opted to run the KTM PowerParts higher seat. In total during the week we clocked more than 1,500km and it felt great to finish this long week of riding without a sore arse. The seat gave me total freedom to move my weight all the way forwards and back. It just made riding easier.” “Overall, it was a huge highlight for me to learn how to get the most out of this cool machine. It’s an amazing motorcycle and I enjoyed every moment of racing it in Greece.” Find out more about the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R here. © Actiongraphers Photos: Actiongraphers
  16. KTM 790 ADVENTURE: Which path to take?

    KTM 790 ADVENTURE: Which path to take? Posted in Bikes, Riding With the arrival of the new limited edition KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY in 2020, KTM will soon offer three LC8c-powered ADVENTURE models. So, what are the differences of these bikes and who are they for? KTM 790 ADVENTURE, KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY & KTM 790 ADVENTURE R © KTM To help answer that, we first have to ask what is adventure? The craving to explore new places and travel to the unknown? To take risks? A state of mind? Adventure isn’t governed by length, rules or agenda; it has a unique meaning to us all. From its experience, KTM knows that a rider of one of its ADVENTURE machines is someone driven by curiosity, a hunger for performance and – of course – adventure. That nagging wanderlust and a desire to discover the hidden thrills and pleasures that lie just beyond the horizon. To match the attitudes and ambition of such riders, they need a motorcycle that takes everything further; machines that channel the adventure mindset and allow them to exploit any path in front of them – even the ones yet to be explored. KTM responded to customer feedback and demand by using its experience, talented engineers, incredible KISKA designers, development feedback of some of the finest adventure riders and partnerships with leading component suppliers such as WP Suspension, to create arguably the most exciting Travel Enduro machines ever. But what are the differences between the three members of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE model family and who are these exciting new machines for? POSITIONING: KTM 790 ADVENTURE: The most offroad capable travel bike KTM 790 ADVENTURE R: The most travel capable offroad bike KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY: The most travel capable rally bike For those who spend more time on the tarmac but with the bravery to push their personal boundaries, and curiosity to explore trails, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE quenches this thirst. Addictive street performance that will make every ride – no matter the distance – a memorable adventure. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R satisfies the most hardcore riders; enduro and rally pilots who demand that same extreme offroad performance but in a package capable of doing the distance all-day – no matter the terrain – while carrying all the essentials to keep going over the horizon and the one after. And when it wasn’t expected that more could be possible, the new arrival KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY is for those riders who demand the most extreme performance and the very best suspension equipment available. This is the machine that will easily cross continents in order to ride to the start line of a multi-stage rally. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM BODYWORK: The KTM 790 ADVENTURE has a front fender, mounted closer to the wheel while retaining enough clearance from the tire even for offroad use. The ‘R’ and ‘R RALLY’ have an enduro-style mudguard, mounted under the headlight for maximum ground clearance. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE is available in orange or white versions, with the ‘R’ a combination of orange, white and black. The ‘R RALLY’ is in blue and white with a unique graphic design together with carbon fiber tank protectors to finish off the unique package. Aside from the graphics differences, the ‘R’ also features orange handguards and black rear panels, as opposed to black and white, respectively, on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY. Rear pillion handles combined to a luggage plate come installed on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE but are also supplied with the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY. SCREEN: The ‘R’ and ‘R RALLY’ use a shorter design (tinted and clear finishes, respectively) to allow for less restriction when riding offroad standing up, as opposed to the larger, weather-deflecting, transparent design employed by the KTM 790 ADVENTURE. Each screen is 40 mm h adjustable, by way of undoing a single Torx bolt, and are interchangeable between both models. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM SUSPENSION: This is the biggest difference component-wise and to the riding character between the three bikes. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE uses a split fork design (rebound controlled in the right tube, compression in the left) with an APEX shock absorber. Apart from rear preload, these are not adjustable but provide ultimate feel and control in all types of riding situations; from street to dusty trails, riding solo or with a passenger. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R’s fully adjustable WP XPLOR setup is the result of an incredibly intensive testing program to help it be the most offroad capable Travel Enduro bike with true street comfort. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY is equipped with a WP XPLOR PRO suspension, built in the same department as WP’s Factory Racing equipment, which offers similar levels of performance for extreme riding. An additional 30 mm of suspension travel front and back helps clear the most demanding obstacles and also creates a seat h of 910mm for this unique model. SUSPENSION TRAVEL KTM 790 ADVENTURE: 200 mm front/back KTM 790 ADVENTURE R: 240 mm front/back KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY: 270 mm front/back CHASSIS: Physically, the chassis and swingarm are identical on both bikes, but the main chassis and subframe are painted black for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and orange for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY. To suit its more offroad focus, the ‘R’ has slight geometry changes; wheel base of 1,528 mm (compared to 1,509 mm), steering head angle of 63.7° (compared to 64.1°), trail of 110.4 mm (compared to 107.8 mm) and benefits from a ground clearance of 263 mm (compared to 233 mm). Featuring the same orange frame, the ‘R RALLY’ has minor geometry changes due to its extra 30 mm of suspension travel. The ‘R RALLY’ also receives KTM rally footpegs for comfort and grip when standing for long days, together with a longer sidestand to compensate for the longer suspension. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM SEAT: The design of the seats differs for the intended use. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE runs a split design with a pronounced step to separate passenger and rider, with the latter being easily adjustable between 830 mm or 850 mm. It features an underseat phone pocket (USB charger also available from KTM PowerParts). The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has a seat h of 880 mm and uses a one-piece design with only a small bump stop to allow maximum movement on the bike for a variety of riding situations. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY has a seat h of 910 mm and uses a one-piece design with a high, straight racing seat to improve racing ergonomics. All seats are compatible with each bike and multiple KTM PowerParts options include Ergo seats in standard (with three stages of heating control), +20 mm and -10 mm hs. An official lowering kit is also available for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE that brings the seat h down to 805 mm. ELECTRONICS: All three bikes feature a comprehensive suite of electronics and are navigation ready thanks to KTM MY RIDE, only requiring an app for onscreen, turn-by-turn directions. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R & R RALLY come ready with the new Rally ride mode installed (an option on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE) while the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY also comes as standard with Quickshifter+ and cruise control, which are optional for the other bikes. WHEELS/TIRES: To give riders free choice of tires without changing their wheels, identical sizes are use on both bikes. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE is fitted with Avon Trailrider; a road tire in an offroad size that provides incredible street handling. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R wears Metzeler Karoo 3 to suit its more offroad orientated attitude but still with street performance. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY also uses Metzeler Karoo 3, but with narrower rims with tubes for hardcore offroad riding conditions. There you have it … Three different motorcycles that give confidence to push boundaries both mental and physical. Vehicles to chase dreams, satisfy wanderlust or to begin the rally that never has to end. Adventure is what you make of it and it appears that whatever the ride, route or rally, a KTM 790 ADVENTURE is the best way to make it. So, which path would you take? KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM Photos: KTM
  17. KTM 790 ADVENTURE: Which path to take? Posted in Bikes, Riding With the arrival of the new limited edition KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY in 2020, KTM will soon offer three LC8c-powered ADVENTURE models. So, what are the differences of these bikes and who are they for? KTM 790 ADVENTURE, KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY & KTM 790 ADVENTURE R © KTM To help answer that, we first have to ask what is adventure? The craving to explore new places and travel to the unknown? To take risks? A state of mind? Adventure isn’t governed by length, rules or agenda; it has a unique meaning to us all. From its experience, KTM knows that a rider of one of its ADVENTURE machines is someone driven by curiosity, a hunger for performance and – of course – adventure. That nagging wanderlust and a desire to discover the hidden thrills and pleasures that lie just beyond the horizon. To match the attitudes and ambition of such riders, they need a motorcycle that takes everything further; machines that channel the adventure mindset and allow them to exploit any path in front of them – even the ones yet to be explored. KTM responded to customer feedback and demand by using its experience, talented engineers, incredible KISKA designers, development feedback of some of the finest adventure riders and partnerships with leading component suppliers such as WP Suspension, to create arguably the most exciting Travel Enduro machines ever. But what are the differences between the three members of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE model family and who are these exciting new machines for? POSITIONING: KTM 790 ADVENTURE: The most offroad capable travel bike KTM 790 ADVENTURE R: The most travel capable offroad bike KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY: The most travel capable rally bike For those who spend more time on the tarmac but with the bravery to push their personal boundaries, and curiosity to explore trails, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE quenches this thirst. Addictive street performance that will make every ride – no matter the distance – a memorable adventure. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R satisfies the most hardcore riders; enduro and rally pilots who demand that same extreme offroad performance but in a package capable of doing the distance all-day – no matter the terrain – while carrying all the essentials to keep going over the horizon and the one after. And when it wasn’t expected that more could be possible, the new arrival KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY is for those riders who demand the most extreme performance and the very best suspension equipment available. This is the machine that will easily cross continents in order to ride to the start line of a multi-stage rally. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM BODYWORK: The KTM 790 ADVENTURE has a front fender, mounted closer to the wheel while retaining enough clearance from the tire even for offroad use. The ‘R’ and ‘R RALLY’ have an enduro-style mudguard, mounted under the headlight for maximum ground clearance. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE is available in orange or white versions, with the ‘R’ a combination of orange, white and black. The ‘R RALLY’ is in blue and white with a unique graphic design together with carbon fiber tank protectors to finish off the unique package. Aside from the graphics differences, the ‘R’ also features orange handguards and black rear panels, as opposed to black and white, respectively, on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY. Rear pillion handles combined to a luggage plate come installed on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE but are also supplied with the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY. SCREEN: The ‘R’ and ‘R RALLY’ use a shorter design (tinted and clear finishes, respectively) to allow for less restriction when riding offroad standing up, as opposed to the larger, weather-deflecting, transparent design employed by the KTM 790 ADVENTURE. Each screen is 40 mm h adjustable, by way of undoing a single Torx bolt, and are interchangeable between both models. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM SUSPENSION: This is the biggest difference component-wise and to the riding character between the three bikes. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE uses a split fork design (rebound controlled in the right tube, compression in the left) with an APEX shock absorber. Apart from rear preload, these are not adjustable but provide ultimate feel and control in all types of riding situations; from street to dusty trails, riding solo or with a passenger. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R’s fully adjustable WP XPLOR setup is the result of an incredibly intensive testing program to help it be the most offroad capable Travel Enduro bike with true street comfort. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY is equipped with a WP XPLOR PRO suspension, built in the same department as WP’s Factory Racing equipment, which offers similar levels of performance for extreme riding. An additional 30 mm of suspension travel front and back helps clear the most demanding obstacles and also creates a seat h of 910mm for this unique model. SUSPENSION TRAVEL KTM 790 ADVENTURE: 200 mm front/back KTM 790 ADVENTURE R: 240 mm front/back KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY: 270 mm front/back CHASSIS: Physically, the chassis and swingarm are identical on both bikes, but the main chassis and subframe are painted black for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and orange for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY. To suit its more offroad focus, the ‘R’ has slight geometry changes; wheel base of 1,528 mm (compared to 1,509 mm), steering head angle of 63.7° (compared to 64.1°), trail of 110.4 mm (compared to 107.8 mm) and benefits from a ground clearance of 263 mm (compared to 233 mm). Featuring the same orange frame, the ‘R RALLY’ has minor geometry changes due to its extra 30 mm of suspension travel. The ‘R RALLY’ also receives KTM rally footpegs for comfort and grip when standing for long days, together with a longer sidestand to compensate for the longer suspension. KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM SEAT: The design of the seats differs for the intended use. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE runs a split design with a pronounced step to separate passenger and rider, with the latter being easily adjustable between 830 mm or 850 mm. It features an underseat phone pocket (USB charger also available from KTM PowerParts). The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has a seat h of 880 mm and uses a one-piece design with only a small bump stop to allow maximum movement on the bike for a variety of riding situations. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY has a seat h of 910 mm and uses a one-piece design with a high, straight racing seat to improve racing ergonomics. All seats are compatible with each bike and multiple KTM PowerParts options include Ergo seats in standard (with three stages of heating control), +20 mm and -10 mm hs. An official lowering kit is also available for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE that brings the seat h down to 805 mm. ELECTRONICS: All three bikes feature a comprehensive suite of electronics and are navigation ready thanks to KTM MY RIDE, only requiring an app for onscreen, turn-by-turn directions. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R & R RALLY come ready with the new Rally ride mode installed (an option on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE) while the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY also comes as standard with Quickshifter+ and cruise control, which are optional for the other bikes. WHEELS/TIRES: To give riders free choice of tires without changing their wheels, identical sizes are use on both bikes. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE is fitted with Avon Trailrider; a road tire in an offroad size that provides incredible street handling. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R wears Metzeler Karoo 3 to suit its more offroad orientated attitude but still with street performance. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY also uses Metzeler Karoo 3, but with narrower rims with tubes for hardcore offroad riding conditions. There you have it … Three different motorcycles that give confidence to push boundaries both mental and physical. Vehicles to chase dreams, satisfy wanderlust or to begin the rally that never has to end. Adventure is what you make of it and it appears that whatever the ride, route or rally, a KTM 790 ADVENTURE is the best way to make it. So, which path would you take? KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY © KTM Photos: KTM
  18. Wheelie Academy with Rok Bagoroš: Lift it up

    Wheelie Academy with Rok Bagoroš: Lift it up Everyone who’s ever watched a motorcycle stunt show, will have felt that urge; I want to do that! But as easy as it looks, the sort of stunts and tricks guys like Rok Bagoroš bring to the table are incredibly difficult to master. You’ll find that out soon enough once you book a lesson at the Slovenian stunt rider’s Wheelie Academy. For years I tried to piece together an acceptable wheelie for the motorcycle magazine I worked for as a road tester, but unfortunately, the end result would never involve any sort of excitingly high lifted front wheel – or at least not to a point I felt in control. Lifting it up at a call kept getting me down. Especially when looking at the photographic outcome afterwards, it was hardly anything to write home about, though it felt like an incredibly high-flying frontend; it really wasn’t ever. Mere decimeters from the deck every single time. Knowing exactly what makes it such a hassle to achieve only fuels the frustration; I’m simply too afraid to flip the bike. Weirder still is the fact I’m sure I’ve never even come close to the infamous point of no return. I’ve considered buying something cheap I could practice wheelying on, but never followed through. As I kept trying, I was more and more giving up on that illusive, controlled wheelie. Until I heard of Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy. As of last year, the Slovenian freestyle motorcycle stunt rider shares his knowledge of how to ‘lift it up’ – without crashing bike after bike, obviously. © Jowin Boerboom Mounts of dirty dishes Of course, I knew Rok Bagoroš as the YouTube stunt sensation he’d become over the years, throwing around bikes on videos. The sight of him near effortlessly swinging a bike around on one wheel – front or rear; it’s all the same to him – is bizarre to say the least. But as with any masterfully skilled person, the time and effort put in pays off tenfold – even though it takes both time and effort a plenty. Bagoroš grew up in Radenci, a tiny Slovenian town with barely 2,000 inhabitants, on the border with Austria. Humble beginnings didn’t stop Bagoroš from chasing his dreams. Selling newspapers and going through mounts of dirty dishes at a local restaurant, a 17-year-old Bagoroš made enough money to buy himself a scooter. Not to take him to work or to school, no; so, he could go out and stunt! “I loved Andreas Gustafsson’s stunt videos. He stunted scooters and I wanted to do that, too.” Rok turned out to be quite talented and after putting in the hours, he learned to up his game as he got better at more advanced tricks. “Back then I had gotten into Chris Pfeiffer’s stunting. Pfeiffer was the first stunter who got a contract with a manufacturer.” That outlined Rok’s mission; becoming a professional freestyle stunt rider. He worked as hard as he could, with his tricks catching on with fans. In 2011, the Slovenian caught a major break when KTM asked him to ride the orange machines professionally. “It really was a dream come true. Though I had always hoped I could one day stunt for a living, I did not expect things would go this fast.” © Jowin Boerboom Doing laps Eight years on, Rok Bagoroš and his team are taking on the next challenge. Of course, Rok and his buddies will still be doing the stunt shows we know and love them for, making awesome videos as they go, but as a sort of side gig they’ve started their very own Wheelie Academy. In a small group Rok teaches motorcyclists how to make a controllable wheelie. “No more than eight riders at a time,” he makes very clear. “I’m not interested in doing large groups; I want to focus on making sure students get the quality time to learn. That’s just not an option if you get too large of a group.” During the four-hour course, students start with a very simple looking exercise; doing laps. Rok has thrown me the keys of a brand-new KTM 390 DUKE, explaining me what I’m about to do, as we roll up to a marked-out course. “We’re going to make really tight circles, so you can adjust to using the rear brake.” It’s been a while since I did my road test, so I’m curious to see how I’ll do in a handling course like this. © Jowin Boerboom Just three laps in, Rok stops me. “Don’t worry, you’re doing fine. But I can see you’re grabbing the clutch using all four fingers. That’s not how we’re going to be doing things today. We want to have the handlebars firmly in hand, and to do that, you’ll need nothing but your index finger and middle finger to operate the clutch lever. We’ve adjusted the cable to get the clutch engagement point just right to be able to work with those two fingers alone.” As I carry on making set out laps, I find myself having to switch directions occasionally, not to get sick. Soon enough I’m able to stay within the circle, only to be stopped again by my Slovenian teacher. “Not bad at all,” Rok tells me with a smile. “But now we’re going to try and tighten the circle up even further. Keep focusing on that rear brake.” Back to the circle we go, clockwise first then counter-clockwise. Occasionally I need to put a foot down real quick, but Rok seems to let those moments slip. It’s time to stop again. This time we’re parking the KTM 390 DUKE for now. “See, using the rear brake you can turn the bike much tighter than you first imagined, right? That’s easily overlooked, but very important part of controlling a wheelie.” © Jowin Boerboom Baby get higher After a short breather, Rok goes into the anatomy of a wheelie. “Firstly, what we’ll be learning today is to perform the wheelie in a controlled fashion. Basically, anyone can lift the front wheel off the throttle alone, but that is not what we’re here to do. It’s all about balance and knowing what you’re doing.” No wonder the Wheelie Academy uses a small fleet of KTM 390 DUKEs. “You don’t need a lot of power to wheelie, as you’ll find out. A light bike like the 390 is just perfect to get you going, with the torquey single-cylinder engine to help you lift that wheel off the ground.” © Jowin Boerboom In order to give the whole group the attention they need, Rok has enlisted Radislav Mihajlov – a fellow stunt rider from Serbia – as a second instructor. He’ll be getting me up to speed for the first wheelie session. “Biggest advantage to how we teach our students to wheelie, is that it’s impossible to flip the bike. Once you go over balance point, the rubber mats basically catch you. When you do hit the rubber mats – and you will – don’t touch the clutch; stick to using the rear brake. You’ll come right back down.” © Jowin Boerboom To set me off, Radislav allows me to get used to riding on the five-wheeled contraption. The KTM I’ll be wheelying today has been rigged with the weirdest pair of training wheels I’ve ever seen, keeping the bike upright. The cart hanging from those wheels carries the rubber mats that catch you, plus the additional rear wheel. Like riding a motorcycle with a sidecar, I try to get accustomed to the weird five-wheeler, going up and down the wheelie strip. © Jowin Boerboom Not long after, it’s time to put the theory into action. Without a second thought, I let the clutch go with just a hint of throttle and before I know I’m lifting the front off the ground. Only to drop it right back down again. Four desperate attempts later, Radislav stops me again. I’m afraid I’m about to get a slap on the wrist here. “You’re not doing too bad, actually, but you should try to get more elevation; lift the front wheel higher. Try it, don’t worry!” His encouraging word should’ve calmed my nerves, but they haven’t. A sort of mental barrier keeps me from really taking flight, ending the first session with a wheelie that can only be described as moderately high. Most students are in a similar situation at this point, with a few of them going up and over, hitting the rubber mats that are there to catch you. Don’t think any of us can say they’re very much in control of anything at this point, but at least we’ve come to experience what it’s like to get a bike vertical. © Jowin Boerboom As I head into my second session of learning how to wheelie controllably, my focus is on elevation. Luckily, it’s not just Radislav that’s noticed my progression; I can feel it, too. Rok chips in every now and again with an additional pointer or two. “If you just drop the clutch, you won’t need much throttle at all; your body weight should help lift the front as it moves back. Most students tend to do this; they’re trying to physically pull the front up, unknowingly transferring weight over the front in the process.” © Jowin Boerboom No problem at all As I conclude my second session, I’m starting to feel confident. Rok Bagoroš seems satisfied with my progress, even more so than I am. “You’re starting to get a hang of it; not bad at all. Right now, you seem to have the separate actions under control. Time to string those actions together.” I can tell you, practicing wheelies for long periods of time is pretty tiring, so I’m glad to get a little break, using my fellow Wheelie Academy students for entertainment as I catch my breath. Got to hand it to those KTM 390 DUKEs; they’re getting a beating, but they don’t seem to miss a single beat. Just a bit of fuel every now and again, and they can do this all day long. “Certainly, in the beginning, students really drop the front quite hard, giving the front suspension a hard time. So far, the 390 DUKE has been taking it on the chin like a champ,” Tomaž Bratusa, Rok Bagoroš’ mechanic tells me. “Students tend to think we’re constantly replacing clutch plates and front suspension parts, but that’s really not the case. We keep up with regular maintenance and that’s pretty much it. Of course, we check all the bikes before packing up at the end of the day. That way we can be sure all the KTM 390 DUKEs are good to go for the following group.” Session three is when I really start to get a hang of it; a sense of control is slowly but surely creeping in, though it’s still no easy task pulling a textbook wheelie out of the hat. It’s a mix of not shifting my weight back right on one go and being too eager on the throttle on the next. Still, as I get off the bike to hand it over to another student, it’s near impossible to keep the smile off my face. Rok gives me a thumbs up as I sit down on one of the comfy seats in the KTM awning. More than anything, I’ve come to the conclusion you don’t just go out and learn to wheelie. The Academy is a tough nut to crack. There’s so many bits and pieces you need to put together – that takes some serious focus. Sooner than expected, though, I’m back on the 390. The day is starting to draw to a close, I’m going all out; I want to put on that fully controlled wheelie Rok’s been trying to teach me all day. It seems the harder I try, the harder it gets. Focus on technique has made room for frustration, set on by me just wanting it too much. So, by session five I’ve really lost all focus and concentration – my fellow students are also feeling the strain. It just all seems so easy; you pay the man, you get on the wheelie machine, and there you go, you can wheelie. But it’s simply not that simple – one of the main things Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy has taught me above all. It still takes practice, you still learn to wheelie by doing it. Four hours of trying to lift it up later, the Slovenian freestyle stunt rider sends us off back home, but not before he sits us down for a few final words. “Consider learning to wheelie like learning to swim,” he says. “You don’t learn to swim in just one morning or just one afternoon. If it’s a good wheelie you want to make, you’re going to have to put in the hours of training. You’ve done a good job getting a hang of the basics, now you need a closed-off area to go and build on those basics – you need to practice. Do remember, though, today’s course hasn’t just saved you a lot of money in repairing a bike you will have crashed a few times before finding control, but you’ve saved yourself a few broken bones as well. How we teach, you can safely go up to and over balance point, without writing off a motorcycle. I believe, from what I’ve seen today, all of you could master a perfect wheelie at some stage. For now, it just requires you to invest the time and the energy to perfect it.” © Jowin Boerboom Do you feel like having a crack at Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy? Well, you can! The next courses are on June 25-27 in Murska Sobota in Slovenia. Check out Rok´s website for all you need to know. Oh, and definitely have a look on Rok’s YouTube channel. It’s full of … let’s just call it inspiration! Photos: Jowin Boerboom
  19. Wheelie Academy with Rok Bagoroš: Lift it up Everyone who’s ever watched a motorcycle stunt show, will have felt that urge; I want to do that! But as easy as it looks, the sort of stunts and tricks guys like Rok Bagoroš bring to the table are incredibly difficult to master. You’ll find that out soon enough once you book a lesson at the Slovenian stunt rider’s Wheelie Academy. For years I tried to piece together an acceptable wheelie for the motorcycle magazine I worked for as a road tester, but unfortunately, the end result would never involve any sort of excitingly high lifted front wheel – or at least not to a point I felt in control. Lifting it up at a call kept getting me down. Especially when looking at the photographic outcome afterwards, it was hardly anything to write home about, though it felt like an incredibly high-flying frontend; it really wasn’t ever. Mere decimeters from the deck every single time. Knowing exactly what makes it such a hassle to achieve only fuels the frustration; I’m simply too afraid to flip the bike. Weirder still is the fact I’m sure I’ve never even come close to the infamous point of no return. I’ve considered buying something cheap I could practice wheelying on, but never followed through. As I kept trying, I was more and more giving up on that illusive, controlled wheelie. Until I heard of Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy. As of last year, the Slovenian freestyle motorcycle stunt rider shares his knowledge of how to ‘lift it up’ – without crashing bike after bike, obviously. © Jowin Boerboom Mounts of dirty dishes Of course, I knew Rok Bagoroš as the YouTube stunt sensation he’d become over the years, throwing around bikes on videos. The sight of him near effortlessly swinging a bike around on one wheel – front or rear; it’s all the same to him – is bizarre to say the least. But as with any masterfully skilled person, the time and effort put in pays off tenfold – even though it takes both time and effort a plenty. Bagoroš grew up in Radenci, a tiny Slovenian town with barely 2,000 inhabitants, on the border with Austria. Humble beginnings didn’t stop Bagoroš from chasing his dreams. Selling newspapers and going through mounts of dirty dishes at a local restaurant, a 17-year-old Bagoroš made enough money to buy himself a scooter. Not to take him to work or to school, no; so, he could go out and stunt! “I loved Andreas Gustafsson’s stunt videos. He stunted scooters and I wanted to do that, too.” Rok turned out to be quite talented and after putting in the hours, he learned to up his game as he got better at more advanced tricks. “Back then I had gotten into Chris Pfeiffer’s stunting. Pfeiffer was the first stunter who got a contract with a manufacturer.” That outlined Rok’s mission; becoming a professional freestyle stunt rider. He worked as hard as he could, with his tricks catching on with fans. In 2011, the Slovenian caught a major break when KTM asked him to ride the orange machines professionally. “It really was a dream come true. Though I had always hoped I could one day stunt for a living, I did not expect things would go this fast.” © Jowin Boerboom Doing laps Eight years on, Rok Bagoroš and his team are taking on the next challenge. Of course, Rok and his buddies will still be doing the stunt shows we know and love them for, making awesome videos as they go, but as a sort of side gig they’ve started their very own Wheelie Academy. In a small group Rok teaches motorcyclists how to make a controllable wheelie. “No more than eight riders at a time,” he makes very clear. “I’m not interested in doing large groups; I want to focus on making sure students get the quality time to learn. That’s just not an option if you get too large of a group.” During the four-hour course, students start with a very simple looking exercise; doing laps. Rok has thrown me the keys of a brand-new KTM 390 DUKE, explaining me what I’m about to do, as we roll up to a marked-out course. “We’re going to make really tight circles, so you can adjust to using the rear brake.” It’s been a while since I did my road test, so I’m curious to see how I’ll do in a handling course like this. © Jowin Boerboom Just three laps in, Rok stops me. “Don’t worry, you’re doing fine. But I can see you’re grabbing the clutch using all four fingers. That’s not how we’re going to be doing things today. We want to have the handlebars firmly in hand, and to do that, you’ll need nothing but your index finger and middle finger to operate the clutch lever. We’ve adjusted the cable to get the clutch engagement point just right to be able to work with those two fingers alone.” As I carry on making set out laps, I find myself having to switch directions occasionally, not to get sick. Soon enough I’m able to stay within the circle, only to be stopped again by my Slovenian teacher. “Not bad at all,” Rok tells me with a smile. “But now we’re going to try and tighten the circle up even further. Keep focusing on that rear brake.” Back to the circle we go, clockwise first then counter-clockwise. Occasionally I need to put a foot down real quick, but Rok seems to let those moments slip. It’s time to stop again. This time we’re parking the KTM 390 DUKE for now. “See, using the rear brake you can turn the bike much tighter than you first imagined, right? That’s easily overlooked, but very important part of controlling a wheelie.” © Jowin Boerboom Baby get higher After a short breather, Rok goes into the anatomy of a wheelie. “Firstly, what we’ll be learning today is to perform the wheelie in a controlled fashion. Basically, anyone can lift the front wheel off the throttle alone, but that is not what we’re here to do. It’s all about balance and knowing what you’re doing.” No wonder the Wheelie Academy uses a small fleet of KTM 390 DUKEs. “You don’t need a lot of power to wheelie, as you’ll find out. A light bike like the 390 is just perfect to get you going, with the torquey single-cylinder engine to help you lift that wheel off the ground.” © Jowin Boerboom In order to give the whole group the attention they need, Rok has enlisted Radislav Mihajlov – a fellow stunt rider from Serbia – as a second instructor. He’ll be getting me up to speed for the first wheelie session. “Biggest advantage to how we teach our students to wheelie, is that it’s impossible to flip the bike. Once you go over balance point, the rubber mats basically catch you. When you do hit the rubber mats – and you will – don’t touch the clutch; stick to using the rear brake. You’ll come right back down.” © Jowin Boerboom To set me off, Radislav allows me to get used to riding on the five-wheeled contraption. The KTM I’ll be wheelying today has been rigged with the weirdest pair of training wheels I’ve ever seen, keeping the bike upright. The cart hanging from those wheels carries the rubber mats that catch you, plus the additional rear wheel. Like riding a motorcycle with a sidecar, I try to get accustomed to the weird five-wheeler, going up and down the wheelie strip. © Jowin Boerboom Not long after, it’s time to put the theory into action. Without a second thought, I let the clutch go with just a hint of throttle and before I know I’m lifting the front off the ground. Only to drop it right back down again. Four desperate attempts later, Radislav stops me again. I’m afraid I’m about to get a slap on the wrist here. “You’re not doing too bad, actually, but you should try to get more elevation; lift the front wheel higher. Try it, don’t worry!” His encouraging word should’ve calmed my nerves, but they haven’t. A sort of mental barrier keeps me from really taking flight, ending the first session with a wheelie that can only be described as moderately high. Most students are in a similar situation at this point, with a few of them going up and over, hitting the rubber mats that are there to catch you. Don’t think any of us can say they’re very much in control of anything at this point, but at least we’ve come to experience what it’s like to get a bike vertical. © Jowin Boerboom As I head into my second session of learning how to wheelie controllably, my focus is on elevation. Luckily, it’s not just Radislav that’s noticed my progression; I can feel it, too. Rok chips in every now and again with an additional pointer or two. “If you just drop the clutch, you won’t need much throttle at all; your body weight should help lift the front as it moves back. Most students tend to do this; they’re trying to physically pull the front up, unknowingly transferring weight over the front in the process.” © Jowin Boerboom No problem at all As I conclude my second session, I’m starting to feel confident. Rok Bagoroš seems satisfied with my progress, even more so than I am. “You’re starting to get a hang of it; not bad at all. Right now, you seem to have the separate actions under control. Time to string those actions together.” I can tell you, practicing wheelies for long periods of time is pretty tiring, so I’m glad to get a little break, using my fellow Wheelie Academy students for entertainment as I catch my breath. Got to hand it to those KTM 390 DUKEs; they’re getting a beating, but they don’t seem to miss a single beat. Just a bit of fuel every now and again, and they can do this all day long. “Certainly, in the beginning, students really drop the front quite hard, giving the front suspension a hard time. So far, the 390 DUKE has been taking it on the chin like a champ,” Tomaž Bratusa, Rok Bagoroš’ mechanic tells me. “Students tend to think we’re constantly replacing clutch plates and front suspension parts, but that’s really not the case. We keep up with regular maintenance and that’s pretty much it. Of course, we check all the bikes before packing up at the end of the day. That way we can be sure all the KTM 390 DUKEs are good to go for the following group.” Session three is when I really start to get a hang of it; a sense of control is slowly but surely creeping in, though it’s still no easy task pulling a textbook wheelie out of the hat. It’s a mix of not shifting my weight back right on one go and being too eager on the throttle on the next. Still, as I get off the bike to hand it over to another student, it’s near impossible to keep the smile off my face. Rok gives me a thumbs up as I sit down on one of the comfy seats in the KTM awning. More than anything, I’ve come to the conclusion you don’t just go out and learn to wheelie. The Academy is a tough nut to crack. There’s so many bits and pieces you need to put together – that takes some serious focus. Sooner than expected, though, I’m back on the 390. The day is starting to draw to a close, I’m going all out; I want to put on that fully controlled wheelie Rok’s been trying to teach me all day. It seems the harder I try, the harder it gets. Focus on technique has made room for frustration, set on by me just wanting it too much. So, by session five I’ve really lost all focus and concentration – my fellow students are also feeling the strain. It just all seems so easy; you pay the man, you get on the wheelie machine, and there you go, you can wheelie. But it’s simply not that simple – one of the main things Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy has taught me above all. It still takes practice, you still learn to wheelie by doing it. Four hours of trying to lift it up later, the Slovenian freestyle stunt rider sends us off back home, but not before he sits us down for a few final words. “Consider learning to wheelie like learning to swim,” he says. “You don’t learn to swim in just one morning or just one afternoon. If it’s a good wheelie you want to make, you’re going to have to put in the hours of training. You’ve done a good job getting a hang of the basics, now you need a closed-off area to go and build on those basics – you need to practice. Do remember, though, today’s course hasn’t just saved you a lot of money in repairing a bike you will have crashed a few times before finding control, but you’ve saved yourself a few broken bones as well. How we teach, you can safely go up to and over balance point, without writing off a motorcycle. I believe, from what I’ve seen today, all of you could master a perfect wheelie at some stage. For now, it just requires you to invest the time and the energy to perfect it.” © Jowin Boerboom Do you feel like having a crack at Rok Bagoroš’ Wheelie Academy? Well, you can! The next courses are on June 25-27 in Murska Sobota in Slovenia. Check out Rok´s website for all you need to know. Oh, and definitely have a look on Rok’s YouTube channel. It’s full of … let’s just call it inspiration! Photos: Jowin Boerboom
  20. About the queen of Dakar and the Erzbergrodeo: “I’ll be back to finish it!” It was the end of May and the Iron Giant wasn’t in the mood. On a freezing, stormy day, 1800 riders gathered at his feet to try their luck. Among them, 34 fun and fearless women in muddy boots were waiting for the Iron Road Prologue to start. The toughest girl in motorsport was feeling like a rookie again. As a Dakarian, she knows only too well the thrill of the unknown, yet nothing compares to the Erzbergrodeo. To Laia Sanz, the gnarliest, one day hard enduro race in the world was not only a new race but also a new discipline to get to grips with. She was way out of her comfort zone, for the first time in her life, saddling a 2-stroke bike, tackling a brand-new adventure. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Mission Erzbergrodeo We are sitting under the Iron Giant, chatting about the madness she was about to endure. “I don’t know what I was thinking! I should have competed here last year, it was sunny, and the track was shorter. This is quite a challenge for a hard enduro rookie,” she said, and I thought: “This is what you always do, lady. You love challenges. You never shy away from anything. You are not afraid to stare fear in the face. You even know how to lose. That’s why you always win.” And this is more or less how Laia Sanz’s first Erzbergrodeo affair went. Her goal was to become the first woman in the event’s 25-year history to finish the infamous Red Bull Hare Scramble. Her time ran out at the moment she passed the CP 20, or in other words: She didn’t finish the race, but she placed herself among the 30 best competitors. Speaking of the race with 500 contenders, but only 16 finishers, no extra comment is needed. Anyway, the best thing Laia took out of it is the knowledge that the hard enduro is too much fun to put away into a box of memories. 18-times world champion in trials and enduro, as well as the most successful female in the cross-country world is already planning a comeback to the Erzbergrodeo. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media 30 days before the storm It was only a month before the toughest single hard enduro race in the world, when she finally felt good enough to start with hard enduro training. First, she called her good friends from trials Alfredo Gomez and Pol Tarres, 4th and 9th place in the Red Bull Hare Scramble 2019 respectively, and said to them: “Guys, I need some help. I have enrolled for the Erzbergrodeo.” The two were happy to assist her in pursuing the newest challenge, threw her into deep water and she needed to pick it up fast. For the first time she also ride a 2-stroke KTM 300 EXC TPI, specially prepared for the event. “I wanted to train with the best, this is the only way you can push your limits. Though those first days training were a nightmare. The guys were taking on impossible uphills, it completely freaked me out. But I had no choice, it was take it or forget Erzberg. At first, I was rolling down the hills, but in the end I pulled it off. And it just felt amazing! Luckily the team also made an amazing bike. The tires have fantastic grip, the suspension is perfect and it’s simply incredible to see what the bike can do. Each day of preparation I learned something new. My confidence was growing, but I was also becoming aware of the fact I couldn’t be physically ready in time,” she confessed right before the Iron Road Prologue. “I wish I could have started to prepare straight after the Dakar. Unfortunately, I picked up an injury in the last stage and it was more serious than it originally seemed. I knew from the beginning of my preparation that I could run out of steam before the finish line,” she added. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Partners in crime Jaume Betriu, her boyfriend as well as one of the most skilled enduro and motocross riders, was with her most of the time. “I consider myself very lucky. Jaume knows me better than anybody. On the one hand, he is super supportive, but on the other he always pushes me over my limit. It’s hard and funny at the same time when you are emotionally involved. I can easily imagine telling him where to go when he patronizes me, completely exhausted in Carl’s Dinner; this is the most dreadful section of the race where help is allowed. While stressful, the whole process of training together was a fantastic journey. Well, after this, he will either ask me to marry him, or he will leave me for good, there’s no middle ground,” she joked. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Wining and dining with Karl Everybody knows how the story went by now. Laia Sanz achieved an impressive time in the first run of the Iron Road Prologue and rode even better the next day. Still, the 13.5 km long track was completely ruined after a stampede of 1800 riders. Thanks to a wild card the organizer gave to the best two female riders of the prologue, on a Sunday race she attacked from the first line. She started well and avoided a big traffic jam at the foot of the Three Kings section. Passing the first checkpoints riding between 16th and 18th place. At this point, her goal of becoming the first woman to finish the race was still within reach. After that the unpredictable factor kicked in and her race changed. She made a mistake just before Carl’s Dinner, slipping down on a snowy slope. She used up her energy trying to climb back with a slightly damaged bike. When Laia reached the scariest part of the race, the so-called Carl’s Dinner, she was completely exhausted. “To understand the level of difficulty of Carl’s Dinner you have to experience it. The problem is the length, it’s a psychological war you are fighting within,” she explained. Every year the genius boss of the Erzbergrodeo, Karl Katoch, is more a fan of slow food. Luckily, among the iron rocks there was also Alberto Cano, Laia’s mechanic, to join Jaume in helping her. “Normally Alberto is just watching me. If I don’t have any issues with the bike, he can’t do much during the race. This time he played his part really well, I’ve never seen him so busy,” she laughs. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Hard enduro is so much fun When asked if she wants to come back, or even try some other hard enduro races, Laia replies: “If you had asked me this on Sunday after the race, I would have said no way. Today it’s a yes, for sure. What’s more, I think I will quite miss all of this. The Erzbergrodeo is somehow magical, the atmosphere is quite unique. And most importantly, hard enduro is fun. I had already had so much fun preparing for it. In the first days I hated it, that’s true, but then I got hooked. So yes, I will be back, with more experience and better prepared. The only problem is that every year the race gets longer and more difficult. Karl is a very nice guy, but a little crazy.” The bottom line: Laia and Jaume are still together and she still has the same goal to become the first female rider in history to finish the impossible Erzbergrodeo and Karl will never change. The challenge continues … Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  21. About the queen of Dakar and the Erzbergrodeo: “I’ll be back to finish it!” It was the end of May and the Iron Giant wasn’t in the mood. On a freezing, stormy day, 1800 riders gathered at his feet to try their luck. Among them, 34 fun and fearless women in muddy boots were waiting for the Iron Road Prologue to start. The toughest girl in motorsport was feeling like a rookie again. As a Dakarian, she knows only too well the thrill of the unknown, yet nothing compares to the Erzbergrodeo. To Laia Sanz, the gnarliest, one day hard enduro race in the world was not only a new race but also a new discipline to get to grips with. She was way out of her comfort zone, for the first time in her life, saddling a 2-stroke bike, tackling a brand-new adventure. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Mission Erzbergrodeo We are sitting under the Iron Giant, chatting about the madness she was about to endure. “I don’t know what I was thinking! I should have competed here last year, it was sunny, and the track was shorter. This is quite a challenge for a hard enduro rookie,” she said, and I thought: “This is what you always do, lady. You love challenges. You never shy away from anything. You are not afraid to stare fear in the face. You even know how to lose. That’s why you always win.” And this is more or less how Laia Sanz’s first Erzbergrodeo affair went. Her goal was to become the first woman in the event’s 25-year history to finish the infamous Red Bull Hare Scramble. Her time ran out at the moment she passed the CP 20, or in other words: She didn’t finish the race, but she placed herself among the 30 best competitors. Speaking of the race with 500 contenders, but only 16 finishers, no extra comment is needed. Anyway, the best thing Laia took out of it is the knowledge that the hard enduro is too much fun to put away into a box of memories. 18-times world champion in trials and enduro, as well as the most successful female in the cross-country world is already planning a comeback to the Erzbergrodeo. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media 30 days before the storm It was only a month before the toughest single hard enduro race in the world, when she finally felt good enough to start with hard enduro training. First, she called her good friends from trials Alfredo Gomez and Pol Tarres, 4th and 9th place in the Red Bull Hare Scramble 2019 respectively, and said to them: “Guys, I need some help. I have enrolled for the Erzbergrodeo.” The two were happy to assist her in pursuing the newest challenge, threw her into deep water and she needed to pick it up fast. For the first time she also ride a 2-stroke KTM 300 EXC TPI, specially prepared for the event. “I wanted to train with the best, this is the only way you can push your limits. Though those first days training were a nightmare. The guys were taking on impossible uphills, it completely freaked me out. But I had no choice, it was take it or forget Erzberg. At first, I was rolling down the hills, but in the end I pulled it off. And it just felt amazing! Luckily the team also made an amazing bike. The tires have fantastic grip, the suspension is perfect and it’s simply incredible to see what the bike can do. Each day of preparation I learned something new. My confidence was growing, but I was also becoming aware of the fact I couldn’t be physically ready in time,” she confessed right before the Iron Road Prologue. “I wish I could have started to prepare straight after the Dakar. Unfortunately, I picked up an injury in the last stage and it was more serious than it originally seemed. I knew from the beginning of my preparation that I could run out of steam before the finish line,” she added. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Partners in crime Jaume Betriu, her boyfriend as well as one of the most skilled enduro and motocross riders, was with her most of the time. “I consider myself very lucky. Jaume knows me better than anybody. On the one hand, he is super supportive, but on the other he always pushes me over my limit. It’s hard and funny at the same time when you are emotionally involved. I can easily imagine telling him where to go when he patronizes me, completely exhausted in Carl’s Dinner; this is the most dreadful section of the race where help is allowed. While stressful, the whole process of training together was a fantastic journey. Well, after this, he will either ask me to marry him, or he will leave me for good, there’s no middle ground,” she joked. Laia Sanz (ESP) Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Wining and dining with Karl Everybody knows how the story went by now. Laia Sanz achieved an impressive time in the first run of the Iron Road Prologue and rode even better the next day. Still, the 13.5 km long track was completely ruined after a stampede of 1800 riders. Thanks to a wild card the organizer gave to the best two female riders of the prologue, on a Sunday race she attacked from the first line. She started well and avoided a big traffic jam at the foot of the Three Kings section. Passing the first checkpoints riding between 16th and 18th place. At this point, her goal of becoming the first woman to finish the race was still within reach. After that the unpredictable factor kicked in and her race changed. She made a mistake just before Carl’s Dinner, slipping down on a snowy slope. She used up her energy trying to climb back with a slightly damaged bike. When Laia reached the scariest part of the race, the so-called Carl’s Dinner, she was completely exhausted. “To understand the level of difficulty of Carl’s Dinner you have to experience it. The problem is the length, it’s a psychological war you are fighting within,” she explained. Every year the genius boss of the Erzbergrodeo, Karl Katoch, is more a fan of slow food. Luckily, among the iron rocks there was also Alberto Cano, Laia’s mechanic, to join Jaume in helping her. “Normally Alberto is just watching me. If I don’t have any issues with the bike, he can’t do much during the race. This time he played his part really well, I’ve never seen him so busy,” she laughs. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Hard enduro is so much fun When asked if she wants to come back, or even try some other hard enduro races, Laia replies: “If you had asked me this on Sunday after the race, I would have said no way. Today it’s a yes, for sure. What’s more, I think I will quite miss all of this. The Erzbergrodeo is somehow magical, the atmosphere is quite unique. And most importantly, hard enduro is fun. I had already had so much fun preparing for it. In the first days I hated it, that’s true, but then I got hooked. So yes, I will be back, with more experience and better prepared. The only problem is that every year the race gets longer and more difficult. Karl is a very nice guy, but a little crazy.” The bottom line: Laia and Jaume are still together and she still has the same goal to become the first female rider in history to finish the impossible Erzbergrodeo and Karl will never change. The challenge continues … Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo (AUT) 2019 © Future7Media Photos: Future7Media
  22. #Inthisyear1969: New models and motorsport success

    #Inthisyear1969: New models and motorsport success The opening of the KTM Motohall was a hugely important day for Europe’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer. The “Friends Opening” was attended by 400 guests, including Roger DeCoster, KTM Motorsport Director for North America, whose protégé Cooper Webb had won the fourth AMA Supercross Championship for KTM just days before at the Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas. Another American, without whom KTM might not have become what it is today, also traveled to Mattighofen for the event. John Penton, now 93 years old, set things in motion in the late 1960s when he placed a major order with KTM for the production of light enduros with 100cc and 125cc. Hobby Automatic © KTM In the mid-1960s, interest in the motorcycle slowly began to pick up once the great crisis at the end of the 1950s was over. Unlike many motorcycle manufacturers in German-speaking countries, KTM survived because it didn’t make the mistake of trying to compensate for the decline in sales by producing a car. And also due to the fact that the motorcycle also gained a sporty image when Japanese manufacturers entered the European market. Instead of being seen as a conventional way of getting to work, the focus had turned to the thrill of the 2-wheel ride. The KTM program did also contain a “proper” motorcycle with 100cc and a Sachs four-speed engine, sold as the “Hansa” in the USA, but the 50cc vehicles were initially the center of attention in the model range. Due to driver license regulations, these were suitable for both for everyday use and for young motorcycle enthusiasts. The “Hobby Automatic” was launched in 1969 as the new entry-level model – “the new formula for the perfect ride” according to the KTM brochure at the time. “No need for technical knowledge”. And it delivered on its promises. The 2-hp Sachs engine with centrifugal clutch and 1-speed transmission made for a carefree ride. KTM Comet 504 S © KTM When it came to weather protection, the various Comet models with fan or airflow-cooled Puch engines couldn’t keep up with the Ponny II moped, which now had a Puch four-speed engine in the “Super 4” version, but the Comets were also reliable everyday vehicles. KTM presented a super-hot motorcycle with the Comet 504 Super – narrow fenders and a chrome-plated 10-liter specially shaped fuel tank made for an unmistakable line. While the German competitor models still had an undamped fork or an antiquated-looking front swingarm, KTM fitted an oil-damped fork in the Comet 504 S. Coupled with the two slender silencers and the special airflow-cooled KTM cylinder instead of fan cooling, the Comet 504 S was the undisputed star among KTM’s motorcycles. KTM Penton 125 © KTM However, the highlight of KTM’s 1969 program was the KTM Penton 125, which brought in the bulk of the 25% increase in sales compared to the previous year. Two years before, John Penton, an American motorcycle dealer from Ohio, contacted KTM because he was looking for a manufacturer for lightweight offroad and motocross bikes that lived up to his expectations. The first prototypes were ready by the end of 1967 and one year later, the small offroad bikes passed the acid test in the USA and at the “Sei Giorni”, the International Six Days Enduro in San Pellegrino, Italy. As soon as the Penton riders, including Penton’s sons Jack, Jeff, and Tom, identified weaknesses on tough offroad races in the American New England states, solutions were sought in Penton’s workshop, which were immediately incorporated into the series in Mattighofen. Of course, this did not escape the notice of engine manufacturer Fichtel & Sachs in Schweinfurt and it came as no surprise at the International Six Days Enduro in 1969, when ultra-modern, aluminum cylinders were used on the Penton bikes, while the bikes from German Sachs subsidiary Hercules still had to make do with the old cast iron cylinders. Five gold medals, six silver and two bronze medals for the American and European riders that started out on KTM Penton is more than a respectable result for the tough International Six Days Enduro in the Allgäu Alps around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. While John Penton’s (initiator of KM Penton) team triumphed no less than 38 times in the 100cc and 125cc class, Arnaldo Farioli won the Italian 125cc offroad championship and Jouka Laaksonen became the Finnish offroad champion. John & Jack Penton KTM Motohall 2019 © Penton If you would like to take a closer look at this piece of motorsport history up close, we recommend a visit to our KTM Motohall in Mattighofen, where you can marvel at a 1969 Penton, along with many other victorious bikes. The KTM Motohall is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Photos: KTM | Penton
  23. #Inthisyear1969: New models and motorsport success The opening of the KTM Motohall was a hugely important day for Europe’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer. The “Friends Opening” was attended by 400 guests, including Roger DeCoster, KTM Motorsport Director for North America, whose protégé Cooper Webb had won the fourth AMA Supercross Championship for KTM just days before at the Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas. Another American, without whom KTM might not have become what it is today, also traveled to Mattighofen for the event. John Penton, now 93 years old, set things in motion in the late 1960s when he placed a major order with KTM for the production of light enduros with 100cc and 125cc. Hobby Automatic © KTM In the mid-1960s, interest in the motorcycle slowly began to pick up once the great crisis at the end of the 1950s was over. Unlike many motorcycle manufacturers in German-speaking countries, KTM survived because it didn’t make the mistake of trying to compensate for the decline in sales by producing a car. And also due to the fact that the motorcycle also gained a sporty image when Japanese manufacturers entered the European market. Instead of being seen as a conventional way of getting to work, the focus had turned to the thrill of the 2-wheel ride. The KTM program did also contain a “proper” motorcycle with 100cc and a Sachs four-speed engine, sold as the “Hansa” in the USA, but the 50cc vehicles were initially the center of attention in the model range. Due to driver license regulations, these were suitable for both for everyday use and for young motorcycle enthusiasts. The “Hobby Automatic” was launched in 1969 as the new entry-level model – “the new formula for the perfect ride” according to the KTM brochure at the time. “No need for technical knowledge”. And it delivered on its promises. The 2-hp Sachs engine with centrifugal clutch and 1-speed transmission made for a carefree ride. KTM Comet 504 S © KTM When it came to weather protection, the various Comet models with fan or airflow-cooled Puch engines couldn’t keep up with the Ponny II moped, which now had a Puch four-speed engine in the “Super 4” version, but the Comets were also reliable everyday vehicles. KTM presented a super-hot motorcycle with the Comet 504 Super – narrow fenders and a chrome-plated 10-liter specially shaped fuel tank made for an unmistakable line. While the German competitor models still had an undamped fork or an antiquated-looking front swingarm, KTM fitted an oil-damped fork in the Comet 504 S. Coupled with the two slender silencers and the special airflow-cooled KTM cylinder instead of fan cooling, the Comet 504 S was the undisputed star among KTM’s motorcycles. KTM Penton 125 © KTM However, the highlight of KTM’s 1969 program was the KTM Penton 125, which brought in the bulk of the 25% increase in sales compared to the previous year. Two years before, John Penton, an American motorcycle dealer from Ohio, contacted KTM because he was looking for a manufacturer for lightweight offroad and motocross bikes that lived up to his expectations. The first prototypes were ready by the end of 1967 and one year later, the small offroad bikes passed the acid test in the USA and at the “Sei Giorni”, the International Six Days Enduro in San Pellegrino, Italy. As soon as the Penton riders, including Penton’s sons Jack, Jeff, and Tom, identified weaknesses on tough offroad races in the American New England states, solutions were sought in Penton’s workshop, which were immediately incorporated into the series in Mattighofen. Of course, this did not escape the notice of engine manufacturer Fichtel & Sachs in Schweinfurt and it came as no surprise at the International Six Days Enduro in 1969, when ultra-modern, aluminum cylinders were used on the Penton bikes, while the bikes from German Sachs subsidiary Hercules still had to make do with the old cast iron cylinders. Five gold medals, six silver and two bronze medals for the American and European riders that started out on KTM Penton is more than a respectable result for the tough International Six Days Enduro in the Allgäu Alps around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. While John Penton’s (initiator of KM Penton) team triumphed no less than 38 times in the 100cc and 125cc class, Arnaldo Farioli won the Italian 125cc offroad championship and Jouka Laaksonen became the Finnish offroad champion. John & Jack Penton KTM Motohall 2019 © Penton If you would like to take a closer look at this piece of motorsport history up close, we recommend a visit to our KTM Motohall in Mattighofen, where you can marvel at a 1969 Penton, along with many other victorious bikes. The KTM Motohall is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Photos: KTM | Penton
  24. TPI engine development for enduro – improving the breed

    TPI engine development for enduro – improving the breed Since the arrival of KTM’s TPI models for 2018, the evolution and development of these fuel injected 2-strokes has been ongoing and a “steep learning curve”. The MY2020 model launch in Bassella, Spain gave chance to check how KTM R&D and the factory racing teams have pushed to improve the new breed … KTM EXC MY2020 © Sebas Romero By now we are familiar with the ground-breaking move KTM made in the enduro world for model year 2018 with the introduction of the KTM 250 and 300 EXC TPI models. The transfer port injection engine was a step change in the history of motorcycles, an revolution of the 2-stroke. That first generation of TPI proved more economically, made life easier with no need to pre-mix fuel and removed the age-old problems of needing to understand and change carburetor jetting to meet weather conditions and altitude. It was a new breed. KTM 300 EXC TPI MY2020 © Marco Campelli Though an instant success, the R&D team didn’t rest on their laurels. Before the first year of production was complete, they were taking feedback from owners, plus factory racing teams and already improving the TPI. KTM’s Head of Engine Offroad and Motocross, Michael Viertlmayr, says it has been a steady process of improving the engines ever since and a learning curve that has seen improvements to the hardware and perhaps most importantly, the electronic software controlling the TPI engines. The racing department played a big part in the evolution of the TPIs since day one. Factory racers like Jonny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak took on the TPIs for the 2018 season with both hands and the bikes immediately proved themselves in the World Enduro Super Series. Jonny Walker (GBR) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli All the time the development of the TPI engine was marching forward and the racing teams played their role helping develop software and mapping to improve that consistency and rider feel for power and rear wheel grip. Racers always want more bottom power, to be smoother and more controllability so when the racing department meets those demands the knock-on effect also benefits the regular rider and the production machines. Most obviously we have seen this as new and different engine maps have become available to existing first generation TPI customers to get installed at their KTM dealer. “I have been working on the development of the TPI bikes nearly almost from day one,” explains Blazusiak. “We had a long process until the TPIs were ready to hit the market with even some bikes that weren’t good to ride, but it’s the same process that happened with four strokes.” “But it’s a process like everything and in a couple of years we’ll look back asking ourselves ‘how did the carbureted bikes last that long?’” says Taddy. Taddy Blazusiak (POL) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli Ringing loud and clear at the MY2020 model launch in May 2019, was the message that the latest fuel injected KTM engines were more ‘on point’. “The tolerances should be minimum and that’s what we have been working on for the new bikes,” says Joachim Sauer. “The TPI technology itself hasn’t changed much, it has improved in performance. It has been an optimization of the bike, now the power valve in the new cylinder is working together perfectly with the new exhaust system, the adding of a new ambient pressure sensor and a new throttle body that gives a more precise power delivery.” Viertlmayr adds the software is now of equal importance as the hardware in R&D terms and he is quick to point out the mind-boggling number of working hours each one of the 100 software updates the TPI has swallowed up. The aim, always, is to improve the all-important rider feeling with the bike and this has been a key element for the MY2020 models. Along with a new cylinder head with an increased compression ratio on the 250cc engine, new exhaust port windows for improved precision, new exhaust systems, air filter boxes and ECU mapping we have a “rounding up” of the model as Sauer puts it. The result is a new generation of TPI models (three now including the all-new KTM 150 EXC TPI) which are somewhere between the first TPI and a carburetor model in feeling. “We have tried to maintain the positive side from both worlds,” says Viertlmayr, “the controllability and the rich feeling from the carburetor version but the benefits from fuel injection; the clear running, not filling the engine with fuel when going downhill and the immediate and clean response – which lots of people liked from the beginning with the TPI, and I think we have accomplished that with the MY2020 models.” Where to next in the evolution of the TPI? “We have a lot of ideas and plans to make it even better in the future,” continues Viertlmayr. “We stay pretty hard focused on the development of the 2-stroke TPIs. We are highly focused on lowering the emissions on the bikes and we are also working in close collaboration with the racing department to have an even better rideability.” It is hard to think of a bolder step in terms of offroad motorcycle development in recent times than the transfer port injection, 2-stroke engines. In a world that is increasingly all enveloped by software and technology, the KTM EXC TPIs stand at the front of the queue pushing to take offroad motorcycles forward for the next generation. KTM EXC TPI MY2020 © Sebas Romero Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli
  25. TPI engine development for enduro – improving the breed Since the arrival of KTM’s TPI models for 2018, the evolution and development of these fuel injected 2-strokes has been ongoing and a “steep learning curve”. The MY2020 model launch in Bassella, Spain gave chance to check how KTM R&D and the factory racing teams have pushed to improve the new breed … KTM EXC MY2020 © Sebas Romero By now we are familiar with the ground-breaking move KTM made in the enduro world for model year 2018 with the introduction of the KTM 250 and 300 EXC TPI models. The transfer port injection engine was a step change in the history of motorcycles, an revolution of the 2-stroke. That first generation of TPI proved more economically, made life easier with no need to pre-mix fuel and removed the age-old problems of needing to understand and change carburetor jetting to meet weather conditions and altitude. It was a new breed. KTM 300 EXC TPI MY2020 © Marco Campelli Though an instant success, the R&D team didn’t rest on their laurels. Before the first year of production was complete, they were taking feedback from owners, plus factory racing teams and already improving the TPI. KTM’s Head of Engine Offroad and Motocross, Michael Viertlmayr, says it has been a steady process of improving the engines ever since and a learning curve that has seen improvements to the hardware and perhaps most importantly, the electronic software controlling the TPI engines. The racing department played a big part in the evolution of the TPIs since day one. Factory racers like Jonny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak took on the TPIs for the 2018 season with both hands and the bikes immediately proved themselves in the World Enduro Super Series. Jonny Walker (GBR) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli All the time the development of the TPI engine was marching forward and the racing teams played their role helping develop software and mapping to improve that consistency and rider feel for power and rear wheel grip. Racers always want more bottom power, to be smoother and more controllability so when the racing department meets those demands the knock-on effect also benefits the regular rider and the production machines. Most obviously we have seen this as new and different engine maps have become available to existing first generation TPI customers to get installed at their KTM dealer. “I have been working on the development of the TPI bikes nearly almost from day one,” explains Blazusiak. “We had a long process until the TPIs were ready to hit the market with even some bikes that weren’t good to ride, but it’s the same process that happened with four strokes.” “But it’s a process like everything and in a couple of years we’ll look back asking ourselves ‘how did the carbureted bikes last that long?’” says Taddy. Taddy Blazusiak (POL) KTM 350 EXC-F MY2020 © Marco Campelli Ringing loud and clear at the MY2020 model launch in May 2019, was the message that the latest fuel injected KTM engines were more ‘on point’. “The tolerances should be minimum and that’s what we have been working on for the new bikes,” says Joachim Sauer. “The TPI technology itself hasn’t changed much, it has improved in performance. It has been an optimization of the bike, now the power valve in the new cylinder is working together perfectly with the new exhaust system, the adding of a new ambient pressure sensor and a new throttle body that gives a more precise power delivery.” Viertlmayr adds the software is now of equal importance as the hardware in R&D terms and he is quick to point out the mind-boggling number of working hours each one of the 100 software updates the TPI has swallowed up. The aim, always, is to improve the all-important rider feeling with the bike and this has been a key element for the MY2020 models. Along with a new cylinder head with an increased compression ratio on the 250cc engine, new exhaust port windows for improved precision, new exhaust systems, air filter boxes and ECU mapping we have a “rounding up” of the model as Sauer puts it. The result is a new generation of TPI models (three now including the all-new KTM 150 EXC TPI) which are somewhere between the first TPI and a carburetor model in feeling. “We have tried to maintain the positive side from both worlds,” says Viertlmayr, “the controllability and the rich feeling from the carburetor version but the benefits from fuel injection; the clear running, not filling the engine with fuel when going downhill and the immediate and clean response – which lots of people liked from the beginning with the TPI, and I think we have accomplished that with the MY2020 models.” Where to next in the evolution of the TPI? “We have a lot of ideas and plans to make it even better in the future,” continues Viertlmayr. “We stay pretty hard focused on the development of the 2-stroke TPIs. We are highly focused on lowering the emissions on the bikes and we are also working in close collaboration with the racing department to have an even better rideability.” It is hard to think of a bolder step in terms of offroad motorcycle development in recent times than the transfer port injection, 2-stroke engines. In a world that is increasingly all enveloped by software and technology, the KTM EXC TPIs stand at the front of the queue pushing to take offroad motorcycles forward for the next generation. KTM EXC TPI MY2020 © Sebas Romero Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli
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