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  1. What would happen if you gave some of the world’s top custom bike builders a stock bike and a theme, and turned them loose? What crazy, inspirational, possibly marketable ideas might they come up with? That’s Yamaha’s “Yard Built” program in a nutshell. To date, builders have turned modern Yamahas, primarily from the company’s Sport Heritage line, into everything from post-apocalyptic street fighters to ‘70s and ‘80s-era two-stroke street bike lookalikes. For 2019, Yamaha handed XSR700s to builders with orders to get “Back to the Dirt.” They were told to enhance the bike’s dirt prowess while maintaining its character. ADVERTISEMENT This “XSR700 TT” from talented Portugese builders Nuno Capêlo (Capêlo’s Garage) and Ricardo Santos (Elemental Rides) caught our eye for being one of the best XSR700-based builds we’ve seen so far. Especially considering the challenge of working with the bike’s often-criticized awkward frame dimensions. Their goal was to not only improve the bike’s off-road potential but to give it a neo-retro look inspired by the Yamaha enduro bikes of the 70s and 80s, hence the “TT” in the name: True Tribute. Capêlo and Santos had a solid, 74-hp engine bolted to a backbone steel frame to work with, so they left those basics alone. Almost everything else, however, is altered. [embedded content] Watch: Yamaha XSR700 TT Custom Build.The wheels were swapped for spoked versions, 18 inches in the front and 17 in the back, and shod with knobby Mitas tires suitable for off-road use. The dual-disc front brake was dropped in favor of a single disc to save weight. The ABS system was tossed to reduce overall weight and improve braking feel in off-road conditions. The builders raised the bike and nearly doubled suspension travel to 9.1 inches (230mm) by adding Showa units front and rear. To respect the “classic” look, they used standard forks instead of a more modern upside-down design. The real artistry happened above the engine. The fuel tank on a stock XSR700 is perched high above the frame rails and rises up from the seat. Capêlo and Santos employed cutouts in their all-steel design to accommodate the frame rails, lowering the tank and smoothing out the transition with the seat. The flat lines combined with the bike’s high stance gives it a classic enduro feel and affords the rider more room to move around, a necessity off road. On top of the fender is a slick luggage rack that doubles as a LED brake light. The waterproof seat is a solo unit that blends into a rear fender adapted from a Yamaha DT125MX. On top of the fender is a slick rack that doubles as a brake light, one the bike’s many touches that combine form and function. Number plates to the side reinforce the dirt-first mission. Up front they modified a square headlight housing to accept LED lights and added an Acewell speedometer and high-rise scramble-style handlebars. One-off guards protect the engine, oil filter, radiator and headlight. The footpegs are custom units, as is all the linkage. The lighting is a one-off retro design with high powered LED components inspired by late 70s and early 80s rally machines. There’s a lot more that goes into creating a build like this than meets the eye. For example, take a long look at the work that went into the stainless steel, two-into-one exhaust. It sweeps high, out of the way of rocks and roots, and is finished with an integrated silencer you won’t find in a catalog. That it looks factory designed is proof that Capêlo and Santos know what they are doing. Other modifications include: High-strength alloy skid plate Acewell speedometer Minimalistic handlebar push buttons High-rise handlebar Dual action throttle grip One off Toughened footpegs and control levers They considered painting the bike in traditional Yamaha yellow, white and black, but opted instead for a blue/white color scheme that pays homage to Yamaha’s storied two-stroke IT enduro bikes from the ‘70s and ‘80s. We think it was a great choice for a bike that combines modern technology with off-road heritage. Now we just need to convince Yamaha to actually build it. For more information visit elementalrides.com and nunocapelo.com Photos by @helderbentophoto and Yamaha Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  2. What would happen if you gave some of the world’s top custom bike builders a stock bike and a theme, and turned them loose? What crazy, inspirational, possibly marketable ideas might they come up with? That’s Yamaha’s “Yard Built” program in a nutshell. To date, builders have turned modern Yamahas, primarily from the company’s Sport Heritage line, into everything from post-apocalyptic street fighters to ‘70s and ‘80s-era two-stroke street bike lookalikes. For 2019, Yamaha handed XSR700s to builders with orders to get “Back to the Dirt.” They were told to enhance the bike’s dirt prowess while maintaining its character. ADVERTISEMENT This “XSR700 TT” from talented Portugese builders Nuno Capêlo (Capêlo’s Garage) and Ricardo Santos (Elemental Rides) caught our eye for being one of the best XSR700-based builds we’ve seen so far. Especially considering the challenge of working with the bike’s often-criticized awkward frame dimensions. Their goal was to not only improve the bike’s off-road potential but to give it a neo-retro look inspired by the Yamaha enduro bikes of the 70s and 80s, hence the “TT” in the name: True Tribute. Capêlo and Santos had a solid, 74-hp engine bolted to a backbone steel frame to work with, so they left those basics alone. Almost everything else, however, is altered. [embedded content] Watch: Yamaha XSR700 TT Custom Build.The wheels were swapped for spoked versions, 18 inches in the front and 17 in the back, and shod with knobby Mitas tires suitable for off-road use. The dual-disc front brake was dropped in favor of a single disc to save weight. The ABS system was tossed to reduce overall weight and improve braking feel in off-road conditions. The builders raised the bike and nearly doubled suspension travel to 9.1 inches (230mm) by adding Showa units front and rear. To respect the “classic” look, they used standard forks instead of a more modern upside-down design. The real artistry happened above the engine. The fuel tank on a stock XSR700 is perched high above the frame rails and rises up from the seat. Capêlo and Santos employed cutouts in their all-steel design to accommodate the frame rails, lowering the tank and smoothing out the transition with the seat. The flat lines combined with the bike’s high stance gives it a classic enduro feel and affords the rider more room to move around, a necessity off road. On top of the fender is a slick luggage rack that doubles as a LED brake light. The waterproof seat is a solo unit that blends into a rear fender adapted from a Yamaha DT125MX. On top of the fender is a slick rack that doubles as a brake light, one the bike’s many touches that combine form and function. Number plates to the side reinforce the dirt-first mission. Up front they modified a square headlight housing to accept LED lights and added an Acewell speedometer and high-rise scramble-style handlebars. One-off guards protect the engine, oil filter, radiator and headlight. The footpegs are custom units, as is all the linkage. The lighting is a one-off retro design with high powered LED components inspired by late 70s and early 80s rally machines. There’s a lot more that goes into creating a build like this than meets the eye. For example, take a long look at the work that went into the stainless steel, two-into-one exhaust. It sweeps high, out of the way of rocks and roots, and is finished with an integrated silencer you won’t find in a catalog. That it looks factory designed is proof that Capêlo and Santos know what they are doing. Other modifications include: High-strength alloy skid plate Acewell speedometer Minimalistic handlebar push buttons High-rise handlebar Dual action throttle grip One off Toughened footpegs and control levers They considered painting the bike in traditional Yamaha yellow, white and black, but opted instead for a blue/white color scheme that pays homage to Yamaha’s storied two-stroke IT enduro bikes from the ‘70s and ‘80s. We think it was a great choice for a bike that combines modern technology with off-road heritage. Now we just need to convince Yamaha to actually build it. For more information visit elementalrides.com and nunocapelo.com Photos by @helderbentophoto and Yamaha Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  3. Published on 10.16.2019 Teaser image released by Moto Morini of their new middle-weight adventure bike model to be unveiled at EICMA 2019. Italian manufacturer Moto Morini has announced it is set to launch an all-new mid-displacement platform. Full details are being kept under wraps at this time but Moto Morini confirms the platform will be used in new middle-weight Adventure Bike and Naked models to be revealed this November during the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. Displacement and other specs are unknown but there is some speculation that the engine will be a V-Twin. Other than that, Moto Morini simply adds that the platform is “Dedicated to all those who want to experience the emotion of riding a Morini and feel part of the Golden Eagle brand.” To further tease the announcement, they have released a silhouette drawing of the Adventure Bike model featuring wire-spoke wheels. Although lesser known here in the states, Moto Morini is one of the most famous brands in the Italian motorcycle scene. Founded in 1937 by Alfonso Morini, the historic brand is steeped in racing history. After going bankrupt in 2010, the company was successfully relaunched around 2012. The new owners of Moto Morini worked hard to recreate the brand and position it at the premium end of the market. ADVERTISEMENT Moto Morini currently offers several styles of motorcycles, including the Granpasso 1200 adventure bike. The Granpasso 1200 is powered by a 1187cc liquid-cooled V-Twin housed in a tubular steel trellis frame, which is paired with a Marzocchi upside down fork and a fully adjustable Ohlins rear shock. It comes in either wire-spoked or cast rim version and produces 118 horsepower and 78 ft-lbs of torque. Moto Morini’s current adventure bike model is the Granpasso 1200, only available in Europe. In August of 2018, the Italian owners of Moto Morini sold 100% of the company to the Zhongneng Vehicle Group of China. With its vast production capabilities and commercial experience in the two-wheeler sector, Zhongneng plans to develop new opportunities while safeguarding and strengthening the Golden Eagle brand. Moto Morini is expected to remain on Italian soil and Zhongneng plans to develop both existing products and introduce several new models. We can only hope that their plans also include bringing the Moto Morini brand here to the states in the near future. We’ll have more to share about the new middle-weight Moto Morini Adventure Bike in early November. The bike will also be on display at EICMA from the 5th-10th of November.
  4. Published on 10.16.2019 Teaser image released by Moto Morini of their new middle-weight adventure bike model to be unveiled at EICMA 2019. Italian manufacturer Moto Morini has announced it is set to launch an all-new mid-displacement platform. Full details are being kept under wraps at this time but Moto Morini confirms the platform will be used in new middle-weight Adventure Bike and Naked models to be revealed this November during the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. Displacement and other specs are unknown but there is some speculation that the engine will be a V-Twin. Other than that, Moto Morini simply adds that the platform is “Dedicated to all those who want to experience the emotion of riding a Morini and feel part of the Golden Eagle brand.” To further tease the announcement, they have released a silhouette drawing of the Adventure Bike model featuring wire-spoke wheels. Although lesser known here in the states, Moto Morini is one of the most famous brands in the Italian motorcycle scene. Founded in 1937 by Alfonso Morini, the historic brand is steeped in racing history. After going bankrupt in 2010, the company was successfully relaunched around 2012. The new owners of Moto Morini worked hard to recreate the brand and position it at the premium end of the market. ADVERTISEMENT Moto Morini currently offers several styles of motorcycles, including the Granpasso 1200 adventure bike. The Granpasso 1200 is powered by a 1187cc liquid-cooled V-Twin housed in a tubular steel trellis frame, which is paired with a Marzocchi upside down fork and a fully adjustable Ohlins rear shock. It comes in either wire-spoked or cast rim version and produces 118 horsepower and 78 ft-lbs of torque. Moto Morini’s current adventure bike model is the Granpasso 1200, only available in Europe. In August of 2018, the Italian owners of Moto Morini sold 100% of the company to the Zhongneng Vehicle Group of China. With its vast production capabilities and commercial experience in the two-wheeler sector, Zhongneng plans to develop new opportunities while safeguarding and strengthening the Golden Eagle brand. Moto Morini is expected to remain on Italian soil and Zhongneng plans to develop both existing products and introduce several new models. We can only hope that their plans also include bringing the Moto Morini brand here to the states in the near future. We’ll have more to share about the new middle-weight Moto Morini Adventure Bike in early November. The bike will also be on display at EICMA from the 5th-10th of November.
  5. The KTM Adventure Rally has a vibe that you can pick up on as soon as you get in the same vicinity of their orange factory semis. This year in Breckenridge, Colorado, much like last year in Park City, Utah, one couldn’t help but feel like the inmates were running the asylum in these high rent ski heavens. That’s all part of the experience, though; It’s commonplace to see a crusty KTM 950 nosed in behind an immaculate Tesla Model S on a boutique-strewn boulevard while a pack of demo bikes rumble by on their way back to the epicenter of this madness. The lost identity of a ski town out of season is unmistakable, too early for snow but too late for the tourist rush of summer, and that is the perfect time for a few hundred KTM enthusiasts to take up residence. We were surprised to see these big motocross jumps at an ‘adventure bike’ race. KTM placed a few rocks in front to keep speeds down, but that didn’t prevent some riders from sending it! This year was the 16th annual US KTM Adventure Rally, fittingly tucked in the heart of the Rockies featuring fan favorites like “Ride with the Pros” group rides, Seminars, Demo Rides, and Self-Guided GPS tours. New for this year was the overnight camping option lead by KTM Pro Chris Filmore that offered fifteen riders the opportunity to go on a two-day guided adventure with some amenities provided for an unforgettable Rocky Mountain moto camping experience. The Ultimate Race Returning for the second time was the KTM Ultimate Race Qualifier, testing the grit of some of the top amateur riders in the US. Although more refined this year after its inaugural running in 2018, with even more spectator opportunities and complex challenges. What hadn’t changed was the end result of the competition: The two top riders winning a trip to Morocco to represent their country in a factory-backed effort in the Merzouga Rally. Soft dirt in the woods section caused many a skilled rider to go down.Festivities kicked off Thursday afternoon with a ruckus riders meeting and the Ultimate Race competitor’s first hurdle of lifting a full-size adventure bike from its side, circling it, and then setting it back down. This served as perfect amusement for attendees just arriving and the qualifier as a whole would continue to be great entertainment. Retired Dakar Rally racer Kellon Walsh was a site to see for spectators at the Leadville motocross track during the day one special test. ADVERTISEMENT On the first day of competition riders would need to complete two timed laps at the Leadville Motocross Track for the special test, then spend the remainder of the day navigating through the woods surrounding Breckenridge. Riders would use the REVER app for GPS navigation while ensuring they captured as many of the 30 waypoints as possible before the cutoff time. After a full day of riding, exhausted riders had to complete a timed wheel-change before getting a well-deserved rest. The top 10 riders with the best combined scores would qualify for the next day’s competition. The wheel-change challenge can be a make-or-break event for competitors looking to advance to day two in the KTM Ultimate Race qualifier.Wes VanNieuwenhuise was a beast in the KTM Ultimate Race US Qualifier and went on to be the top finisher.On day two, finalists were required to navigate through even more technical terrain than the previous day, with a total of 62 waypoints and a timed section. After it was all said and done, the scores were tallied and winners were announced Saturday evening at the annual banquet dinner. First place went to Wes VanNieuwenhuise followed by Brendan Crow. Congrats to both riders who will be representing the USA in Morocco for the Ultimate Race Final. For more background on the Ultimate Race qualifier, check out our article covering the 2018 Adventure Rider Rally. Beyond The Race The one-hour loops offered an easy way to get out for a quick ride and see some of Breckenridge’s spectacular landscapes.For those not competing Ultimate Race, there were plenty of other activities to be amused by. At 9,600 feet, the morning air in Breckenridge had an unmistakable bite, and no saddle was without a thick layer of frost. It’s been speculated that KTM holds their rallies at high elevation not only to improve their bikes fuel economy but also to thin out riders without the fortitude to endure discomfort. Kidding aside, the main thoroughfare of the KTM Adventure Rally was buzzing with activity each morning, long before temperatures climbed above 40 degrees or things began to thaw. After a hearty breakfast, caffeinated attendees would start making moves towards the plethora of different activities. There were seminars, classes, and rides getting underway along with several entrancing vendors to examine. The large parking lot that housed the rally this year was about the size of two football fields with KTM trucks and vendor booths surrounding the perimeter and a sea of orange bikes and enthusiastic people filling the center. Vendors included: Giant Loop, Cyclops Adventure Sports, Dubya USA, Gnarly Routes, Konflict Motorsports, Mosko Moto, Motion Pro, Moto Minded, Motoz Tires, Rever, Rocky Mountain ATVMC, Rottweiler Performance, Seat Concepts, Trail Tech, and Wolfman Luggage among others. Everyone in attendance seemed to be focused on logging dirt miles and returning with dirt smiles. Most ticket holders had made significant efforts to be present in Breckenridge, sometimes traveling from thousands of miles away, and they weren’t going to waste their time milling about. It’s not the type of rally where people sit around at night talking about the idea of riding or past conquests because everyone is too whipped from actually riding. All of the routes were top-notch with no guesswork and no wrong choices. With the Rockies at KTM’s disposal, they had done a fantastic job scouting heroic tracks. Even the “one-hour loops” turned out to be epic little adventures in close proximity to town. Taylor Robert, Destry Abbott, Mike Lafferty, Chris Fillmore, Russell Bobbitt, Taylor Robert, Scott Bright, and Paul Krause were leading rides each day. Having access to and riding among these accomplished riders amounted to an intimate experience unique to this event. The same can be said for encountering Dakar Rally veterans like Husqvarna rider Andrew Short on his factory rally bike just cruising down the trail. We had to do a double take when we came across Husqvarna sponsored Dakar Rally racer Andrew Short just cruising down the trail on his rally-prepped machine.KTM went out of their way to maintain the highest level of hospitality. If you had a question, they were ready to answer, and if you had a problem, they were quick to offer assistance. They even had mechanics on hand, waiting in the wings to help with any mechanical issues that might crop up. There were several accounts of these specialists going above and beyond over the course of the weekend to solve problems and at no cost. A downed tree blocked our path causing an orange traffic jam but we found a way to raise the tree just enough to slip our bikes underneath.Other activities included riding technique seminars, technical riding seminars, games and training. Jimmy Lewis was on site to offer abbreviated versions of his training curriculum Friday and Saturday in addition to performing his always-entertaining demonstrations. Both the seminars and training offered a great opportunity to study techniques and then apply them almost immediately. A group of 15 riders, lead by multi-time Pike’s Peak champ Chris Fillmore, headed deep into the backcountry for an epic night of camping.The KTM Adventure Rally distinguishes itself from other events of this scale with personal touches and face-to-face interactions. The result is a much less “faceless” atmosphere leaving attendees with the feeling they were actually part of something instead of just being on the sidelines. Eating meals in a hall with KTM factory riders & industry-leading vendors while going on rides with the pros and directly interacting with KTM representatives has that effect. Over the years, KTM has cultivated this environment and refined it almost to the point of perfection. There’s a reason this event sells out quickly each year, and if you haven’t already, you should find out why for yourself. KTM Adventure Rally Gallery Photos by Spencer Hill and Rob Dabney Author: Spencer Hill “The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.
  6. KTM’s 790 Adventure and Adventure R have been out long enough now for owners to put them through their paces and find things they want to change or upgrade. And, as you might imagine, one of the most anticipated new adventure bikes in years is going to create a robust aftermarket catering to said owners. Hepco & Becker has jumped into the KTM 790 Adventure accessories market with a full-line of farkles focused on improving the bike’s carrying capacity and armoring it against expensive damage that can result from the bike being used as intended: off the road. ADVERTISEMENT Hepco & Becker is a German company that has been around since 1982, and has grown into one of the largest manufacturers of accessories for everything from adventure bikes to cruisers. A more comprehensive list of Hepco & Becker accessories for the KTM 790 Adventure is available online but here are a few of the items that caught our eye: The 790 Adventure’s low-slung gas tank is one of its defining features. It puts fuel weight low and keeps it centralized for better balance and handling. It’s also a cause for worry among riders who use the bike as intended and expect that the tank will meet a tree, a rock or the dirt at some point. Hepco & Becker’s Engine Guards provide no-drilling, bolt-on peace of mind. They stick out just past the tank’s lower bulge on each side, offering front-end protection without excess weight. They come in black, orange or stainless steel. You probably don’t want to know how much it would cost to replace your 790’s fancy LED headlight assembly. (We did, though, so we looked it up: about $750 for the whole unit.) Not to mention that finishing a ride without a headlight could be a tricky proposition. It’s definitely an instance where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Hepco & Becker headlight guard is a steel-mesh design that bolts to the fairing, offering solid protection from flying debris and stuff you might run into. It’s powder-coated black for a long-lasting finish. At eight liters of capacity, and expandable to 13 liters, the STREET Tourer M is right in the middle of Hepco & Becker STREET tank bag line, so it will blend with the 790 Adventure’s mid-size aesthetics. It has three external pockets, a map pocket with a cord pass-through for charging or connecting a GPS or phone, and internal dividers to keep things organized. It’s connected to the bike via Hepco & Becker Tank Ring mounting plate, which is specific to the 790 Adventure. The Tank Ring attaches to the bike’s filler cap with screws and holds the bag in place with magnets. It’s secure enough for off-road forays, easy to get on and off, and there are no straps to fuss with or get in the way when you are moving around. Designed specifically for the 790 Adventure and Adventure R, Hepco & Becker Side Carrier racks bolt on to mounting points at the subframe and rear footpeg brackets, distributing luggage weight and adding extra strength in case of impact. There’s also a rear crossbar to tie each side together for enhanced rigidity, and there’s extra clearance on the right side for the exhaust. They’ll work with any of Hepco & Becker line of hard cases, and also with the latest quick-release, rack-mounted soft panniers available from a variety of manufacturers. The 790 Adventure’s stock rear top rack is fairly small, and has a limited number of slots to mount luggage. Securing a dry bag large enough to carry a tent, sleeping pad and bag, etc. is precarious, particularly when the going gets rough. Hepco & Becker Rear Enlargement Rack is a good solution. It provides a wider platform with raised edges front and back to securely hold whatever you’re carrying, and eight strap slots to lash it down tight. Plus it bolts right onto the existing plate for an easy install. Kudos to KTM for equipping the 790 Adventure bikes with wrap-around handguards that attach at the bar ends and also inboard on the bars themselves. But serious off-road riders will immediately note that there is no metal bracing to take bigger impacts with trees, rocks or the ground. That leaves both your fingers and your levers at risk in the heavy stuff. Hepco & Becker solution is to keep the stock units in place and beef them up with 12mm thick steel tubing that wraps around the outside of the guard like an exoskeleton. The guards attach at two points, just like the stock units, and putting the protection on the outside has the advantage of maintaining the stock clearance for the clutch and brake levers. They look tough, too. KTMs are notorious for coming factory-equipped with tiny little feet on the end of the sidestand. We’ve never quite figured out why, but KTM must have their reasons. The result is a bike that can easily tip over in loose gravel, dirt, sand or really any surface that isn’t asphalt. That would be one way to test the integrity of that low-slung fuel tank (unless you already bolted on the Engine Guards, see above). A better solution would be to add a wider sidestand foot for increased zero-mph stability on your new adventure steed. Hepco & Becker’s Side Stand Enlarger bolts on and provides a larger platform to spread the weight. Think of it as cheap insurance. Hepco & Becker KTM 790 Adventure Accessories Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  7. After more than 2 years in development, Dunlop has announced the launch of some exciting new rubber for off-road adventures. Entering their lineup as a 50/50 tire, The TrailMax Mission is aimed at adventure riders looking for high performance in a wide range of terrain. “This is a very difficult segment to tackle because of the wide variety of uses and fitments, but I believe customers will be surprised that the Mission delivers such a high level of grip no matter the surface and will also exceed their mileage expectations,” said Mike Buckley, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing. According to Dunlop, the Trailmax Mission was one of the most comprehensive tire projects they have ever undertaken. Customer input was key. Engineers and researchers attended consumer shows, rallies and various events for years gathering data, and more than ten rider surveys were conducted among a vast audience. After getting a full understanding of the needs of adventure riders, the challenge to the Mission team was to create a tire that didn’t force customers to compromise between street performance, dirt performance, ruggedness, or longevity. The Falken Connection For the first time in its history, Dunlop tapped into newly available resources. Dunlop Motorcycle Tires’ re-acquisition by Sumitomo in 2015 gave the design team access to the engineers at Falken tires. Falken, a Sumitomo brand, has had tremendous success with the Wildpeak A/T3W, an off-road oriented light truck tire that puts a premium on ruggedness without sacrificing street performance. The Dunlop team was ultimately able to incorporate several Wildpeak elements into the all-new Mission. Development Lots of R&D went into the TrailMax Mission tire with more than 30 prototypes produced over a span of 2 years, and 12 months alone spent just developing the unique tread pattern. According to Dunlop, the Mission was designed to deliver knobby-like performance off-road, while delivering great grip on the street. ADVERTISEMENT One of the primary goals was durability. Several months were spent piling on the miles—on the street, at the Huntsville Proving Grounds in wet and dry conditions, on gravel roads, trails, tire-shredding rocky terrain, and every condition Dunlop test riders could find. Dunlop also utilized a high-speed testing oval in Texas to put the Mission through durability torture. The result according to Dunlop: Consumers can expect to get double the miles of some of the competitive rear tires, and more than that from the front. The production version of the Mission rear tire delivered 8,000 miles during testing.* *Test conducted by independent contracted riders on a 250-mile mountain loop. Tire sizes 110/80B19 front and 150/70B17 rear, on 2017 Suzuki V-Strom. Tread Pattern One of the things that make the Mission unique is that Dunlop did not create a one-design-fits-all tire. Different bikes impose different demands on tires, so Dunlop engineers tuned popular fitments of front and rear tires for a diverse application of ADV bikes so that the tires consistently achieved Dunlop’s objective of performance and longevity. These differences apply to both the tread pattern and construction. Dunlop incorporated Staggered Step technology in both the front and rear tires. These steps give the side knobs more rigidity and lug stability to prevent flex, and create more biting edges so as the tread wears, the next biting edge “steps up” to grab hold of the substrate. In the rear, there are three different sizes and shapes of lateral blocks depending on tire fitment, a direct result of extensive testing. Staggered Step: These steps give the side blocks more rigidity, and create more biting edges for increased off-road grip. Aggressive Upper Sidewall: Wrap-around side lugs add rigidity and durability in rocky terrain, and improve steering in sand, mud and gravel. Tread Grooves: Deep tread grooves help the Mission deliver uncompromising grip in a wide variety of off-road terrain, explains Dunlop. Common Tread Elements Front and rear tire patterns have more in common than differences. One visual distinction for both front and rear is the prominent wrap-around side lug inspired by the Falken Wildpeak. These lugs have several advantages; they add rigidity and durability in rocky terrain; allow lower pressures to be run off-road with less risk of pinch-flatting; they help provide steering stability in sand, mud and gravel surfaces; and they have an uncanny ability to allow riders to steer out of ruts off-road, even on the really big and heavy ADV bikes. Additionally, the sidewall rubber is thicker to add higher durability and puncture resistance. Both front and rear tires feature a distinctly higher land/sea ratio with about 60 percent land for greater street performance compared to the dirt-oriented D606 at 30 percent land ratio. Increased tread depth over the Trailsmart adds to Mission’s superior off-road performance. These comparisons illustrate how different the Mission is compared to other Dunlop adventure and off-road tires. Construction To meet the performance and mileage goals, bias construction was used, with the line featuring a mix of bias and bias-belted tires as needs dictated. Bias construction is generally better for off-road since tread and sidewall elements are designed as one component. Engineers used heavy-duty ply material such as nylon, polyester and/or fiberglass belts that are similar to those used in tough touring tires such as the American Elite® and Elite® 4. The result, says Dunlop, is a tire with great off-road performance that delivers the desired stability at higher speeds. Tire Sizes, Price & Availability Available in a wider size range than any of Dunlop’s adventure tires, the Mission fills a void in the line for ADV bikes, Scramblers and Crossovers that are ridden aggressively off-road. The TrailMax Mission will be offered in a wide size range launched in 3 phases throughout the next few months. MSRP will range from $131.21 to $285.23 depending on sizes. Shopping Options
  8. Published on 10.10.2019 [embedded content] It’s been a long wait but Sena has finally released their 10C EVO – the first-ever 4K camera and Bluetooth communication system. The highly anticipated device features a slimmer form factor than its predecessor the 10C PRO, along with improved camera capabilities. The 10C EVO combines Sena’s bluetooth communications platform with and integrated 4k camera, allowing easy rider communications and video recording. The camera’s integrated communication system mixes audio from the intercom and music from your smartphone into your video, on the fly. The 10C EVO’s features include: Communication system and 4K camera in a compact design Four-Way Group Intercom Bluetooth connectivity to take calls, listen to music or turn-by-turn GPS directions Video recording up to 4K/30 FPS quality Narrate recordings live using Smart Audio Mix™ 20 Hours of talk time, 1.5 hours of video recording Take photos in still shot, burst, or time-lapse mode Video tagging lets you create instant highlights Preview and download files via built-in WiFi Experience Ultra 4K Capture video in 4K at 30 frames per second or take photos in still shot, burst, or time-lapse mode while voice prompts keep you updated on the camera’s progress. The 10C EVO packs Sena’s best camera yet, capturing video in 4K at 30 frames per second along with taking photos in still shot, burst, or time-lapse mode. The camera button allows for one-touch recording while Voice Prompts keep you updated on the camera’s progress. With video tagging, you can save important events from a continuous loop of video recording, instantly creating highlights. The 10C EVO accepts MicroSD cards up to 128 GB. The 10C EVO also features Smart Audio Mix, which mixes audio from the intercom and music from your smartphone straight into your video. ADVERTISEMENT The Sena Camera App allows users to preview the camera framing of their 10C EVO directly on a smartphone through built-in WiFi, and even instantly download files. In addition to the Camera App, linking up your 10C EVO with the Sena Headset App (for Android or iPhone) allows you to configure device settings and access an interactive Quick Start Guide. With video tagging, you can save important events from a continuous loop of video recording, instantly creating highlights. Four-way Bluetooth Intercom allows for connection with three other riders up to 1.6 km (1.0 mile) away. The 10C EVO allows riders to take and make phone calls, listen to music and GPS, connect with on bike entertainment systems, use the built-in FM tuner and more. Integrated voice prompts advise riders on the use of their device with instant status updates of their 10C EVO. The 10C EVO features Sena’s convenient Audio Multitasking™ function. Riders will be able to enjoy speaking over the Bluetooth intercom while simultaneously hearing an additional audio source, such as music or GPS. The Sena Camera App allows users to preview the 10C EVO footage being shot, directly on their smartphone via built-in WiFi. The app also allows you to instantly download files and fine-tune video settings. The 10C EVO will retail for $399 USD and 449 EUR (Including VAT), like all Sena products it is firmware upgradable and comes with Sena’s two-year warranty. The 10C EVO is now available on BuySena.com, and through Sena’s global network of dealers. Sena 10C EVO Specs GENERAL Dimensions:Main module: 95 mm x 59 mm x 31 mm (3.7 in x 2.3 in x 1.2 in) Speaker driver unit: 36 mm – thickness 6.5 mm Boom microphone: length 190 mm Wire between speakers: length 555 mm Weight: Module: 90 g (3.17 oz) WIFI IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/a Working distance: within 15 meters BLUETOOTH Bluetooth 4.1INTERCOM Working Distance: Up to 1.6 km (1.0 mile) in open terrain Supports up to 4 riders AUDIO Noise Cancellation: Advanced Noise Control™ Codec: Built-in SBC Codec FM RadioRadio frequency specifications: 76 ~ 108MHz 10 preset station memory HD Voice enabled for high-quality phone call audio VIDEO 2160p: 30fps (Ultra HD) 1440p: 30fps (Quad HD) 1080p: 60fps (Full HD) 1080p: 30fps (Full HD) Video recording time: 1.5 hours Video file format: MP4 (H.264) Max video bit rate: 60 Mb/s (4K) PHOTO 12MP (4:3) Burst shot: 8 pics per second TIME-LAPSE MODE Single shot every 1 sec or every 2, 5 or 10 secsBATTERY Talk time: 20 hours Charging Time: 2.5 hours Built-in 1,200 mAh Lithium polymer battery EXTERNAL MEMORY MicroSD card (U3 or higher) up to 128 GB (not included in package)
  9. Zero Motorcycles has announced its updated 2020 electric bike lineup, featuring new colors, graphics and a revamped next-gen App. But the bigger news for 2020 is the introduction of the DSR Black Forest model to America – a bike the company proudly calls “the most capable adventure-ready electric motorcycle on the planet.” The previous Europe-only model enters the U.S. market as the flagship dual sport motorcycle in the Zero 2020 lineup. Deriving from the DSR 14.4 kWh platform, the Black Forest Edition silently churns out 70 horsepower and a whopping 116 ft-lb of torque available from a standstill for instantaneous throttle response. Acceleration is delivered through a carbon-fiber belt that directly connects the motor to the rear wheel. At the heart of Zero motorcycles is the Z-Force motor, which requires no liquid or forced-air cooling and no routine maintenance. The flagship bike is further equipped with three lockable cases for ample storage, a touring seat, hand guards plus crash bars, LED auxiliary lights and a headlight protector for off-road use. ADVERTISEMENT But what about the most common concern with electric motorcycles?…Range. The DSR Black Forest comes with an exclusive 14.4 kWh power pack (double the range of the base DS model), good for a claimed range of 157 miles in the city and 88 miles on the highway. Battery capacity can be boosted further with an optional Power Tank that increases range to a claimed 196 miles in the city or 110 miles on the highway. Like the other Zero dual sport models, the Black Forest Edition can be easily charged overnight from any standard household outlet without any additional installations. Adding the Charge Tank option allows you to charge the battery up to 95% capacity in just 2 hours, by making the bike compatible with faster Level 2 charging stations. “With the year-over-year growth of fast charge stations around the United States, riding has become more accessible than ever,” said Sam Paschel, CEO. “The 2020 line ensures riders can experience their adventures and push for new places with the effortless experience of taking their motorcycle wherever they would like to go.” Complementing the powerful Cypher operating systems, every 2020 Zero Motorcycle features updated Next Gen smartphone integration via a dedicated app. With a few toggles, riders can customize performance profiles such as top speed, torque and max regenerative braking. Charging status, updates and diagnostics can also be easily accessed through the Android and Apple compatible app. A Next Gen app allows riders to customize performance profiles such as top speed, torque, max regenerative braking, and more with just a few toggles on their smartphone. The DSR Black Forest Edition starts at $18,995 and is available with various accessories and upgrades. If that sticker price is a bit hard to digest, the standard DSR model retails at $15,495. It is not kitted-out like the Black Forest model but it comes with the higher capacity 14.4 kwh battery. Also, keep in mind there are several states that offer attractive electric vehicle tax incentives to make it more affordable. Add to that the elimination of costs such as regular motor maintenance, oil changes, spark plugs, clutches, filters, fuel or chain maintenance and the price may begin to sound like a good value. Zero dual sport models can be easily charged overnight from any standard household outlet without any additional installations. Zero DSR Black Forest Specs ZF14.4 ZF14.4 +POWER TANK RANGE CITY: 157 miles (253 km) 196 miles (315 km) HIGHWAY, 55 MPH (89 KM/H): 88 miles (142 km) 110 miles (177 km) RANGE COMBINED: 112 miles (180 km) 141 miles (227 km) HIGHWAY, 70 MPH (113 KM/H): 64 miles (103 km) 80 miles (129 km) COMBINED: 91 miles (146 km) 114 miles (183 km) PEAK TORQUE: 116 ft-lb (157 Nm) 116 ft-lb (157 Nm) PEAK POWER: 70 hp (52 kW) @ 3,500 rpm 70 hp (52 kW) @ 3,500 rpm TOP SPEED (MAX): 102 mph (164 km/h) 102 mph (164 km/h) TOP SPEED (SUSTAINED): 90 mph (145 km/h) 90 mph (145 km/h) MOTOR TYPE: Z-Force® 75-7R passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent hi-temp magnet, brushless motor Z-Force® 75-7R passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent hi-temp magnet, brushless motor CONTROLLER: High efficiency, 775 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration High efficiency, 775 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration POWER PACK: Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent integrated Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent integrated MAX CAPACITY: 14.4 kWh 18.0 kWh NOMINAL CAPACITY: 12.6 kWh 15.8 kWh CHARGER TYPE: 1.3 kW, integrated 1.3 kW, integrated CHARGE TIME (STANDARD): 9.8 hours (100% charged) / 9.3 hours (95% charged) 12.1 hours (100% charged) / 11.6 hours (95% charged) WITH CHARGE TANK OPTION: 2.5 hours (100% charged) / 2.0 hours (95% charged) N/A WITH ONE ACCESSORY CHARGER: 5.7 hours (100% charged) / 5.2 hours (95% charged) 7.0 hours (100% charged) / 6.5 hours (95% charged) WITH MAX ACCESSORY CHARGERS: 2.8 hours (100% charged) / 2.3 hours (95% charged) 3.3 hours (100% charged) / 2.8 hours (95% charged) POWER INPUT: Standard 110 V or 220 V Standard 110 V or 220 V TRANSMISSION: Clutchless direct drive Clutchless direct drive FINAL DRIVE: 90T / 20T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt 90T / 20T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt FRONT SUSPENSION: Showa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping Showa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping REAR SUSPENSION: Showa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping Showa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping FRONT SUSPENSION TRAVEL: 7.00 in (178 mm) 7.00 in (178 mm) REAR SUSPENSION TRAVEL: 7.03 in (179 mm) 7.03 in (179 mm) FRONT BRAKES: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc REAR BRAKES: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc FRONT TIRE: Pirelli MT-60 100/90-19 Pirelli MT-60 100/90-19 REAR TIRE: Pirelli MT-60 130/80-17 Pirelli MT-60 130/80-17 FRONT WHEEL: 2.50 x 19 2.50 x 19 REAR WHEEL: 3.50 x 17 3.50 x 17 WHEELBASE: 56.2 in (1,427 mm) 56.2 in (1,427 mm) SEAT HEIGHT: 33.2 in (843 mm) 33.2 in (843 mm) RAKE: 26.5° 26.5° TRAIL: 4.6 in (117 mm) 4.6 in (117 mm) CURB WEIGHT: 489 lb (222 kg) 531 lb (241 kg) CARRYING CAPACITY: 417 lb (189 kg) 375 lb (170 kg) EQUIVALENT FUEL ECONOMY (CITY): 435 MPGe (0.54 l/100 km) 435 MPGe (0.54 l/100 km) EQUIVALENT FUEL ECONOMY (HIGHWAY): 207 MPGe (1.13 l/100 km) 207 MPGe (1.13 l/100 km) TYPICAL COST TO RECHARGE: $1.61 $2.02 MSRP PRICING: $18,995 $21,890 STANDARD MOTORCYCLE WARRANTY: 5 years/unlimited miles 5 years/unlimited miles For more information go to zeromotorcycles.com
  10. Zero Motorcycles has announced its updated 2020 electric bike lineup, featuring new colors, graphics and a revamped next-gen App. But the bigger news for 2020 is the introduction of the DSR Black Forest model to America – a bike the company proudly calls “the most capable adventure-ready electric motorcycle on the planet.” The previous Europe-only model enters the U.S. market as the flagship dual sport motorcycle in the Zero 2020 lineup. Deriving from the DSR 14.4 kWh platform, the Black Forest Edition silently churns out 70 horsepower and a whopping 116 ft-lb of torque available from a standstill for instantaneous throttle response. Acceleration is delivered through a carbon-fiber belt that directly connects the motor to the rear wheel. At the heart of Zero motorcycles is the Z-Force motor, which requires no liquid or forced-air cooling and no routine maintenance. The flagship bike is further equipped with three lockable cases for ample storage, a touring seat, hand guards plus crash bars, LED auxiliary lights and a headlight protector for off-road use. ADVERTISEMENT But what about the most common concern with electric motorcycles?…Range. The DSR Black Forest comes with an exclusive 14.4 kWh power pack (double the range of the base DS model), good for a claimed range of 157 miles in the city and 88 miles on the highway. Battery capacity can be boosted further with an optional Power Tank that increases range to a claimed 196 miles in the city or 110 miles on the highway. Like the other Zero dual sport models, the Black Forest Edition can be easily charged overnight from any standard household outlet without any additional installations. Adding the Charge Tank option allows you to charge the battery up to 95% capacity in just 2 hours, by making the bike compatible with faster Level 2 charging stations. “With the year-over-year growth of fast charge stations around the United States, riding has become more accessible than ever,” said Sam Paschel, CEO. “The 2020 line ensures riders can experience their adventures and push for new places with the effortless experience of taking their motorcycle wherever they would like to go.” Complementing the powerful Cypher operating systems, every 2020 Zero Motorcycle features updated Next Gen smartphone integration via a dedicated app. With a few toggles, riders can customize performance profiles such as top speed, torque and max regenerative braking. Charging status, updates and diagnostics can also be easily accessed through the Android and Apple compatible app. A Next Gen app allows riders to customize performance profiles such as top speed, torque, max regenerative braking, and more with just a few toggles on their smartphone. The DSR Black Forest Edition starts at $18,995 and is available with various accessories and upgrades. If that sticker price is a bit hard to digest, the standard DSR model retails at $15,495. It is not kitted-out like the Black Forest model but it comes with the higher capacity 14.4 kwh battery. Also, keep in mind there are several states that offer attractive electric vehicle tax incentives to make it more affordable. Add to that the elimination of costs such as regular motor maintenance, oil changes, spark plugs, clutches, filters, fuel or chain maintenance and the price may begin to sound like a good value. Zero dual sport models can be easily charged overnight from any standard household outlet without any additional installations. Zero DSR Black Forest Specs ZF14.4 ZF14.4 +POWER TANK RANGE CITY: 157 miles (253 km) 196 miles (315 km) HIGHWAY, 55 MPH (89 KM/H): 88 miles (142 km) 110 miles (177 km) RANGE COMBINED: 112 miles (180 km) 141 miles (227 km) HIGHWAY, 70 MPH (113 KM/H): 64 miles (103 km) 80 miles (129 km) COMBINED: 91 miles (146 km) 114 miles (183 km) PEAK TORQUE: 116 ft-lb (157 Nm) 116 ft-lb (157 Nm) PEAK POWER: 70 hp (52 kW) @ 3,500 rpm 70 hp (52 kW) @ 3,500 rpm TOP SPEED (MAX): 102 mph (164 km/h) 102 mph (164 km/h) TOP SPEED (SUSTAINED): 90 mph (145 km/h) 90 mph (145 km/h) MOTOR TYPE: Z-Force® 75-7R passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent hi-temp magnet, brushless motor Z-Force® 75-7R passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent hi-temp magnet, brushless motor CONTROLLER: High efficiency, 775 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration High efficiency, 775 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration POWER PACK: Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent integrated Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent integrated MAX CAPACITY: 14.4 kWh 18.0 kWh NOMINAL CAPACITY: 12.6 kWh 15.8 kWh CHARGER TYPE: 1.3 kW, integrated 1.3 kW, integrated CHARGE TIME (STANDARD): 9.8 hours (100% charged) / 9.3 hours (95% charged) 12.1 hours (100% charged) / 11.6 hours (95% charged) WITH CHARGE TANK OPTION: 2.5 hours (100% charged) / 2.0 hours (95% charged) N/A WITH ONE ACCESSORY CHARGER: 5.7 hours (100% charged) / 5.2 hours (95% charged) 7.0 hours (100% charged) / 6.5 hours (95% charged) WITH MAX ACCESSORY CHARGERS: 2.8 hours (100% charged) / 2.3 hours (95% charged) 3.3 hours (100% charged) / 2.8 hours (95% charged) POWER INPUT: Standard 110 V or 220 V Standard 110 V or 220 V TRANSMISSION: Clutchless direct drive Clutchless direct drive FINAL DRIVE: 90T / 20T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt 90T / 20T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt FRONT SUSPENSION: Showa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping Showa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping REAR SUSPENSION: Showa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping Showa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping FRONT SUSPENSION TRAVEL: 7.00 in (178 mm) 7.00 in (178 mm) REAR SUSPENSION TRAVEL: 7.03 in (179 mm) 7.03 in (179 mm) FRONT BRAKES: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc REAR BRAKES: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc FRONT TIRE: Pirelli MT-60 100/90-19 Pirelli MT-60 100/90-19 REAR TIRE: Pirelli MT-60 130/80-17 Pirelli MT-60 130/80-17 FRONT WHEEL: 2.50 x 19 2.50 x 19 REAR WHEEL: 3.50 x 17 3.50 x 17 WHEELBASE: 56.2 in (1,427 mm) 56.2 in (1,427 mm) SEAT HEIGHT: 33.2 in (843 mm) 33.2 in (843 mm) RAKE: 26.5° 26.5° TRAIL: 4.6 in (117 mm) 4.6 in (117 mm) CURB WEIGHT: 489 lb (222 kg) 531 lb (241 kg) CARRYING CAPACITY: 417 lb (189 kg) 375 lb (170 kg) EQUIVALENT FUEL ECONOMY (CITY): 435 MPGe (0.54 l/100 km) 435 MPGe (0.54 l/100 km) EQUIVALENT FUEL ECONOMY (HIGHWAY): 207 MPGe (1.13 l/100 km) 207 MPGe (1.13 l/100 km) TYPICAL COST TO RECHARGE: $1.61 $2.02 MSRP PRICING: $18,995 $21,890 STANDARD MOTORCYCLE WARRANTY: 5 years/unlimited miles 5 years/unlimited miles For more information go to zeromotorcycles.com
  11. The war rages on between hard and soft panniers. Painful leg strikes vs. stolen valuables are among the top arguments for one style or the other. In the end, each has valid reasons for existence and the user must decide what best fits their application. As with all things motorcycle, owning more than one style could be considered a worthy investment. The last time I tested the Touratech’s Zega Pro panniers, I likened the product to a Rolex watch because of its precision engineering, user-friendly design and eye-grabbing aesthetics. But I’m left wanting for words to describe the new Zega Evo panniers. Perhaps TAG Heuer or Lange & Söhneesque would better suit the latest iteration from Deutschland. The Zega EVO’s 1.5 mm aluminum construction is sturdy yet malleable enough to be reshaped on the fly if dented.Several unique elements make these heretofore utilitarian boxes worthy of such accolades. The engineers at Touratech have designed a die-forged latching system, akin to the sliding bolt on a Mauser rifle. Touted as “removable in seconds,” we found that once unlocked, a snap of the fingers was sufficient time to eject one of the panniers from its sturdy, stainless-steel mount, with or without gloves. This robust mechanism looks great and there is no longer a need to open the box and remove heavy contents to separate it from the bike. Instead, a simple lift of the thumb-released tension lever gets it done with the Zega Evo panniers. ADVERTISEMENT Touratech’s deep drawing process forms the 1.5mm aluminum lid and bottom with seamless precision, where in the past corners were folded and welded in place. The process reduces the occurrence of cracks or leaks and creates a smooth, rounded corner. The bottom is then riveted to the box and sealed with silicone. Touratech emblems are die cast into the sides, stiffening the walls and enhancing the appearance. Plastic hooks are screwed to the lids’ inside corners for suspending small items, and plastic armor shells wrap each exterior corner. A proven, silicone-lined tongue-in-groove rim seals the box. How They Performed Mounting the Zega Evo pannier racks was relatively simple on our 2018 R1200GS Rallye test bike, with the exception of a Catch-22 interference between the exhaust mounting bolt and right side footpeg bolt, both of which must be loosened for installation. Once bolted in place, the racks are as sturdy as they come, even acting as armor for the vulnerable muffler. I’ve always questioned the security of removable pannier racks and, thankfully, Touratech has avoided the bandwagon here by bolting the frames in place. Comfortable handles make carrying the Zega Evo panniers a cinch and magnetic snaps allow easy removal of the lids. Once unlocked, a snap of the fingers was sufficient time to detach a pannier.Severe water testing was performed at the car wash. After deliberately targeting the seals we found a few tiny drops in one pannier. The other was bone dry. As with previous Touratech panniers, we had no issue with rattles or loosening at mounting points. Ergonomically, my asymmetrical (due to the exhaust) 38- and 45-liter panniers were well placed, adding a secure platform for mounting soft bags above the lids and sufficiently clearing rider and passenger legs. Due caution is still in order off pavement as an errant dab could be met with an unyielding edge. The larger box easily accepted my full-face helmet and a few other essentials, a nice touch when security matters. Locks are standard, easy to install and keyed alike. Comfortable, web handles make toting a cinch and magnetic snaps allow easy removal of the lids’ limit straps. Front and rear latches hinge either way or simply unlock, allowing the lids to be used as pans if needed. The larger box easily swallows a full-face helmet with room to spare for other essentials.Touring two-up is a lot easier with ample storage and the Evos delivered. A mixture of on- and off-pavement riding with my wife felt natural, even comfortable. The quick-release system and web handles were great at hotels and the boxes served double duty while camping as seats and tables. We’ve yet to test them in a fall but with previous iterations of the Zegas, the Mundo and Zega Pro, we found their 1.5 mm aluminum sturdy yet malleable enough to be reshaped on the fly. We don’t have any accessories yet but handy stainless steel pins are strategically mounted for affixing bottles and other components to the exterior without needing to drill. Who Are They For? Travelers looking for a more secure luggage option when leaving their bike unattended in cities. For road use or mild to moderate backcountry travel, the Zega Evo panniers leave few reasons to look any further. Our Verdict Competition is stiff in the hard pannier market. Touratech continues to raise the bar for all comers. Their experience is evident in this latest iteration and we, the end user, benefit from one of the finest versions to date. Function and appearance are also spot on, and Touratech offers a wide array of accessories to extend their utility. What We Liked Quality is top shelf throughout, from the deep drawn, armored corners to the tough, secure seal. The locking, bolt-action latch mechanism just works and it’s fun to operate. The quick-release limit straps make lid removal a snap. From bolted, welded stainless steel racks to die-forged latching hardware, they are built to last. What Could Be Improved A better solution could be engineered to avoid interference between the exhaust mounting bolt and right foot peg bolt during installation.Zega Evo Panniers Specs COLOR: Cases: Anodized Silver, Anodized Black; Racks: Electropolished Stainless, Black Epoxy Coated Stainless SIZE: 31L, 38L and 45L ( each side) CONSTRUCTION: Cases: 1.5mm aluminum with welded and stainless steel rivet construction; Racks:18mm diameter stainless steel round tubing PRICE: $1,799 with silver racks, $1,839 with black racks (includes locks) COMPATIBILITY: BMW F850Gs, F750GS, F850GS Adventure, R1200GS, R1200GS Adventure, R1250GS, R1250GS Adventure; KTM 1090, 1190, 1290 Adventure models; Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L and CRF1000L2 Shopping Options Author: Bill Dragoo The adventure lifestyle permeates all he does, providing grist for the writing mill. Bill owns and operates DART (Dragoo Adventure Rider Training), an Oklahoma based school for folks seeking to improve their off road skills, primarily on big motorcycles. He is a certified BMW Motorrad Off Road Instructor and actively writes for several adventure related magazines. His work expands to the four-wheel overlanding community as well, as he and his wife Susan explore Mexico and the American West in their fast and light travel vehicle dubbed the Tacoma GS after the Gelande Strasse (Land and Street) line of BMW motorcycles.
  12. We’re still enjoying great riding weather this time of year but if you look closely at the leaves, they are starting to change color. The crisp cool air of fall is here and with it comes unpredictable weather swings that can spoil even the best-planned rides. Unless of course you have good riding gear that can manage a variety of weather conditions – exactly what Rukka claims their Roughroad adventure touring suit does. The gear designers at the Finnish company Rukka ought to know a thing or two about cold, wet weather riding too with their headquarters just 386 miles from the arctic circle. That could also explain some of the interesting features on this suit. For example, it has a detachable Gore-Tex stretch storm collar that completely covers your neck, and a snap-in Gore-Tex inner liner that incorporates Outlast technology – a material that regulates body temperature by absorbing and releasing body heat with thermocules. Inner liners incorporate Outlast thermal regulating technology to help the suit handle a wider range of temperatures.The jacket features a large removable storm collar that completely covers your neck.Other premium features include a durable 500D Cordura shell with double safety stitched seams; An AirCushion in the seating area that is said to reduce moisture build up and help regulate temperature; CE Level-1 D3O armor in the shoulders, knees, elbows and hips; a CE Level-2 D3O back protector; leather along the inner legs so you don’t melt your pants on a hot exhaust; and 13 pockets total, including a few waterproof pockets and a rabbit pocket to store your storm collar. Large D3O pads cover your elbows, forearms, knees and shins.There are a range of adjustments to improve fit as well, like a Velcro/elastic jacket waistband, suspenders for the pants, and tension snaps to hold elbow pads in place. In addition, the suit features a prodigious amount of stretch panels along the inner thighs, back of the knee, lower back, shoulders, and arms to give the suit freedom of movement without extra bulk. The Roughroad also incorporates vents on the shoulders, chest, thighs, and along the sides of the jacket. Stretch panels around the joints allow the suit to have a contoured fit without limiting range of movement.After putting the Rukka Roughroad to the test for the last 2 riding seasons in a variety of conditions ranging from blazing hot to chilly downpours, it has held up admirably while at the same time revealing some of its weaknesses. Read on for a full rundown. How It Performed ADVERTISEMENT Sliding into the Rukka Roughroad for the first time, the suit felt roomy without having a baggy fit. Stretch panels around the joints made it easy to move around in without constraint. Although, without the suspenders, the pants sagged more than I’d like, even with the Velcro belt adjustments at max. With suspenders on, the pants were comfortable at the waistline and the standard length pants fit well with my 33.5-inch inseam. Included suspenders provided a comfortable fit around the waist without sagging. Without them, the pants sagged more than I’d like.Another feature immediately noticed was one of the most-comfortable collars I’ve tried before. The Neoprene material offers an airtight fit that doesn’t catch on a scruffy neck, and with the Storm Collar attached, you can avoid getting water down your neck or any wind chafing. A simple Velcro collar strap is also easy to close or open with a gloved hand. Riding in warmer temperatures did show some limitations though.The smallish vents on the shoulders and thighs provide limited airflow. There are also pockets on the chest that provide a small amount of venting but seem to be designed primarily as pockets. No back vents are included in the jacket nor any thigh exhaust vents, which would help circulate the air through the suit. Even so, I did like the long boot zippers on the gaiter-less pant legs that allow you to unzip them to knee h for more airflow, while keeping the bottoms closed with a Velcro strap. The leg openings also didn’t have any problem accommodating tall off-road boots. A simple Velcro collar makes attaching it easy with a gloved hand.Clearly, this suit wasn’t designed for the hot deserts or Southern Spain or California, but it was fairly comfortable riding in the mid-80s F with liners out. The material has good breathability and as a bonus, the joint areas are lined with a velvet like material that reduces any chafing. In addition, Rukka’s AirCushion system offered additional plushness in the seating area for those longer rides. With liners in, the suit is too hot to wear on a hot day despite the Outlast thermo-regulating material. The liners also had a tendency to catch and pull on the snaps that hold them in place when taking the garments on and off. I would have preferred circumferential zippers for the leg and hand openings for a snag-free fit. Another small nuisance was the Velcro jacket collar closure. In the closed position it’s very comfortable, but if you want to open it up, the method for constraining the excess strap material isn’t well thought out and it continues to flap around in the wind. For winter conditions, the Rukka Roughroad feels right at home and even feels a little like wearing ski gear, especially with the suspenders. It proved to be watertight and fairly warm, even without a thermal base layer thanks to the Outlast. In fact, I rode around in a cold downpour for about an hour or so on one occasion and the Gore-Tex/Outlast liner worked admirably to keep me warm and dry. Even better, the breathable Cordura shell resisted loading up with water. And yes, the Storm Collar was a blessing in the rain. As far as protection, the large D3O pads included have a lot of coverage for your elbows, forearms, knees and shins. I appreciated the included CE Level-2 back protector as well. And D3O is a molecular armor, so its protection increases at the very moment of impact. However, I was not able to set the knee pads to the right h with the two adjustment options available and the armor sat slightly low on the knees. In one big get off, I had the misfortune of banging my partially covered knee, right where the padding was missing, which left me swollen and bruised for several weeks. At least the suit didn’t look any worse for wear after the fall. Going down one size on the pants, or even going to the short length pants, might have provided a better knee pad placement, but a larger range of adjustment would be appreciated. Convenient side panels make removing or adjusting pads a quick task, although a larger range of adjustment would have been appreciated.Who’s It For Adventure riders that cover a lot of street miles during their travels will appreciate the ability of the Roughroad to handle nasty weather. It’s also a decent suit for off-road use among those who ride in colder, wetter climates. With a thermal base liner added, riders can extend their riding season or venture into colder climates more confidently with the Outlast technology helping to regulate temps. But its lack of airflow does limit it somewhat in the hotter months in warmer climates, especially during aggressive rides in slow moving terrain. Our Verdict Anyone considering the Roughroad suit should first check the knee pad placement to make sure it covers your knees completely. Assuming you can get a good fit for your body type, the Roughroad is a tough suit with good armor and weather protection. It’s tuned more for colder climates or for use as a winter weather suit, but can still hack it in warmer weather if you ask it to (with liners out) on occasion. The fit is contoured and comfortable for an ADV suit, and it’s got one of the best feeling collars on the market. What We Liked Top notch waterproofing and cold-weather protection. Good protection with Inclusion of a CE Level-2 D3O back protector. Neoprene collar keeps airtight seal and is soft on the neck. Good freedom of movement with a contoured fit. What Could Be Improved Improved range in h adjustment for the knee pads to fit a larger range of riders. Back vents, lower arm vents and more-effective chest vents to improve airflow. Circumferential inner liner zippers around the arm and leg openings to prevent catching. Create a better snap-back open collar to prevent flapping in the wind. Rukka Roughroad Specs COLORS: Jacket & Pants (Black/Grey, Dark Grey/Hi Viz, Orange/Sand) SIZES: Jacket (46-66), Pant (48-66 short, 46-66 regular, 48-58 long) PRICE: Jacket ($899), Pant ($699) Shopping Options Photos by Stephen Gregory & Sean Klinger Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  13. Published on 10.02.2019 Popular rental car company Hertz, has announced the launch of its Adventure Touring program in the United States. ‘Hertz Ride’, a motorcycle tour and rental service, just launched in the US in late September 2019, beginning in what were identified as popular Adventure Touring destinations on the West Coast: Las Vegas, Nevada and greater Los Angeles (Riverside), California. Hertz has also announced Miami, Florida on the East coast as an upcoming location. Each Hertz Ride location will feature REV’IT! riding apparel and NEXX Helmets available for rent to make consumers’ travel as seamless as possible, while still providing a high level of protection. Any products the traveler wishes to purchase at the end of the trip can be drop shipped directly to his or her home address. Hertz Ride delivers a premium service for Adventure Touring enthusiasts through a diversified international catalog of experiences, from motorcycle rentals to guided and self-guided tours using a state-of-the-art motorcycle fleet. The service is also currently available in six European countries —Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. ADVERTISEMENT Currently, the global program offers riders a selection of BMW motorcycles including the adventure bike GS line. For now, the Adventure models available in the US are the BMW F750GS and BMW R1250GS. The starting price is 105$/day for 1-3 days rentals of the BMW F750GS in the low season, with the price dropping to 74$/day for rentals of 21 days or more (* Low season: 1 Nov – 28 Feb / High season: 1 Mar – 31 Oct). Duarte Guedes, Hertz Ride Board Member, said, “It is with great enthusiasm that we are now officially opening our operations in Las Vegas and Riverside California, offering our top products to those who, like us, seek dream adventures on two wheels. Bringing Hertz Ride to the United States has always been our ambition, so we will work hard to offer our customers a quality service that differentiates us from our competitors.” For more information go to hertzride.com
  14. Is the KLX230 enough? Enough to be a lightweight Adventure Bike? The short answer, hell yeah it can be! There are a few parameters to that enthusiasm, but we’ll get into that as we go through the new 2020 Kawasaki KLX230. Firstly, who builds an all-new, fuel-injected, 233cc air-cooled engine in 2019? Kawasaki did and the obvious answer to “why” is for the Asian Markets. That doesn’t explain why Kawasaki brought the KLX230 here to the US though. This brings us right back to the parameters of whether this small dual sport is enough motorcycle for ‘your’ style of adventure. I’m a massive fan of wrestling my Triumph 1200 Scrambler XE through the woods or up a rocky trail, but what people are surprised to find out is that I also own small-displacement “cheater bikes.” Mine happen to be an air-cooled 200cc Suzuki DR and a KTM 250 EXC-F. Both are perfect reference points to conduct this test. ADVERTISEMENT The DR is too small (I’m 6’2′), under sprung (I’m 210lbs), underpowered (14hp on a good day) and runs horribly from time to time due to its 15-year-old carburetor. But, it makes you feel like Graham Jarvis as you yell “Jarvis” while blasting by your friends struggling to hold up a full-size dirt bike.The KTM is my “full size” dirt bike that everyone told me would be too small. Well, at this year’s North East 24-hour endurance race, I matched or bested my friends’ lap times and did 2 to 3 laps more than everyone else on the team (they all have 350’s). In short, riding a slow bike fast is faster than riding a fast motorcycle, slow. You can also learn the fundamentals properly on a smaller motorcycle. Answering The Big Question The biggest problem facing the KLX is the smallest thing about it. Its 233cc power plant is just “too small” for us power-hungry Americans. By my seat of the pants-dynometer, the KLX makes just north of 20hp from its single overhead-twin valve heart. Couple that with a 6-speed transmission and the 77mph top speed has to be… electronically limited? Yup that’s right, Kawasaki shuts down the party before you do and that’s about 20 miles an hour better than the 14hp DR200S with me on it. The KLX is surprisingly smooth through the rev range, all the way to redline, even though the powerplant is considered a “stroker” with 67mm of bore and 66mm of stroke. For comparison, my KTM 250 EXC-F has a bore of 78mm by 52.3mm of stroke yet it feels less refined north of 50 mph than the Kawi. Impressions of the KLX230 motor are “it’s better than expected… by a lot.” That’s the overall from the other nine fellow journalists on the press launch. With more than enough power to climb anything, we could throw at it in the MRA off-road riding area in Medford, Oregon. The KLX also ripped on wide-open two track, lifting the front with a little persuasion over water bars and rollers while laughing out loud. Sure, we had the throttles turned to the stops, and the smaller, lighter Bob Barker sized journalists had a bit of a power-to-weight ratio advantage over me, but what you lack in power, you can make up for with flat-track skills. Trying to make up for a lack of skill with power is never a good idea. Kawasaki designed an all-new air-cooled, fuel-injected, 233cc engine and mated it to a 6-speed transmission. Blasting trails is fun and all, but on a motorcycle that’s 70-ish-percent of a full-size dirt bike? Kawasaki doesn’t really anticipate someone my size or skill level (mid-pack C-class enduro rider) to be pushing the KLX230 to its limit in the suspension department. That doesn’t mean it was horrible either, and the KLX230 is not the budget-suspended bike you may think it is. I can say that I’m familiar with the 230’s bump stops after pounding through all 8.7 inches of travel in front and 8.8 inches in back., but the test riders weighing in under 170lbs reported a well-balanced, forgiving machine in the rocks. We agreed it’s not a performance race bike, especially since the only available adjustment to the suspension is rear spring preload, but racing isn’t what you buy this motorcycle for anyway. The short 54.3″ wheelbase combined with its 10.4″ ground clearance contributes to the bike’s maneuverability.On the road, the KLX230 will leave my thinly framed DR200s wobbling wide into the first ditch if I tried to hold the same line as the Kawi. Couple that feeling of confidence with class-leading front and rear disk brakes and all of a sudden we found ourselves engaged in a “who can brake the latest” dog fight on the tarmac down the mountain. Did I mention this bike is fun? Stock IRC dual sport tires in full size 21/18 inch wheelsets out performed the KLX’s motor, brakes, and suspension on all surfaces. The KLX230 also comes in an “ABS” model. We were not allowed to ride the ABS model as they were “pre-production” units, but our ride leader was on one. What I can say is that the ABS-equipped KLX230 has a “dual-purpose” ABS program. That means it works on both the street and off-road. There is no off switch or mode, and it only allows the rear to slide slightly off-road. Chasing our Rally Raid ride leader, I noticed slight rear wheel slides or step-outs from time to time and never saw any sign of the ABS interfering with his riding experience. The ABS model rings in at $4,899 and the non-ABS KLX230 lists for $4,599. The all-new LCD dash doesn’t have a tachometer but is still a nice modern touch with a fuel gauge, low fuel warning light, speedometer, odometer, clock, and indicator lamps. Who’s It For? Who is the KLX “enough” for? Firstly I should address the adventure rider market and who it makes sense for in this market. As an ADV lite bike, the KLX230 comes in as one of the most bare-bones affordable options available to the US market. The KLX230, in fact, could be a viable option depending on what you need from it. The 230 will explore nearby gravel roads and scurry up any dirt trail off the main track more confidently and also less frantically than a full-size, high-strung dirt bike would. Doing a longer adventure ride like a Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR) is possible, but you’ll have to be realistic about expectations for carrying capacity and camping. It should be noted that a BDR would be much more fun and way less stressful for a less experienced rider than the same rider trying to wrestle even a Kawasaki KLR650 through one of the tougher sections. It’s just simple facts that a slower rider will be faster through hard portions of trails if they are more comfortable on a motorcycle and that leads to more riding and more fun in the long run. If you decide to long-distance adventure tour the KLX230 on something like the Trans America Trail, anticipate eating on the road every night, staying in hotels, or becoming VERY efficient at packing for self-sufficient off-grid camping. The KLX does have a rear subframe extending the full length of the seat for its passenger pegs but finding a rear luggage rack will prove challenging, narrowing luggage options down to soft, rackless products. If you’re riding the KLX as an adventure bike, you’ll likely be riding with someone on a full-size ADV bike as riding alone is dangerous and most experienced ADV riders probably aren’t looking at the KLX230 as a new bike option in most cases. Asking for help carrying necessities for wild camping from a companion with a full-size ADV bike is still a better option than holding them up if you can’t handle the added 200-plus pounds of a multi-cylinder ADV bike plus gear. “Largest headlight in its class” whatever that means. For the budding adventure rider with a partner who’s already experienced this can be the perfect bike for getting into the sport. Having a low cost of entry, a light curb weight of 291 pounds, an extremely low center of gravity, and rock-solid reliability (not carbureted) you’ll be riding more and death gripping your bars less. Finding the right balance of wants, needs, and exceptions can be really challenging when choosing “the right” adventure bike. The KLX makes sense in a lot of ways for some riders but not all. If you’re 6’2″ and up like myself, you’ll look slightly silly perched on top of the KLX before you’ll feel uncomfortably cramped, but that feeling will eventually set in as well. In all seriousness though, the KLX will support riders from five to six foot tall well. Suspension travel is 8.7 inches in front and 8.8 inches in the rear with shock preload the only adjustment. If you’re above the six-foot range, the handlebars will feel too close to the seat and too low for anyone who wants to stand on the pegs all day. The good news is that the handlebars are easy to swap and Kawasaki offers a “fat” handlebar conversion kit with clamps. The stock bars are ⅞-inch and also painfully cheap to look at. The Bogey List of People for the KLX230 The budget/new to the scene Dual Sport rider: Why pay $5,000 for a 2007 (That’s 13 years old people!) KTM 450 EXC with some 200 hours on it when you’re new to dirt bikes. Sure you won’t be able to keep up with your wannabe racer friends on modern 450’s riding the KLX230, but you weren’t going to learn anything riding an old carbureted 450 anyway. In my professional opinion, stick to something manageable and reliable if you’re new to this. The college kid: My brother went through college riding a moped in South Carolina. If you can’t imagine how much fun having a reliable, small, quiet, four-stroke motorcycle would be in college, then the KLX might not be for you; as you might not know how to have fun. The KLX 140 upgrade: maybe you’ve outgrown your KLX 140 and the liquid-cooled KLX250 seems just too tall at 35 inches, even though the seat h is listed as 34.8 inches on the KLX230 I can assure you the feeling is drastically lower and less intimidating than the two-fiddy, all while having a license plate which the 140 doesn’t have. The farm bike: Yup, I said it, and Kawasaki said it too. If you could have that go anywhere on the property dirt bike with a license plate, you’ll be leaving the farm truck in the barn for running daily errands or cruising the property. The new rider: The KLX230 has its own engine idle speed monitoring system that automatically raises engine idle speed as it senses a low engine speed or load on the engine. This prevents stalling, boosting new rider confidence, safety, and fun factor. Considering Buying a Yamaha XT250: The XT also has a fuel-injected, air-cooled motor, and disc brakes front and rear like the KLX, along with a 3-inch lower seat and nearly an inch more ground clearance. But the KLX230 gets an extra gear (6 speed vs 5 speed), 1.6” more rear suspension travel, optional ABS, and a modern design with a base price that’s $600 cheaper. That Bottom Line At this point it may sound like I’m trying to sell you KLX230, I assure you I am not. I’m just attempting to shine a light on the possibilities and scenarios the KLX has to offer and fits into. Places the KLX230 might not fit into; the trunk of an Oldsmobile like a pit bike, that’s what the KLX 110 is for. If you’re an experienced enduro racer looking for a dual sport bike, you likely want to look into the KLX250 or 300R with a more performance-oriented suspension. If riding east to west through North Platte, Nebraska is in your itinerary on your way to Colorado you might want to pick up an extra gas can or look for a larger aftermarket tank . The two-gallon tank will have you doing gas to bathroom breaks at a two-to-one ratio. In short, the KLX230 is not a weapon for hauling a 100 pounds of gear a 100 miles into the depths of Canada in an attempt to escape civilization and cell phone signal. It’s just not enough for that. The KLX needs to fit you, and you need to fit it. It can be enough. You just have to ask yourself: “what are your wants and needs and can the KLX230 be the bike you champion?”. 2020 Kawasaki KLX230 Specs Engine: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, SOHC, air-cooled Displacement: 233cc Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 66.0mm Compression Ratio: 9.4:1 Fuel System: DFI w/32mm Throttle Body Ignition: TCBI Electronic Advance Transmission: Six-speed with wet multi-disc manual clutch Final Drive: Chain Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 37mm telescopic fork/8.7 in Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Uni-Trak® linkage system and single shock with preload adjustability/8.8 in Front Tire: 2.75 x 21 Rear Tire: 4.10 x 18 Front Brakes: Single 265mm petal disc with a dual-piston caliper Rear Brakes: Single 220mm petal disc with single-piston caliper Frame Type: High-tensile steel perimeter Rake/Trail: 27.5°/4.6 in Overall Length: 82.9 in. Overall Width: 32.9 in. Overall Height: 45.9 in. Ground Clearance: 10.4 in. Seat Height: 34.8 in. Curb Weight: 293.3 lb. / 297.7 lb. CA model** Fuel Capacity: 2.0 gal. Wheelbase: 54.3 in. Color Choices: Lime Green Warranty: 6 Months Kawasaki Protection Plus™ (optional): 12, 24, or 36 months Availability: Currently available on US dealer showrooms Gear We Used • Helmet: Shoei VFX-EVO Zinger • Jacket: REV’IT! Tornado 2 • Pants: REV’IT! Tornado 2 • Boots: REV’IT! Expedition H20 Photos by Kevin Wing Photography Author: Steve Kamrad Steve has been labeled as a “Hired Gun” by one of the largest special interest publishing groups in America. His main focus now is video content creation as a “Shreditor” (thats shooter, producer, editor all in one nice, neat, run and gun package). If he’s not out competing in a NASA Rally Race you can find him on the East Coast leading around a rowdy group of ADV riders. Some say Steve_Kamrad has the best job in the world but he’s not in it for the money. He’s a gun for hire that can’t be bought and that’s the way we like him.
  15. Is the KLX230 enough? Enough to be a lightweight Adventure Bike? The short answer, hell yeah it can be! There are a few parameters to that enthusiasm, but we’ll get into that as we go through the new 2020 Kawasaki KLX230. Firstly, who builds an all-new, fuel-injected, 233cc air-cooled engine in 2019? Kawasaki did and the obvious answer to “why” is for the Asian Markets. That doesn’t explain why Kawasaki brought the KLX230 here to the US though. This brings us right back to the parameters of whether this small dual sport is enough motorcycle for ‘your’ style of adventure. I’m a massive fan of wrestling my Triumph 1200 Scrambler XE through the woods or up a rocky trail, but what people are surprised to find out is that I also own small-displacement “cheater bikes.” Mine happen to be an air-cooled 200cc Suzuki DR and a KTM 250 EXC-F. Both are perfect reference points to conduct this test. ADVERTISEMENT The DR is too small (I’m 6’2′), under sprung (I’m 210lbs), underpowered (14hp on a good day) and runs horribly from time to time due to its 15-year-old carburetor. But, it makes you feel like Graham Jarvis as you yell “Jarvis” while blasting by your friends struggling to hold up a full-size dirt bike.The KTM is my “full size” dirt bike that everyone told me would be too small. Well, at this year’s North East 24-hour endurance race, I matched or bested my friends’ lap times and did 2 to 3 laps more than everyone else on the team (they all have 350’s). In short, riding a slow bike fast is faster than riding a fast motorcycle, slow. You can also learn the fundamentals properly on a smaller motorcycle. Answering The Big Question The biggest problem facing the KLX is the smallest thing about it. Its 233cc power plant is just “too small” for us power-hungry Americans. By my seat of the pants-dynometer, the KLX makes just north of 20hp from its single overhead-twin valve heart. Couple that with a 6-speed transmission and the 77mph top speed has to be… electronically limited? Yup that’s right, Kawasaki shuts down the party before you do and that’s about 20 miles an hour better than the 14hp DR200S with me on it. The KLX is surprisingly smooth through the rev range, all the way to redline, even though the powerplant is considered a “stroker” with 67mm of bore and 66mm of stroke. For comparison, my KTM 250 EXC-F has a bore of 78mm by 52.3mm of stroke yet it feels less refined north of 50 mph than the Kawi. Impressions of the KLX230 motor are “it’s better than expected… by a lot.” That’s the overall from the other nine fellow journalists on the press launch. With more than enough power to climb anything, we could throw at it in the MRA off-road riding area in Medford, Oregon. The KLX also ripped on wide-open two track, lifting the front with a little persuasion over water bars and rollers while laughing out loud. Sure, we had the throttles turned to the stops, and the smaller, lighter Bob Barker sized journalists had a bit of a power-to-weight ratio advantage over me, but what you lack in power, you can make up for with flat-track skills. Trying to make up for a lack of skill with power is never a good idea. Kawasaki designed an all-new air-cooled, fuel-injected, 233cc engine and mated it to a 6-speed transmission. Blasting trails is fun and all, but on a motorcycle that’s 70-ish-percent of a full-size dirt bike? Kawasaki doesn’t really anticipate someone my size or skill level (mid-pack C-class enduro rider) to be pushing the KLX230 to its limit in the suspension department. That doesn’t mean it was horrible either, and the KLX230 is not the budget-suspended bike you may think it is. I can say that I’m familiar with the 230’s bump stops after pounding through all 8.7 inches of travel in front and 8.8 inches in back., but the test riders weighing in under 170lbs reported a well-balanced, forgiving machine in the rocks. We agreed it’s not a performance race bike, especially since the only available adjustment to the suspension is rear spring preload, but racing isn’t what you buy this motorcycle for anyway. The short 54.3″ wheelbase combined with its 10.4″ ground clearance contributes to the bike’s maneuverability.On the road, the KLX230 will leave my thinly framed DR200s wobbling wide into the first ditch if I tried to hold the same line as the Kawi. Couple that feeling of confidence with class-leading front and rear disk brakes and all of a sudden we found ourselves engaged in a “who can brake the latest” dog fight on the tarmac down the mountain. Did I mention this bike is fun? Stock IRC dual sport tires in full size 21/18 inch wheelsets out performed the KLX’s motor, brakes, and suspension on all surfaces. The KLX230 also comes in an “ABS” model. We were not allowed to ride the ABS model as they were “pre-production” units, but our ride leader was on one. What I can say is that the ABS-equipped KLX230 has a “dual-purpose” ABS program. That means it works on both the street and off-road. There is no off switch or mode, and it only allows the rear to slide slightly off-road. Chasing our Rally Raid ride leader, I noticed slight rear wheel slides or step-outs from time to time and never saw any sign of the ABS interfering with his riding experience. The ABS model rings in at $4,899 and the non-ABS KLX230 lists for $4,599. The all-new LCD dash doesn’t have a tachometer but is still a nice modern touch with a fuel gauge, low fuel warning light, speedometer, odometer, clock, and indicator lamps. Who’s It For? Who is the KLX “enough” for? Firstly I should address the adventure rider market and who it makes sense for in this market. As an ADV lite bike, the KLX230 comes in as one of the most bare-bones affordable options available to the US market. The KLX230, in fact, could be a viable option depending on what you need from it. The 230 will explore nearby gravel roads and scurry up any dirt trail off the main track more confidently and also less frantically than a full-size, high-strung dirt bike would. Doing a longer adventure ride like a Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR) is possible, but you’ll have to be realistic about expectations for carrying capacity and camping. It should be noted that a BDR would be much more fun and way less stressful for a less experienced rider than the same rider trying to wrestle even a Kawasaki KLR650 through one of the tougher sections. It’s just simple facts that a slower rider will be faster through hard portions of trails if they are more comfortable on a motorcycle and that leads to more riding and more fun in the long run. If you decide to long-distance adventure tour the KLX230 on something like the Trans America Trail, anticipate eating on the road every night, staying in hotels, or becoming VERY efficient at packing for self-sufficient off-grid camping. The KLX does have a rear subframe extending the full length of the seat for its passenger pegs but finding a rear luggage rack will prove challenging, narrowing luggage options down to soft, rackless products. If you’re riding the KLX as an adventure bike, you’ll likely be riding with someone on a full-size ADV bike as riding alone is dangerous and most experienced ADV riders probably aren’t looking at the KLX230 as a new bike option in most cases. Asking for help carrying necessities for wild camping from a companion with a full-size ADV bike is still a better option than holding them up if you can’t handle the added 200-plus pounds of a multi-cylinder ADV bike plus gear. “Largest headlight in its class” whatever that means. For the budding adventure rider with a partner who’s already experienced this can be the perfect bike for getting into the sport. Having a low cost of entry, a light curb weight of 291 pounds, an extremely low center of gravity, and rock-solid reliability (not carbureted) you’ll be riding more and death gripping your bars less. Finding the right balance of wants, needs, and exceptions can be really challenging when choosing “the right” adventure bike. The KLX makes sense in a lot of ways for some riders but not all. If you’re 6’2″ and up like myself, you’ll look slightly silly perched on top of the KLX before you’ll feel uncomfortably cramped, but that feeling will eventually set in as well. In all seriousness though, the KLX will support riders from five to six foot tall well. Suspension travel is 8.7 inches in front and 8.8 inches in the rear with shock preload the only adjustment. If you’re above the six-foot range, the handlebars will feel too close to the seat and too low for anyone who wants to stand on the pegs all day. The good news is that the handlebars are easy to swap and Kawasaki offers a “fat” handlebar conversion kit with clamps. The stock bars are ⅞-inch and also painfully cheap to look at. The Bogey List of People for the KLX230 The budget/new to the scene Dual Sport rider: Why pay $5,000 for a 2007 (That’s 13 years old people!) KTM 450 EXC with some 200 hours on it when you’re new to dirt bikes. Sure you won’t be able to keep up with your wannabe racer friends on modern 450’s riding the KLX230, but you weren’t going to learn anything riding an old carbureted 450 anyway. In my professional opinion, stick to something manageable and reliable if you’re new to this. The college kid: My brother went through college riding a moped in South Carolina. If you can’t imagine how much fun having a reliable, small, quiet, four-stroke motorcycle would be in college, then the KLX might not be for you; as you might not know how to have fun. The KLX 140 upgrade: maybe you’ve outgrown your KLX 140 and the liquid-cooled KLX250 seems just too tall at 35 inches, even though the seat h is listed as 34.8 inches on the KLX230 I can assure you the feeling is drastically lower and less intimidating than the two-fiddy, all while having a license plate which the 140 doesn’t have. The farm bike: Yup, I said it, and Kawasaki said it too. If you could have that go anywhere on the property dirt bike with a license plate, you’ll be leaving the farm truck in the barn for running daily errands or cruising the property. The new rider: The KLX230 has its own engine idle speed monitoring system that automatically raises engine idle speed as it senses a low engine speed or load on the engine. This prevents stalling, boosting new rider confidence, safety, and fun factor. Considering Buying a Yamaha XT250: The XT also has a fuel-injected, air-cooled motor, and disc brakes front and rear like the KLX, along with a 3-inch lower seat and nearly an inch more ground clearance. But the KLX230 gets an extra gear (6 speed vs 5 speed), 1.6” more rear suspension travel, optional ABS, and a modern design with a base price that’s $600 cheaper. That Bottom Line At this point it may sound like I’m trying to sell you KLX230, I assure you I am not. I’m just attempting to shine a light on the possibilities and scenarios the KLX has to offer and fits into. Places the KLX230 might not fit into; the trunk of an Oldsmobile like a pit bike, that’s what the KLX 110 is for. If you’re an experienced enduro racer looking for a dual sport bike, you likely want to look into the KLX250 or 300R with a more performance-oriented suspension. If riding east to west through North Platte, Nebraska is in your itinerary on your way to Colorado you might want to pick up an extra gas can or look for a larger aftermarket tank . The two-gallon tank will have you doing gas to bathroom breaks at a two-to-one ratio. In short, the KLX230 is not a weapon for hauling a 100 pounds of gear a 100 miles into the depths of Canada in an attempt to escape civilization and cell phone signal. It’s just not enough for that. The KLX needs to fit you, and you need to fit it. It can be enough. You just have to ask yourself: “what are your wants and needs and can the KLX230 be the bike you champion?”. 2020 Kawasaki KLX230 Specs Engine: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, SOHC, air-cooled Displacement: 233cc Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 66.0mm Compression Ratio: 9.4:1 Fuel System: DFI w/32mm Throttle Body Ignition: TCBI Electronic Advance Transmission: Six-speed with wet multi-disc manual clutch Final Drive: Chain Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 37mm telescopic fork/8.7 in Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Uni-Trak® linkage system and single shock with preload adjustability/8.8 in Front Tire: 2.75 x 21 Rear Tire: 4.10 x 18 Front Brakes: Single 265mm petal disc with a dual-piston caliper Rear Brakes: Single 220mm petal disc with single-piston caliper Frame Type: High-tensile steel perimeter Rake/Trail: 27.5°/4.6 in Overall Length: 82.9 in. Overall Width: 32.9 in. Overall Height: 45.9 in. Ground Clearance: 10.4 in. Seat Height: 34.8 in. Curb Weight: 293.3 lb. / 297.7 lb. CA model** Fuel Capacity: 2.0 gal. Wheelbase: 54.3 in. Color Choices: Lime Green Warranty: 6 Months Kawasaki Protection Plus™ (optional): 12, 24, or 36 months Availability: Currently available on US dealer showrooms Gear We Used • Helmet: Shoei VFX-EVO Zinger • Jacket: REV’IT! Tornado 2 • Pants: REV’IT! Tornado 2 • Boots: REV’IT! Expedition H20 Photos by Kevin Wing Photography Author: Steve Kamrad Steve has been labeled as a “Hired Gun” by one of the largest special interest publishing groups in America. His main focus now is video content creation as a “Shreditor” (thats shooter, producer, editor all in one nice, neat, run and gun package). If he’s not out competing in a NASA Rally Race you can find him on the East Coast leading around a rowdy group of ADV riders. Some say Steve_Kamrad has the best job in the world but he’s not in it for the money. He’s a gun for hire that can’t be bought and that’s the way we like him.
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