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  1. Published on 07.17.2018 US company, RRR Tool Solutions, has announced a new Modular Moto Tool Set designed to be as versatile and portable as possible. This extremely compact Moto Wrench Tool Set replaces more than 100 hand tools and packs into a 4″x 6″ small case. Can you fit all your motorcycle tools in the palm of your hand? Yes, says Gordon East of RRR Tool Solutions. “I’ve created the Modular Moto Wrench Tool Set for riders who prefer to have a complete tool set on the go, but do not want to pack half their garage on their bikes. The Modular Moto Wrench Tool Set contains 90% of all the tools you’ll ever need on your ride – and it all fits into a small pouch the size of your hand,” East explains. This small modular moto tool set includes 16 hand wrenches, 32 combo wrenches, 19 hand, nut and screw drivers, 20 90-degree drive handle tools, 17 heavy duty 90-degree drive handle breaker bar tools, pliers, and a sparkplug socket. The tools are custom-manufactured, extra-strong, and durable. “You’ll break any machine before you break my tools,” East explains. To prove their strength, RRR Tool Solutions torture tested them to more than 150 ft-lbs of torque. About 4-5 times what most 6mm-10mm threaded fasteners are rated for. The mini Modular MWT Set is a US product that has been in development for more than two years. RRR Tool Solutions has designed, built, tested, refined, and then covered the tools with two different Patent filings. “We’ve successfully designed and sold over 40,000 different tools to date, and we’re so thrilled about this new set!” The modular MWT Tool Set is currently trending on Kickstarter. For more info click here.
  2. I’ve had a rough relationship with the Africa Twin’s stock windscreen starting with the first time I rode the bike in 2016. While attempting to lift the front wheel over a step up, the windscreen hit me in the face when I nearly went over the bars. My fault for forgetting to turn traction control off. I’ve also bemoaned that stock screen for being too short after taking a beating from the wind on several long highway slogs. It’s not that the stock screen is poorly designed. It actually works pretty good for riders around 5’10” or under. However, at 6’2” I don’t get wind protection from the eye level up. And when you ride with a Dual Sport helmet, all that wind is directed right at the peak causing a lot of extra wind noise and buffeting that can get pretty annoying on a long trip. Fighting the wind force on your forehead at 65+ mph for long periods can also wear you out. Another thing that’s not great about the stock screen is the soft plastic it’s made of. If you happen to get it dirty (ride off-road much?) and try to wipe it clean with a glove or wet towel, it scratches easily. Spraying it with a hose until the crud finally comes loose is about the only way you can remove baked-on dirt and grime safely. With some big summer trips coming up, it was time to finally upgrade the stock screen with an aftermarket screen that provides improved wind protection. After checking out the options, we decided to try out the Ermax High Screen in clear. It’s taller than stock, but not so tall that it’s going to get in your way off-road. We also chose a clear screen over tinted, since it’s easier to see the ground in front of you when going down steep descents and you get maximum visibility on the road. The Ermax is also made of hard acrylic that is a bit more scratch resistant that stock, and it’s got a nice shape that gives the Africa Twin a sharper look. Testing The Ermax High Screen Putting on the Ermax High Screen didn’t take much time at all, and within minutes I was on the road. The stock windscreen comes off with four screws and the new screen goes right on with the existing hardware and two new rubber spacers. The only tricky part to the install is making sure you don’t push the lower grommet backing nuts loose because they can fall into the headlight assembly. The high-quality acrylic of the Ermax screen looks as clear as glass compared to the stock screen on the Africa Twin. Visibility is noticeably improved with the new Ermax Screen. Its high-quality acrylic looks as clear as glass. On the highway, there is a big difference in wind protection. The airflow gets directed over my head now and a nice bubble of clean air behind the windscreen quiets down the ride significantly at 65 mph. I can now listen to spoken word podcasts on the headset without laying down on the tank. Long-range touring is also less fatiguing now that the wind isn’t constantly pushing against my forehead. Riding off-road, the Ermax High Screen doesn’t seem significantly taller than the stock screen and it hasn’t hit me in the face ‘yet’ (as long as I remember to turn TC off…). After getting it dirty, the screen also cleans up nicely without having to be overly careful about putting visible scratches it. The Ermax Windscreen comes with a dashboard protector for those that park their bikes outdoors for long periods in direct sunlight. Who’s It For? The Ermax High Screen is for riders that are looking for an improvement in wind protection on their Africa Twin for long stints on the highway, especially those riders who are taller than 5’10”. Our Verdict We liked that the Ermax screen is easy to install and has an appealing shape that enhances the look of the Africa Twin, without looking “too tall” for the trail. It offers a lot of bang for the buck at just $104, and the high-quality acrylic should last a long time. But those looking for something even more scratch-resistant and durable for frequent off-road use should opt for Ermax’s polycarbonate windscreen at $166. Both screens have the same shape and are highly-effective at blocking wind on the highway. What We Liked Big improvement blocking wind on the highway. Enhances the look of the Africa Twin. Easy enough for novice mechanic to install. What Could Be Improved How about an adjustable-h version? Ermax High Screen Specs Colors: clear, smoked, light black, gray Materials: Standard Acrylic or Polycarbonate Height: 50cm MSRP: $104.00 Shopping Options .
  3. I showed up to the ADV Pulse headquarters in Southern California Friday afternoon excited because the next two days Senior Editor Rob Dabney and I would be riding Big Bikes, in the mountains of SoCal, for the 24th annual Big Bear Run AMA Dual Sport Ride. After promptly packing and loading our small luggage onto the bikes, I hopped on the 2018 Honda Africa Twin, and Rob chose the pearly-white 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XCa. We planned on switching bikes the following day for comparison and to allow extended seat-time on each bike. As we split lanes headed towards Big Bear, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Looking back at the time, I was pleasantly unaware that the Big Bear Run is considered one of the most difficult, if not the most grueling dual-sport rides put on by the AMA. Our weapons for the Big Bear Run — the Triumph Tiger 800 XCa and the Honda Africa Twin with DCT. Pick Your Poison…or Not We arrived a bit late to the convention center meeting point but still managed to catch a little bit of the rider briefing by the friendly event staff. We learned that there are three route options available, depending on your skill set: the ‘Hard Way’, the ‘Easy’ route, and an ‘Adventure’ route that was intended for the ADV bikes. Keep in mind that the easy and hard routes are intended for small bikes, whereas the ADV bike route, was a combination of dirt/street. After checking in, we got our GPS tracks and maps, then headed to the motel for some much needed sleep before the early day tomorrow. Early the next morning, groups of skinny bikes were exiting the parking lot in a steady flow after clocking in at 6am with a total number of 279 riders enrolled in the event. Many of these riders were attempting the “hard way”, which, to describe it as technical and difficult would be a massive understatement. Quinn Cody tried the hard route last year on a specially prepped 1190 ADV R and broke the bike in the process during the first half of the ride. Let’s just say that it is over 200 miles of bone crushing, wheel bending, soul crushing, bash plate twisting, mettle-testing network of trails around the Big Bear area. Out of the 150 riders who attempted the ‘hard way’ only 29 riders finished! The advanced riders who chose the hard way took between 10 and 12 hours to complete the course, with a few riders barely making the 12 hour time limit. It isn’t a race, but the relatively few successful finishers receive a rare and coveted plaque of accomplishment. A little taste of the routes at this year’s Big Bear Run – one of the toughest Dual Sport rides on the AMA circuit. Our big bikes surely had their work cut out for them. The “Easy” Route Before we took off for our ride, we decided to get some breakfast and to discuss the day. It was a neat little café embedded in the local airport, overlooking the runway. Breakfast was great, and our Russian waitress was very curious and blessed our trip. Thank you for the good juju, we (read, I) was going to need it today. I was going to need her blessing because Rob had chosen for us to take the ‘easy’ route. Keep in mind that for me, there had never been a more inappropriate use of the word ‘easy’ before this moment. Das Vadanya, Lady, Rob’s apparently trying to kill me. We hit the trail by 8 AM. We both were feeling great and our pace was good. The terrain was difficult, I’m not going to lie. Rocks everywhere, boulders everywhere, stone ledges to go up and down, and challenging, technical hill climbs that led to epic vistas. We managed to pass a few skinny dirt bikes in the first half of the day, but we may have been a little too exuberant with our pace in the beginning, and I was starting to feel it. Around noon I was getting fatigued and I’d already consumed all of my water. I know that if we weren’t going so quickly, and if I wasn’t so fatigued, I would have been able to enjoy more of the beautiful scenery this area has to offer. Around noon, I fueled up on some much needed sugar and beef jerky, refilled my hydration pack, and got my second wind. Putting the stock WP suspension to work on the Tiger 800 XCa #bigbearrun We were only half way through the day and it was around this time that we decided to pace ourselves a bit better to conserve our quickly-depleting energy… Wrestling around a 500+ pound motorcycle all day can be exhausting. Especially on a trail that was designed for smaller dirt bikes. I probably wouldn’t have attempted many of these trails on my own, especially on a big adventure bike, but Rob was a great barometer to demonstrate whether or not something could be done at all. Watching him take the Triumph Tiger 800 in places that I know very few riders would even attempt, gave me on the Africa Twin the confidence to follow on the most technical of trails. The DCT-equipped Africa Twin is a very capable motorcycle off-road. The suspension is compliant and sure-footed, albeit a tad soft. Throughout the day, I was pushing the Africa Twin hard and it handled everything I threw at it, I was impressed with the AT’s ability to be poised in the rough stuff yet tough enough to take a beating when commitment was the only way through some of the tricky black-diamond trails. Its ABS system (rear brake can be deactivated, but front-end ABS remains active at all times) negotiated sandy and rocky downhill descents perfectly and admittedly saved my ass from going down more than a few times through the day. The Africa Twin DCT makes you a better rider and I was happy to experience it firsthand on such rough terrain. A true torture test for both bikes… The sun was settling down a bit by 4pm but it was still hot. I was wondering just how much further we had left to go. I was beat. We had been motoring for about 8 hours or 100 miles by this point. Rob reassured me that we were on the “home stretch.” I didn’t lead on at the time, but I was very happy to hear him say that. The Africa Twin and I mustered up some more energy and pressed on. We hit some glorious pavement a few minutes after that and I was able to catch a breather for a few miles thinking that this was the tarmac that will lead us into town for the conclusion of the day’s ride. Apparently Rob’s “home stretch” involves about 47 miles of the toughest trails and downhill single track that I’ve ridden on a big bike. Rob must live in a rough neighborhood but we agreed that he wasn’t going to use the words “easy” or “home stretch” anymore. This KTM rider went down a cliff but was uninjured. He had more than a dozen strangers stop to help him get back on the trail. We rolled in to the convention center around 7:30 pm. Definitely tired, definitely hungry, definitely exhilarated from a day of very special riding, and on the Africa Twin that I enjoyed very much. But now it was time to take a shower, and get some dinner provided by the organizers. During the dinner, they gave away the plaques for the hard way finishers, raffled some great products from the event sponsors, and told some stories about what took place that day. We learned the fastest rider made it through the hard route in 9 hours 5 minutes and the oldest hard route finisher was 68 years old! Big Bear Trail Riders Club President Jim and VP Miguel were affable and receptive to all of the riders. They were especially impressed with us taking our big bikes on the easy route, and they cheerfully admitted that the ‘easy’ route may need to be more accurately named. As far as they knew, we were the only two riders to complete the easy route on Big Bikes. Time to head back to the hotel for some much needed rest for tomorrow, when we’ll be swapping bikes and doing much of the same. Although the Sunday route is meant to be a more casual ride for those who did Saturday’s Hard Route, it’s still on par with the easy route in terms of difficulty. Round Two The next morning we both felt great after a good night’s sleep. We geared up and swapped bike keys. Where the Honda has a softer, plusher ride that is capable of absorbing bigger hits, it is immediately apparent that the new Triumph Tiger has a firmer more precise handling feel. The stock factory WP suspension is more taut and communicative than the Honda, both on and off the tarmac. The Tiger’s 800cc triple revs like a sport bike, pulls like a twin, and sounds so good you don’t want to shift gears. It has similar capability to the Africa Twin off-road and a huge improvement from previous Tiger iterations. My impression of the Tiger grew even stronger after doing a back-to-back evaluation of both bikes, especially being able to test them in such tough conditions. Kudos to both bikes, but the Triumph gives me the feels. My gloves gave out half way through the first day of riding. Perhaps it was my death grip on the bars? Our second day of riding was cut short when our luck ran out on one of the black diamond trails when the AT’s foot peg sheared off on a malicious boulder. Rob fashioned a makeshift foot peg from a pair of needle-nosed vice-gripping pliers and was able to ride to the pavement then subsequently home. Pictures only show a fraction of the beauty and technicality of the area. I was most impressed with the people behind the Big Bear Trail Riders motorcycle club and the ride they put on. Jim, Miguel, all the staff, and fellow riders truly made this a memorable event. If you ride off-road, and you love dual sporting, whether it be on a skinny bike or big bike, you should definitely consider putting the Big Bear Run on your calendar. Hope to see you there next year! About the Author: Sharif Massoud has been a 911 paramedic since 2001 and has worked for both Ventura and Los Angeles counties. As a paramedic, his duties have allowed him to work in an ambulance, SAR Helicopter and motorcycle detail. He is currently a sweep-rider and head paramedic for RawHyde Adventures, and is also a Clinical Instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  4. I showed up to the ADV Pulse headquarters in Southern California Friday afternoon excited because the next two days Senior Editor Rob Dabney and I would be riding Big Bikes, in the mountains of SoCal, for the 24th annual Big Bear Run AMA Dual Sport Ride. After promptly packing and loading our small luggage onto the bikes, I hopped on the 2018 Honda Africa Twin, and Rob chose the pearly-white 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XCa. We planned on switching bikes the following day for comparison and to allow extended seat-time on each bike. As we split lanes headed towards Big Bear, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Looking back at the time, I was pleasantly unaware that the Big Bear Run is considered one of the most difficult, if not the most grueling dual-sport rides put on by the AMA. Our weapons for the Big Bear Run — the Triumph Tiger 800 XCa and the Honda Africa Twin with DCT. Pick Your Poison…or Not We arrived a bit late to the convention center meeting point but still managed to catch a little bit of the rider briefing by the friendly event staff. We learned that there are three route options available, depending on your skill set: the ‘Hard Way’, the ‘Easy’ route, and an ‘Adventure’ route that was intended for the ADV bikes. Keep in mind that the easy and hard routes are intended for small bikes, whereas the ADV bike route, was a combination of dirt/street. After checking in, we got our GPS tracks and maps, then headed to the motel for some much needed sleep before the early day tomorrow. Early the next morning, groups of skinny bikes were exiting the parking lot in a steady flow after clocking in at 6am with a total number of 279 riders enrolled in the event. Many of these riders were attempting the “hard way”, which, to describe it as technical and difficult would be a massive understatement. Quinn Cody tried the hard route last year on a specially prepped 1190 ADV R and broke the bike in the process during the first half of the ride. Let’s just say that it is over 200 miles of bone crushing, wheel bending, soul crushing, bash plate twisting, mettle-testing network of trails around the Big Bear area. Out of the 150 riders who attempted the ‘hard way’ only 29 riders finished! The advanced riders who chose the hard way took between 10 and 12 hours to complete the course, with a few riders barely making the 12 hour time limit. It isn’t a race, but the relatively few successful finishers receive a rare and coveted plaque of accomplishment. A little taste of the routes at this year’s Big Bear Run – one of the toughest Dual Sport rides on the AMA circuit. Our big bikes surely had their work cut out for them. The “Easy” Route Before we took off for our ride, we decided to get some breakfast and to discuss the day. It was a neat little café embedded in the local airport, overlooking the runway. Breakfast was great, and our Russian waitress was very curious and blessed our trip. Thank you for the good juju, we (read, I) was going to need it today. I was going to need her blessing because Rob had chosen for us to take the ‘easy’ route. Keep in mind that for me, there had never been a more inappropriate use of the word ‘easy’ before this moment. Das Vadanya, Lady, Rob’s apparently trying to kill me. We hit the trail by 8 AM. We both were feeling great and our pace was good. The terrain was difficult, I’m not going to lie. Rocks everywhere, boulders everywhere, stone ledges to go up and down, and challenging, technical hill climbs that led to epic vistas. We managed to pass a few skinny dirt bikes in the first half of the day, but we may have been a little too exuberant with our pace in the beginning, and I was starting to feel it. Around noon I was getting fatigued and I’d already consumed all of my water. I know that if we weren’t going so quickly, and if I wasn’t so fatigued, I would have been able to enjoy more of the beautiful scenery this area has to offer. Around noon, I fueled up on some much needed sugar and beef jerky, refilled my hydration pack, and got my second wind. Putting the stock WP suspension to work on the Tiger 800 XCa #bigbearrun We were only half way through the day and it was around this time that we decided to pace ourselves a bit better to conserve our quickly-depleting energy… Wrestling around a 500+ pound motorcycle all day can be exhausting. Especially on a trail that was designed for smaller dirt bikes. I probably wouldn’t have attempted many of these trails on my own, especially on a big adventure bike, but Rob was a great barometer to demonstrate whether or not something could be done at all. Watching him take the Triumph Tiger 800 in places that I know very few riders would even attempt, gave me on the Africa Twin the confidence to follow on the most technical of trails. The DCT-equipped Africa Twin is a very capable motorcycle off-road. The suspension is compliant and sure-footed, albeit a tad soft. Throughout the day, I was pushing the Africa Twin hard and it handled everything I threw at it, I was impressed with the AT’s ability to be poised in the rough stuff yet tough enough to take a beating when commitment was the only way through some of the tricky black-diamond trails. Its ABS system (rear brake can be deactivated, but front-end ABS remains active at all times) negotiated sandy and rocky downhill descents perfectly and admittedly saved my ass from going down more than a few times through the day. The Africa Twin DCT makes you a better rider and I was happy to experience it firsthand on such rough terrain. A true torture test for both bikes… The sun was settling down a bit by 4pm but it was still hot. I was wondering just how much further we had left to go. I was beat. We had been motoring for about 8 hours or 100 miles by this point. Rob reassured me that we were on the “home stretch.” I didn’t lead on at the time, but I was very happy to hear him say that. The Africa Twin and I mustered up some more energy and pressed on. We hit some glorious pavement a few minutes after that and I was able to catch a breather for a few miles thinking that this was the tarmac that will lead us into town for the conclusion of the day’s ride. Apparently Rob’s “home stretch” involves about 47 miles of the toughest trails and downhill single track that I’ve ridden on a big bike. Rob must live in a rough neighborhood but we agreed that he wasn’t going to use the words “easy” or “home stretch” anymore. This KTM rider went down a cliff but was uninjured. He had more than a dozen strangers stop to help him get back on the trail. We rolled in to the convention center around 7:30 pm. Definitely tired, definitely hungry, definitely exhilarated from a day of very special riding, and on the Africa Twin that I enjoyed very much. But now it was time to take a shower, and get some dinner provided by the organizers. During the dinner, they gave away the plaques for the hard way finishers, raffled some great products from the event sponsors, and told some stories about what took place that day. We learned the fastest rider made it through the hard route in 9 hours 5 minutes and the oldest hard route finisher was 68 years old! Big Bear Trail Riders Club President Jim and VP Miguel were affable and receptive to all of the riders. They were especially impressed with us taking our big bikes on the easy route, and they cheerfully admitted that the ‘easy’ route may need to be more accurately named. As far as they knew, we were the only two riders to complete the easy route on Big Bikes. Time to head back to the hotel for some much needed rest for tomorrow, when we’ll be swapping bikes and doing much of the same. Although the Sunday route is meant to be a more casual ride for those who did Saturday’s Hard Route, it’s still on par with the easy route in terms of difficulty. Round Two The next morning we both felt great after a good night’s sleep. We geared up and swapped bike keys. Where the Honda has a softer, plusher ride that is capable of absorbing bigger hits, it is immediately apparent that the new Triumph Tiger has a firmer more precise handling feel. The stock factory WP suspension is more taut and communicative than the Honda, both on and off the tarmac. The Tiger’s 800cc triple revs like a sport bike, pulls like a twin, and sounds so good you don’t want to shift gears. It has similar capability to the Africa Twin off-road and a huge improvement from previous Tiger iterations. My impression of the Tiger grew even stronger after doing a back-to-back evaluation of both bikes, especially being able to test them in such tough conditions. Kudos to both bikes, but the Triumph gives me the feels. My gloves gave out half way through the first day of riding. Perhaps it was my death grip on the bars? Our second day of riding was cut short when our luck ran out on one of the black diamond trails when the AT’s foot peg sheared off on a malicious boulder. Rob fashioned a makeshift foot peg from a pair of needle-nosed vice-gripping pliers and was able to ride to the pavement then subsequently home. Pictures only show a fraction of the beauty and technicality of the area. I was most impressed with the people behind the Big Bear Trail Riders motorcycle club and the ride they put on. Jim, Miguel, all the staff, and fellow riders truly made this a memorable event. If you ride off-road, and you love dual sporting, whether it be on a skinny bike or big bike, you should definitely consider putting the Big Bear Run on your calendar. Hope to see you there next year! About the Author: Sharif Massoud has been a 911 paramedic since 2001 and has worked for both Ventura and Los Angeles counties. As a paramedic, his duties have allowed him to work in an ambulance, SAR Helicopter and motorcycle detail. He is currently a sweep-rider and head paramedic for RawHyde Adventures, and is also a Clinical Instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  5. I showed up to the ADV Pulse headquarters in Southern California Friday afternoon excited because the next two days Senior Editor Rob Dabney and I would be riding Big Bikes, in the mountains of SoCal, for the 24th annual Big Bear Run AMA Dual Sport Ride. After promptly packing and loading our small luggage onto the bikes, I hopped on the 2018 Honda Africa Twin, and Rob chose the pearly-white 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XCa. We planned on switching bikes the following day for comparison and to allow extended seat-time on each bike. As we split lanes headed towards Big Bear, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Looking back at the time, I was pleasantly unaware that the Big Bear Run is considered one of the most difficult, if not the most grueling dual-sport rides put on by the AMA. Our weapons for the Big Bear Run — the Triumph Tiger 800 XCa and the Honda Africa Twin with DCT. Pick Your Poison…or Not We arrived a bit late to the convention center meeting point but still managed to catch a little bit of the rider briefing by the friendly event staff. We learned that there are three route options available, depending on your skill set: the ‘Hard Way’, the ‘Easy’ route, and an ‘Adventure’ route that was intended for the ADV bikes. Keep in mind that the easy and hard routes are intended for small bikes, whereas the ADV bike route, was a combination of dirt/street. After checking in, we got our GPS tracks and maps, then headed to the motel for some much needed sleep before the early day tomorrow. Early the next morning, groups of skinny bikes were exiting the parking lot in a steady flow after clocking in at 6am with a total number of 279 riders enrolled in the event. Many of these riders were attempting the “hard way”, which, to describe it as technical and difficult would be a massive understatement. Quinn Cody tried the hard route last year on a specially prepped 1190 ADV R and broke the bike in the process during the first half of the ride. Let’s just say that it is over 200 miles of bone crushing, wheel bending, soul crushing, bash plate twisting, mettle-testing network of trails around the Big Bear area. Out of the 150 riders who attempted the ‘hard way’ only 29 riders finished! The advanced riders who chose the hard way took between 10 and 12 hours to complete the course, with a few riders barely making the 12 hour time limit. It isn’t a race, but the relatively few successful finishers receive a rare and coveted plaque of accomplishment. A little taste of the routes at this year’s Big Bear Run – one of the toughest Dual Sport rides on the AMA circuit. Our big bikes surely had their work cut out for them. The “Easy” Route Before we took off for our ride, we decided to get some breakfast and to discuss the day. It was a neat little café embedded in the local airport, overlooking the runway. Breakfast was great, and our Russian waitress was very curious and blessed our trip. Thank you for the good juju, we (read, I) was going to need it today. I was going to need her blessing because Rob had chosen for us to take the ‘easy’ route. Keep in mind that for me, there had never been a more inappropriate use of the word ‘easy’ before this moment. Das Vadanya, Lady, Rob’s apparently trying to kill me. We hit the trail by 8 AM. We both were feeling great and our pace was good. The terrain was difficult, I’m not going to lie. Rocks everywhere, boulders everywhere, stone ledges to go up and down, and challenging, technical hill climbs that led to epic vistas. We managed to pass a few skinny dirt bikes in the first half of the day, but we may have been a little too exuberant with our pace in the beginning, and I was starting to feel it. Around noon I was getting fatigued and I’d already consumed all of my water. I know that if we weren’t going so quickly, and if I wasn’t so fatigued, I would have been able to enjoy more of the beautiful scenery this area has to offer. Around noon, I fueled up on some much needed sugar and beef jerky, refilled my hydration pack, and got my second wind. Putting the stock WP suspension to work on the Tiger 800 XCa #bigbearrun We were only half way through the day and it was around this time that we decided to pace ourselves a bit better to conserve our quickly-depleting energy… Wrestling around a 500+ pound motorcycle all day can be exhausting. Especially on a trail that was designed for smaller dirt bikes. I probably wouldn’t have attempted many of these trails on my own, especially on a big adventure bike, but Rob was a great barometer to demonstrate whether or not something could be done at all. Watching him take the Triumph Tiger 800 in places that I know very few riders would even attempt, gave me on the Africa Twin the confidence to follow on the most technical of trails. The DCT-equipped Africa Twin is a very capable motorcycle off-road. The suspension is compliant and sure-footed, albeit a tad soft. Throughout the day, I was pushing the Africa Twin hard and it handled everything I threw at it, I was impressed with the AT’s ability to be poised in the rough stuff yet tough enough to take a beating when commitment was the only way through some of the tricky black-diamond trails. Its ABS system (rear brake can be deactivated, but front-end ABS remains active at all times) negotiated sandy and rocky downhill descents perfectly and admittedly saved my ass from going down more than a few times through the day. The Africa Twin DCT makes you a better rider and I was happy to experience it firsthand on such rough terrain. A true torture test for both bikes… The sun was settling down a bit by 4pm but it was still hot. I was wondering just how much further we had left to go. I was beat. We had been motoring for about 8 hours or 100 miles by this point. Rob reassured me that we were on the “home stretch.” I didn’t lead on at the time, but I was very happy to hear him say that. The Africa Twin and I mustered up some more energy and pressed on. We hit some glorious pavement a few minutes after that and I was able to catch a breather for a few miles thinking that this was the tarmac that will lead us into town for the conclusion of the day’s ride. Apparently Rob’s “home stretch” involves about 47 miles of the toughest trails and downhill single track that I’ve ridden on a big bike. Rob must live in a rough neighborhood but we agreed that he wasn’t going to use the words “easy” or “home stretch” anymore. This KTM rider went down a cliff but was uninjured. He had more than a dozen strangers stop to help him get back on the trail. We rolled in to the convention center around 7:30 pm. Definitely tired, definitely hungry, definitely exhilarated from a day of very special riding, and on the Africa Twin that I enjoyed very much. But now it was time to take a shower, and get some dinner provided by the organizers. During the dinner, they gave away the plaques for the hard way finishers, raffled some great products from the event sponsors, and told some stories about what took place that day. We learned the fastest rider made it through the hard route in 9 hours 5 minutes and the oldest hard route finisher was 68 years old! Big Bear Trail Riders Club President Jim and VP Miguel were affable and receptive to all of the riders. They were especially impressed with us taking our big bikes on the easy route, and they cheerfully admitted that the ‘easy’ route may need to be more accurately named. As far as they knew, we were the only two riders to complete the easy route on Big Bikes. Time to head back to the hotel for some much needed rest for tomorrow, when we’ll be swapping bikes and doing much of the same. Although the Sunday route is meant to be a more casual ride for those who did Saturday’s Hard Route, it’s still on par with the easy route in terms of difficulty. Round Two The next morning we both felt great after a good night’s sleep. We geared up and swapped bike keys. Where the Honda has a softer, plusher ride that is capable of absorbing bigger hits, it is immediately apparent that the new Triumph Tiger has a firmer more precise handling feel. The stock factory WP suspension is more taut and communicative than the Honda, both on and off the tarmac. The Tiger’s 800cc triple revs like a sport bike, pulls like a twin, and sounds so good you don’t want to shift gears. It has similar capability to the Africa Twin off-road and a huge improvement from previous Tiger iterations. My impression of the Tiger grew even stronger after doing a back-to-back evaluation of both bikes, especially being able to test them in such tough conditions. Kudos to both bikes, but the Triumph gives me the feels. My gloves gave out half way through the first day of riding. Perhaps it was my death grip on the bars? Our second day of riding was cut short when our luck ran out on one of the black diamond trails when the AT’s foot peg sheared off on a malicious boulder. Rob fashioned a makeshift foot peg from a pair of needle-nosed vice-gripping pliers and was able to ride to the pavement then subsequently home. Pictures only show a fraction of the beauty and technicality of the area. I was most impressed with the people behind the Big Bear Trail Riders motorcycle club and the ride they put on. Jim, Miguel, all the staff, and fellow riders truly made this a memorable event. If you ride off-road, and you love dual sporting, whether it be on a skinny bike or big bike, you should definitely consider putting the Big Bear Run on your calendar. Hope to see you there next year! About the Author: Sharif Massoud has been a 911 paramedic since 2001 and has worked for both Ventura and Los Angeles counties. As a paramedic, his duties have allowed him to work in an ambulance, SAR Helicopter and motorcycle detail. He is currently a sweep-rider and head paramedic for RawHyde Adventures, and is also a Clinical Instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  6. Dirt-loving GS Riders are a special breed. They relish the challenge of riding a large ADV Bike through technical terrain better suited for small-displacement dual sports. And Adventure Bike’s don’t come much larger than the BMW R1200GS ‘Adventure’ at 573 pounds. Even so, with its rugged build and long-travel suspension, the GSA is capable of handling some of the toughest trails. The standard R1200GS is no slouch in the dirt either. While it does have about an inch less suspension travel than the GSA, it’s 35 pounds lighter and less bulky. Some would argue it has a slight advantage off-road. But what if you could get the best of both worlds? The lighter, more-nimble package of the standard GS with the longer-travel suspension from the GSA? That’s exactly what BMW did last year when they released the R1200GS Rallye model. Even better, the Rallye model features dirt-oriented components like cross-spoke tubeless wheels, wide serrated footpegs and stainless-steel radiator guards. The Bavarians also removed the center stand, added a flat one-piece seat and swapped the touring windscreen for a shorty enduro screen to further emphasize the bike’s no-nonsense off-road intentions. But the key component for serious off-road riders is the ‘Sport Suspension’ – an option only available on the R1200GS Rallye. The Sport Suspension (make sure the build sheet lists option #547) has 0.8 inches more suspension travel than the standard GS, along with stiffer springs to handle rougher terrain. BMW matched the Rallye’s athletic profile with a striking new color scheme – lupine blue metallic paintwork, motorsports fuel tank graphics and a cordoba blue frame. With its eye-catching graphics, combined with an aggressive off-road stance, the Rallye was an instant hit with GS fans when it was first announced in late 2016. But the Rallye is more than just a giant roost machine, it’s also one of the most technologically sophisticated Adventure Motorcycles on the market. Core Technology Our R1200GS Rallye test bike was delivered with all the bells, whistles, and then some. Convenience features included heated grips, manual-adjustable windscreen, a tire pressure monitoring system, cruise control, the BMW Navigator V GPS and a ‘key fob’ keyless ignition. Electronic rider aids consisted of “Shift Assistant Pro,” which gives you clutchless upshifts and downshifts; Hill Start Control applies the brakes when stopped on a hill, allowing you to pull away smoothly without rolling backward; Four ride modes (Road, Rain, Enduro, Dynamic) set the suspension damping, ABS and fuel mappings to match the terrain; And for those that want to unlock the full off-road potential of the bike, the red plug under the seat enables “Enduro Pro” mode. Our 2017 BMW R1200GS Rallye came equipped with the Sport Suspension and Dynamic ESA, which constantly adjusts damping settings based on road feedback and rider inputs. New since 2017 is “ABS Pro,” which senses current lean angle to determine the optimal brake pressure to apply. Dynamic ESA is also now “self-leveling” (as of 2017), meaning it detects the current payload and automatically selects the perfect ride h for the rear shock (no more selecting helmets and luggage icons). First Look Having clocked thousands of miles on both the R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure, we were eager to throw a leg over the Rallye to see how it matched up in the dirt. The bike has the same familiar ergonomics as the standard R1200GS, but the taller stance of the Sport Suspension is immediately noticed. We also noticed the Rallye’s wide flat seat splays the legs a bit more, increasing the reach to the ground. The seat shape, combined with its 1 inch taller h (low 34.6″ / high 35.4″) makes this bike a tall perch for the inseam challenged. We got a chance to explore the Rallye’s range of capabilities on two separate adventure rides: One in Utah’s Manti-La Sal National Forest, and another ride in Northern California’s Sierra Mountains. Read on to find out how it performed. On the Highway Few adventure bikes are as adept at eating up highway miles like the R1200GS, and the Rallye preserves many of those long-range attributes. It has a spacious cockpit that taller riders will appreciate and there’s those protruding cylinder heads that offer a great place to stretch out your legs. The smooth motor hardly breaks a sweat when cruising at 90 mph and there’s always power on tap to make a pass. Navigating the menus on the digital dash is intuitive, and niceties like cruise control, heated grips and integrated GPS all work flawlessly on the road. Yet some of the Rallye’s special equipment isn’t all that highway friendly. Starting with the shorty windscreen, it’s way too small to block the wind for longer journeys. The Rallye screen is just tall enough to divert the wind to about chin level in the high position. After riding hundreds of highway miles to Salt Lake City, we arrived fatigued and wind battered. In theory, the shorter windscreen prevents you from hitting your helmet while riding through aggressive off-road terrain. But in reality, when the windscreen is cranked all the way down, a standard-sized screen would give you ample room. The new flat “dirtbike-style” seat on the Rallye is also not as comfortable as the contoured seats that come standard on the GS and GSA. While its long-flat design maximizes the riders ability to slide forward or rearward, it also feels a bit like sitting on a plank after a few hours in the saddle. Not that it was particularly uncomfortable for the class, but it wasn’t as plush as other GS seats we’ve tested. For many though, the performance advantages of being able to shift your weight off-road will outweigh any reduced comfort. Riding in the Twisties We had several opportunities to explore the sporty side of the R1200GS Rallye while riding twisty mountain roads in both Utah and California’s Sierras. Our Rallye came equipped with road oriented Michelin Anakee III tires which gave excellent grip when leaned deep into turns. We later swapped these for a set of Continental TKC 80s, which still offer good asphalt grip and much improved performance in the dirt. Configured in the “Dynamic Pro” Mode, the rider gets the most aggressive throttle response and less traction control intervention. This allows a skilled riders to perform light power drifts out of turns – all with a safety net to catch you if you misjudge a turn or hit a slick patch. The Rallye feels equally sporty to the standard R1200GS in the twisties, but its taller suspension makes it less likely to drag toes when riding aggressively. BMW’s updated Dynamic ESA suspension works even better than on previous models. It keeps everything feeling stable, despite the taller suspension, and it has less buck and wallow than previous GSA models we’ve tested. The new self-leveling system ensures you always have the right chassis attitude and there is very little dive under hard braking, or squat when accelerating out of turns. Dynamic ESA is also constantly adjusting damping rates, based on the road and rider inputs, to give the tires maximum grip. The sensation is about as close as you can get to hovering on air, and you can enjoy riding at a brisk pace with far less effort. In the Dirt In the forests of Utah, we tested the capabilities of the R1200GS Rallye on everything from wooded single track, to rough fire roads and double-track ATV trails. It handled all the trails we threw at it with sure-footed confidence. In the Sierras, the improved bump absorption of the long-travel suspension was greatly appreciated in the rocky terrain, and our faith in the capabilities of the bike grew. It continued to grow to the point where we were taking the big Rallye on trails marked “black diamond.” Then a navigation error led us down a “double black diamond” trail (unbeknownst to us), which was a bit more than we bargained for. This 16-mile rocky hell called the “Swamp Trail” usually takes high-clearance jeeps two days to complete. It was a formidable challenge for the Rallye and unusually slick dirt offered little traction. [embedded content]The R1200GS Rallye takes on the triple black diamond Swap Trail in the Sierra Mountains. The other riders in our group where on a 690 Enduro, an 1190 ADV R, an F800GS and a pair of Africa Twins – all lighter, smaller bikes and with 21” front wheels. But that didn’t stop the Rallye from picking its way, foot-by-foot, and sometimes inch-by-inch, up the rocky trail. It was a baptism of fire, but a sense of satisfaction grew with each obstacle overcome on the big daddy. The clutch action on the Rallye was a bit abrupt for these extreme enduro-like conditions, and the slippery soil made it hard to grab traction without resorting to brute force power. This was definitely a “TC off” situation. And once the tire got spinning, the Rallye would just motorboat its way through the slick stuff. And everyone behind the big GS had to run for cover from fist-sized boulders during each new challenge attempted. The R1200GS Rallye showed us it was pretty capable on tough hill climbs but the protruding cylinder heads did limit our line choices. At one point, we had a tip over on the Rallye and a rock managed to get in between the AltRider crash bars to put a hairline crack in the cylinder head cover. A small oil drip was concerning but not enough to cause a problem any time soon, so we persisted on. Exhausted at the end of a tough day, the weight of the bike became even more noticeable, especially when going downhill in the rocky terrain. Just holding on as it bounced down rock ledges was getting to be a challenge. And if you aren’t used to riding a GS, those big cylinder heads often end up in the way of where you typically dab a foot. Even so, the increased bump absorption and the new flat seat made it easier to get your weight back and just ride out the bumps. Overall, the R1200GS Rallye proved to be a significant improvement over the standard GS or GSA in tough terrain. We cleared several large rock shelves that would have been impassable for a standard R1200GS, and the greater weight and bulk of a GSA would have had our lungs ready to burst in these high elevations (9,000 feet). It’s no surprise BMW now uses the R1200GS Rallye for their GS Trophy competition. Final Thoughts While some GS Riders love the thrill of taking a Big Bike to places they probably shouldn’t, the Swamp Trail is clearly outside of what BMW’s engineers designed the bike for. But at least it’s good to know that it can manage this type of extreme terrain if you ever do make a wrong turn, or are forced to take a rougher route than expected to get to your destination. While we were impressed with the Rallye’s rock climbing capabilities in the Sierras, its sweet spot is more along the lines of flowing double track where it can stretch its legs and use its suspension travel. It would make an awesome Baja Bike – ride off-road for several days, then take a straight shot home on the highway in comfort. Just make sure you upgrade to a taller windscreen (an easy fix) and mentally prepare for a taller seat h. The Rallye combines the best off-road characteristics of the standard R1200GS and GSA, but it’s still a comfortable touring bike when it needs to be. For those skilled GS riders who enjoy the challenge of the toughest trails, this is the bike that can take you to new places with greater confidence and control. The last challenge to conquer is the price. At roughly $24k, it’s at the upper spectrum of liter-class adventure bikes. But for this level of sophistication, comfort, safety and performance, the top shelf price tag is to be expected. And from what we’ve heard, BMW isn’t having any trouble finding homes for these beautiful machines. Photos: Alfonse Palaima & Spencer Hill
  7. Dirt-loving GS Riders are a special breed. They relish the challenge of riding a large ADV Bike through technical terrain better suited for small-displacement dual sports. And Adventure Bike’s don’t come much larger than the BMW R1200GS ‘Adventure’ at 573 pounds. Even so, with its rugged build and long-travel suspension, the GSA is capable of handling some of the toughest trails. The standard R1200GS is no slouch in the dirt either. While it does have about an inch less suspension travel than the GSA, it’s 35 pounds lighter and less bulky. Some would argue it has a slight advantage off-road. But what if you could get the best of both worlds? The lighter, more-nimble package of the standard GS with the longer-travel suspension from the GSA? That’s exactly what BMW did last year when they released the R1200GS Rallye model. Even better, the Rallye model features dirt-oriented components like cross-spoke tubeless wheels, wide serrated footpegs and stainless-steel radiator guards. The Bavarians also removed the center stand, added a flat one-piece seat and swapped the touring windscreen for a shorty enduro screen to further emphasize the bike’s no-nonsense off-road intentions. But the key component for serious off-road riders is the ‘Sport Suspension’ – an option only available on the R1200GS Rallye. The Sport Suspension (make sure the build sheet lists option #547) has 0.8 inches more suspension travel than the standard GS, along with stiffer springs to handle rougher terrain. BMW matched the Rallye’s athletic profile with a striking new color scheme – lupine blue metallic paintwork, motorsports fuel tank graphics and a cordoba blue frame. With its eye-catching graphics, combined with an aggressive off-road stance, the Rallye was an instant hit with GS fans when it was first announced in late 2016. But the Rallye is more than just a giant roost machine, it’s also one of the most technologically sophisticated Adventure Motorcycles on the market. Core Technology Our R1200GS Rallye test bike was delivered with all the bells, whistles, and then some. Convenience features included heated grips, manual-adjustable windscreen, a tire pressure monitoring system, cruise control, the BMW Navigator V GPS and a ‘key fob’ keyless ignition. Electronic rider aids consisted of “Shift Assistant Pro,” which gives you clutchless upshifts and downshifts; Hill Start Control applies the brakes when stopped on a hill, allowing you to pull away smoothly without rolling backward; Four ride modes (Road, Rain, Enduro, Dynamic) set the suspension damping, ABS and fuel mappings to match the terrain; And for those that want to unlock the full off-road potential of the bike, the red plug under the seat enables “Enduro Pro” mode. Our 2017 BMW R1200GS Rallye came equipped with the Sport Suspension and Dynamic ESA, which constantly adjusts damping settings based on road feedback and rider inputs. New since 2017 is “ABS Pro,” which senses current lean angle to determine the optimal brake pressure to apply. Dynamic ESA is also now “self-leveling” (as of 2017), meaning it detects the current payload and automatically selects the perfect ride h for the rear shock (no more selecting helmets and luggage icons). First Look Having clocked thousands of miles on both the R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure, we were eager to throw a leg over the Rallye to see how it matched up in the dirt. The bike has the same familiar ergonomics as the standard R1200GS, but the taller stance of the Sport Suspension is immediately noticed. We also noticed the Rallye’s wide flat seat splays the legs a bit more, increasing the reach to the ground. The seat shape, combined with its 1 inch taller h (low 34.6″ / high 35.4″) makes this bike a tall perch for the inseam challenged. We got a chance to explore the Rallye’s range of capabilities on two separate adventure rides: One in Utah’s Manti-La Sal National Forest, and another ride in Northern California’s Sierra Mountains. Read on to find out how it performed. On the Highway Few adventure bikes are as adept at eating up highway miles like the R1200GS, and the Rallye preserves many of those long-range attributes. It has a spacious cockpit that taller riders will appreciate and there’s those protruding cylinder heads that offer a great place to stretch out your legs. The smooth motor hardly breaks a sweat when cruising at 90 mph and there’s always power on tap to make a pass. Navigating the menus on the digital dash is intuitive, and niceties like cruise control, heated grips and integrated GPS all work flawlessly on the road. Yet some of the Rallye’s special equipment isn’t all that highway friendly. Starting with the shorty windscreen, it’s way too small to block the wind for longer journeys. The Rallye screen is just tall enough to divert the wind to about chin level in the high position. After riding hundreds of highway miles to Salt Lake City, we arrived fatigued and wind battered. In theory, the shorter windscreen prevents you from hitting your helmet while riding through aggressive off-road terrain. But in reality, when the windscreen is cranked all the way down, a standard-sized screen would give you ample room. The new flat “dirtbike-style” seat on the Rallye is also not as comfortable as the contoured seats that come standard on the GS and GSA. While its long-flat design maximizes the riders ability to slide forward or rearward, it also feels a bit like sitting on a plank after a few hours in the saddle. Not that it was particularly uncomfortable for the class, but it wasn’t as plush as other GS seats we’ve tested. For many though, the performance advantages of being able to shift your weight off-road will outweigh any reduced comfort. Riding in the Twisties We had several opportunities to explore the sporty side of the R1200GS Rallye while riding twisty mountain roads in both Utah and California’s Sierras. Our Rallye came equipped with road oriented Michelin Anakee III tires which gave excellent grip when leaned deep into turns. We later swapped these for a set of Continental TKC 80s, which still offer good asphalt grip and much improved performance in the dirt. Configured in the “Dynamic Pro” Mode, the rider gets the most aggressive throttle response and less traction control intervention. This allows a skilled riders to perform light power drifts out of turns – all with a safety net to catch you if you misjudge a turn or hit a slick patch. The Rallye feels equally sporty to the standard R1200GS in the twisties, but its taller suspension makes it less likely to drag toes when riding aggressively. BMW’s updated Dynamic ESA suspension works even better than on previous models. It keeps everything feeling stable, despite the taller suspension, and it has less buck and wallow than previous GSA models we’ve tested. The new self-leveling system ensures you always have the right chassis attitude and there is very little dive under hard braking, or squat when accelerating out of turns. Dynamic ESA is also constantly adjusting damping rates, based on the road and rider inputs, to give the tires maximum grip. The sensation is about as close as you can get to hovering on air, and you can enjoy riding at a brisk pace with far less effort. In the Dirt In the forests of Utah, we tested the capabilities of the R1200GS Rallye on everything from wooded single track, to rough fire roads and double-track ATV trails. It handled all the trails we threw at it with sure-footed confidence. In the Sierras, the improved bump absorption of the long-travel suspension was greatly appreciated in the rocky terrain, and our faith in the capabilities of the bike grew. It continued to grow to the point where we were taking the big Rallye on trails marked “black diamond.” Then a navigation error led us down a “double black diamond” trail (unbeknownst to us), which was a bit more than we bargained for. This 16-mile rocky hell called the “Swamp Trail” usually takes high-clearance jeeps two days to complete. It was a formidable challenge for the Rallye and unusually slick dirt offered little traction. [embedded content]The R1200GS Rallye takes on the triple black diamond Swap Trail in the Sierra Mountains. The other riders in our group where on a 690 Enduro, an 1190 ADV R, an F800GS and a pair of Africa Twins – all lighter, smaller bikes and with 21” front wheels. But that didn’t stop the Rallye from picking its way, foot-by-foot, and sometimes inch-by-inch, up the rocky trail. It was a baptism of fire, but a sense of satisfaction grew with each obstacle overcome on the big daddy. The clutch action on the Rallye was a bit abrupt for these extreme enduro-like conditions, and the slippery soil made it hard to grab traction without resorting to brute force power. This was definitely a “TC off” situation. And once the tire got spinning, the Rallye would just motorboat its way through the slick stuff. And everyone behind the big GS had to run for cover from fist-sized boulders during each new challenge attempted. The R1200GS Rallye showed us it was pretty capable on tough hill climbs but the protruding cylinder heads did limit our line choices. At one point, we had a tip over on the Rallye and a rock managed to get in between the AltRider crash bars to put a hairline crack in the cylinder head cover. A small oil drip was concerning but not enough to cause a problem any time soon, so we persisted on. Exhausted at the end of a tough day, the weight of the bike became even more noticeable, especially when going downhill in the rocky terrain. Just holding on as it bounced down rock ledges was getting to be a challenge. And if you aren’t used to riding a GS, those big cylinder heads often end up in the way of where you typically dab a foot. Even so, the increased bump absorption and the new flat seat made it easier to get your weight back and just ride out the bumps. Overall, the R1200GS Rallye proved to be a significant improvement over the standard GS or GSA in tough terrain. We cleared several large rock shelves that would have been impassable for a standard R1200GS, and the greater weight and bulk of a GSA would have had our lungs ready to burst in these high elevations (9,000 feet). It’s no surprise BMW now uses the R1200GS Rallye for their GS Trophy competition. Final Thoughts While some GS Riders love the thrill of taking a Big Bike to places they probably shouldn’t, the Swamp Trail is clearly outside of what BMW’s engineers designed the bike for. But at least it’s good to know that it can manage this type of extreme terrain if you ever do make a wrong turn, or are forced to take a rougher route than expected to get to your destination. While we were impressed with the Rallye’s rock climbing capabilities in the Sierras, its sweet spot is more along the lines of flowing double track where it can stretch its legs and use its suspension travel. It would make an awesome Baja Bike – ride off-road for several days, then take a straight shot home on the highway in comfort. Just make sure you upgrade to a taller windscreen (an easy fix) and mentally prepare for a taller seat h. The Rallye combines the best off-road characteristics of the standard R1200GS and GSA, but it’s still a comfortable touring bike when it needs to be. For those skilled GS riders who enjoy the challenge of the toughest trails, this is the bike that can take you to new places with greater confidence and control. The last challenge to conquer is the price. At roughly $24k, it’s at the upper spectrum of liter-class adventure bikes. But for this level of sophistication, comfort, safety and performance, the top shelf price tag is to be expected. And from what we’ve heard, BMW isn’t having any trouble finding homes for these beautiful machines. Photos: Alfonse Palaima & Spencer Hill
  8. Rock gardens, deep sand, hill climbs, single track - you name it. We didn't pull any punches testing the Himalayan. With the skyrocketing price of extremely complex, extremely capable, extremely luxurious adventure bikes on the market, it seems that this unlikely bike from an unlikely manufacturer has come at just the right time. But, anyone can make a bike that talks the talk, but we wanted to see if the 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan can walk the walk. We grabbed our usual check list of “adventure bike tests” and ran this Indian bike through the wringer. The elephant in the room when talking about a $4,499 bike from a smaller manufacturer that isn’t from Europe or Japan, is durability. As motorcyclists, we’ve learned that when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. At some point or another, it would be safe to say that we’ve cheaped-out on a piece of gear, a part, or even a bike and have paid the price when that item underperformed or straight up broke. That being said, we are also optimistic and, sometimes masochistically, willing to give the benefit of the doubt. The Himalayan has an affordable price tag of $4,499 and comes with an impressive unlimited mileage 2 year warranty. After Senior Editor Rob Dabney got back from the press introduction of the Himalayan he was impressed, or at least intrigued, enough to immediately ask Royal Enfield for a long term test unit. Once it was in the garage we prepared it for AltRider’s Taste Of Dakar and were on the road within the week. After that event, we also took it to our super secret off-road testing grounds in the San Bernardino Mountains and another full day of off-roading in the San Diego backcountry. With all that riding combined, the Himalayan got a taste, or large helping rather, of a lot of gnarly off-road conditions. While we weren’t overly abusive (no ghost riding off cliffs or supercross size whoops) we didn’t pull any punches. This bike was ridden through some pretty sizable rock garden-like trails, up and down rugged jeep roads, through tight single track, and blasted down ledgy, uneven sand washes. Overall, we put thousands of miles on our Himalayan and here is our second look/off-road test/durability review, however you want to look at it. Getting To Know The Engine Just looking at the numbers you can tell that a 411cc motor putting out a claimed 24 horsepower is pretty detuned. This is not, nor does it claim to be, a performance-oriented powerplant. That being said, being a small-displacement, single cylinder that redlines at 6,500 RPM, the Himalayan is incapable of tearing itself apart. In the month or so that we had the bike, the oil level stayed consistent and we didn’t have any mechanical issues with the motor — and we were not nice to the machine. At the Taste Of Dakar, we were ringing it out passing groups of riders on 650s, 1000s, and 1200s. You do have to ride it more like a 125 two-stroke, keeping the momentum up and not letting the RPMs drop too low. At the same event, we hit some deep sand and that’s where we ran into some issues. Being a five speed bike, the gaps in gears are very large. Trying to get through deep, soft sand required some paddling because the gear spacing between first and second is big. At that critical moment of gaining enough speed in first to click into second gear to get “on top” of the sand, second gear was too tall and the bike would bog. Either second gear being lower or five more horsepower would be very helpful. What would also be very helpful is a set of more off-road-oriented tires with some deeper knobs. The stock 70/30 Pirelli MT60s had their work cut out for them. Other than sand, the other limitation would be hill climbs. With any machine, there is no replacement for displacement, as they say, and the Himalayan doesn’t really have the beans to rip up gnarly hills. If there is plenty of traction, we could click it down into first and crawl up some moderately steep inclines but anything that you need brute force to clear would be an issue. We also spent some quality time on the the highway with the Himalayan. The bike’s low-revving motor will cruise at 80 mph without a lot of vibration. It wasn’t quite as smooth as a twin on the highway but it was probably the smoothest single we’ve ridden and comfortable enough for longer journeys. Large bar-end weights do a pretty good job of keeping the vibration away from the rider. Also, when facing a significant incline or headwind, the max speed can drop down to around 65 mph. Learning About The Suspension Without a doubt, this is the best part of this bike. Well, there might be a little doubt because some would argue the overall look is the best part, but we digress. It actually has a good amount of wheel travel (7.9 inches in front and 7.1 in the rear) for a bike this size, yet it is non adjustable other than shock preload. The Himalayan is a great bike for riding washboard dirt roads. The fork made the washboard almost non-existent. Also hitting embedded rocks at speed was surprising, since, as long as they weren’t too big, the suspension soaked them up like if they weren’t even there. The suspension is set up a little soft, yet it has a progressive feel which means you can take hits faster than you might think. We would put the Himalayan’s suspension performance below a pure dual sport bike like the WR250R or DR-Z400 but better than the 300cc adventure bikes we’ve ridden lately. Where you’ll find the limitation is when trying to charge through big whoops or g-outs. Everywhere else it works surprisingly well. Interestingly, if the ground clearance was a little better, the bike could use more of its available suspension travel. When it did bottom out, it was often the skid plate that hit the ground before going through the full suspension. Speaking of, we put some doozies into the stock skid plate and there are some serious dents but it is still holding strong. We are certainly happy the bike comes stock with some decent sump protection. Getting A Handle On The Handling The rider position of the Himalayan is unlike any other off-road-oriented bike we’ve ridden. The foot pegs, which are surprisingly large and with the rubber insert removed pretty grippy, are in a neutral position standing up. The bars are also good h riding standing up but they are pretty narrow, yet eventually you get used to the bars. In the seated position, the combination of a low seat, slightly forward pegs, and the narrow bars gives it sort of a chopper feel. The weight of the bike feels low making turning actually feel pretty good once you adjust your riding style to the bars. The front wheel can have a vague feeling when pushing the limit and it doesn’t give you much warning before it slides out. But with the low seat h, a quick dab corrects a front wash easily on the dirt. Issues We Experienced Honestly, all of the issues we had with the bike could simply be fixed with Loctite. The exhaust header and mid-pipe bolts started to back out and we tightened those up. Then both the shifter and brake pedal bolts also started backing out and we had to tighten those as well but we never lost any bolts. Once the midpipe came loose, it wasn’t super solid anymore after we re-tightened it and the muffler would wiggle around a bit when off-roading. The exhaust is only connected to the bike via the header bolts at the cylinder and at the end with a muffler support so there is a long stretch of material that can get jiggled with rigorous off-road riding, but it stayed connected and there were no exhaust leaks. [embedded content]We pushed the Himalayan hard to test the limits of the machine and its reliability. This is a good point to mention that the Himalayan has a pretty impressive warranty — 2 years, unlimited mileage. So if an owner had the issues we had and lost bolts or couldn’t fix the situation, they would just need to contact their dealer. Our suggestion to any prospective buyers out there is to get some Loctite and go through most of the bolts that have a potential to jiggle loose. Finding Some Extras No heated grips, electronic suspension, ride modes, or electronic preload adjustment – the Himalayan is a back-to-basics machine. What it does have that is pretty interesting is a digital compass on the dash but it could use some calibrating. Most of the time it was indicating where north actually was, but sometimes it would just momentarily spazz out and point in a random direction. Also, the seat is one of the most comfortable yet supportive seats we’ve come across on any bike, yet the peg-to-seat distance is pretty short and can make taller riders’ knees sore. We also like the little tail rack – it’s small but effective and offers many lashing options for straps. The fuel gauge is very conservative. We got 45 miles out of it after the warning light and the needle was showing fully empty. Filling up the tank, it took only 3.5 gallons, which means it still had a half gallon in there or at least another 50 miles to go. So as far as range, it seems like it can do 200+ miles no problem. Bottom line We’ve thought a lot about the Royal Enfield Himalayan because it is just a different motorcycle from the typical adventure bike or dual sport we typically ride. With other bikes we may not be as forgiving about some of the shortcomings listed above, but for some reason with the Himalayan, we started viewing them as character traits. We weren’t bummed out by the lack of engine performance or loosening bolts. We saw them as the “nature of the machine” and accepted them, making them part of the uniqueness of the bike. This bike has charm, it has a character to it that still puts a smile on our faces and makes us want to hop on it, ditch the office, and go explore the countryside on dirt roads. The Himalayan is void of pretension. It isn’t trying to sell you on the fact that it can do something it can’t. It is what it is and what you get for the price is more than you expect. The Himalayan has created a category of its own. A rugged, neo-retro, entry-level dual sport with real character and capability. Overall, the Himalayan is a bike that many riders can enjoy but it’s an excellent bike for someone who wants to start riding dirt roads. Its low seat h, low center of gravity, and mellow power make it very non-intimidating and easy to ride. It also has enough road comfort to be a sweet commuter and to handle moderate-to-long stints on the pavement. And we can’t really oversell the bang-for-the-buck factor of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The fact that a four and a half grand bike can go almost anywhere a 1200cc bike can, and some tighter, narrower trails a big bike can’t, is amazing. Let us not forget the famous motorcycle saying, “Its more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.” For more information on the Himalayan and where you can book a test drive, check out the Royal Enfield website. About the Author: With his sights set on doing what he loved for a living, Sean Klinger left college with a BA in Journalism and dirt bike in his truck. After five years at a dirt-only motorcycle magazine shooting, testing, writing, editing, and a little off-road racing, he has switched gears to bigger bikes and longer adventures. He’ll probably get lost a few times but he’ll always have fun doing it. Two wheels and adventure is all he needs.
  9. Rock gardens, deep sand, hill climbs, single track - you name it. We didn't pull any punches testing the Himalayan. With the skyrocketing price of extremely complex, extremely capable, extremely luxurious adventure bikes on the market, it seems that this unlikely bike from an unlikely manufacturer has come at just the right time. But, anyone can make a bike that talks the talk, but we wanted to see if the 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan can walk the walk. We grabbed our usual check list of “adventure bike tests” and ran this Indian bike through the wringer. The elephant in the room when talking about a $4,499 bike from a smaller manufacturer that isn’t from Europe or Japan, is durability. As motorcyclists, we’ve learned that when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. At some point or another, it would be safe to say that we’ve cheaped-out on a piece of gear, a part, or even a bike and have paid the price when that item underperformed or straight up broke. That being said, we are also optimistic and, sometimes masochistically, willing to give the benefit of the doubt. The Himalayan has an affordable price tag of $4,499 and comes with an impressive unlimited mileage 2 year warranty. After Senior Editor Rob Dabney got back from the press introduction of the Himalayan he was impressed, or at least intrigued, enough to immediately ask Royal Enfield for a long term test unit. Once it was in the garage we prepared it for AltRider’s Taste Of Dakar and were on the road within the week. After that event, we also took it to our super secret off-road testing grounds in the San Bernardino Mountains and another full day of off-roading in the San Diego backcountry. With all that riding combined, the Himalayan got a taste, or large helping rather, of a lot of gnarly off-road conditions. While we weren’t overly abusive (no ghost riding off cliffs or supercross size whoops) we didn’t pull any punches. This bike was ridden through some pretty sizable rock garden-like trails, up and down rugged jeep roads, through tight single track, and blasted down ledgy, uneven sand washes. Overall, we put thousands of miles on our Himalayan and here is our second look/off-road test/durability review, however you want to look at it. Getting To Know The Engine Just looking at the numbers you can tell that a 411cc motor putting out a claimed 24 horsepower is pretty detuned. This is not, nor does it claim to be, a performance-oriented powerplant. That being said, being a small-displacement, single cylinder that redlines at 6,500 RPM, the Himalayan is incapable of tearing itself apart. In the month or so that we had the bike, the oil level stayed consistent and we didn’t have any mechanical issues with the motor — and we were not nice to the machine. At the Taste Of Dakar, we were ringing it out passing groups of riders on 650s, 1000s, and 1200s. You do have to ride it more like a 125 two-stroke, keeping the momentum up and not letting the RPMs drop too low. At the same event, we hit some deep sand and that’s where we ran into some issues. Being a five speed bike, the gaps in gears are very large. Trying to get through deep, soft sand required some paddling because the gear spacing between first and second is big. At that critical moment of gaining enough speed in first to click into second gear to get “on top” of the sand, second gear was too tall and the bike would bog. Either second gear being lower or five more horsepower would be very helpful. What would also be very helpful is a set of more off-road-oriented tires with some deeper knobs. The stock 70/30 Pirelli MT60s had their work cut out for them. Other than sand, the other limitation would be hill climbs. With any machine, there is no replacement for displacement, as they say, and the Himalayan doesn’t really have the beans to rip up gnarly hills. If there is plenty of traction, we could click it down into first and crawl up some moderately steep inclines but anything that you need brute force to clear would be an issue. We also spent some quality time on the the highway with the Himalayan. The bike’s low-revving motor will cruise at 80 mph without a lot of vibration. It wasn’t quite as smooth as a twin on the highway but it was probably the smoothest single we’ve ridden and comfortable enough for longer journeys. Large bar-end weights do a pretty good job of keeping the vibration away from the rider. Also, when facing a significant incline or headwind, the max speed can drop down to around 65 mph. Learning About The Suspension Without a doubt, this is the best part of this bike. Well, there might be a little doubt because some would argue the overall look is the best part, but we digress. It actually has a good amount of wheel travel (7.9 inches in front and 7.1 in the rear) for a bike this size, yet it is non adjustable other than shock preload. The Himalayan is a great bike for riding washboard dirt roads. The fork made the washboard almost non-existent. Also hitting embedded rocks at speed was surprising, since, as long as they weren’t too big, the suspension soaked them up like if they weren’t even there. The suspension is set up a little soft, yet it has a progressive feel which means you can take hits faster than you might think. We would put the Himalayan’s suspension performance below a pure dual sport bike like the WR250R or DR-Z400 but better than the 300cc adventure bikes we’ve ridden lately. Where you’ll find the limitation is when trying to charge through big whoops or g-outs. Everywhere else it works surprisingly well. Interestingly, if the ground clearance was a little better, the bike could use more of its available suspension travel. When it did bottom out, it was often the skid plate that hit the ground before going through the full suspension. Speaking of, we put some doozies into the stock skid plate and there are some serious dents but it is still holding strong. We are certainly happy the bike comes stock with some decent sump protection. Getting A Handle On The Handling The rider position of the Himalayan is unlike any other off-road-oriented bike we’ve ridden. The foot pegs, which are surprisingly large and with the rubber insert removed pretty grippy, are in a neutral position standing up. The bars are also good h riding standing up but they are pretty narrow, yet eventually you get used to the bars. In the seated position, the combination of a low seat, slightly forward pegs, and the narrow bars gives it sort of a chopper feel. The weight of the bike feels low making turning actually feel pretty good once you adjust your riding style to the bars. The front wheel can have a vague feeling when pushing the limit and it doesn’t give you much warning before it slides out. But with the low seat h, a quick dab corrects a front wash easily on the dirt. Issues We Experienced Honestly, all of the issues we had with the bike could simply be fixed with Loctite. The exhaust header and mid-pipe bolts started to back out and we tightened those up. Then both the shifter and brake pedal bolts also started backing out and we had to tighten those as well but we never lost any bolts. Once the midpipe came loose, it wasn’t super solid anymore after we re-tightened it and the muffler would wiggle around a bit when off-roading. The exhaust is only connected to the bike via the header bolts at the cylinder and at the end with a muffler support so there is a long stretch of material that can get jiggled with rigorous off-road riding, but it stayed connected and there were no exhaust leaks. [embedded content]We pushed the Himalayan hard to test the limits of the machine and its reliability. This is a good point to mention that the Himalayan has a pretty impressive warranty — 2 years, unlimited mileage. So if an owner had the issues we had and lost bolts or couldn’t fix the situation, they would just need to contact their dealer. Our suggestion to any prospective buyers out there is to get some Loctite and go through most of the bolts that have a potential to jiggle loose. Finding Some Extras No heated grips, electronic suspension, ride modes, or electronic preload adjustment – the Himalayan is a back-to-basics machine. What it does have that is pretty interesting is a digital compass on the dash but it could use some calibrating. Most of the time it was indicating where north actually was, but sometimes it would just momentarily spazz out and point in a random direction. Also, the seat is one of the most comfortable yet supportive seats we’ve come across on any bike, yet the peg-to-seat distance is pretty short and can make taller riders’ knees sore. We also like the little tail rack – it’s small but effective and offers many lashing options for straps. The fuel gauge is very conservative. We got 45 miles out of it after the warning light and the needle was showing fully empty. Filling up the tank, it took only 3.5 gallons, which means it still had a half gallon in there or at least another 50 miles to go. So as far as range, it seems like it can do 200+ miles no problem. Bottom line We’ve thought a lot about the Royal Enfield Himalayan because it is just a different motorcycle from the typical adventure bike or dual sport we typically ride. With other bikes we may not be as forgiving about some of the shortcomings listed above, but for some reason with the Himalayan, we started viewing them as character traits. We weren’t bummed out by the lack of engine performance or loosening bolts. We saw them as the “nature of the machine” and accepted them, making them part of the uniqueness of the bike. This bike has charm, it has a character to it that still puts a smile on our faces and makes us want to hop on it, ditch the office, and go explore the countryside on dirt roads. The Himalayan is void of pretension. It isn’t trying to sell you on the fact that it can do something it can’t. It is what it is and what you get for the price is more than you expect. The Himalayan has created a category of its own. A rugged, neo-retro, entry-level dual sport with real character and capability. Overall, the Himalayan is a bike that many riders can enjoy but it’s an excellent bike for someone who wants to start riding dirt roads. Its low seat h, low center of gravity, and mellow power make it very non-intimidating and easy to ride. It also has enough road comfort to be a sweet commuter and to handle moderate-to-long stints on the pavement. And we can’t really oversell the bang-for-the-buck factor of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The fact that a four and a half grand bike can go almost anywhere a 1200cc bike can, and some tighter, narrower trails a big bike can’t, is amazing. Let us not forget the famous motorcycle saying, “Its more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.” For more information on the Himalayan and where you can book a test drive, check out the Royal Enfield website. About the Author: With his sights set on doing what he loved for a living, Sean Klinger left college with a BA in Journalism and dirt bike in his truck. After five years at a dirt-only motorcycle magazine shooting, testing, writing, editing, and a little off-road racing, he has switched gears to bigger bikes and longer adventures. He’ll probably get lost a few times but he’ll always have fun doing it. Two wheels and adventure is all he needs.
  10. Published on 07.05.2018 Just a few weeks ago we got news that Moto Guzzi was filing patents on its V85 concept bike, a telltale sign that it’s moving closer to production. Now we’re seeing that the V85 isn’t just a pretty bike that gets rolled onto stages at bike expos. The folks at Motorrad Magazine spotted a pre-production version of the Moto Guzzi Middleweight Adventure Bike out on the road. Moto Guzzi is expected to release their new middleweight ADV with an 850cc air/oil-cooled V-Twin pumping out 80 horsepower to a shaft drive. Their V85 concept bike incorporates minimalist bodywork and retro styling that has received loads of praise from the ADV Riding community. Original V85 concept presented last year at EICMA. The prototype in the spy shots is disguised in all black and shows only minor differences from the original concept bike. There’s a new angular windscreen design and more contemporary LED headlights. Also, the valve covers have less-pronounced cooling fins. While these may not be the final production parts, they do give the bike a more modern look that is a departure from the original retro-styling of the V85 concept. Other differences seen in the spy shots include a missing skid plate and a new side rack system for hard luggage. Only time will tell if this Moto Guzzi Middleweight Adventure Bike will conform to modern styling trends or go with a retro design. But one thing is certain, the Middleweight ADV Class is heating up! In the next few years we’ll be spoiled with choice with the Moto Guzzi V85, KTM 790 Adventure, Yamaha Tenere 700, an all-new BMW F850GS and recently updated Suzuki V-Strom 650’s and Triumph Tiger 800’s to choose from. We haven’t had confirmation from Moto Guzzi yet on release dates, but we’ll continue to share more details as they appear. Stay tuned!
  11. Published on 07.05.2018 Just a few weeks ago we got news that Moto Guzzi was filing patents on its V85 concept bike, a telltale sign that it’s moving closer to production. Now we’re seeing that the V85 isn’t just a pretty bike that gets rolled onto stages at bike expos. The folks at Motorrad Magazine spotted a pre-production version of the Moto Guzzi Middleweight Adventure Bike out on the road. Moto Guzzi is expected to release their new middleweight ADV with an 850cc air/oil-cooled V-Twin pumping out 80 horsepower to a shaft drive. Their V85 concept bike incorporates minimalist bodywork and retro styling that has received loads of praise from the ADV Riding community. Original V85 concept presented last year at EICMA. The prototype in the spy shots is disguised in all black and shows only minor differences from the original concept bike. There’s a new angular windscreen design and more contemporary LED headlights. Also, the valve covers have less-pronounced cooling fins. While these may not be the final production parts, they do give the bike a more modern look that is a departure from the original retro-styling of the V85 concept. Other differences seen in the spy shots include a missing skid plate and a new side rack system for hard luggage. Only time will tell if this Moto Guzzi Middleweight Adventure Bike will conform to modern styling trends or go with a retro design. But one thing is certain, the Middleweight ADV Class is heating up! In the next few years we’ll be spoiled with choice with the Moto Guzzi V85, KTM 790 Adventure, Yamaha Tenere 700, an all-new BMW F850GS and recently updated Suzuki V-Strom 650’s and Triumph Tiger 800’s to choose from. We haven’t had confirmation from Moto Guzzi yet on release dates, but we’ll continue to share more details as they appear. Stay tuned!
  12. There are three types of adventure riders: those that have been to Moab, Utah, those who are planning to go, and those who want to go but are overwhelmed by the riding options in what is arguably the premier off-road destination in the lower 48 states. Moab offers every type of terrain, from endless easy dirt roads winding through towering red rocks, to single-track trails that would challenge Graham Jarvis. Ride the slick rock competently and you can tackle slopes that you wouldn’t dare attempt elsewhere, thanks to the incredible traction it provides. Take a loop tour on the White Rim Trail and it’s easy to convince yourself you’re the last person left on earth. Head up to the nearby La Sal Mountains for cool breezes, pine trees and After a field trips to drill on skills learnedlate- (or early-) season snow. There just isn’t another area that packs so much riding into one accessible region, and Moab is at the center of it all. It’s an embarrassment of riches, which makes planning a Moab trip more difficult. There’s also the fact that riding in Moab takes preparation and an honest assessment of your skills and abilities. Many of the routes, even popular ones, take you far beyond the reach of quick help. If something breaks or someone in your group gets hurt, it’s on you to know what to do and how to do it. And some routes get very difficult, very quickly. It could be a long way back when you realize you are in over your head and backtracking isn’t an option. Then there’s weather. Moab sees all kinds of it, from scorching heat to freezing cold. Flash floods and rock slides can turn an easy route into a survival situation. And you have to know where you are because gas stations are often sparse. If you fall into that third category of adventure rider – you want to get to Moab but the thought of it is a little overwhelming – MotoDiscovery has a ride to consider: The Moab Immersion Training and Tour. It’s a seven-day, six-night experience that combines rider training with an 850-mile tour of Southern Utah. Participants first acquire the skills and confidence to explore the area, and then the chance to do just that with a guide. The Immersion Tour begins and ends at 3-Step Hideaway, a moto-friendly lodge about 50 miles south of Moab. 3-Step is a popular stop along the Trans America Trail and draws riders from all over the world. It’s also off-the-grid: there’s no cell phone service and the electricity comes from solar panels and generators; all a part of the adventure. The first two days of the Immersion Tour are dedicated to training. Instructors start with the basics including balance, clutch control, body positioning and peg weighting. Even seasoned riders benefit from a review of the fundamentals, and perhaps a gentle correction to bad habits acquired over the miles. Group size is kept to a maximum of 10 so that riders receive individual attention and personalized training. Instruction includes drills on braking, standing on the pegs, riding in sand and how to save yourself when you come up short on a hill climb, a particularly anxiety-inducing scenario that will eventually happen to us all. Instructors also go over the right way to tow a bike, with a bike, and how to fix a flat, both situations most riders will face in their riding career. The idea is to conquer fear of common problems and boost confidence in your abilities so you’ll do more exploring later on your own. Moab Immersion Training is provided by MotoDiscovery’s coaching team utilizing the D.A.R.T. curriculum created by BMW Certified Instructor Bill Dragoo. They teach balance, control, judgment and attitude as cornerstones of adventure riding. After drilling on skills learned at 3-Step, the group heads out on day three for a real 850-mile adventure through Southern Utah. Iconic sights including the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley (which you’ll recognize as the backdrop for any number of westerns), the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, Lake Powell, the Colorado River, the Burr Trail and Arches National Park are typically on the agenda, weather permitting. As mentioned above, rain can quickly change your plans in this typically dry area. Flash floods are a very real concern and dirt roads can become a muddy quagmire. That is where having a guide who knows the area and can reroute quickly comes in handy. Each rider receives individualized instruction in real time as the ride progresses. If you still have skills to polish after the two days of instruction, and you will, the teacher will give you the tips you need, when you need them. That’s an effective way to up your adventure game. Large adventure bikes are welcome but riders are encouraged to make the trip on a smaller dual sport so they can learn the basics without the intimidating weight and horsepower. Participants can bring their own bike, or rent a CRF250L, DR-Z400 or Africa Twin from MotoDiscovery. Beyond that, you just need a desire to see the best parts of Southern Utah, and the rest of the world, for that matter: those beyond the pavement. Moab Immersion Training and Tour Info Ride Duration: 7 days Distance Covered: 850 miles Cost: Starting at $3,795 Check out the MotoDiscovery.com website or call (800) 233-0564 for more information and ride dates. About the Author: Bob Whitby 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.
  13. Rocky Mountain ATV/MC is giving back to the adventure motorcycle community by rolling out a new Battle Born Ride Series that explores some of the best off-road routes in Nevada’s backcountry for Adventure Bike and Dual Sport riders. Carrying the moniker of Nevada’s nickname: the “Battle Born State” these epic North/South routes are ones for the bucket list! With nearly 90,000 square miles of desolate land, Nevada is brimming with ghost towns, abandoned mines, wild animals and an unforgiving climate that sets the stage for epic adventure riding. RMATVMC spent three years developing routes and divided it into two halves (North & South) to make it easier to digest, and more accessible to a broader cross-section of riders. Their breakdown of the Nevada off-road routes include daily descriptions with suggested mileage, fuel/food/lodging options and insight into top points of interest. The majestic cliffs of Notch Peak have the second highest vertical drop in the continental U.S. next to Yosemite’s El Capitan. [embedded content] Between videos documenting the route, companion blog posts, and detailed GPS tracks featuring easy and hard alternatives, these rides could not be more attainable or enticing for riders of all skill levels. Not to mention they are giving away the GPS tracks and all of this information for free! They even include helpful links to their blog posts that cover useful subjects like “3 Things You Didn’t Know You’d Need on an Adventure Ride”, “Tool Essentials for Adventure Motorcycle Riding” and “The Packing Guide for Adventure Motorcycle Riding”. The northern route, Battle Born North begins and ends right on the Utah/Nevada border in a small town called Wendover. BBN traverses past old mining communities, out to Battle Mountain, up to the Idaho border and back down to the Bonneville Salt Flats where it intersects with its Southern counterpart. [embedded content] Battle Born South begins in Payson, Utah at the RMATVMC headquarters making an equally epic loop featuring the House Mountain Range, Lunar Crater Back Country Byway and a summit of Telegraph Peak. While both routes and sections are laid out in a structured format, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC encourages riders to mix and match to create adventure rides of their own. This can be either a starting point to begin planning or a fully detailed guide to riding Nevada. Looking for a plug and play experience? This is it! With sparse pavement, varied terrain and a fair share of technical sections, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC stress that it is essential that you (and your bike) be appropriately equipped for off-road travel. Skid plates, proper riding kit, and knobby tires will ensure a much more enjoyable experience. Fuel range and weather are also essential aspects not to be overlooked with stretches of up to 220 miles between filling stations, and the possibility of severe weather any time of year. These two companion routes offer a unique opportunity to get out and enjoy the rich history and rugged terrain of Nevada with a local’s knowledge and no real investment in planning. Check out the Battle Born video series to get your adventure juices flowing and then we dare you not to start looking at your calendar. Nevada Battle Born Routes About the 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.
  14. The KTM 390 Adventure has been in the rumor mill probably longer than any other model before it, now going on at least 5 years since it was first mentioned by KTM head Stefan Pierer. There were a few spy photos released of a rough prototype a few years ago and KTM has confirmed they will build it eventually, but real factual information about the KTM 390 Adventure has been in short supply. What we have known for some time is that KTM’s entry into the Small ADV class will feature the same single-cylinder 373cc powerplant from the 390 Duke, pumping out roughly 43 hp. Over the years, there’s been plenty of times when we’ve felt like the little 390 ADV would never happen. But these new photos released by motorcycle.com have restored our hope. The photos reveal a prototype that looks nearly ready for production with cleanly styled bodywork along with small details like notches in the rear sub frame for luggage and fairing winglets to deflect the wind. The headlight assembly looks fully developed as well with the same split twin headlight design found on the 1290 Super Adventure and 790 Adventure R. There’s also a shorty windscreen that appears to be adjustable and the fuel tank shares a family resemblance with the 790 Adventure (minus the lower bulges). The only thing missing from the bike is the sump protection. When we looked at the spy photos released in late 2016, the 390 Adventure prototype was much rougher, sporting a temporary fuel tank and a windscreen that looked like it was borrowed from the KTM 450 Rally. The early prototype seemed to fit into an off-road mold with 21″/18″ wheel combo and a high front fender. Now these new photos reveal a 19″/17″ wheel combo and a low front fender, which could signal a more street-oriented design. Even the frame and swing arm closely resemble the 390 Duke’s. Could it be that in a rush to production, KTM ended up using the same on-road chassis as the Duke? We can only hope that this is the all-new off-road chassis for the 390 platform, promised by Stefan Pierer, that we’ve been waiting all these years for. Making the 390 Adventure as accessible as possible makes sense though for KTM in the entry-level sub-400cc adventure bike market. No doubt KTM will want to give it a reasonable seat h and an affordable price tag to compete on showroom floors with the likes of the BMW G310GS, Kawasaki Versys-X 300 and Royal Enfield Himalayan (401cc). It’s also manufactured in India to help reach a lower price point that will appeal to a larger segment of the motorcycling population. Even so, the KTM 390 Adventure spy shots do show signs of premium components. We can see in the photos there are clickers on top of the forks to adjust rebound and compression damping — something the competition in this class don’t have. Signs of an adjustable windscreen, TFT display and integrated luggage also point to a more premium build. Every year it seems the 390 is closer to production, but this time it really feels like the end of the waiting is near. Even Amit Nandi, a high-ranking Bajaj/KTM executive, recently talked publicly about how the KTM 390 Adventure will soon make it’s way to market. We expect the KTM 390 Adventure to make an appearance at either the EICMA or Intermot motorcycle shows later this year, with a release as as 2019 model. But hey, with the 390, you can never be sure.
  15. The KTM 390 Adventure has been in the rumor mill probably longer than any other model before it, now going on at least 5 years since it was first mentioned by KTM head Stefan Pierer. There were a few spy photos released of a rough prototype a few years ago and KTM has confirmed they will build it eventually, but real factual information about the KTM 390 Adventure has been in short supply. What we have known for some time is that KTM’s entry into the Small ADV class will feature the same single-cylinder 373cc powerplant from the 390 Duke, pumping out roughly 43 hp. Over the years, there’s been plenty of times when we’ve felt like the little 390 ADV would never happen. But these new photos released by motorcycle.com have restored our hope. The photos reveal a prototype that looks nearly ready for production with cleanly styled bodywork along with small details like notches in the rear sub frame for luggage and fairing winglets to deflect the wind. The headlight assembly looks fully developed as well with the same split twin headlight design found on the 1290 Super Adventure and 790 Adventure R. There’s also a shorty windscreen that appears to be adjustable and the fuel tank shares a family resemblance with the 790 Adventure (minus the lower bulges). The only thing missing from the bike is the sump protection. When we looked at the spy photos released in late 2016, the 390 Adventure prototype was much rougher, sporting a temporary fuel tank and a windscreen that looked like it was borrowed from the KTM 450 Rally. The early prototype seemed to fit into an off-road mold with 21″/18″ wheel combo and a high front fender. Now these new photos reveal a 19″/17″ wheel combo and a low front fender, which could signal a more street-oriented design. Even the frame and swing arm closely resemble the 390 Duke’s. Could it be that in a rush to production, KTM ended up using the same on-road chassis as the Duke? We can only hope that this is the all-new off-road chassis for the 390 platform, promised by Stefan Pierer, that we’ve been waiting all these years for. Making the 390 Adventure as accessible as possible makes sense though for KTM in the entry-level sub-400cc adventure bike market. No doubt KTM will want to give it a reasonable seat h and an affordable price tag to compete on showroom floors with the likes of the BMW G310GS, Kawasaki Versys-X 300 and Royal Enfield Himalayan (401cc). It’s also manufactured in India to help reach a lower price point that will appeal to a larger segment of the motorcycling population. Even so, the KTM 390 Adventure spy shots do show signs of premium components. We can see in the photos there are clickers on top of the forks to adjust rebound and compression damping — something the competition in this class don’t have. Signs of an adjustable windscreen, TFT display and integrated luggage also point to a more premium build. Every year it seems the 390 is closer to production, but this time it really feels like the end of the waiting is near. Even Amit Nandi, a high-ranking Bajaj/KTM executive, recently talked publicly about how the KTM 390 Adventure will soon make it’s way to market. We expect the KTM 390 Adventure to make an appearance at either the EICMA or Intermot motorcycle shows later this year, with a release as as 2019 model. But hey, with the 390, you can never be sure.
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