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Advpulse last won the day on 27 Ianuarie 2018

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  1. Fair warning you may want to read this with a New Jersey (fake Italian) accent while wearing a velour tracksuit. Do you remember the scene in Good Fella’s when Ray Liotta’s character is describing what it’s like to go into business with Paulie (the big guy)? Trouble with cops? He can go to Paulie. Deliveries? Paulie will handle it. But now the guy’s gotta come up with Paulie’s money every week, no matter what. Business Bad? F-You, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? F-You. Pay me. Got hit by lightning, huh? FYPM! ADVERTISEMENT The Hammer Run (The Hammer) kinda operates like that too. Don’t know where to ride off-road in NJ? You can go to The Hammer. Want to ride hundreds of miles of singletrack? The Hammer. But now you gotta play by their rules to attend. Didn’t sign up in time? Not my problem. Oh, you lost your confirmation email and QR code (which I did, but thankfully, took a photo of with my phone!)? Not my problem. Don’t have a license plate? Not my problem (NMP). Kicking off The Hammer was a mad dash to get an online ticket months in advance. This year the two-day ride sold out in under 10 minutes, and I watched it happen in real-time! Imagine if Bruce Springsteen decided to play a private show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. I couldn’t text my riding friends fast enough to get their one of 600 tickets, and some of them didn’t, not my problemo pal. This is the Hammer. You might be asking yourself, “New Jersey? The most densely populated state in the country? The state that gave birth to the The Sopranos? Isn’t that the state pork roll (Taylor Ham) comes from?” Yup, we’re the same state that hosted ISDE qualifiers in 1975 and 1977, the Hammer Run was awarded the AMA Event of the Year in 2017 right here in the Garden State, and we got Mike Lafferty. Who’s Mike? Eight-Time National Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty, and The Hammer Run goes through some of his New Jersey training grounds too. License plates don’t even stay on bikes during the run so I had mine mounted to my backpack.Right, so now that you’re up to speed on NJ a bit, let’s talk about the ride. I show up in Port Elizabeth Saturday morning, my bike and gear were loaded up Friday. A few tough guys camp out Friday and Saturday night, but it’s the first weekend in November here in NJ and bikes that were in the field the night before are frosted over in the morning. Anyone without a camper usually arrives the morning of and gets a hotel room for Saturday night. Why not camp? Cause we ain’t here to make new friends, we’re just here to ride with the old ones. The riders’ meeting is held off the back of an old fire truck that doubles as a kegerator (it literally has beer taps coming out the side of it). The announcements are standard issue for NJ. “Don’t Ruin the Ride.” The big man runs down a laundry list of things not to do, and for a good reason; this is sacred (usable) ground, and we don’t want to lose it because someone wants to have too much fun – cause once you lose it, you lose it forever. Going through the start checkpoint with your riding crew is the way every Hammer Run starts. That doesn’t mean it’s going to end or even be that way after the first 3 miles of the 100-mile day. At The Hammer Run, you just have to keep it moving. Your buddy crashes, “he’ll live.” Flat tire, “leave em.” Is the guy in front of you going to slow? Just shout at him to move over or rev at him. This might seem a bit macho, “Jersey Shore” or intimidating to anyone that’s not from the East Coast, but really it’s just how we communicate out here. Direct and to the point, and that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to show respect, but who gets it? Well, for starters, the old-timers do. Usually, they can be spotted wearing vintage enduro gear, sitting down on an old KX or Honda with those late 80’s style rear fenders and straight back kickstands instead of the high fly KTM ones. You don’t get too close to em, you don’t push em, and if you can’t make a clean pass, you ride behind em until they want to slide over for you. It’s just common courtesy and respect. Before we get into the ride, here’s my brief history with the Hammer Run: 2017 I showed up with a Suzuki DR200 and my friend let me borrow his 1st Gen pumper carb’ed KTM 400. It ran better than any bike on the planet for precisely two turns. After that, it ran like crap the rest of the day and beat me to death. That night I slept without exaggeration 13 hours and rode 30 miles the second day on the DR200, then went home. 2018 was a different story. My local shop, Solid Performance KTM, hit me up and let me borrow a bike that was actually a theft recovery from a smash and grab they had early in the year. The bike had been treated horribly as most “wheelie boy” bikes do. Solid went over the 250 XC-W (two-stroke), and it ran better than new. Throughout that ride, I got to trade-off with friends and rode every bike in KTM’s four-stroke line up from 250 EXC-F all the way up to the 500 EXC-F. A rare opportunity to ride and compare all the KTM four-strokes in one day turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for me that weekend. It shaped what would be the future of my small bike career and ultimately helped me make my decision to buy my KTM 250 EXC-F. Why would anyone that weighs in at 215 pounds without gear and stands 6’2″ tall buy a 250 four-stroke? The terrain for starters or, in our case on the east coast, the trees. Forget about open desert or boulder fields, East of the Mississippi River we trade our wide-open views for switchback turns and trees so tight you have to guess which one will bend and put the bark buster into it! Back to the race… er… the ride. Saturday starts out with two sections of an enduro course. Each about 10 miles long, but when you can’t get out of second gear, it might as well be forever. Some of my crew is still with me, and others have fallen behind. Once you finish a section, you can catch up on your roll chart (analog navigation) and wait for your friends off to the side. If you’re fast, you get a break. If you’re slow… well, at least we let you catch up. It’s not all survival of the fittest and race mode. If you really need a hand fixing something on your bike or you have a bad crash and honestly need a minute, we’ll pull over for one of our own. Revzilla’s resident fast guy, Spurgeon Dunbar spent the day breaking parts off his 350, and occasionally we’d pull over to help him out with some quick grab tools from my GIVI waist pouch as he dismantled more of his bike than repaired. Revzilla’s resident fast guy Spurgeon Dunbar, spent the day breaking parts off his KTM 350. Midday, and I’m behind a pack of riders that are just a bit off my pace. I can’t really make a clean pass, so rather than beep, yell and rev my way through ten riders, I take a minute to catch my breath. That’s when the mythical beast Mike Lafferty goes by me a few yards off the trail! I jump on his tail and hold it wide open. He decided to ride his brandy new 2020 KTM 500 XCF-W for Saturday, and like I’ve seen in the years past, he’s not one for waiting behind riders. In 2018 I was full throttle around a wide-open sand corner on a borrowed 250 EXC-F when all of a sudden, I felt the air pressure change around me. Like being sucked into an air vacuum and having the Hollywood war scene flashback, I couldn’t hear anything for a split second. Followed by the cavitation of air blast as Lafferty went by me on the outside on his 2019 500 EXC-F. He then rode around the rim of a water hole in a wheelie. Touched the front down in a mess of clay cross ruts and lifted the front back up to ride off out of sight at a rate of speed that anyone under “A-Class” enduro rider can’t really comprehend. I manage to latch on to him this year as he goes by and blazes a trail through the brush. After about 45 seconds of following Mike, I manage to pass 15 riders as we skip three tight turns slightly off the trail. There’s some saying about how riding with people faster than you will make you faster, but I’ve yet to really ride “with” Mike. Lunch? You mean WAWA? It’s a “Central-East Coast” thing. We have these gas station/convenience stores called WAWA, and if you need something to eat or drink, you can always grab something at the gas stop. At the same time, if you’re having issues with your motorcycle, Solid Performance has a chase truck that makes it to the gas stops and will help you out the best they can. That kind of community engagement goes a long way, and it’s absolutely the reason me, and probably 85% of the field are on KTM’s. After 70 miles of tight-single track and bark-busting trail-blazing, Spurgeon put his bad knee into a tree. Luckily for him, we’re all feeling a little tired and wait for him to rejoin the group. He comes rolling up; it’s not good. He can’t put any weight on it and has to ride sitting down. Typically he’d be left for dead, but we’re so far behind schedule a sweep rider catches us. We get him set up with an “easy” way out. Good thing as Jeff (riding buddy) and I rolled into the “Stitches or Bitches” split trail section. Not known for their correctness, the organizers chose these trail names. But it should be noted that no one at the event found them to be offensive. Maybe it’s the East Coast in us all, but hey, plenty of guys took the “bitches” way out. While Liz (another one of the crew) said: “I ain’t no bitch” and rode out the hard way. Back at the parking lot, we all have a few beers, and I book my hotel room after I lock my bike up so it can spend the night in the field. The Hammer offers a spaghetti dinner on Saturday night with plenty of sauce (sauuuce), but we usually opt for dinner in town and some drinks. Spurgeon was talking about a triumphant return tomorrow, but we all knew that wasn’t happening. Sunday morning hits, and the bikes are frozen over again. No big deal as this is as mild as the winter’s going to be here in Jersey. We all decided to head down to Solid’s vendor tent to group up before riding. Spurgeon shows up (limping) with donuts, hoping we won’t beat him up verbally too bad for sitting Sunday out. After a few “on your knees too much?” jokes get tossed around, we let him off the hook since he is genuinely hurt. That’s when Lafferty busts out the big guns. His KTM 790 Adventure R with a WP “A-kit.” That’s cone valve forks and XPLOR-pro rear shock with an extra 30mm of suspension travel, along with a set of skinny 690 Enduro rims laced to the hubs so he can run a bib mousses! Eight time National Enduro Champion, Mike Lafferty rolled up on his KTM 790 Adventure R, sporting an extra 30mm of suspension travel and a set of skinny 690 Enduro rims running bib mousses.While Mike gets his suspension rear sag h set on his 790R, we even leave him behind. It doesn’t take long for him to catch up though, as he runs us down in the second “enduro” section of the day. I turn on the tractor beam and get behind him for a while. I’m sure he wasn’t going nearly as fast as he could, but I run 9 outta 10 to keep up. We ride together for a few miles, and he is running a pace that I couldn’t set on my 250 if I was out front. As a mid-to-front of the pack C-vet class rider, I was finally able to learn something from Lafferty as his 200+ pound bike handicap allowed me to finally keep up. Watching him run enough trail brake to slow down but not stall the engine and his sit down/over the front body positioning improved my riding in just a few turns. Taking wider lines and using the whole trail helped me to understand where I was losing time. Mike Lafferty busted out the big guns ripping on his fully-dialed KTM 790 Adventure R.Losing time happens for a lot of reasons, and I fell victim to one of my most common. Overriding myself, I hit neutral in the middle of a turn. Then in a moment of frustration, I override the bike and run a corner wide, and just like that, a 790 walks away from me on a dirt bike in some of the tightest woods NJ has to offer. The Hammer Run goes through a lot of private property, and that’s one of the things the organizers really drive home at the rider’s meeting. “Don’t even think about riding it again.” It’s also why we aren’t allowed to video the ride with helmet cams. That and the tree huggers (environmentalists) will use it against the organization any way they can. Two of the private land sections are grass tracks. I didn’t have time to take photos, but if you use your imagination, you’ll be just fine. My favorite section is a Christmas Tree Farm, and it is a riot with friends. Green grass with brown dirt ruts cuts a path snaking its way through a maze of pine trees. Some sections are so tight your arms get battered back and forth, and the only way you make it out straight is to hold the throttle open and keep going. The last section of the day and I go into it with my buddy Jeff behind me, and we’re pushing the pace a little bit. Most of the trails at the Hammer are sandy with some dirt mixed in, but the last trail is more dirt with tree roots. I make a mistake and end up losing the front, crashing and sliding into a tree. Jeff actually has to help me pick up my bike as my body is shutting down at this point from exhaustion and general pain all over. Back at the parking lot where The Hammer Run starts and ends, we get out of our sweaty, wet, cold gear and crack open a cold beer to ‘cheers’ the day with. At the kitchen, they have a spicy meatball (you have to hold your hand in that way with your thumb and fingers pressed together and say “ahh spie-see meat-ah-ball) and potato soup that signifies the end of another year. I want to take a moment to thank the organizers, the sweep riders, the family members in the kitchen, and just everyone who helps keep the rides and enduro racing going in NJ. If you want to attend The Hammer Run, keep an eye out in the AMA magazine and website, but do me a favor and don’t tell anybody I sent ya, Capiche? Photos by Spurgeon Dunbar, Jeff Kiniery, Liz Kiniery, and Steve Kamrad Author: Steve Kamrad Steve has been labeled as a “Hired Gun” by one of the largest special interest publishing groups in America. His main focus now is video content creation as a “Shreditor” (thats shooter, producer, editor all in one nice, neat, run and gun package). If he’s not out competing in a NASA Rally Race you can find him on the East Coast leading around a rowdy group of ADV riders. Some say Steve_Kamrad has the best job in the world but he’s not in it for the money. He’s a gun for hire that can’t be bought and that’s the way we like him.
  2. Published on 01.15.2020 KLIM has announced the release of their new Baja S4 mesh adventure gear and Enduro S4 waterproof overshell, built to provide massive cooling airflow with road-ready protection features. According to KLIM, the waterproof, 4-way stretch Enduro S4 Jacket and Pant are foul-weather backup plans that fit perfectly with the Baja S4 gear to keep you riding when the weather turns. The new gear also offers the mobility and low bulk needed for off-road riding with adventure bikes. Ventilation is the first thing that sets the Baja S4 apart from the competition, says KLIM. Knowing that more layers mean more resistance to airflow, their developers built the Baja S4 with the majority of body panels being a layer of Schoeller-Dynatec nylon mesh and a moisture-wicking liner. Even pockets are positioned in a way that impedes airflow as little as possible. The result is a riding kit that lets you feel the relief of even the slightest breeze on the hottest days – all without sacrificing protection. KLIM Baja S4 Jacket Klim Baja S4 Jacket Klim Baja S4 Jacket Klim Baja S4 Jacket Klim Baja S4 Pant Klim Baja S4 Pant Klim Baja S4 Pant To further maintain ventilation and comfort, the Baja S4 is also loaded with Karbonite Micromesh 1000-denier stretch-woven nylon panels, which further add airflow and mobility. A 2-liter Hydrapak-compatible pocket in the back is ready for hot weather hydration. The Enduro S4 Jacket also features a pair of armpit vents and a horizontal back vent if you work up a sweat in foul weather. The Baja S4 Gloves deliver extensive ventilation and protection with perforated leather construction and direct-vent TPU armor designs. KLIM Enduro S4 Jacket Klim Enduro S4 Jacket Klim Enduro S4 Jacket KLIM S4 Baja Gloves ADVERTISEMENT The Schoeller-Dynatec nylon mesh body panels in the Baja S4 that deliver ventilation also offer high abrasion resistance and durability. KLIM also uses ceramic-plated Superfabric in the key abrasion areas on elbows, shoulders and knees to provide exceptional road-ready abrasion protection. D3O Level 1 vented pads in the elbows, shoulders, knees, hips and back provide proven flexible impact protection. KLIM Enduro S4 PantsFor weather protection, the Enduro S4 Jacket and Pant are stretchy waterproof over-shells for any non-waterproof gear, but they’re also designed to work with the Baja S4 kit. If you wear a large Baja S4 Jacket, in most cases you’ll wear the large Enduro S4 on top of it as well. Around camp, that same Enduro S4 will still work as a waterproof layer without feeling like a plastic bag. On top of that, if you’re a dedicated minimalist, the Enduro S4 Jacket or Pants will roll up to form a camp pillow as well. Shopping Options
  3. You may not know it, but there’s a National Park the size of Rhode Island tucked away in the upper left corner of the U.S. The Olympic National Park, on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, is a treasure trove of wildland and wildlife alike. Due to its remote location, it doesn’t receive nearly the same fanfare as other parklands and the same can be said about the region in general. That’s precisely why you should go: the Olympic National Park and greater Olympic Peninsula offer a unique opportunity to experience some of the areas greatest wonders without the Disneyland feel of Yosemite or Yellowstone. Also worth considering is the region’s extensive history of logging and forestry operations. There’s a seemingly endless system of primitive access roads that are begging to be explored by motorcycle. ADVERTISEMENT We spent significant time on the Olympic Peninsula coming up with an epic adventure bike route that showcases some of the most intriguing natural wonders preserved within its borders. We also put together all the information you need to plan your own Adventure Ride in the region, including an interactive map, GPS tracks with top destinations, scenic camp spots and more. Read on for the eight reasons why you should stop what you’re doing and make a beeline for the PNW! 1. Epic Off-Road Terrain Roadside hill climbs, tricky rockslide traverses, loose scrambles, and adventurous water crossings are all on the menu. With such a large sample size of terrain, there’s sure to be something to satiate everyone’s appetite no matter their riding ability or prowess. It’s quite easy to make a circumference of the peninsula on fairly basic dirt roads covering ground at a good pace while still having time to take in all the natural beauty. That being said, there are plenty of alternate routes and side trips that are sure to fulfill those in search of a little gnar. This route is perfect for large displacement adventure bikes and smaller dual sports alike, all depending on pace and what kind of mischievous detours you want to undertake. 2. Explore a Unique Forest Landscape The Olympic National Park is home to four temperate rainforests: The Hoh, Quinault, Queets, and Bogachiel. These forests are defined by their annual rainfall of twelve to fourteen feet each year. They are inhabited by old-growth Douglas fir, red alders, Western hemlocks, and Sitka spruce among plentiful varieties of mosses & ferns. Temperatures rarely fall below freezing or exceed eighty-degrees, facilitating a distinctively luscious ecosystem. The park itself is comprised of nearly a million acres, seventy-three miles of coast, sixty named glaciers, sixty-four trailheads, and over three thousand miles of rivers & streams. It’s a vast swath of raw land set aside by the federal government for a good reason, as it is a wonder to behold. Some of the park’s notable animal inhabitants include elk, mountain goats, black bears, cougars, bald eagles, foxes, and plentiful deer. On the coast, sea lions, gray whales, orcas, and otters can also be seen. Olympic National Park was the ninth most visited national park in 2018, hosting over three million people. Don’t let those numbers deter you; the high number of visitors is offset by the fact that ONP is the thirteenth-largest in the system (Comparable to Rhode Island). Notwithstanding the many tourists, adventurers on two wheels will often feel like they have the park to themselves. No other time is this personified more than in the shoulder seasons when some rain is almost guaranteed, but your reward will be empty campgrounds and absolute solitude. 3. Washington Coast Washington’s coastline is one hundred & fifty-seven miles of beautiful breakwater where the Pacific Ocean ends or begins depending on how you look at it. The beaches that comprise the Washington coast might not fit the classic mold of what most people envision when they picture a beach, but even on the most blustery of days, they still have just as much to offer. The seventy-three miles of beach designated as National Park is a unique ecosystem unmolested by modern complications and mostly inaccessible by vehicles. Sea stacks encompassed in fog banks often act as the backdrop for endless drift log strewn stretches of sand. Tide pools, rocks, and sea creatures are standard fare and can easily entertain one’s imagination for days on end. Time off of the bike exploring sections of the coast is often just as enthralling as roving dirt roads and twisty pavement that often parallel Washington’s ocean beaches. 4. Amazing Views The Olympic Peninsula is vast, and the landscape is diverse, even if it might seem entirely evergreen at first glance. Being able to travel from damp rainforests to expansive coastal beaches and then ascend mountains tall enough to take it all in represents something unique. Almost around every corner, another breathtaking view can be found, whether it’s the vast Pacific Ocean, regional volcanoes, metropolitan hubs off in the distance, or endless seas of densely packed trees. Some of the must-see sights within the park are any of the temperate rain forests, Hurricane Ridge, Obstruction Point, Lake Crescent, Lake Quinault, Lake Cushman, Cape Flattery, and as many of the ocean beaches as you can pack in! 5. Complete Solitude The Olympic National Park itself is nearly a million acres and although it sees many visitors annually, most of that traffic is allocated to a few hot spots that leave the vast majority tourist-free and ripe for exploration. Thankfully, in many areas of the peninsula, all it takes is a slightly deteriorated pothole-strewn road to deter most would-be wanderlust wanderers. It’s not hard to find solitude on the Olympic Peninsula, and if that’s what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. Even on a busy summer weekend, it’s easy to get away from the crowds as long as you avoid the established campgrounds and busy attractions like Hurricane Ridge. If you travel far enough down any dirt road, you’ll eventually have the peninsula to yourself; this is especially true on the South and West sides of our track.
  4. While balancing wheels on a car or exclusively road-going motorcycle is a given, wheel balancing on adventure bikes can be less of a consistent occurrence. Occupying an odd space between serious off-road and big road miles, adventure bikes can often do fine with unbalanced wheels when traveling on dirt. Once back on the pavement, however, unbalanced wheels can quickly become a nuisance depending on the tire, and condition of the wheel itself. When performing a tire change, virtually any shop will balance the wheels before reinstalling on the bike. When swapping tires at home this step is sometimes overlooked, however the process is made quite easy with the Tusk Wheel Balancing and Truing Stand. With its simple, solid design, the Tusk Wheel Stand would look at home in any shop and offers everything you need to begin doing your own wheel balancing. Assembly of the Tusk Wheel Stand is straightforward and everything goes together in minutes. It includes a leveling sight bubble and adjustable-h feet that ensure you get a perfectly stable platform. While this how-to is exclusively related to wheel balancing, the Tusk Wheel Stand also features a rim pointer and cylinder spacers for precise lacing or truing wheels. Read on for the basics on how to balance your own wheels at home. Wheel Balancing Steps ADVERTISEMENT 1. Install The Tire Installation of the tire itself plays an important role in more quickly and easily achieving a balanced wheel. Virtually all tires come from the manufacturer with a balance mark on them. Typically a small paint circle, this mark can take different forms depending on the manufacturer. Regardless of what it looks like, the mark denotes the light spot of the tire, and thus should be lined up with the valve stem hole. The valve stem, and even the valve cap creates a small amount of additional weight, so lining that up with the lightest part of the tire brings things closer to balance, before the process of adding weight has begun. 2. Remove The Cush Drive One additional step which applies only to some rear wheels is removal of the cush drive. This serves two purposes: one, the entire assembly becomes more narrow and easier to work with (although it’s worth noting there is ample room on the Tusk Stand); and two, the components of a cush drive have the potential to shift slightly during wheel balancing, causing some variance. Removing it ensures more accurate results. 3. Mount Wheel On Stand Install the hub cones on the balancer shaft firmly against the wheel bearings and tighten the Allen bolts. As the Allen bolts themselves create a variance of weight, it’s best to position them 180 degrees opposite of each other. For example, if the Allen bolt on the right side of the hub is positioned at 6 o’clock, position then left side bolt at 12 o’clock before tightening. Also note that the cylinder spacers on the Tusk stand are not touching the bearings when performing a wheel balance – these spacers are used for the lacing or truing process. 4. Check Initial Balance Once mounted in the stand, gently spin the wheel. This does not need to be fast, and in fact simply releasing the wheel without spinning can also work, as the “heavy” spot will move downward. Spinning the wheel provides some additional information about how much weight will be needed. If the rate of spin slows quickly, more weight is needed. The more gradual the decrease in the rate of spin, the less weight will be required to achieve balance. 5. Mark Weight Location and Add Weight Once the wheel stops, use a ball-point pen to mark the tire at the 12 o’clock position. This is the light spot where weight will be required. Clean the rim at the mark and apply weight accordingly. If desired, weights can be temporarily held in position with a small amount of tape to check the amount needed. The tape itself technically will affect balance, however by an insignificant amount. On wider rims, the weights can often be placed closer to the center of the rim near the spokes. When using narrow motorcycle-specific weights, distribute the weight on both sides of the wheel. 6. Re-check Wheel Balance Gently spin the wheel again and watch where it stops. If the marked spot where the weight was added stops at the 12 o’clock position, more weight is required. If the marked spot where weight was added stops at the 6 o’clock position, less weight is needed. 7. Final Check If the marked spot stops somewhere other than the 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock positions, the final check can be performed. Without spinning, position the marked spot at four different points, and release the wheel. Any four points will do. For example, position the marked spot at 10 o’clock (pictured), and release the wheel, noting where it stops. Then position the wheel at 2 o’clock and release. Repeat at 4 o’clock, and 8 o’clock positions. Each time the wheel is released it should drift no more than roughly 1/4-1/3 rotation, and settle in a different spot. As long as this movement stops in a different position each time, the wheel is balanced. Once you get the hang of it, the entire process should take no more than 5-10 minutes for most wheels. Additional Tips Once the wheels are re-installed on the bike and the tires hit the ground, numerous variables come into play. Basic wear of the tire from use can affect balance to varying degrees, most notably in off-road contexts where more uneven wear or even chunking of knobs can occur. As the balancing marks are usually erased from the sidewalls with off-road use, repairing a flat with a tube-type tire on the trail means the tire will almost certainly be re-installed in a different position than designed for optimum balance. Even on a tubeless tire, repairing a flat with a plug can affect balance to a degree. These variables do not entirely negate the balancing process however. When re-balancing a wheel after installing either a used tire or a new one, the weights generally tend to go back to the same area of the rim, often with only minor variances in positioning and amount. Some tires are inherently more balanced than others, which accounts for the variance. The rim itself contains a significant amount of weight in the balancing equation, and this amount remains consistent for the most part. As mentioned previously, the Tusk Stand can also be used to True motorcycle wheels. Here’s a useful video with tips on how to True your wheels at home: [embedded content] Final Thoughts With adventure riding comes the increased chance of out-of-round wheels, rim dings and other factors that can affect wheel balance. Taking the time to check the status of a wheel’s balance when swapping tires can make for a more enjoyable experience over the long stretches of smooth road that are often a part of any adventure bike journey. And at $70, the Tusk Wheel Stand makes the job a whole lot easier and can easily pay for itself within a few home tire changes. Shopping Options Author: Jon Beck Jon Beck is fulfilling a dream of never figuring out what to be when he grows up. Racing mountain bikes, competitive surfing, and touring as a musician are somehow part of what led Jon to travel through over 40 countries so far as an adventure motorcycle photographer, journalist, and guide. From precision riding for cameras in Hollywood, to refilling a fountain pen for travel stories, Jon brings a rare blend of experience to the table. While he seems happiest when lost in a desert someplace, deadlines are met most of the time.
  5. Check this page daily for updatesJanuary 5, 2020: STAGE 1 • Total distance covered: 752 km The 2020 Dakar Rally kicked off the first-ever race to be held in Saudi Arabia on Sunday as 342 vehicles took off on the opening stage, racing 752km from Jeddah to Al Wajh. It was a pre-sunrise start for the Dakar convoy, as the bikes set off first on the desert route to Al Wajh, followed by the quads, cars, side-by-sides and finally the trucks. Defending champion Toby Price started 2020 picking back where he had left off in 2019 — with a stage win that made sure his opponents heard him loud and clear. Price of Red Bull KTM Factory Team secured the fastest time of the day amid tricky terrain, all while riding blind after his roadbook tore completely at the 15km mark. ADVERTISEMENT Price was given a two-minute penalty but managed to edge out Ricky Brabec, second, followed by fellow KTM teammate Matthias Walkner, third, trailing just forty seconds behind. Toby Price (AUS) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 01 of Rally Dakar 2020 from Jeddah to Al Wajh. Photo: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content PoolPrice revealed: “It went well. It was a hard day, but it went well. My roadbook walked out on me after 15-odd kilometres, so it was strange. I was quite lucky in one way because I managed to follow on some dust and just keep up with the guys. Once the road book is gone, then you’re pretty much driving blind. At the moment it looks good on paper, but I think we have a bit of a penalty coming. It’s not the greatest start, but it’s still a long rally to go. We’re in good shape, we feel good on the bike, and we’re happy.” The Australian with race number 1 is in no mood to relinquish his throne in Saudi Arabia. However, at only seconds back after Price’s penalty, Ricky Brabec seems more than capable of taking the fight to KTM, unless Matthias Walkner goes back to his winning ways. Brabec made the most of terrain suited to his riding style to finish second in the opening stage from Jeddah to Al Wajh and got off to a flying start. Ricky Brabec. Photo: DPPI Media“It was a good first stage. The terrain was epic. Rocky, sandy, fast, rivers. I loved it. Just like my home. I feel really comfortable here and hopefully there’s more days like this. I heard the second week is gonna have a lot of sand, but hopefully we can maintain and make it to the rest day. The first part of the marathon stage is tomorrow. Elite riders have ten minutes to basically look at our bike and park it for the night. We don’t have any parts.” Price and Walkner’s fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders, Sam Sunderland and Luciano Benavides are also in the striking distance, remaining in the Top 10 after the first day of racing. The second stage of racing takes the convoy to Neom with 401km and a Special Stage of 367km that gives riders views of the Red Sea and throws some navigational challenges into the works. Stage 1 Top 10 Motorcycle Rankings
  6. Check this page daily for updatesJanuary 5, 2020: STAGE 1 • Total distance covered: 752 km The 2020 Dakar Rally kicked off the first-ever race to be held in Saudi Arabia on Sunday as 342 vehicles took off on the opening stage, racing 752km from Jeddah to Al Wajh. It was a pre-sunrise start for the Dakar convoy, as the bikes set off first on the desert route to Al Wajh, followed by the quads, cars, side-by-sides and finally the trucks. Defending champion Toby Price started 2020 picking back where he had left off in 2019 — with a stage win that made sure his opponents heard him loud and clear. Price of Red Bull KTM Factory Team secured the fastest time of the day amid tricky terrain, all while riding blind after his roadbook tore completely at the 15km mark. ADVERTISEMENT Price was given a two-minute penalty but managed to edge out Ricky Brabec, second, followed by fellow KTM teammate Matthias Walkner, third, trailing just forty seconds behind. Toby Price (AUS) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 01 of Rally Dakar 2020 from Jeddah to Al Wajh. Photo: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content PoolPrice revealed: “It went well. It was a hard day, but it went well. My roadbook walked out on me after 15-odd kilometres, so it was strange. I was quite lucky in one way because I managed to follow on some dust and just keep up with the guys. Once the road book is gone, then you’re pretty much driving blind. At the moment it looks good on paper, but I think we have a bit of a penalty coming. It’s not the greatest start, but it’s still a long rally to go. We’re in good shape, we feel good on the bike, and we’re happy.” The Australian with race number 1 is in no mood to relinquish his throne in Saudi Arabia. However, at only seconds back after Price’s penalty, Ricky Brabec seems more than capable of taking the fight to KTM, unless Matthias Walkner goes back to his winning ways. Brabec made the most of terrain suited to his riding style to finish second in the opening stage from Jeddah to Al Wajh and got off to a flying start. Ricky Brabec. Photo: DPPI Media“It was a good first stage. The terrain was epic. Rocky, sandy, fast, rivers. I loved it. Just like my home. I feel really comfortable here and hopefully there’s more days like this. I heard the second week is gonna have a lot of sand, but hopefully we can maintain and make it to the rest day. The first part of the marathon stage is tomorrow. Elite riders have ten minutes to basically look at our bike and park it for the night. We don’t have any parts.” Price and Walkner’s fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders, Sam Sunderland and Luciano Benavides are also in the striking distance, remaining in the Top 10 after the first day of racing. The second stage of racing takes the convoy to Neom with 401km and a Special Stage of 367km that gives riders views of the Red Sea and throws some navigational challenges into the works. Stage 1 Top 10 Motorcycle Rankings
  7. On the surface, this motorcycle comparison may seem a bit unusual. Yet these two motorcycles having completely different displacements,engine configurations, and separated by almost a decade are worthy of a head-to-head shootout by virtue of their sheer performance: the 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R and 2012 KTM 990 Adventure R. KTM’s all-new 790 Adventure R has garnered significant hype both for its unique design aspects and aesthetics, and for its off-road prowess by those who have had an opportunity to throw a leg over one in the dirt. In some ways, this is perhaps no surprise, given KTM’s heavy emphasis on off-road machines. What perhaps comes as a surprise, is the relatively widespread references comparing KTM’s latest twin-cylinder adventure bike not to the most recent preceding model, the 1090 Adventure R, but rather a model line that was first launched 16 years ago! The original Dakar Rally winning race bike that started it all, the KTM 950 Rally, had a lot in common with the production model launched in 2003.When KTM’s V-Twin LC8 platform was first released to the world in 2003 in the form of the 950 Adventure S, it was a game-changer. Developed closely with legendary rally champion Fabrizio Meoni, the bike wasn’t deemed ready for production until he had already won both the Pharaons Rally (2001) and the Dakar Rally (2002) aboard prototypes. What the market then received in 2003 was essentially a legalized rally bike capable of never before seen speeds off-road for this class of motorcycle, even in its tamed production form. ADVERTISEMENT With a chassis virtually unchanged over the next 10 years, the 950 Adventure S increased displacement to become the 990 Adventure R in 2006, and would continue on with only minor updates until 2012. Model year 2013 saw a last gasp with the “Baja Special Edition” but that featured a lower, less off-road oriented suspension than the ‘R’ version. In 2014, KTM released their all-new 1190 Adventure R, and then the 1090 Adventure R in 2017. Both were versatile adventure bikes and the off-road kings of their class at the time, but neither could quite match the earlier 990 Adventure R in the dirt. For that reason many hard-core off-road riders continued to hold their 950s and 990s in high esteem, waiting for the day KTM would build a bike that was as good or better off-road. And that’s exactly what KTM hoped to achieve while developing the 790 Adventure R. The Austrians started with a clean slate engineering the 790 platform, in an effort to create their most off-road capable, twin-cylinder adventure bike yet. Based on early reviews, the 790R has proven to be a step ahead of all ‘current’ competition in the dirt, but is it a match for the legendary 990R? We got our hands on a low-mileage 2012 KTM 990 Adventure R in stock form to see how these two bikes compare not only off-road, but as all-around adventure bikes. Read on! At First Glance The KTM 990 Adventure R has a more upright, adventure touring appearance, while the 790 Adventure R is more compact with ‘Enduro’ styling cues. We put both bikes on equal footing for the test with a fresh set of Motoz Tractionator Desert A/T knobbies. While key observations are to be made from behind the bars, a first glance at both the KTM 990 Adventure R and KTM 790 Adventure R reveal they are unique machines, echoing certain mutual design elements. Arguably the most attention-getting visual aspect of both bikes are the fuel tanks. Each bike aims to carry fuel weight as low as possible, but in different ways. Positioned on either side of the bike, the 990R’s twin fuel tanks also serve as exterior body panels extending down almost to the skidplate. The 790R’s single fuel tank design takes this idea even further, featuring unique lobes protruding out from underneath the radiator and extending slightly below the central skidplate. These atypical fuel tank designs result in neither bike having a typical fuel gauge. Only a low fuel light and diligent use of the trip meter allows riders on the 990R to keep track of fuel consumption. A “half gauge” on the 790R will indicate “full” until the tank is roughly half empty, at which point the gauge kicks in, providing a reading of how much fuel remains in the lower half of the tank. The split tank design of the 990R has an additional benefit in that a decent sized storage compartment is available directly in front of the saddle. While a seemingly minor detail, this turns out to be significantly convenient during travels. However, the 990R glove box location does make accessing the air filter time consuming when compared to the 790R. Tucked beneath a compartment towards the rear of the motorcycle, the 790R’s filter is reached for maintenance by simply removing the seat and two T30 torx screws. The battery is also easily accessible under the seat on the 790R, whereas the 990R’s battery is hidden down behind the skidplate. While there are some similarities in the fuel tank designs, the single tank of the 790R bulges out more on the sides and it carries the fuel even lower than the twin tanks of the 990R.Striking a longer and taller pose, the 990R appears a much larger machine. The 990R’s taller non-adjustable windscreen adds to the bike’s upright adventure tourer look, while the 790R’s short screen and high fender give it more of an ‘Enduro’ appearance. Another area where these two bikes significantly differ is in the dash. The 990R has a large analogue tach in the center and basic LCD display with clock, engine temp, outside temp, fuel warning light, and speedo. The 790R uses a modern color TFT display with thumb controls to adjust traction control levels, ABS modes, rider modes, and throttle maps. All of the standard information you’d expect is available on the home screen, as well as battery voltage. As far as standard equipment, both bikes get a 12-volt accessory plug on the dash and the 790R comes with tubeless spoked wheels, whereas the 990’s rims are tube type. However, the 990R does come with a centerstand to make tire repairs easier. Heated grips were available factory options on both bikes but only 790 could be ordered with cruise control. Suspension and Handling In stock form, the 990R forks are a bit on the soft side compared to the 790R, while the rear feels slightly oversprung. Absorbing virtually everything versus deflecting off obstacles, the 990R’s front legs make for a plush ride, although one that contrasts with a more reactive rear shock. Ridden without luggage, the shock preload can often be backed out significantly to help reduce the stiffness in the rear end. Almost any amount of luggage can be accommodated by turning the adjuster clockwise as much as necessary. A longer wheelbase and ideal cockpit geometry (for my 5’11” frame) gives the 990R a comparatively more stable feel off-road at higher speeds. This same stability, combined with a tall seat h (1-inch taller than the 790R) and turning radius roughly that of a big-rig truck, means the bike can be less than ideal in some slow-speed technical situations. Fortunately, first gear is extremely useable on the 990R but throttle response is abrupt compared to the computer-assisted 790R, which can affect slow-speed maneuvers. Balanced and nimble, the 790R rides like a bike much lighter than its 470 pounds when fully fueled. While that number is still a lot of machine to take off-road, the 790 tips the scales a full 45 pounds less than the 990R’s fueled weight of 515 pounds. Although, it is worth noting the 990R came equipped from the factory with a center stand that adds several pounds. Riding over rough or rocky roads, the suspension soaks up small bumps easily but has a somewhat harsh feel through the mid-portion of the stroke. However, this same feeling translates into a responsiveness which allows the bike to react extremely quickly to whatever the wheels touch. The official weigh-in for this match-up took place at Rottweiler Performance Headquarters. Both bikes were weighed fully fueled on their high-tech scales.Both bikes have about the same suspension travel, with the 790R sporting 9.45 inches and the 990R with slightly more at 9.75 inches. The 990R does get about 1.5 inches more ground clearance. Even so, when the wheels leave the ground, more of the 790R’s suspension travel can be used with little fear of bottoming out either the front or rear. At higher speeds, the terrain can be felt translating up through the chassis to a greater degree on the 790R than its older sibling. Compared to the plush and planted feel of the 990R, the 790R exhibits a more hyper-responsive feel, which can be almost twitchy by comparison. Overall, the 990R feels planted and stable on more flowy high-speed terrain like the Paris-Dakar rally courses which guided its early development. Conversely, the 790R feels much more nimble and agile in tighter, more technical terrain. The Motors Wanting to get verification of our in-the-saddle experience, we got dyno readings from Rottweiler Performance in Costa Mesa, California for both bikes. With a 200cc advantage over the 790, the 990R has predictably higher overall horsepower and torque numbers. Similar to the stable and predictable chassis, the 990R’s V-twin can pull in a more controlled way at lower RPMs than the comparably hyperactive 790R parallel-twin. With the traction control system deactivated, the 790R’s fly-by-wire throttle, combined with a powerplant that seems to prefer higher RPMs, results in a machine that feels like a lot more to handle than its comparatively smaller displacement would indicate. The 790R’s power comes on hard at about 4500 rpm and matches the 990R at about 7000 rpm before tapering off a bit. The aggressive hit can catch you off guard if you aren’t using Traction Control to filter it. Dyno test courtesy of Rottweiler PerformanceTorque at the low end is delivered quickly and aggressively on the 790 Adventure R, and that feeling is carried up through the gears. Several different traction control modes, combined with an on-the-fly adjustable “slip” setting when in “Rally” mode, easily and effectively tames the beast to the desired level. Whether the 790R’s software is unique to this machine, or the algorithms simply agree with this chassis, the end result is one of the best-performing and seamless traction control and ABS systems of any bike in this class. With its heritage from an era before either traction control or ABS was commonplace in motorcycles, the 990R V-twin is at home without computer assistance. As the progeny of a rally-winning class of bike, the 990R’s full capabilities are best explored by an elite class of rider, but appreciable by the rest of us as well. On the road, the familiar grunt of the V-twin is smooth and consistent throughout the entire gear range, and it emits an ear-pleasing note from its twin pipes the 790R can’t quite match with its single exhaust. Timed Off-Road Test In addition to an adventure ride with several hundred road miles, and several days of traveling on and off-road, both the 790R and 990R were brought to our secret ADV Pulse desert test loop. This timed course takes about 5 minutes to go around and is specifically designed to put motorcycles through a head-to-head dirt test in a controlled and readily observable manner. The fast-paced loop contains deep sand, aggressive whoop sections, hard packed and rocky dirt roads, cross-ruts, steep climbs, descents, and much more over its 2.3 mile length. To ensure we had both bikes on equal footing and to maximize traction in the dirt, we spooned on a fresh set of Motoz Tractionator Desert H/T DOT knobbies. In addition, multiple timed runs of each bike were conducted with the same rider, on the same course, on the same day. Starting out with a gradual but very sandy descent towards some cross ruts and small ledges, leading to a stretch of whoops, the 790R clearly had the advantage. With speeds kept in check by turns in the sandy path, the lighter weight and hyper-quick throttle response of the 790 Adventure R made it much easier to keep the front end light, and change direction at will. The 990R’s comparably heavier front end feel was more apt to wash out or push through the tighter and sandier sections. When the trail straightened out however, the 990’s planted and stable feel then inspired confidence to crack the throttle over the roughest sections of the course. Some portions of the course could be handed to either bike, even though they exhibited very different characteristics. In the whoops for example, the 790R had an amazingly light and “flickable” quality. The stiffer and more reactive suspension, combined with immediate throttle response, made quick adjustments much easier when navigating this section. Stability provided by the 990R’s weight and longer wheelbase could lessen the degree of additional rider input necessary at times, as inertia and good geometry helped guide the machine through a well-chosen line. After all our tests were run, comparing the two fastest lap times between the bikes resulted in a 790R win by just under two seconds. This number may sound like a slim margin until it is put into context with other bikes. ADV Pulse has been using this same course and this same 2012 KTM 990 Adventure R as a benchmark for several years now. In previous tests, the 990R bested Honda’s Africa Twin by 7 seconds, KTM’s own 1190R by 3.5 seconds and the 1090R by 0.7 seconds. So far, the KTM 790 Adventure R is the first bike to beat the 990R model.
  8. On the surface, this motorcycle comparison may seem a bit unusual. Yet these two motorcycles having completely different displacements,engine configurations, and separated by almost a decade are worthy of a head-to-head shootout by virtue of their sheer performance: the 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R and 2012 KTM 990 Adventure R. KTM’s all-new 790 Adventure R has garnered significant hype both for its unique design aspects and aesthetics, and for its off-road prowess by those who have had an opportunity to throw a leg over one in the dirt. In some ways, this is perhaps no surprise, given KTM’s heavy emphasis on off-road machines. What perhaps comes as a surprise, is the relatively widespread references comparing KTM’s latest twin-cylinder adventure bike not to the most recent preceding model, the 1090 Adventure R, but rather a model line that was first launched 16 years ago! The original Dakar Rally winning race bike that started it all, the KTM 950 Rally, had a lot in common with the production model launched in 2003.When KTM’s V-Twin LC8 platform was first released to the world in 2003 in the form of the 950 Adventure S, it was a game-changer. Developed closely with legendary rally champion Fabrizio Meoni, the bike wasn’t deemed ready for production until he had already won both the Pharaons Rally (2001) and the Dakar Rally (2002) aboard prototypes. What the market then received in 2003 was essentially a legalized rally bike capable of never before seen speeds off-road for this class of motorcycle, even in its tamed production form. ADVERTISEMENT With a chassis virtually unchanged over the next 10 years, the 950 Adventure S increased displacement to become the 990 Adventure R in 2006, and would continue on with only minor updates until 2012. Model year 2013 saw a last gasp with the “Baja Special Edition” but that featured a lower, less off-road oriented suspension than the ‘R’ version. In 2014, KTM released their all-new 1190 Adventure R, and then the 1090 Adventure R in 2017. Both were versatile adventure bikes and the off-road kings of their class at the time, but neither could quite match the earlier 990 Adventure R in the dirt. For that reason many hard-core off-road riders continued to hold their 950s and 990s in high esteem, waiting for the day KTM would build a bike that was as good or better off-road. And that’s exactly what KTM hoped to achieve while developing the 790 Adventure R. The Austrians started with a clean slate engineering the 790 platform, in an effort to create their most off-road capable, twin-cylinder adventure bike yet. Based on early reviews, the 790R has proven to be a step ahead of all ‘current’ competition in the dirt, but is it a match for the legendary 990R? We got our hands on a low-mileage 2012 KTM 990 Adventure R in stock form to see how these two bikes compare not only off-road, but as all-around adventure bikes. Read on! At First Glance The KTM 990 Adventure R has a more upright, adventure touring appearance, while the 790 Adventure R is more compact with ‘Enduro’ styling cues. We put both bikes on equal footing for the test with a fresh set of Motoz Tractionator Desert A/T knobbies. While key observations are to be made from behind the bars, a first glance at both the KTM 990 Adventure R and KTM 790 Adventure R reveal they are unique machines, echoing certain mutual design elements. Arguably the most attention-getting visual aspect of both bikes are the fuel tanks. Each bike aims to carry fuel weight as low as possible, but in different ways. Positioned on either side of the bike, the 990R’s twin fuel tanks also serve as exterior body panels extending down almost to the skidplate. The 790R’s single fuel tank design takes this idea even further, featuring unique lobes protruding out from underneath the radiator and extending slightly below the central skidplate. These atypical fuel tank designs result in neither bike having a typical fuel gauge. Only a low fuel light and diligent use of the trip meter allows riders on the 990R to keep track of fuel consumption. A “half gauge” on the 790R will indicate “full” until the tank is roughly half empty, at which point the gauge kicks in, providing a reading of how much fuel remains in the lower half of the tank. The split tank design of the 990R has an additional benefit in that a decent sized storage compartment is available directly in front of the saddle. While a seemingly minor detail, this turns out to be significantly convenient during travels. However, the 990R glove box location does make accessing the air filter time consuming when compared to the 790R. Tucked beneath a compartment towards the rear of the motorcycle, the 790R’s filter is reached for maintenance by simply removing the seat and two T30 torx screws. The battery is also easily accessible under the seat on the 790R, whereas the 990R’s battery is hidden down behind the skidplate. While there are some similarities in the fuel tank designs, the single tank of the 790R bulges out more on the sides and it carries the fuel even lower than the twin tanks of the 990R.Striking a longer and taller pose, the 990R appears a much larger machine. The 990R’s taller non-adjustable windscreen adds to the bike’s upright adventure tourer look, while the 790R’s short screen and high fender give it more of an ‘Enduro’ appearance. Another area where these two bikes significantly differ is in the dash. The 990R has a large analogue tach in the center and basic LCD display with clock, engine temp, outside temp, fuel warning light, and speedo. The 790R uses a modern color TFT display with thumb controls to adjust traction control levels, ABS modes, rider modes, and throttle maps. All of the standard information you’d expect is available on the home screen, as well as battery voltage. As far as standard equipment, both bikes get a 12-volt accessory plug on the dash and the 790R comes with tubeless spoked wheels, whereas the 990’s rims are tube type. However, the 990R does come with a centerstand to make tire repairs easier. Heated grips were available factory options on both bikes but only 790 could be ordered with cruise control. Suspension and Handling In stock form, the 990R forks are a bit on the soft side compared to the 790R, while the rear feels slightly oversprung. Absorbing virtually everything versus deflecting off obstacles, the 990R’s front legs make for a plush ride, although one that contrasts with a more reactive rear shock. Ridden without luggage, the shock preload can often be backed out significantly to help reduce the stiffness in the rear end. Almost any amount of luggage can be accommodated by turning the adjuster clockwise as much as necessary. A longer wheelbase and ideal cockpit geometry (for my 5’11” frame) gives the 990R a comparatively more stable feel off-road at higher speeds. This same stability, combined with a tall seat h (1-inch taller than the 790R) and turning radius roughly that of a big-rig truck, means the bike can be less than ideal in some slow-speed technical situations. Fortunately, first gear is extremely useable on the 990R but throttle response is abrupt compared to the computer-assisted 790R, which can affect slow-speed maneuvers. Balanced and nimble, the 790R rides like a bike much lighter than its 470 pounds when fully fueled. While that number is still a lot of machine to take off-road, the 790 tips the scales a full 45 pounds less than the 990R’s fueled weight of 515 pounds. Although, it is worth noting the 990R came equipped from the factory with a center stand that adds several pounds. Riding over rough or rocky roads, the suspension soaks up small bumps easily but has a somewhat harsh feel through the mid-portion of the stroke. However, this same feeling translates into a responsiveness which allows the bike to react extremely quickly to whatever the wheels touch. The official weigh-in for this match-up took place at Rottweiler Performance Headquarters. Both bikes were weighed fully fueled on their high-tech scales.Both bikes have about the same suspension travel, with the 790R sporting 9.45 inches and the 990R with slightly more at 9.75 inches. The 990R does get about 1.5 inches more ground clearance. Even so, when the wheels leave the ground, more of the 790R’s suspension travel can be used with little fear of bottoming out either the front or rear. At higher speeds, the terrain can be felt translating up through the chassis to a greater degree on the 790R than its older sibling. Compared to the plush and planted feel of the 990R, the 790R exhibits a more hyper-responsive feel, which can be almost twitchy by comparison. Overall, the 990R feels planted and stable on more flowy high-speed terrain like the Paris-Dakar rally courses which guided its early development. Conversely, the 790R feels much more nimble and agile in tighter, more technical terrain. The Motors Wanting to get verification of our in-the-saddle experience, we got dyno readings from Rottweiler Performance in Costa Mesa, California for both bikes. With a 200cc advantage over the 790, the 990R has predictably higher overall horsepower and torque numbers. Similar to the stable and predictable chassis, the 990R’s V-twin can pull in a more controlled way at lower RPMs than the comparably hyperactive 790R parallel-twin. With the traction control system deactivated, the 790R’s fly-by-wire throttle, combined with a powerplant that seems to prefer higher RPMs, results in a machine that feels like a lot more to handle than its comparatively smaller displacement would indicate. The 790R’s power comes on hard at about 4500 rpm and matches the 990R at about 7000 rpm before tapering off a bit. The aggressive hit can catch you off guard if you aren’t using Traction Control to filter it. Dyno test courtesy of Rottweiler PerformanceTorque at the low end is delivered quickly and aggressively on the 790 Adventure R, and that feeling is carried up through the gears. Several different traction control modes, combined with an on-the-fly adjustable “slip” setting when in “Rally” mode, easily and effectively tames the beast to the desired level. Whether the 790R’s software is unique to this machine, or the algorithms simply agree with this chassis, the end result is one of the best-performing and seamless traction control and ABS systems of any bike in this class. With its heritage from an era before either traction control or ABS was commonplace in motorcycles, the 990R V-twin is at home without computer assistance. As the progeny of a rally-winning class of bike, the 990R’s full capabilities are best explored by an elite class of rider, but appreciable by the rest of us as well. On the road, the familiar grunt of the V-twin is smooth and consistent throughout the entire gear range, and it emits an ear-pleasing note from its twin pipes the 790R can’t quite match with its single exhaust. Timed Off-Road Test In addition to an adventure ride with several hundred road miles, and several days of traveling on and off-road, both the 790R and 990R were brought to our secret ADV Pulse desert test loop. This timed course takes about 5 minutes to go around and is specifically designed to put motorcycles through a head-to-head dirt test in a controlled and readily observable manner. The fast-paced loop contains deep sand, aggressive whoop sections, hard packed and rocky dirt roads, cross-ruts, steep climbs, descents, and much more over its 2.3 mile length. To ensure we had both bikes on equal footing and to maximize traction in the dirt, we spooned on a fresh set of Motoz Tractionator Desert H/T DOT knobbies. In addition, multiple timed runs of each bike were conducted with the same rider, on the same course, on the same day. Starting out with a gradual but very sandy descent towards some cross ruts and small ledges, leading to a stretch of whoops, the 790R clearly had the advantage. With speeds kept in check by turns in the sandy path, the lighter weight and hyper-quick throttle response of the 790 Adventure R made it much easier to keep the front end light, and change direction at will. The 990R’s comparably heavier front end feel was more apt to wash out or push through the tighter and sandier sections. When the trail straightened out however, the 990’s planted and stable feel then inspired confidence to crack the throttle over the roughest sections of the course. Some portions of the course could be handed to either bike, even though they exhibited very different characteristics. In the whoops for example, the 790R had an amazingly light and “flickable” quality. The stiffer and more reactive suspension, combined with immediate throttle response, made quick adjustments much easier when navigating this section. Stability provided by the 990R’s weight and longer wheelbase could lessen the degree of additional rider input necessary at times, as inertia and good geometry helped guide the machine through a well-chosen line. After all our tests were run, comparing the two fastest lap times between the bikes resulted in a 790R win by just under two seconds. This number may sound like a slim margin until it is put into context with other bikes. ADV Pulse has been using this same course and this same 2012 KTM 990 Adventure R as a benchmark for several years now. In previous tests, the 990R bested Honda’s Africa Twin by 7 seconds, KTM’s own 1190R by 3.5 seconds and the 1090R by 0.7 seconds. So far, the KTM 790 Adventure R is the first bike to beat the 990R model.
  9. Tire changes are generally eagerly anticipated about as much as a visit to the dentist. Cursing an inanimate rubber ring with bloody knuckles clenching and waving tire levers around like magic wands gone rogue is not how most enjoy spending an afternoon. A device that can turn this process into a painless exercise, requiring three minutes or less to complete would be a miracle, and Rabaconda has made it. Abracadabra! The Rabaconda “3-Minute Tire Changer” was originally developed for fast tire changes on dirt bikes using mousses. A host of enduro riders, including Graham Jarvis, are named on the Rabaconda website as users of this product. The lightweight unit fits into a carrying case which can be brought to track days or races, and quickly set up in a shop, field, or most any other location with a relatively flat surface. [embedded content] ADV Pulse wondered how the device would adapt to use with adventure bike wheels. In the context of this test, we used the Rabaconda as a tire changer with both tubed and tubeless setups on a variety of different-sized machines We successfully used the Rabaconda to change tires on everything from the Kawasaki Versys-X 300, Honda Africa Twin, KTM 1090 Adventure and more. How It Performed Setting up the Rabaconda is quick, and made easier by wheel size markings along the three base supports. While these serve as initial points when selecting a wheel size, variances in rim design mean small adjustments are sometimes necessary to allow the wheel to spin freely on the changer. Once the three supports are adjusted and clamped down, the wheel is placed on the Rabaconda with a centering shaft through the hub. Included in the kit are a 20mm spindle and 24mm adaptor sleeve that works with wheel axle diameters common on most dirt bikes. They also offer optional 12-18mm and 28mm spindle adaptors for bikes with different sized hub bearings. ADVERTISEMENT The bead breaker is then placed at the edge of the rim, and more than ample leverage is provided by the long lever arm to quickly and easily break the bead. With one hand spinning the wheel on the stand, and the other operating the bead breaker, the bead is separated from the rim in seconds. Tire levers are then used to pull the bead to the outside of the rim, at which point the tube (if installed) can be removed. Sometimes we did notice when flipping the wheel over, the spindle adapter sleeve would raise with the hub as the wheel was removed from the tire changer. Minor gripe, but adapter sleeves that lock in place would be preferable. Once flipped, simply use the bead breaker lever to again go around the tire, completely separating it from the wheel – a process that again requires only seconds. Being designed for dirt bikes, the wider rear rims on some adventure bikes can cause a minor hiccup in the process at this point, as the travel distance of the bead breaker bar is just a few millimeters short of what’s necessary to completely push the tire off the far side (low side, or side facing the ground). It still works on wider rims, just requires a little extra nudge with your hands once the bead breaker reaches its limit. Installing a tire is even easier than removing one with the Rabaconda. Once the old tire falls from the wheel to the ground, simply apply some tire mounting lubricant to the bead of the new one and push one side onto the rim (be sure to check the directional arrows where applicable!). Install a tube if required, then use tire levers to go around roughly 80-90% of the bead. Once the last (and most difficult) portion of the bead remains, position the Rabaconda’s bead breaker on the sidewall at that spot and press down to finish installation. The Rabaconda easily stows away into a duffel carry on.Watch the linked video to see an awkward first attempt at using this machine resulted in a less than two-minute tire swap on a KTM 790 Adventure R with tubeless tires! Based on our experience, roughly two minutes would be added to the time if installing a tube. A valve stem fishing tool will make things a whole lot easier and faster. [embedded content] Tire Iron Choices While any tire iron will work with the Tire Changer, Rabaconda offers an optional PRO Tyre Iron Kit, which includes five long irons. In addition to providing greater leverage to ease the changing process, these longer levers are designed to work with a special catch at the base of the bead breaker acting as an extra hand holding the bead in place. When changing a moussed tire, use of all five levers makes the process vastly easier. With a tubed or tubeless tire, the process can be done with as few as two levers. Whether you use longer or shorter irons is really up to user preference. Who Is it For The Rabaconda tire changer is appropriate for anyone who owns a motorcycle, and wishes to do tire changes on their own. It would be an especially welcome addition to the garage of anyone who owns multiple bikes, and rides often enough to go through multiple sets of tires on a regular basis. Solid build quality and practical design makes this tire changer a contender for use with a race team or even a small shop as well. Those who take their bikes to a shop for tire changes may find that the Rabaconda makes things easy enough to begin doing it at home, allowing them to save both time and money. Our Verdict While designed for dirt bikes, the Rabaconda Tire Changer is worth a look for adventure riders who swap rubber often, and are looking for easier and quicker options beyond changing tires on the ground. By dramatically easing the process of changing a moussed tire, adding this tire changer to one’s garage might even encourage trying out mousses for more aggressive off-road adventure bike rides on an appropriate bike. Quick to set up and easy to store, it’s a practical addition to any DIY motorcyclist’s stable of tools. What We Liked Under two-minute tire changes with tubeless! Extra leverage saves energy and busted knuckles. Convenient storage case saves space. What Could Be Improved Two-piece sleeved center shaft sometimes “binds” when flipping wheel. Bead breaker travel slightly too short for wider rims. Shopping Options Author: Jon Beck Jon Beck is fulfilling a dream of never figuring out what to be when he grows up. Racing mountain bikes, competitive surfing, and touring as a musician are somehow part of what led Jon to travel through over 40 countries so far as an adventure motorcycle photographer, journalist, and guide. From precision riding for cameras in Hollywood, to refilling a fountain pen for travel stories, Jon brings a rare blend of experience to the table. While he seems happiest when lost in a desert someplace, deadlines are met most of the time.
  10. Last September when Spain’s GasGas was purchased by the Pierer Mobility Group, parent company of KTM and Husqvarna, we thought it would be awhile before we saw any changes or additions to its successful line of lightweight trials and enduro models. Yet only three months later, in a detailed investor document published by Pierer, we see GasGas is already gearing up for a surprising leap straight into the deep end of the street market with two 800cc models, one a straight-up naked bike and the other an adventure touring bike. From the sketch in the management presentation, we see that the new adventure bike leans toward the sport touring side of the spectrum, similar in form to Ducati’s 1260 Multistrada. Despite the image being blurred, it seems the bike is shod with 17” cast wheels, though a skid plate, hand guards and a bit of extra ground clearance let us know it’s intended to go down some dirt roads. A Pierer Mobility Group investor presentation reveals plans for an 800cc adventure tourer, along with two other naked models.Since KTM seems very comfortable cross pollinating its engines and components, we can assume this new bike will be powered by the same 790cc parallel twin KTM uses in its popular mid-weight Adventure series, as well as the upcoming Husqvarna Norden 901. Suspension will likely be WP, another brand housed under the Pierer Group umbrella, unless GasGas is going a budget-minded route. ADVERTISEMENT There’s no arguing KTM has been doing an impressive job growing the Husqvarna brand and we expect no less from its involvement with GasGas. And while this sudden foray into street machines might seem off-kilter for the dirt bike manufacturer, keep in mind how Husqvarna threw us all for a loop with its edgy 501, and then 701 Vitpilen and Svartpilen urban bikes, additions that have upgraded the brand’s reputation and vibe for the better. The only hitch is in wondering just how thinly KTM can spread such distinct technology across so many platforms before it starts feeling duplicitous, like bikes from KTM, Husqvarna and now GasGas are more like flavors than brands. In that sense, it will be especially interesting to see how both GasGas and Husqvarna spin their latest models to create a sense of individuality. With GasGas’ years of experience competing in Rally Raid, they have all the tools needed to develop a future line of rugged adventure bikes. We’ll see where this foray into street bikes takes them. Interestingly, the majority of GasGas’s enduro and trails bikes are still being hand-built in the town of Salt, near Girona in Catalonia, Spain, and it appears that artisan operation will continue in the coming years. GasGas only started building bikes in 1985 as a phoenix operation that rose from the financial ashes of Bultaco, a brand all of us old timers remember with a grin. In addition to the 800cc Adventure Sport and naked models, GasGas will also release a 250cc naked street bike, and who knows, somewhere down the line perhaps we’ll see something even more distinctive in the dual sport category from this European brand. Something that incorporates all of its knowledge of what it takes to make winning trials, enduro and rally raid bikes. Until then, let’s sit back and watch how this new crop grows. With almost every manufacturer busily readying a new adventure bike or two, it’s bound to be a feast to satisfy the masses. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  11. Last September when Spain’s GasGas was purchased by the Pierer Mobility Group, parent company of KTM and Husqvarna, we thought it would be awhile before we saw any changes or additions to its successful line of lightweight trials and enduro models. Yet only three months later, in a detailed investor document published by Pierer, we see GasGas is already gearing up for a surprising leap straight into the deep end of the street market with two 800cc models, one a straight-up naked bike and the other an adventure touring bike. From the sketch in the management presentation, we see that the new adventure bike leans toward the sport touring side of the spectrum, similar in form to Ducati’s 1260 Multistrada. Despite the image being blurred, it seems the bike is shod with 17” cast wheels, though a skid plate, hand guards and a bit of extra ground clearance let us know it’s intended to go down some dirt roads. A Pierer Mobility Group investor presentation reveals plans for an 800cc adventure tourer, along with two other naked models.Since KTM seems very comfortable cross pollinating its engines and components, we can assume this new bike will be powered by the same 790cc parallel twin KTM uses in its popular mid-weight Adventure series, as well as the upcoming Husqvarna Norden 901. Suspension will likely be WP, another brand housed under the Pierer Group umbrella, unless GasGas is going a budget-minded route. ADVERTISEMENT There’s no arguing KTM has been doing an impressive job growing the Husqvarna brand and we expect no less from its involvement with GasGas. And while this sudden foray into street machines might seem off-kilter for the dirt bike manufacturer, keep in mind how Husqvarna threw us all for a loop with its edgy 501, and then 701 Vitpilen and Svartpilen urban bikes, additions that have upgraded the brand’s reputation and vibe for the better. The only hitch is in wondering just how thinly KTM can spread such distinct technology across so many platforms before it starts feeling duplicitous, like bikes from KTM, Husqvarna and now GasGas are more like flavors than brands. In that sense, it will be especially interesting to see how both GasGas and Husqvarna spin their latest models to create a sense of individuality. With GasGas’ years of experience competing in Rally Raid, they have all the tools needed to develop a future line of rugged adventure bikes. We’ll see where this foray into street bikes takes them. Interestingly, the majority of GasGas’s enduro and trails bikes are still being hand-built in the town of Salt, near Girona in Catalonia, Spain, and it appears that artisan operation will continue in the coming years. GasGas only started building bikes in 1985 as a phoenix operation that rose from the financial ashes of Bultaco, a brand all of us old timers remember with a grin. In addition to the 800cc Adventure Sport and naked models, GasGas will also release a 250cc naked street bike, and who knows, somewhere down the line perhaps we’ll see something even more distinctive in the dual sport category from this European brand. Something that incorporates all of its knowledge of what it takes to make winning trials, enduro and rally raid bikes. Until then, let’s sit back and watch how this new crop grows. With almost every manufacturer busily readying a new adventure bike or two, it’s bound to be a feast to satisfy the masses. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  12. For the last few years Husqvarna has been regaining strength in the off-road and motocross segments, while sparking new passions with its street bike platform. More recently, the company publicly confirmed production of its first adventure bike, the Norden 901, and now investor documents reveal it will also be building a range of smaller displacement adventure bikes. Seems like Husqvarna is going all in with the Norden! The documents, presented by Pierer Mobility Group (KTM and Husqvarna’s parent company), list a 501 adventure bike that will likely share KTM’s new 490 parallel-twin engine, not the thumper motor currently found in the Husqvarna FE 501 Enduro. It is also believed this new line of mid-range Husqvarna adventure bikes will carry the name ‘Norden’ like the 901. In addition to the Norden 501, there will be a 401cc adventure model expected to share the same ambition and single-cylinder engine we know is coming in the budget-minded KTM 390 Adventure, though we wonder if Husqvarna won’t spin a more stylized version that aligns it with the distinct, edgy look of its first-ever road bikes, the Svartpilen and Vitpilen. A Pierer Mobility Group investor presentation reveals plans for 501, 401 and 250cc adventure bikes to join the already confirmed Norden 901 in the lineup.Because we know the 390 Adventure will be lighter weight (348 pounds), budget-minded ($6,199 USD) and feature a steel trellis frame, as well as a WP suspension that will allow about 7-inches of travel for off-road play, we expect similar characteristics on the Husqvarna Norden 401. These cost-focused specs also almost guarantee the twin-powered Norden 501 will have a more up-spec build and be even more adventure worthy. ADVERTISEMENT According to the investor report, Husqvarna will also produce a 250 adventure bike, without a doubt another single, and probably a bike pointed more at KTM’s campaign to infiltrate the lucrative high-volume Asian market. For any Rip Van Winkles out there, Pierer Mobility Group-owned KTM liberated the storied Swedish brand Husqvarna in 2013 as it languished in BMW’s portfolio, and promptly transfused it with enough cash and proven hardware that it was soon breathing on its own again. For those adventurers who prefer bigger power and longer rides, the most interesting thing to come from the famous Swedish brand is sure to be the Norden 901. The concept bike looks strong and well-equipped, and the sources at Husky have assured us it will also be light in weight – a long-overdue asset among halo models and key factor to enticing buyers. Another intriguing Husqvarna is listed as a “Classic” model in the report, targeted toward entry-level riders. Shown only as a blurred image, what we can tell is that it’s a Scrambler-style bike that looks a bit like Royal Enfield’s Himalayan. We’ll have to keep an eye out for more details on this one. Visually, all we have to go by is this obscured image of a new Scrambler model, which has a striking resemblance to the Royal Enfield Himalayan. In the words of Facebook follower Kevin Sgro after commenting on yesterday’s KTM 490 Adventure news, “What a time to be alive.” So, Merry Christmas eve everyone! Pierer Mobility Group (a.k.a. 2019’s Santa) has one more new adventure model up its sleeve, this one true wild card we’ll unwrap for you tomorrow. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  13. For the last few years Husqvarna has been regaining strength in the off-road and motocross segments, while sparking new passions with its street bike platform. More recently, the company publicly confirmed production of its first adventure bike, the Norden 901, and now investor documents reveal it will also be building a range of smaller displacement adventure bikes. Seems like Husqvarna is going all in with the Norden! The documents, presented by Pierer Mobility Group (KTM and Husqvarna’s parent company), list a 501 adventure bike that will likely share KTM’s new 490 parallel-twin engine, not the thumper motor currently found in the Husqvarna FE 501 Enduro. It is also believed this new line of mid-range Husqvarna adventure bikes will carry the name ‘Norden’ like the 901. In addition to the Norden 501, there will be a 401cc adventure model expected to share the same ambition and single-cylinder engine we know is coming in the budget-minded KTM 390 Adventure, though we wonder if Husqvarna won’t spin a more stylized version that aligns it with the distinct, edgy look of its first-ever road bikes, the Svartpilen and Vitpilen. A Pierer Mobility Group investor presentation reveals plans for 501, 401 and 250cc adventure bikes to join the already confirmed Norden 901 in the lineup.Because we know the 390 Adventure will be lighter weight (348 pounds), budget-minded ($6,199 USD) and feature a steel trellis frame, as well as a WP suspension that will allow about 7-inches of travel for off-road play, we expect similar characteristics on the Husqvarna Norden 401. These cost-focused specs also almost guarantee the twin-powered Norden 501 will have a more up-spec build and be even more adventure worthy. ADVERTISEMENT According to the investor report, Husqvarna will also produce a 250 adventure bike, without a doubt another single, and probably a bike pointed more at KTM’s campaign to infiltrate the lucrative high-volume Asian market. For any Rip Van Winkles out there, Pierer Mobility Group-owned KTM liberated the storied Swedish brand Husqvarna in 2013 as it languished in BMW’s portfolio, and promptly transfused it with enough cash and proven hardware that it was soon breathing on its own again. For those adventurers who prefer bigger power and longer rides, the most interesting thing to come from the famous Swedish brand is sure to be the Norden 901. The concept bike looks strong and well-equipped, and the sources at Husky have assured us it will also be light in weight – a long-overdue asset among halo models and key factor to enticing buyers. Another intriguing Husqvarna is listed as a “Classic” model in the report, targeted toward entry-level riders. Shown only as a blurred image, what we can tell is that it’s a Scrambler-style bike that looks a bit like Royal Enfield’s Himalayan. We’ll have to keep an eye out for more details on this one. Visually, all we have to go by is this obscured image of a new Scrambler model, which has a striking resemblance to the Royal Enfield Himalayan. In the words of Facebook follower Kevin Sgro after commenting on yesterday’s KTM 490 Adventure news, “What a time to be alive.” So, Merry Christmas eve everyone! Pierer Mobility Group (a.k.a. 2019’s Santa) has one more new adventure model up its sleeve, this one true wild card we’ll unwrap for you tomorrow. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  14. Looks like KTM is about to get busy, um, busier than it already is outselling BMW in unit sales. A prospectus intended for shareholders of KTM and Husqvarna’s parent company, Pierer Mobility Group, is making rounds in the enthusiast sector, showing that more than a dozen new motorcycles will come to market in the near future, including a very timely 500cc parallel twin-driven Adventure model. Finally, news of a more sensibly-sized ADV entry for the 300-600cc segment during a model year changeover that has had announcements of bikes in the 700-1000cc range going off like popcorn. KTM President Stefan Pierer had previously discussed plans to develop a new 500cc parallel-twin engine, similar in design to the 790 Adventure R’s, in an interview with CycleNews earlier in the year. Now we are seeing exactly what KTM intends to use the new platform for. Looking over the presentation document, we see the new 490 will not be replacing the much anticipated new-for-2020 single-cylinder 390 Adventure announced in November. Instead, it will represent one of five pillars in a new line of 490 twin-based models speculated to include a 490 Duke, RC 490, 490 SMC R and an even more dirt-worthy 490 Enduro. Management presentation by Pierer Mobility reveals plans for a 490 adventure, a 490 enduro, as well as a 890 adventure model. ADVERTISEMENT Since the 490 images in the presentation have been blurred for ambiguity, it’s hard to tell much, though the Adventure version appears to come with spoked wheels, an upgrade from the cast wheels that come on the current 390 Adventure, a bike that has already stirred excitement for its lightweight, entry-level approachability. And now comes this anticipation-worthy 490 edition, a model that will undoubtedly bridge the gap between starter bike and real world all-rounder by combining the top-shelf suspension kitting we expect from KTM with more roominess and the smooth, highway-friendly engine character of a twin. Filing in below the 390 in rank, two even smaller single-powered adventure bikes are shown in the report, a 125 and 250 most certainly pointed at the Asian market, especially India, where KTM has partnered with mega manufacturer, Bajaj Auto, a move that helped them increase global sales at a blistering pace. Visually, all we have to go by now are these obscured images of the new twin-powered 500cc Adventure and Enduro models.Of more relevance to those who prefer bigger power and longer rides, is an 890 mentioned in the presentation. It appears to have a taller windscreen in the blurry image, which might imply that the base, touring-focused 790 Adventure could be bumped up to a 890, while the off-road focused R model will retain the smaller displacement, at least for the moment. At some point however, this more emissions-friendly, Euro 5-ready 890 will likely replace the 790 mill entirely, hopefully without any weight penalty. In a season of giving, this news from Pierer regarding future models — and especially the twin-powered 490 Adventure — feels like a gift. For far too long the major manufacturers have been churning out heavy, large displacement adventure bikes and paying little mind to the mid-weight segment, a category that has buyers lined up like a Best Buy on Black Friday. So this more manageable, hopefully dirt-leaning and presumably budget-friendly 500cc adventure bike is sure to gain traction in a market where street-focused choices like Kawasaki’s Versys-X and Honda’s CBX500 have been taking up all the air. And guess what, that’s not the even the end of gifts gleaned from Pierer’s extensive report. We’ll have those additional details for you to unwrap shortly, way before Santa is de-icing his sleigh. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  15. Looks like KTM is about to get busy, um, busier than it already is outselling BMW in unit sales. A prospectus intended for shareholders of KTM and Husqvarna’s parent company, Pierer Mobility Group, is making rounds in the enthusiast sector, showing that more than a dozen new motorcycles will come to market in the near future, including a very timely 500cc parallel twin-driven Adventure model. Finally, news of a more sensibly-sized ADV entry for the 300-600cc segment during a model year changeover that has had announcements of bikes in the 700-1000cc range going off like popcorn. KTM President Stefan Pierer had previously discussed plans to develop a new 500cc parallel-twin engine, similar in design to the 790 Adventure R’s, in an interview with CycleNews earlier in the year. Now we are seeing exactly what KTM intends to use the new platform for. Looking over the presentation document, we see the new 490 will not be replacing the much anticipated new-for-2020 single-cylinder 390 Adventure announced in November. Instead, it will represent one of five pillars in a new line of 490 twin-based models speculated to include a 490 Duke, RC 490, 490 SMC R and an even more dirt-worthy 490 Enduro. Management presentation by Pierer Mobility reveals plans for a 490 adventure, a 490 enduro, as well as a 890 adventure model. ADVERTISEMENT Since the 490 images in the presentation have been blurred for ambiguity, it’s hard to tell much, though the Adventure version appears to come with spoked wheels, an upgrade from the cast wheels that come on the current 390 Adventure, a bike that has already stirred excitement for its lightweight, entry-level approachability. And now comes this anticipation-worthy 490 edition, a model that will undoubtedly bridge the gap between starter bike and real world all-rounder by combining the top-shelf suspension kitting we expect from KTM with more roominess and the smooth, highway-friendly engine character of a twin. Filing in below the 390 in rank, two even smaller single-powered adventure bikes are shown in the report, a 125 and 250 most certainly pointed at the Asian market, especially India, where KTM has partnered with mega manufacturer, Bajaj Auto, a move that helped them increase global sales at a blistering pace. Visually, all we have to go by now are these obscured images of the new twin-powered 500cc Adventure and Enduro models.Of more relevance to those who prefer bigger power and longer rides, is an 890 mentioned in the presentation. It appears to have a taller windscreen in the blurry image, which might imply that the base, touring-focused 790 Adventure could be bumped up to a 890, while the off-road focused R model will retain the smaller displacement, at least for the moment. At some point however, this more emissions-friendly, Euro 5-ready 890 will likely replace the 790 mill entirely, hopefully without any weight penalty. In a season of giving, this news from Pierer regarding future models — and especially the twin-powered 490 Adventure — feels like a gift. For far too long the major manufacturers have been churning out heavy, large displacement adventure bikes and paying little mind to the mid-weight segment, a category that has buyers lined up like a Best Buy on Black Friday. So this more manageable, hopefully dirt-leaning and presumably budget-friendly 500cc adventure bike is sure to gain traction in a market where street-focused choices like Kawasaki’s Versys-X and Honda’s CBX500 have been taking up all the air. And guess what, that’s not the even the end of gifts gleaned from Pierer’s extensive report. We’ll have those additional details for you to unwrap shortly, way before Santa is de-icing his sleigh. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
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