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  1. Published on 02.12.2019 Bridgestone has announced the launch of new street-legal enduro rubber for competitions, the Battlecross E50. Leveraging the experience and technologies gained through the development of tires for off-road riding, the Battlecross E50 tires have been designed to deliver high traction and cornering performance on a variety of road surfaces as is required in enduro competitions. The new tires are both DOT approved and compliant with FIM regulations. The Battlecross E50 employs the company’s proprietary Castle Block technology to ensure effective grip, even on slippery surfaces. A specialized edge, called a bunker, located at the base of the tread blocks enables the tires to exert strong traction on soft surfaces. Bridgestone also used 3D simulations to optimize the shapes and positions of the tread blocks to deliver higher levels of cornering performance in the front tire and enhanced traction performance in the rear tire. ADVERTISEMENT Surfaces such as stones or logs buried in soil and rain-drenched can be extremely slippery. The Castle Block profile incorporates secondary tread blocks that protrude from the conventional tread block profiles to increase total edge components and improve contact pressure on slippery surfaces for enhanced grip. In turn, the bunker enables the edge portion at the base of the tread block to exert traction even when the block is submerged in a surface. Engineers set to also change from a harder tread rubber integrated with the sidewall rubber to an optimized dual compound division. Other changes targeted the shape and profile at the bottom part of the sidewall by redesigning the rim guard part. According to Bridgestone, both these modifications increase the mounting ease on the side of the track and improve the rim fitting. The Battlecross E50 tires are available now in the U.S. and Canada, and will launch in other regions in February 2019. • Front: Size 90/90-21 M/C 54P W • Rear Size: 120/90-18 M/C 65P W • Rear Size: 140/80-18 M/C 70P W For more information visit Bridgestone.com Shopping Options
  2. The multitasking Poseidon 2 GTX leans toward the road touring side of REV’IT!’s top of the line adventure riding suits, giving way to the Dominator, which has a more off-road focus. As the namesake of the Greek God of the Sea, one would expect excellent performance in the wet. It replaces the Poseidon, retaining many proven attributes but adopting some modifications. It’s billed as a four-season suit and I can say from my experience that it certainly lives up to the hype in winter weather. REV’IT! Poseidon 2 GTX Tech Large vent panels on the chest and thighs are held in place by glove-friendly magnetic fasteners. The Poseidon 2 jacket’s outer layer is 400-denier high-tenacity nylon, which makes it softer and lighter than the 600-denier shell of its predecessor. REV’IT! starts the process of moisture control by lining the shell with laminated two- and three-layer Gore-Tex membranes, which allows perspiration to wick through. Their Aquadefence Ventilation Control System (VCS) offers six vents in the jacket. Lower arm vents from the original Poseidon have been moved to the upper arms where they can get more airflow riding in the seated position with a windscreen. Those open via 4” waterproof, rubberized zippers and two vertical 6” back vents provide an escape path. Two folding panels (now larger than before) open as chest vents and are held in place by REV’IT!’s easy-to-operate FidLock magnetic fasteners. They are a cinch to open or close in flight, making sudden showers easier to accommodate without stopping. ADVERTISEMENT A sturdy plastic hook and single loop hold the collar open for more ventilation when needed. Closure is handled by an adjustable flexisnap, allowing proper fit for varying neck sizes. The removable storm collar shuts down wind and rain. When closed, a flexible, Neoprene throat piece contacts the Adam’s apple, reducing chafing, and a microfiber lining does the same for the permanent collar. A full-length rain gutter seals over the zipper in front, reinforcing the garment against the elements. Both jacket and pant also come with zip-in thermal liners for cold weather riding. The thermal liner is fairly basic in the jacket, not a destination liner that can be worn as a standalone garment. Front pockets are protected by a storm flap and utilize waterproof zippers. The jacket includes a zip-in thermal liner for cold weather riding. The Poseidon 2 GTX pants use the same VCS technology and two- and three-layer Gore-Tex laminating process as the jacket. The two large thigh vent panels open in front and latch back with the magnetic FidLock fasteners, just like the chest pockets in the jacket. A YKK slide lock securely latches the fly and REV’IT!’s short and long connection zipper system allows the jacket or pant to attach to each other, or any other jacket or pant in the REV’IT! Line. The Poseidon 2 GTX comes with Seeflex CE Level 2 armor in the knees, elbows and shoulders. A Seesoft CE Level 2 back protector is optional As far as crash protection, the suit features Seeflex CE Level 2 shoulder, elbow and knee armor, along with Seesmart CE Level 1 hip protector inserts as standard equipment. Back and chest armor are optional. For abrasion protection, the jacket uses ceramic bead SuperFabric to cover the elbow and forearm area. Storage The jacket has two waterproof outside pockets in front, a single Napoleon pocket in the right-side vest area and a waterproof lumbar pocket. Two mesh pockets are located inside the jacket lining and a large stash pocket resides in the thermal liner. The pants have two slit-style front pockets with 5” hooded, waterproof zipper closures just below the beltline. Zippered, Velcro flares open at the lower legs to facilitate putting on and taking off various-sized boots, including off-road boots. Extra Features Laminated, reflective accents including the REV’IT! logo grace the garment front and back and the jacket has attachment loops to accept their reflective vest. Pull-tabs are used for strap adjustments at rib cage, upper and lower arms and lower pant legs. Gussets can be zipped open at the jacket’s waist to allow more hip room. The jacket lining accepts the Challenger cooling vest. The pants have a grip panel in the seat to help prevent slippage. YKK slide lock front closure ensures the fly won’t open spontaneously. How it performed A sage rider will tell you that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. It’s 40 degrees and raining hard as I head out for my final test of the new REV’IT! Poseidon 2. An hour into the ride my worn-out boots are soaking through. My hands are also going numb, as they so often do, but my body is warm and dry. Two hours in, I turn toward home, slog into the house and peel my boots from my cold and sodden feet. A lot of riding suits give up the ghost in a rain like this but the Poseidon 2 withstood the test with flying colors. In the dirt, hard activity like negotiating rocks and sand in temps above 80 degrees I found the suit wanting a bit. With vents on the shoulders and not the lower arms, ventilation is more suited to sitting than standing, and there are no outflow vents in the pants. That said, REV’IT!’s large VCS vent panels on the thighs and chest are a nice touch for all but the warmest conditions. Ergonomically, the pre formed shape of the jacket felt good. The 400D outer shell is also lightweight and pliable. The fit is classic European, snug in the arms and chest, and the pants are also slim but comfortable. I am 5’10” and 170 lb. The size chart called for size medium in both jacket and pants but I found the medium jacket much too tight. A large was a better fit, although still snug in the arms with the liner installed. Without liners the suit was roomy and comfortable. Arms are curved just enough to allow a relaxed riding position and the open grid design of strike point armor was malleable, even when cold. Flexibility of movement was good off-road in both pants and jacket. A grip panel in the seat also helped prevent unwanted movement when sitting. Who is it for? The REV’IT! Poseidon 2 GTX straddles the fence between a full-on adventure and a street touring suit. If you often find yourself in both environments, the Poseidon might just fit the bill. It works particularly well for those who ride frequently in cold wet climates. If you take your off-pavement riding seriously and ride a lot in the summer months, however, it might be a little warm for comfort. Our Verdict The Poseidon 2 GTX suit is versatile and comfortable. Although lacking hot weather ventilation to the extent I would prefer, it’s a breath of fresh air to be warm and dry at the end of a long, wet, winter ride. And with CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders, elbows and knees, you are well protected in all conditions. What We Liked 100% waterproof. Durable cinch straps, not Velcro. 400D nylon shell is tough but pliable. FidLock flaps, YKK Slide Lock closure, and hook and loop collar are trick. What Could Be Improved A tad more room in the arms for layering. Ventilation is marginal for a suit billed as four-season. Pants and jacket pockets are hard to access while seated. A jacket destination liner would be nice. REV’IT! Poseidon 2 GTX Specs COLORS: Black and Silver Anthracite SIZES: Jacket (SM-4XL), Pant (SM-4XL, MD-2XL Short, MD-2XL Tall) PRICE: Jacket ($899), Pant ($649) Shopping Options Poseidon 2 GTX Jacket: Poseidon 2 GTX Pant: Photos by Susan Dragoo Author: Bill Dragoo The adventure lifestyle permeates all he does, providing grist for the writing mill. Bill owns and operates DART (Dragoo Adventure Rider Training), an Oklahoma based school for folks seeking to improve their off road skills, primarily on big motorcycles. He is a certified BMW Motorrad Off Road Instructor and actively writes for several adventure related magazines. His work expands to the four-wheel overlanding community as well, as he and his wife Susan explore Mexico and the American West in their fast and light travel vehicle dubbed the Tacoma GS after the Gelande Strasse (Land and Street) line of BMW motorcycles.
  3. Kawasaki has always marketed their Versys-X 300 conservatively as a street bike designed to handle light off-road terrain. That may be what the engineers had in mind, but after getting some seat time on the stock machine, we began to realize there was a lot more potential. For years, ADV enthusiasts have been calling for a lighter, simpler, economical adventure bike that is capable off-road and smooth on the highway. The Versys-X didn’t quite get there from the factory, but it does have a good foundation with its smooth 296cc inline-twin pumping out 39.3 horsepower, a 386-pound wet weight, 200+ mile fuel range, wire-spoke wheels, low seat h, and an affordable $5,499 price tag. ADVERTISEMENT Despite its potential, there are several limitations that hold it back from being the versatile do-it-all ADV Bike it could be. The goal of this build was to outfit the Versys-X 300 for long-range off-road travel, with improvements in off-road performance, carrying capacity, and protection. Nothing too extreme that would take it out of its design envelope – just address a few of its weaknesses, enhance its strengths, and make a nice step forward in off-road capability. We’ve been wrenching away on our little Versys-X Project Bike for months now, experimenting with different aftermarket parts and even helping develop some new ones. It’s fair to say there aren’t a lot of aftermarket options out there for the Versys-X 300, but we scoured around until we found top-level componentry that offers real improvements. We are pretty excited with how it turned out. Check out what went into the build below. We also provide a full build sheet for the bike, including pricing for each part: PROTECTION Our first order of business was to give the Versys-X some proper protection for the trail. The stock plastic lower cowling really doesn’t protect from much more than pebbles. With an exhaust header that routes underneath the engine and low ground clearance, it’s a disaster waiting to happen on a rocky trail. There are also no stock hand guards to protect levers and the stock mirrors are not up for the hard knocks of off-road riding. Ricochet’s skid plate for the Versys-X 300 is constructed with 3/16″ 5052 H-32 aluminum and features wrap-around wings to help protect the cases. Coverage is good for both the exhaust, oil filter and sump. And with its durable anodized black finish, it stays looking good after riding through rock gardens. The plate includes cutouts for access to the oil drain plug, so you don’t have to remove it for routine maintenance. It also works with or without a centerstand. GIVI’s crash bars for the Versys-X 300 are made of 1” diameter steel with a connecting crossbar to help distribute the energy in a fall. It helps protect against those common tip overs and low-side falls on the trail – a good investment to avoid damaging the fragile plastic fairing or the radiator. GIVI crash bars feature a durable black powder coat finish and come with plastic sliders to help keep your bars looking scratch free. Whether it’s the tree branches constantly knocking your mirrors, or your helmet when you are banging through whoops, mirrors are one of those things that just get in the way off-road. The stock mirrors on the Versys-X 300 look more at home on a Ninja than a real adventure bike, so we put on a set of the tried and tested DoubleTake breakaway mirrors. Hit them with a bat and they just ask “May I have another please?”. They also handle falls on roots, logs or rocks just as well, and you can loosen them up and adjust them down flat on the handlebars so they won’t slap you in the face on those whooped out trails. Any handguards are better than no handguards, and that’s what the Versys-X 300 comes with from the factory – nilch. But we wanted something real sturdy to keep from being stranded on the trail with broken levers. These look like your typical metal-braced off-road handguards, but they also offer a little extra room for larger “street bike” master cylinders. There was ample room to fit all of our handlebar controls and enough coverage to provide some good wind protection for our hands on the highway. Off-Road Performance While we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the 300cc powerplant performs on the street – on both twisty back roads and long highway stretches – its off-road performance is what could use the most help. With just 5.1 inches of travel up front and 5.8 inches in the rear, it’s below average for adventure bike specs. A little more low-end power and some better grip from the tires were other performance improvements we wanted to make for the trail. With front end bottoming being the biggest problem holding the Versys-X 300 back on the trail, increasing suspension travel was a big priority. More travel would allow us to ride at increased speeds without blowing through the suspension and give us more ground clearance as well. We didn’t find any companies offering an upgrade for the Versys-X, so we reached out to Cogent Dynamics. They were already making lowering kits and suspension upgrades for the Versys-X 300, but had never tried extending the suspension travel. With our custom requirements, they increased fork travel by roughly one inch (~ 6.1 inches) and installed DDC Valves (Drop-In Damper Cartridge) for improved damping function over stock. Next we worked with Cogent to develop an all-new Monotube shock for the Versys-X 300 to replace the harsh ride of the stock shock. The replacement shock Cogent engineered offers approximately one inch of extra suspension travel, improved damping, along with preload and damping adjustability. Cogent was able to achieve this without using a piggyback or remote reservoir, so the cost is more reasonable and there are no fitment issues to deal with. Now with roughly 6.8 inches of suspension travel and premium damping control, the Versys-X 300 has better bump absorption and ground clearance in the dirt. Seat h is also raised roughly an inch, but at about 33.1 inches, it’s still relatively low. Swapping the stock 80/20 (Street/Dirt) dual sport tires for a set of DOT knobbies is one of the easiest ways to improve performance in the dirt. MotoZ are known for their competition off-road and enduro tires, but their Tractionator Adventure tires are street legal. They have an aggressive tread pattern, somewhere around the 25/75 range, to give our Versys a real edge in more technical terrain like steep inclines, wet mud, and loose gravel. Tread blocks are deep, but a specialized compound helps extend durability. So far, the grip in the dirt is much improved and they are predictable when they slide on asphalt. The Versys-X uses a 110/80-19 front and 130/80-17 rear, but they also come in a range of sizes for various adventure bikes. It’s fair to say the Versys-X impresses for a 300cc on the street with the capability to take you over 100 mph. It gains speed slowly though and it feels a little choked up in the lower RPMs. We wanted to see if we could open it up a bit and give it a more responsive low end for off-road riding. The Akrapovic Slip-On offers an increase in horsepower of 2.8% and 2.6% in torque. While the gains are modest, we noticed a snappier throttle response and it feels punchier down low. The noise level is similar to stock but it offers a richer sound that is music to the ears. What’s more, we shaved almost 5 pounds off the bike in the process. The carbon-fiber tip, Titanium sleeve, and carbon-fiber heat shield also offer a little flair to our Kawi.
  4. Kawasaki has always marketed their Versys-X 300 conservatively as a street bike designed to handle light off-road terrain. That may be what the engineers had in mind, but after getting some seat time on the stock machine, we began to realize there was a lot more potential. For years, ADV enthusiasts have been calling for a lighter, simpler, economical adventure bike that is capable off-road and smooth on the highway. The Versys-X didn’t quite get there from the factory, but it does have a good foundation with its smooth 296cc inline-twin pumping out 39.3 horsepower, a 386-pound wet weight, 200+ mile fuel range, wire-spoke wheels, low seat h, and an affordable $5,499 price tag. ADVERTISEMENT Despite its potential, there are several limitations that hold it back from being the versatile do-it-all ADV Bike it could be. The goal of this build was to outfit the Versys-X 300 for long-range off-road travel, with improvements in off-road performance, carrying capacity, and protection. Nothing too extreme that would take it out of its design envelope – just address a few of its weaknesses, enhance its strengths, and make a nice step forward in off-road capability. We’ve been wrenching away on our little Versys-X Project Bike for months now, experimenting with different aftermarket parts and even helping develop some new ones. It’s fair to say there aren’t a lot of aftermarket options out there for the Versys-X 300, but we scoured around until we found top-level componentry that offers real improvements. We are pretty excited with how it turned out. Check out what went into the build below. We also provide a full build sheet for the bike, including pricing for each part: PROTECTION Our first order of business was to give the Versys-X some proper protection for the trail. The stock plastic lower cowling really doesn’t protect from much more than pebbles. With an exhaust header that routes underneath the engine and low ground clearance, it’s a disaster waiting to happen on a rocky trail. There are also no stock hand guards to protect levers and the stock mirrors are not up for the hard knocks of off-road riding. Ricochet’s skid plate for the Versys-X 300 is constructed with 3/16″ 5052 H-32 aluminum and features wrap-around wings to help protect the cases. Coverage is good for both the exhaust, oil filter and sump. And with its durable anodized black finish, it stays looking good after riding through rock gardens. The plate includes cutouts for access to the oil drain plug, so you don’t have to remove it for routine maintenance. It also works with or without a centerstand. GIVI’s crash bars for the Versys-X 300 are made of 1” diameter steel with a connecting crossbar to help distribute the energy in a fall. It helps protect against those common tip overs and low-side falls on the trail – a good investment to avoid damaging the fragile plastic fairing or the radiator. GIVI crash bars feature a durable black powder coat finish and come with plastic sliders to help keep your bars looking scratch free. Whether it’s the tree branches constantly knocking your mirrors, or your helmet when you are banging through whoops, mirrors are one of those things that just get in the way off-road. The stock mirrors on the Versys-X 300 look more at home on a Ninja than a real adventure bike, so we put on a set of the tried and tested DoubleTake breakaway mirrors. Hit them with a bat and they just ask “May I have another please?”. They also handle falls on roots, logs or rocks just as well, and you can loosen them up and adjust them down flat on the handlebars so they won’t slap you in the face on those whooped out trails. Any handguards are better than no handguards, and that’s what the Versys-X 300 comes with from the factory – nilch. But we wanted something real sturdy to keep from being stranded on the trail with broken levers. These look like your typical metal-braced off-road handguards, but they also offer a little extra room for larger “street bike” master cylinders. There was ample room to fit all of our handlebar controls and enough coverage to provide some good wind protection for our hands on the highway. Off-Road Performance While we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the 300cc powerplant performs on the street – on both twisty back roads and long highway stretches – its off-road performance is what could use the most help. With just 5.1 inches of travel up front and 5.8 inches in the rear, it’s below average for adventure bike specs. A little more low-end power and some better grip from the tires were other performance improvements we wanted to make for the trail. With front end bottoming being the biggest problem holding the Versys-X 300 back on the trail, increasing suspension travel was a big priority. More travel would allow us to ride at increased speeds without blowing through the suspension and give us more ground clearance as well. We didn’t find any companies offering an upgrade for the Versys-X, so we reached out to Cogent Dynamics. They were already making lowering kits and suspension upgrades for the Versys-X 300, but had never tried extending the suspension travel. With our custom requirements, they increased fork travel by roughly one inch (~ 6.1 inches) and installed DDC Valves (Drop-In Damper Cartridge) for improved damping function over stock. Next we worked with Cogent to develop an all-new Monotube shock for the Versys-X 300 to replace the harsh ride of the stock shock. The replacement shock Cogent engineered offers approximately one inch of extra suspension travel, improved damping, along with preload and damping adjustability. Cogent was able to achieve this without using a piggyback or remote reservoir, so the cost is more reasonable and there are no fitment issues to deal with. Now with roughly 6.8 inches of suspension travel and premium damping control, the Versys-X 300 has better bump absorption and ground clearance in the dirt. Seat h is also raised roughly an inch, but at about 33.1 inches, it’s still relatively low. Swapping the stock 80/20 (Street/Dirt) dual sport tires for a set of DOT knobbies is one of the easiest ways to improve performance in the dirt. MotoZ are known for their competition off-road and enduro tires, but their Tractionator Adventure tires are street legal. They have an aggressive tread pattern, somewhere around the 25/75 range, to give our Versys a real edge in more technical terrain like steep inclines, wet mud, and loose gravel. Tread blocks are deep, but a specialized compound helps extend durability. So far, the grip in the dirt is much improved and they are predictable when they slide on asphalt. The Versys-X uses a 110/80-19 front and 130/80-17 rear, but they also come in a range of sizes for various adventure bikes. It’s fair to say the Versys-X impresses for a 300cc on the street with the capability to take you over 100 mph. It gains speed slowly though and it feels a little choked up in the lower RPMs. We wanted to see if we could open it up a bit and give it a more responsive low end for off-road riding. The Akrapovic Slip-On offers an increase in horsepower of 2.8% and 2.6% in torque. While the gains are modest, we noticed a snappier throttle response and it feels punchier down low. The noise level is similar to stock but it offers a richer sound that is music to the ears. What’s more, we shaved almost 5 pounds off the bike in the process. The carbon-fiber tip, Titanium sleeve, and carbon-fiber heat shield also offer a little flair to our Kawi.
  5. Kawasaki has always marketed their Versys-X 300 conservatively as a street bike designed to handle light off-road terrain. That may be what the engineers had in mind, but after getting some seat time on the stock machine, we began to realize there was a lot more potential. For years, ADV enthusiasts have been calling for a lighter, simpler, economical adventure bike that is capable off-road and smooth on the highway. The Versys-X didn’t quite get there from the factory, but it does have a good foundation with its smooth 296cc inline-twin pumping out 39.3 horsepower, a 386-pound wet weight, 200+ mile fuel range, wire-spoke wheels, low seat h, and an affordable $5,499 price tag. ADVERTISEMENT Despite its potential, there are several limitations that hold it back from being the versatile do-it-all ADV Bike it could be. The goal of this build was to outfit the Versys-X 300 for long-range off-road travel, with improvements in off-road performance, carrying capacity, and protection. Nothing too extreme that would take it out of its design envelope – just address a few of its weaknesses, enhance its strengths, and make a nice step forward in off-road capability. We’ve been wrenching away on our little Versys-X Project Bike for months now, experimenting with different aftermarket parts and even helping develop some new ones. It’s fair to say there aren’t a lot of aftermarket options out there for the Versys-X 300, but we scoured around until we found top-level componentry that offers real improvements. We are pretty excited with how it turned out. Check out what went into the build below. We also provide a full build sheet for the bike, including pricing for each part: PROTECTION Our first order of business was to give the Versys-X some proper protection for the trail. The stock plastic lower cowling really doesn’t protect from much more than pebbles. With an exhaust header that routes underneath the engine and low ground clearance, it’s a disaster waiting to happen on a rocky trail. There are also no stock hand guards to protect levers and the stock mirrors are not up for the hard knocks of off-road riding. Ricochet’s skid plate for the Versys-X 300 is constructed with 3/16″ 5052 H-32 aluminum and features wrap-around wings to help protect the cases. Coverage is good for both the exhaust, oil filter and sump. And with its durable anodized black finish, it stays looking good after riding through rock gardens. The plate includes cutouts for access to the oil drain plug, so you don’t have to remove it for routine maintenance. It also works with or without a centerstand. GIVI’s crash bars for the Versys-X 300 are made of 1” diameter steel with a connecting crossbar to help distribute the energy in a fall. It helps protect against those common tip overs and low-side falls on the trail – a good investment to avoid damaging the fragile plastic fairing or the radiator. GIVI crash bars feature a durable black powder coat finish and come with plastic sliders to help keep your bars looking scratch free. Whether it’s the tree branches constantly knocking your mirrors, or your helmet when you are banging through whoops, mirrors are one of those things that just get in the way off-road. The stock mirrors on the Versys-X 300 look more at home on a Ninja than a real adventure bike, so we put on a set of the tried and tested DoubleTake breakaway mirrors. Hit them with a bat and they just ask “May I have another please?”. They also handle falls on roots, logs or rocks just as well, and you can loosen them up and adjust them down flat on the handlebars so they won’t slap you in the face on those whooped out trails. Any handguards are better than no handguards, and that’s what the Versys-X 300 comes with from the factory – nilch. But we wanted something real sturdy to keep from being stranded on the trail with broken levers. These look like your typical metal-braced off-road handguards, but they also offer a little extra room for larger “street bike” master cylinders. There was ample room to fit all of our handlebar controls and enough coverage to provide some good wind protection for our hands on the highway. Off-Road Performance While we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the 300cc powerplant performs on the street – on both twisty back roads and long highway stretches – its off-road performance is what could use the most help. With just 5.1 inches of travel up front and 5.8 inches in the rear, it’s below average for adventure bike specs. A little more low-end power and some better grip from the tires were other performance improvements we wanted to make for the trail. With front end bottoming being the biggest problem holding the Versys-X 300 back on the trail, increasing suspension travel was a big priority. More travel would allow us to ride at increased speeds without blowing through the suspension and give us more ground clearance as well. We didn’t find any companies offering an upgrade for the Versys-X, so we reached out to Cogent Dynamics. They were already making lowering kits and suspension upgrades for the Versys-X 300, but had never tried extending the suspension travel. With our custom requirements, they increased fork travel by roughly one inch (~ 6.1 inches) and installed DDC Valves (Drop-In Damper Cartridge) for improved damping function over stock. Next we worked with Cogent to develop an all-new Monotube shock for the Versys-X 300 to replace the harsh ride of the stock shock. The replacement shock Cogent engineered offers approximately one inch of extra suspension travel, improved damping, along with preload and damping adjustability. Cogent was able to achieve this without using a piggyback or remote reservoir, so the cost is more reasonable and there are no fitment issues to deal with. Now with roughly 6.8 inches of suspension travel and premium damping control, the Versys-X 300 has better bump absorption and ground clearance in the dirt. Seat h is also raised roughly an inch, but at about 33.1 inches, it’s still relatively low. Swapping the stock 80/20 (Street/Dirt) dual sport tires for a set of DOT knobbies is one of the easiest ways to improve performance in the dirt. MotoZ are known for their competition off-road and enduro tires, but their Tractionator Adventure tires are street legal. They have an aggressive tread pattern, somewhere around the 25/75 range, to give our Versys a real edge in more technical terrain like steep inclines, wet mud, and loose gravel. Tread blocks are deep, but a specialized compound helps extend durability. So far, the grip in the dirt is much improved and they are predictable when they slide on asphalt. The Versys-X uses a 110/80-19 front and 130/80-17 rear, but they also come in a range of sizes for various adventure bikes. It’s fair to say the Versys-X impresses for a 300cc on the street with the capability to take you over 100 mph. It gains speed slowly though and it feels a little choked up in the lower RPMs. We wanted to see if we could open it up a bit and give it a more responsive low end for off-road riding. The Akrapovic Slip-On offers an increase in horsepower of 2.8% and 2.6% in torque. While the gains are modest, we noticed a snappier throttle response and it feels punchier down low. The noise level is similar to stock but it offers a richer sound that is music to the ears. What’s more, we shaved almost 5 pounds off the bike in the process. The carbon-fiber tip, Titanium sleeve, and carbon-fiber heat shield also offer a little flair to our Kawi.
  6. KTM has confirmed their 2019 Adventure model lineup for the US, along with availability and pricing for most models. The big news for 2019 is the addition of the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R models to KTM’s lineup. The 790 is no doubt one of the most anticipated new models in the adventure segment and new owners are already eagerly putting down their deposits. KTM hasn’t officially confirmed the pricing on the 790 yet, but we’ve seen some leaked dealer price sheets that reveal the MSRP. All other ADV models have had their pricing and availability officially confirmed by KTM. Here is the complete list of KTM 2019 models in KTM’s Travel range, including MSRP pricing, availability and any noteworthy changes that have occurred. 2019 KTM 690 Enduro R – $11,699 MSRP ADVERTISEMENT The 690 Enduro R is a popular choice for those looking for a light-weight off-road-focused dual sport motorcycle with the capability to travel longer distances than the EXC models. Just add a windscreen, large capacity fuel tank and luggage, and you are ready for a round the world tour with the ability to take on nearly any terrain. For 2019, the 690 Enduro gets a smoother engine, increased fuel capacity, new electronics, suspension upgrades, and more. See full details on the 690 Enduro R changes here. Availability: Late February 2019 KTM 790 Adventure – $12,499 MSRP KTM’s all-new, compact, twin-cylinder, middleweight Adventure Bike is the perfect model for riders that want to tackle a variety off-road terrain while still having long-range touring capability right off the showroom floor. Pumping out 95 HP with a full range of electronic aids, 8″ of suspension travel, 21”/18” wheel combo, a 417-pound dry weight, tall windscreen and a seat h that isn’t sky high, versatility is the 790’s greatest strength. See full details and specs on the 790 Adventure here. Availability: April 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R – $13,499 MSRP For those looking to explore even more challenging off-road terrain, the ‘R’ model takes the 790’s capability in the dirt up another notch. Its fully-adjustable WP XPLOR suspension – which features a 48mm fork and PDS rear shock – gives the 790 R the highest ground clearance (10.4 inches) and longest suspension travel (9.5 inches) in the middleweight adventure bike category. Seat h is also raised a few inches higher than the standard 790 Adventure R. See full details and specs on the 790 Adventure R here. Availability: April 2019 KTM 1090 Adventure R – $14,999 MSRP Ever since its introduction in 2017, the KTM 1090 Adventure R has been considered one of the most off-road capable machines in the Adventure Bike liter class. The suspension is premium WP with a PDS rear shock for excellent handling and maneuverability in the dirt. And with 125 HP on tap and a 6.1 gallon fuel tank, you get impressive street performance and fuel range on longer journeys as well. No changes have been announced 2019 but it’s still one of the most balanced adventure bikes on the market. See our full review of the KTM 1090 Adventure R here. Availability: Currently being shipped to US dealers 2019 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S – $18,499 MSRP KTM has smartly split its 1290 Super Adventure line into two distinct flavors — street and dirt. The S model offers street-friendly cast wheels in a 19”/17 combo, electronic suspension with 8” of travel to give it more grip and flickability on a twisty road. It features the latest technology gizmos and rider aids to improve safety and rider comfort for longer journeys. Those electronics also help keep the fire-breathing 160 HP motor contained. If you are brave enough to turn traction control off, you’ll enjoy power wheelies in 4th gear! While the 1290 Super Adventure S offers blazing speed on a twisty backroad, it’s also no slouch in the dirt, giving you options if you get curious about any dirt roads you come across. Check out our full review of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S here. Availability: Currently being shipped to US dealers 2019 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R – $18,499 MSRP The 1290 Super Adventure R is KTM’s flagship adventure bike with a dirt focus. It carries all the technology of the S model but gets the same fully-adjustable WP suspension as the 1090 Adventure R with 8.7” of travel. The 1290 Super Adventure S also gets dirt-friendly wire-spoke wheels in an 21”/18” combo, crash bars, factory knobbies, and a shorter windscreen to make it more rugged and capable on tougher trails. While it may be tuned for the dirt, it still has good long-range touring bike with a generous full capacity (6.1 gallons), a smooth 160 HP motor, and cruise control. No changes have been announced for 2019. Availability: Currently being shipped to US dealers
  7. KTM has confirmed their 2019 Adventure model lineup for the US, along with availability and pricing for most models. The big news for 2019 is the addition of the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R models to KTM’s lineup. The 790 is no doubt one of the most anticipated new models in the adventure segment and new owners are already eagerly putting down their deposits. KTM hasn’t officially confirmed the pricing on the 790 yet, but we’ve seen some leaked dealer price sheets that reveal the MSRP. All other ADV models have had their pricing and availability officially confirmed by KTM. Here is the complete list of KTM 2019 models in KTM’s Travel range, including MSRP pricing, availability and any noteworthy changes that have occurred. 2019 KTM 690 Enduro R – $11,699 MSRP ADVERTISEMENT The 690 Enduro R is a popular choice for those looking for a light-weight off-road-focused dual sport motorcycle with the capability to travel longer distances than the EXC models. Just add a windscreen, large capacity fuel tank and luggage, and you are ready for a round the world tour with the ability to take on nearly any terrain. For 2019, the 690 Enduro gets a smoother engine, increased fuel capacity, new electronics, suspension upgrades, and more. See full details on the 690 Enduro R changes here. Availability: Late February 2019 KTM 790 Adventure – $12,499 MSRP KTM’s all-new, compact, twin-cylinder, middleweight Adventure Bike is the perfect model for riders that want to tackle a variety off-road terrain while still having long-range touring capability right off the showroom floor. Pumping out 95 HP with a full range of electronic aids, 8″ of suspension travel, 21”/18” wheel combo, a 417-pound dry weight, tall windscreen and a seat h that isn’t sky high, versatility is the 790’s greatest strength. See full details and specs on the 790 Adventure here. Availability: April 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R – $13,499 MSRP For those looking to explore even more challenging off-road terrain, the ‘R’ model takes the 790’s capability in the dirt up another notch. Its fully-adjustable WP XPLOR suspension – which features a 48mm fork and PDS rear shock – gives the 790 R the highest ground clearance (10.4 inches) and longest suspension travel (9.5 inches) in the middleweight adventure bike category. Seat h is also raised a few inches higher than the standard 790 Adventure R. See full details and specs on the 790 Adventure R here. Availability: April 2019 KTM 1090 Adventure R – $14,999 MSRP Ever since its introduction in 2017, the KTM 1090 Adventure R has been considered one of the most off-road capable machines in the Adventure Bike liter class. The suspension is premium WP with a PDS rear shock for excellent handling and maneuverability in the dirt. And with 125 HP on tap and a 6.1 gallon fuel tank, you get impressive street performance and fuel range on longer journeys as well. No changes have been announced 2019 but it’s still one of the most balanced adventure bikes on the market. See our full review of the KTM 1090 Adventure R here. Availability: Currently being shipped to US dealers 2019 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S – $18,499 MSRP KTM has smartly split its 1290 Super Adventure line into two distinct flavors — street and dirt. The S model offers street-friendly cast wheels in a 19”/17 combo, electronic suspension with 8” of travel to give it more grip and flickability on a twisty road. It features the latest technology gizmos and rider aids to improve safety and rider comfort for longer journeys. Those electronics also help keep the fire-breathing 160 HP motor contained. If you are brave enough to turn traction control off, you’ll enjoy power wheelies in 4th gear! While the 1290 Super Adventure S offers blazing speed on a twisty backroad, it’s also no slouch in the dirt, giving you options if you get curious about any dirt roads you come across. Check out our full review of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S here. Availability: Currently being shipped to US dealers 2019 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R – $18,499 MSRP The 1290 Super Adventure R is KTM’s flagship adventure bike with a dirt focus. It carries all the technology of the S model but gets the same fully-adjustable WP suspension as the 1090 Adventure R with 8.7” of travel. The 1290 Super Adventure S also gets dirt-friendly wire-spoke wheels in an 21”/18” combo, crash bars, factory knobbies, and a shorter windscreen to make it more rugged and capable on tougher trails. While it may be tuned for the dirt, it still has good long-range touring bike with a generous full capacity (6.1 gallons), a smooth 160 HP motor, and cruise control. No changes have been announced for 2019. Availability: Currently being shipped to US dealers
  8. [embedded content] Want to be one of the first to own the 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT? After unveiling the new machine at the IMS Show in Long Beach, California, and continued interest throughout winter tradeshows, the Italian marquee has launched a website, allowing those who pre-order to be first among recipients when it arrives later this year. The all-new Moto Guzzi adventure bike will be available in two versions, V85 TT, and V85 TT Adventure, with a selection of evocative colors and accessory options. To pre-order, a deposit of $2,000 is required which also gives you a $250 accessory credit. ADVERTISEMENT The V85 TT introduces a new Moto Guzzi engine. Its configuration mirrors that of all Moto Guzzi bikes in production today: an air-cooled transverse 90° V twin with an OHV configuration and two valves per cylinder. Engine capacity is 853cc and boasts an output ratio of almost 100 HP/liter while delivering 80 HP and 59 ft-lbs of torque at 5,000 rpm, with 90% of the torque already available at 3,750 rpm. This is the first Moto Guzzi small block engine that can easily reach 8,000 rpm. This retro-styled Adventure bike may be a rolling piece of artwork but it comes equipped with an array of technology features such as Riding Modes (Road, Rain, Offroad), TFT display, cruise control and the Moto Guzzi Multimedia platform (up-close look at the all-new Moto Guzzi V85 TT here) There’s plenty of distinctive styling features to look at as well, from the cutouts in the back of the front fender to keep air flowing to the motor, to the chrome-rimmed round headlights, the unique side-mounted mono shock, “flying Wing” daytime running light mounted between the headlights, and more. It’s a balanced blend of old-school styling in a modern, functional package. To put down your deposit and pre-order info click here. 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure Colors: Rosso Kalahari, Giallo Sahara Pricing: USA – $12,990 USD / Canada – $14,990 CAD Availability: USA, May 2019 / Canada, June 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure in Rosso Kalahari. 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Colors: Grigio Atacama Pricing: USA – $11,990 USD / Canada – $13,990 CAD Availability: USA, May 2019 / Canada, June 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT in Grigio Atacama.
  9. [embedded content] Want to be one of the first to own the 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT? After unveiling the new machine at the IMS Show in Long Beach, California, and continued interest throughout winter tradeshows, the Italian marquee has launched a website, allowing those who pre-order to be first among recipients when it arrives later this year. The all-new Moto Guzzi adventure bike will be available in two versions, V85 TT, and V85 TT Adventure, with a selection of evocative colors and accessory options. To pre-order, a deposit of $2,000 is required which also gives you a $250 accessory credit. ADVERTISEMENT The V85 TT introduces a new Moto Guzzi engine. Its configuration mirrors that of all Moto Guzzi bikes in production today: an air-cooled transverse 90° V twin with an OHV configuration and two valves per cylinder. Engine capacity is 853cc and boasts an output ratio of almost 100 HP/liter while delivering 80 HP and 59 ft-lbs of torque at 5,000 rpm, with 90% of the torque already available at 3,750 rpm. This is the first Moto Guzzi small block engine that can easily reach 8,000 rpm. This retro-styled Adventure bike may be a rolling piece of artwork but it comes equipped with an array of technology features such as Riding Modes (Road, Rain, Offroad), TFT display, cruise control and the Moto Guzzi Multimedia platform (up-close look at the all-new Moto Guzzi V85 TT here) There’s plenty of distinctive styling features to look at as well, from the cutouts in the back of the front fender to keep air flowing to the motor, to the chrome-rimmed round headlights, the unique side-mounted mono shock, “flying Wing” daytime running light mounted between the headlights, and more. It’s a balanced blend of old-school styling in a modern, functional package. To put down your deposit and pre-order info click here. 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure Colors: Rosso Kalahari, Giallo Sahara Pricing: USA – $12,990 USD / Canada – $14,990 CAD Availability: USA, May 2019 / Canada, June 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure in Rosso Kalahari. 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Colors: Grigio Atacama Pricing: USA – $11,990 USD / Canada – $13,990 CAD Availability: USA, May 2019 / Canada, June 2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT in Grigio Atacama.
  10. When it comes to motorcycle camping, it is all too easy to overpack and bring more gear than you really need. It tends to be a constant learning experience to figure what is essential and what can be left behind. One item that may not be essential, but can make the camping experience much more enjoyable, is a camp chair. After a long day on the bike, a comfortable camp chair is nice for relaxing by a campfire and helps you recover for the next day of riding. Lightweight backpacking chairs have been around forever, and you can find them in various sizes from a variety of different manufacturers. Typically, the lighter and smaller they are, the more expensive. As motorcyclists, we don’t necessarily need the lightest backpacking gear. What we do need is something that will pack down small, won’t be too heavy, and durability is a nice bonus as well. Tusk, a Rocky Mountain ATV/MC house brand, has recently released two new motorcycle camping chairs with similar features to other backpacking style chairs but at a more affordable price. [embedded content] ADVERTISEMENT Tusk compact camp chairs come in two sizes – Medium and Large. We got a chance to take the Medium on a couple camping trips to see how it compares with similar designs. I’m one of those people that doesn’t mind the extra weight and bulk of carrying a comfortable, compact backpacking chair on motorcycle trips. The last thing I want to do after a long day is sit on a uncomfortable rock or even worse, having to stand until it’s time to retire for the night. So how does this one match up? Tusk Camp Chair Setup The Tusk camp chair offers sturdy construction with 7065 aluminum tubing and 600 Denier reinforced fabric. The Tusk Camp Chair comes with a storage bag that has webbing loops on the ends for carrying and a strip of webbing along the length of the bag that allows you to strap it onto your luggage. At 14 inches long when packed, it fits in most panniers or tail bags. Once you take the chair out of the storage bag, you unroll the fabric and expose the frame tubing. The frame is made out of 7065 Aluminum tubing and snaps together easily with the help of shock cord through plastic junctions. Once the frame is assembled, the seat fabric can be mounted on it. The seat is made of a 600D reinforced Oxford cloth with mesh sections and pockets at each corner that slip over the frame. The entire chair takes less than a minute to assemble and disassembly and packing takes about the same amount of time. Tusk’s camp chair has a reasonable seat h and the drink holder is a nice convenience. How It Performed Once set up, the Tusk Camp Chair offers a comfortable and stable place to sit. One thing that you will notice right away is that this chair sits low to the ground. You sit around eleven inches off the ground, which is a good h for relaxing but it can be a little difficult to get back out of. If you are taller than average or maybe not as limber as you used to be, you may want to consider the Large version with a taller seat h. Having a camp chair in your kit can make a big difference in comfort, especially when camping in winter-like conditions. The top of the seat goes up to roughly around your shoulder blades and the bottom to about the mid-thigh area. A drink pocket on the right side holds a beverage, snacks or other small items. An additional bonus of the pocket is that it helps you orient the chair when you are assembling it. The mesh sections keep your back from getting sweaty in warm weather as well. One of the unique features of this chair that I really like are the wide plastic feet on the bottom of the legs. These feet help keep you from sinking into softer ground and make the chair more stable and easier to get out of. The ‘Large’ Tusk camp chair offers a taller and roomier perch with a pack size that is 3.5″ longer and 1.5″ wider. Previous to this, I’ve used the REI Co-op Flexlite backpacking chair on my rides – which has a similar design. While the REI chair is a bit lighter (6 ounces less), it is made out of materials that may not hold up as well as those used on the Tusk chair. The REI chair’s pack size is also a bit larger and it costs more than twice the price. Even worse, it doesn’t come with a beer holder! What it really comes down to is how much you value weight savings versus price. Most adventure riders will probably appreciate the extra durability of the heavier Tusk chair and the cost savings. This similarly designed REI backpacking chair (right) may save a few ounces but costs more than twice as much. Who is it for? For those who like to relax and enjoy their camping experience, but still want to pack light and avoid extra bulk. If you aren’t scared away by a few extra ounces and you like to save a few bucks, this might be a nice addition to your moto camping kit. Our Verdict At just 30 bucks, you are getting a compact and comfortable motorcycle camping chair that won’t take up a lot of space or add a lot of weight to your kit. Comfort level is pretty high – it really doesn’t have any pressure points that cause discomfort. The materials and construction are good quality and it should last for a long time. This camp chair is going to weigh a bit more than the typical name brand backpacking models, but unless you are counting ounces there really isn’t a valid reason to spend the extra money. What We Liked ● Compact package that makes it easy to pack. ● Good all-around comfort. ● Costs a lot less than most lightweight backpacking chairs. What Could Be Improved ● Could be a bit lighter. ● A few inches taller seat h might make exiting easier. Tusk Camp Chair Specs (Medium) WEIGHT: 2 lbs MAX LOAD: 260 lbs DIMENSIONS ASSEMBLED 25”x13.25”x 22” DIMENSIONS PACKED: 14”x3.25”x 3.25” PRICE: $29.99 Tusk Camp Chair Specs (Large) WEIGHT: 2.75 lbs MAX LOAD: 330 lbs DIMENSIONS ASSEMBLED 33” x 17.75” x 19” DIMENSIONS PACKED: 17.5” x 4.75” x 4.75” PRICE: $39.99 Shopping Options Photos by Chad Berger and Stephen Gregory Author: Chad Berger He’s a freelance journalist, photographer and tour guide from Wisconsin. Since 2004, Chad has been riding dual sport and adventure bikes all over the Midwest, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Moab, Baja, Alaska and many other places in between. He shares his experiences through the photography, videos and stories he produces from his trips. In 2008, Chad created a 600-mile dual sport route called the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail (TWAT), which eventually led to his becoming a tour guide for RIDE Adventures.
  11. With its 21” front wheel, capable suspension and sturdy off-road protection, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is ready to get off the beaten path right off the showroom floor. We’ve been riding our Himalayan long-term test bike for nearly a year now and have taken it places we never imagined we would go. As we’ve gotten it through tougher and tougher terrain, our confidence has grown to push its limits even further. From the sand dunes of Nevada to the rock-crawling jeep trails of Big Bear Lake and everything in between — the little Himalayan has proven it’s more than capable of hanging with the big boys. But after putting thousands of hard miles on a $4,500 motorcycle, we were bound to see some chinks in the armor. Pretty much any new adventure bike needs a little help from the aftermarket to prep it for real adventures and the Himalayan is no different. ADVERTISEMENT Here are five items we feel are essential upgrades for anyone that wants to spend significant time riding their Himalayan off-road. All of these upgrades will help improve the bike’s durability, but we were also careful to choose items that would blend well with the classic styling of the Himalayan. Whether it be hitting a rock in a tip over or getting kicked when throwing a leg over the bike, stock turn signals typically don’t last very long. The original blinkers on the Himalayan held up well for the first few rides, but then they began to break one by one. A little Duct Tape held them together for awhile but we were in need of a more permanent solution. Looking for a set of turn signals with higher durability, we came across the Tuff Lites from Extreme Dual Sport. It’s a small manufacturer but their off-road blinker design has been around for several years. They feature a flexible base that allows them to bend 90° in any direction and snap back to their original position. Tuff Lites use LEDs so they also draw less wattage from the electrical system. We chose the universal kit and just cut and spliced into original wiring. They worked right out of the box without requiring an additional relay and offer high visibility to fellow motorists. The rounded art-deco design is also a good style fit with the Himalayan. The original mirrors on the Himalayan are actually not bad for OEM equipment. We took them on a few rides and never broke them. But experience has taught us that OEM mirrors are going to break sooner rather than later, so it’s better to be proactive. DoubleTakes are some of the most popular dual sport mirrors on the market. If anything pushes on them stronger than the wind, two different hinge points allow them to bend out of the way. They can also be adjusted down out of the way in gnarly terrain. We went with a set of the original round Enduro Mirrors for a more stock appearance. The kit includes two mirrors, two long RAM arms, two RAM ball studs, and a single right-side reverse thread adapter (Yamaha Adapter). We had a set of these mirrors laying around that we’ve used on several different bikes through the years. They’ve been through tons of tree branch wacks and countless falls. We don’t want to find out what it would take to break these! Any bike that goes off-road needs a good set of wrap-around handguards. They protect your hands from branches and your levers in a fall. It’s also nice to have a little extra wind protection on the highway for your hands. Unfortunately, the Himalayan doesn’t come with any hand guards. Looking for a set of handguards, we were concerned about retaining the bike’s styling. We didn’t want to just bolt on a set of massive steel-braced moto guards. The Acerbis Rally Profile handguards offer a more subtle, streamlined appearance while still providing function protection. They are a full wrap-around design and are constructed of sturdy polypropylene. They aren’t metal braced but are strong enough to protect the levers in most falls. Their smaller design doesn’t look out of place on the Himalayan either. They are also affordable and come with a mounting kit for ⅞” or 1-⅛” handlebars. Most parts on the Himalayan are pretty durable and can take a good amount of off-road abuse but the stock ⅞” handlebars are made of soft steel and bend fairly easily. Adding wrap-around handguards can put even more stress on them, and once they bend, it’s almost impossible to get them back to their original position. After bending the bars on a few different occasions, it was time for an upgrade. We wanted strong 1-⅛” bars but didn’t want the additional expense (or modified appearance) of an adaptor kit for the larger bar diameter. So we checked around to see what stronger ⅞” handlebars were available. The Hybrid Bar from Mika Metals is an aluminum fat bar that is ⅞” at the clamp area but flares out to 1-⅛” diameter. They look just like any other tapered handlebars, they are incredibly strong, and no bar clamp adaptor is required. The Hybrid comes with a motocross-style cross bar but it can be removed if you want to retain a stock appearance. If you are not launching off doubles at the MX track, they are plenty strong without it. We also opted for the ‘CR High’ bar bend for roughly the same h as stock but with less sweep for more aggressive enduro ergos. The Himalayan has been pretty reliable other than a few loose bolts and rattles, with the exception of the exhaust. Under the consistent stress of rough trail riding we’ve put the bike through, we noticed the stock muffler loosening from time to time. The exhaust system has only one attachment point at the silencer and another at motor’s exhaust port, so there isn’t a lot of support. Periodically, we would need to re-adjust and re-tighten the silencer to stop it from wiggling around. But eventually, that constant movement weakened the silencer hanger bracket. After thousands of miles of hard riding, we had our first failure on the Himalayan when the welds on the bracket gave way. We haven’t seen a pattern of complaints about this from other Himalayan riders online, but it is something we’d like to see Royal Enfield address. Instead of going back to the stock exhaust, we looked for something lighter that would reduce stress on the system. GPR makes a nice slip-on muffler for the Himalayan that is quiet and weighs roughly half as much as the OEM unit. It’s handmade and Tig welded in Italy and features a removable dB killer. We opted for the satin black finish for an understated appearance, but they offer several different styles and colors to choose from. It sounds about as quiet as stock, and with the dB killer removed it has a nice growl. We can’t confirm if there’s any horsepower gain but it feels a little peppier. Any power boost is welcomed on the Himalayan and so far it’s holding on tight! Other Himalayan Upgrades to Consider Tires: Most riders will think of tires when considering off-road upgrades, but we’ve been riding the Himalayan with the stock Pirelli MT60 tires and have found them to be grippy in most scenarios. They are a 70/30 (street/dirt) dual sport tread, which we typically wouldn’t expect to grip in difficult terrain. But the Himalayan’s lighter weight and tractable power combines for good traction. Only in deep sand were we wanting a little more aggressive tire. A more aggressive tread would be a welcome improvement but we wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary unless you are getting into a lot of mud or sand riding. Skid Plate: The stock bash plate has good coverage in the front and underneath, but not much on the sides or for the exhaust. Even so, we put this bike through some serious rocky terrain and only put a few light dings in the header. The skid plate definitely took a beating and got uglied up, but it’s still hanging on tight and continues to protect. A skid plate with more coverage is worth considering for long-term durability in aggressive terrain but you could probably put this upgrade off for awhile. Foot Pegs/Levers: The Himalayan’s foot pegs are decent sized but do sit lower than many adventure bikes, so they tend to clip a lot of rocks. We had several encounters with big rocks that would have snapped off lesser pegs. The Himalayan’s pegs took all those dingers in stride. They show wear and tear but are made of steel so you can bend them back into position with a little cajoling. Same goes for the gear shift and foot brake levers — they’ll bend but won’t snap easily and you can bend them back when they get out of whack. It’s likely to be more cost effective to wear out the OEM units and replace them with factory parts rather than immediately upgrading to expensive billet aluminum aftermarket parts.
  12. With its 21” front wheel, capable suspension and sturdy off-road protection, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is ready to get off the beaten path right off the showroom floor. We’ve been riding our Himalayan long-term test bike for nearly a year now and have taken it places we never imagined we would go. As we’ve gotten it through tougher and tougher terrain, our confidence has grown to push its limits even further. From the sand dunes of Nevada to the rock-crawling jeep trails of Big Bear Lake and everything in between — the little Himalayan has proven it’s more than capable of hanging with the big boys. But after putting thousands of hard miles on a $4,500 motorcycle, we were bound to see some chinks in the armor. Pretty much any new adventure bike needs a little help from the aftermarket to prep it for real adventures and the Himalayan is no different. ADVERTISEMENT Here are five items we feel are essential upgrades for anyone that wants to spend significant time riding their Himalayan off-road. All of these upgrades will help improve the bike’s durability, but we were also careful to choose items that would blend well with the classic styling of the Himalayan. Whether it be hitting a rock in a tip over or getting kicked when throwing a leg over the bike, stock turn signals typically don’t last very long. The original blinkers on the Himalayan held up well for the first few rides, but then they began to break one by one. A little Duct Tape held them together for awhile but we were in need of a more permanent solution. Looking for a set of turn signals with higher durability, we came across the Tuff Lites from Extreme Dual Sport. It’s a small manufacturer but their off-road blinker design has been around for several years. They feature a flexible base that allows them to bend 90° in any direction and snap back to their original position. Tuff Lites use LEDs so they also draw less wattage from the electrical system. We chose the universal kit and just cut and spliced into original wiring. They worked right out of the box without requiring an additional relay and offer high visibility to fellow motorists. The rounded art-deco design is also a good style fit with the Himalayan. The original mirrors on the Himalayan are actually not bad for OEM equipment. We took them on a few rides and never broke them. But experience has taught us that OEM mirrors are going to break sooner rather than later, so it’s better to be proactive. DoubleTakes are some of the most popular dual sport mirrors on the market. If anything pushes on them stronger than the wind, two different hinge points allow them to bend out of the way. They can also be adjusted down out of the way in gnarly terrain. We went with a set of the original round Enduro Mirrors for a more stock appearance. The kit includes two mirrors, two long RAM arms, two RAM ball studs, and a single right-side reverse thread adapter (Yamaha Adapter). We had a set of these mirrors laying around that we’ve used on several different bikes through the years. They’ve been through tons of tree branch wacks and countless falls. We don’t want to find out what it would take to break these! Any bike that goes off-road needs a good set of wrap-around handguards. They protect your hands from branches and your levers in a fall. It’s also nice to have a little extra wind protection on the highway for your hands. Unfortunately, the Himalayan doesn’t come with any hand guards. Looking for a set of handguards, we were concerned about retaining the bike’s styling. We didn’t want to just bolt on a set of massive steel-braced moto guards. The Acerbis Rally Profile handguards offer a more subtle, streamlined appearance while still providing function protection. They are a full wrap-around design and are constructed of sturdy polypropylene. They aren’t metal braced but are strong enough to protect the levers in most falls. Their smaller design doesn’t look out of place on the Himalayan either. They are also affordable and come with a mounting kit for ⅞” or 1-⅛” handlebars. Most parts on the Himalayan are pretty durable and can take a good amount of off-road abuse but the stock ⅞” handlebars are made of soft steel and bend fairly easily. Adding wrap-around handguards can put even more stress on them, and once they bend, it’s almost impossible to get them back to their original position. After bending the bars on a few different occasions, it was time for an upgrade. We wanted strong 1-⅛” bars but didn’t want the additional expense (or modified appearance) of an adaptor kit for the larger bar diameter. So we checked around to see what stronger ⅞” handlebars were available. The Hybrid Bar from Mika Metals is an aluminum fat bar that is ⅞” at the clamp area but flares out to 1-⅛” diameter. They look just like any other tapered handlebars, they are incredibly strong, and no bar clamp adaptor is required. The Hybrid comes with a motocross-style cross bar but it can be removed if you want to retain a stock appearance. If you are not launching off doubles at the MX track, they are plenty strong without it. We also opted for the ‘CR High’ bar bend for roughly the same h as stock but with less sweep for more aggressive enduro ergos. The Himalayan has been pretty reliable other than a few loose bolts and rattles, with the exception of the exhaust. Under the consistent stress of rough trail riding we’ve put the bike through, we noticed the stock muffler loosening from time to time. The exhaust system has only one attachment point at the silencer and another at motor’s exhaust port, so there isn’t a lot of support. Periodically, we would need to re-adjust and re-tighten the silencer to stop it from wiggling around. But eventually, that constant movement weakened the silencer hanger bracket. After thousands of miles of hard riding, we had our first failure on the Himalayan when the welds on the bracket gave way. We haven’t seen a pattern of complaints about this from other Himalayan riders online, but it is something we’d like to see Royal Enfield address. Instead of going back to the stock exhaust, we looked for something lighter that would reduce stress on the system. GPR makes a nice slip-on muffler for the Himalayan that is quiet and weighs roughly half as much as the OEM unit. It’s handmade and Tig welded in Italy and features a removable dB killer. We opted for the satin black finish for an understated appearance, but they offer several different styles and colors to choose from. It sounds about as quiet as stock, and with the dB killer removed it has a nice growl. We can’t confirm if there’s any horsepower gain but it feels a little peppier. Any power boost is welcomed on the Himalayan and so far it’s holding on tight! Other Himalayan Upgrades to Consider Tires: Most riders will think of tires when considering off-road upgrades, but we’ve been riding the Himalayan with the stock Pirelli MT60 tires and have found them to be grippy in most scenarios. They are a 70/30 (street/dirt) dual sport tread, which we typically wouldn’t expect to grip in difficult terrain. But the Himalayan’s lighter weight and tractable power combines for good traction. Only in deep sand were we wanting a little more aggressive tire. A more aggressive tread would be a welcome improvement but we wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary unless you are getting into a lot of mud or sand riding. Skid Plate: The stock bash plate has good coverage in the front and underneath, but not much on the sides or for the exhaust. Even so, we put this bike through some serious rocky terrain and only put a few light dings in the header. The skid plate definitely took a beating and got uglied up, but it’s still hanging on tight and continues to protect. A skid plate with more coverage is worth considering for long-term durability in aggressive terrain but you could probably put this upgrade off for awhile. Foot Pegs/Levers: The Himalayan’s foot pegs are decent sized but do sit lower than many adventure bikes, so they tend to clip a lot of rocks. We had several encounters with big rocks that would have snapped off lesser pegs. The Himalayan’s pegs took all those dingers in stride. They show wear and tear but are made of steel so you can bend them back into position with a little cajoling. Same goes for the gear shift and foot brake levers — they’ll bend but won’t snap easily and you can bend them back when they get out of whack. It’s likely to be more cost effective to wear out the OEM units and replace them with factory parts rather than immediately upgrading to expensive billet aluminum aftermarket parts.
  13. With its 21” front wheel, capable suspension and sturdy off-road protection, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is ready to get off the beaten path right off the showroom floor. We’ve been riding our Himalayan long-term test bike for nearly a year now and have taken it places we never imagined we would go. As we’ve gotten it through tougher and tougher terrain, our confidence has grown to push its limits even further. From the sand dunes of Nevada to the rock-crawling jeep trails of Big Bear Lake and everything in between — the little Himalayan has proven it’s more than capable of hanging with the big boys. But after putting thousands of hard miles on a $4,500 motorcycle, we were bound to see some chinks in the armor. Pretty much any new adventure bike needs a little help from the aftermarket to prep it for real adventures and the Himalayan is no different. ADVERTISEMENT Here are five items we feel are essential upgrades for anyone that wants to spend significant time riding their Himalayan off-road. All of these upgrades will help improve the bike’s durability, but we were also careful to choose items that would blend well with the classic styling of the Himalayan. 1. Turn Signals EDS Tuff Lites – $140 Whether it be hitting a rock in a tip over or getting kicked when throwing a leg over the bike, stock turn signals typically don’t last very long. The original blinkers on the Himalayan held up well for the first few rides, but then they began to break one by one. A little Duct Tape held them together for awhile but we were in need of a more permanent solution. Looking for a set of turn signals with higher durability, we came across the Tuff Lites from Extreme Dual Sport. It’s a small manufacturer but their off-road blinker design has been around for several years. They feature a flexible base that allows them to bend 90° in any direction and snap back to their original position. Tuff Lites use LEDs so they also draw less wattage from the electrical system. We chose the universal kit and just cut and spliced into original wiring. They worked right out of the box without requiring an additional relay and offer high visibility to fellow motorists. The rounded art-deco design is also a good style fit with the Himalayan. 2. Mirrors Double Take Enduro – $101.00 The original mirrors on the Himalayan are actually not bad for OEM equipment. We took them on a few rides and never broke them. But experience has taught us that OEM mirrors are going to break sooner rather than later, so it’s better to be proactive. DoubleTakes are some of the most popular dual sport mirrors on the market. If anything pushes on them stronger than the wind, two different hinge points allow them to bend out of the way. They can also be adjusted down out of the way in gnarly terrain. We went with a set of the original round Enduro Mirrors for a more stock appearance. The kit includes two mirrors, two long RAM arms, two RAM ball studs, and a single right-side reverse thread adapter (Yamaha Adapter). We had a set of these mirrors laying around that we’ve used on several different bikes through the years. They’ve been through tons of tree branch wacks and countless falls. We don’t want to find out what it would take to break these! 3. Handguards Acerbis Rally Profile – $46.88 Any bike that goes off-road needs a good set of wrap-around handguards. They protect your hands from branches and your levers in a fall. It’s also nice to have a little extra wind protection on the highway for your hands. Unfortunately, the Himalayan doesn’t come with any hand guards. Looking for a set of handguards, we were concerned about retaining the bike’s styling. We didn’t want to just bolt on a set of massive steel-braced moto guards. The Acerbis Rally Profile handguards offer a more subtle, streamlined appearance while still providing function protection. They are a full wrap-around design and are constructed of sturdy polypropylene. They aren’t metal braced but are strong enough to protect the levers in most falls. Their smaller design doesn’t look out of place on the Himalayan either. They are also affordable and come with a mounting kit for ⅞” or 1-⅛” handlebars. 4. Handlebars Mika Metals Hybrid – $109.99 Most parts on the Himalayan are pretty durable and can take a good amount of off-road abuse but the stock ⅞” handlebars are made of soft steel and bend fairly easily. Adding wrap-around handguards can put even more stress on them, and once they bend, it’s almost impossible to get them back to their original position. After bending the bars on a few different occasions, it was time for an upgrade. We wanted strong 1-⅛” bars but didn’t want the additional expense (or modified appearance) of an adaptor kit for the larger bar diameter. So we checked around to see what stronger ⅞” handlebars were available. The Hybrid Bar from Mika Metals is an aluminum fat bar that is ⅞” at the clamp area but flares out to 1-⅛” diameter. They look just like any other tapered handlebars, they are incredibly strong, and no bar clamp adaptor is required. The Hybrid comes with a motocross-style cross bar but it can be removed if you want to retain a stock appearance. If you are not launching off doubles at the MX track, they are plenty strong without it. We also opted for the ‘CR High’ bar bend for roughly the same h as stock but with less sweep for more aggressive enduro ergos. 5. Exhaust GPR Furore Nero – $323.00 The Himalayan has been pretty reliable other than a few loose bolts and rattles, with the exception of the exhaust. Under the consistent stress of rough trail riding we’ve put the bike through, we noticed the stock muffler loosening from time to time. The exhaust system has only one attachment point at the silencer and another at motor’s exhaust port, so there isn’t a lot of support. Periodically, we would need to re-adjust and re-tighten the silencer to stop it from wiggling around. But eventually, that constant movement weakened the silencer hanger bracket. After thousands of miles of hard riding, we had our first failure on the Himalayan when the welds on the bracket gave way. We haven’t seen a pattern of complaints about this from other Himalayan riders online, but it is something we’d like to see Royal Enfield address. Instead of going back to the stock exhaust, we looked for something lighter that would reduce stress on the system. GPR makes a nice slip-on muffler for the Himalayan that is quiet and weighs roughly half as much as the OEM unit. It’s handmade and Tig welded in Italy and features a removable dB killer. We opted for the satin black finish for an understated appearance, but they offer several different styles and colors to choose from. It sounds about as quiet as stock, and with the dB killer removed it has a nice growl. We can’t confirm if there’s any horsepower gain but it feels a little peppier. Any power boost is welcomed on the Himalayan and so far it’s holding on tight! Other Himalayan Upgrades to Consider Tires: Most riders will think of tires when considering off-road upgrades, but we’ve been riding the Himalayan with the stock Pirelli MT60 tires and have found them to be grippy in most scenarios. They are a 70/30 (street/dirt) dual sport tread, which we typically wouldn’t expect to grip in difficult terrain. But the Himalayan’s lighter weight and tractable power combines for good traction. Only in deep sand were we wanting a little more aggressive tire. A more aggressive tread would be a welcome improvement but we wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary unless you are getting into a lot of mud or sand riding. Skid Plate: The stock bash plate has good coverage in the front and underneath, but not much on the sides or for the exhaust. Even so, we put this bike through some serious rocky terrain and only put a few light dings in the header. The skid plate definitely took a beating and got uglied up, but it’s still hanging on tight and continues to protect. A skid plate with more coverage is worth considering for long-term durability in aggressive terrain but you could probably put this upgrade off for awhile. Foot Pegs/Levers: The Himalayan’s foot pegs are decent sized but do sit lower than many adventure bikes, so they tend to clip a lot of rocks. We had several encounters with big rocks that would have snapped off lesser pegs. The Himalayan’s pegs took all those dingers in stride. They show wear and tear but are made of steel so you can bend them back into position with a little cajoling. Same goes for the gear shift and foot brake levers — they’ll bend but won’t snap easily and you can bend them back when they get out of whack. It’s likely to be more cost effective to wear out the OEM units and replace them with factory parts rather than immediately upgrading to expensive billet aluminum aftermarket parts.
  14. When the first modern Triumph Scrambler was launched in 2006, the new model was one of the most visually striking in the Bonneville lineup. But at 452-pounds dry with just 55 horsepower, performance was a bit sluggish. Some might say disappointing, when you consider the 70s-era Scramblers were pushing 50 horsepower and weighed about 100 pounds less. Off-road capability also wasn’t great with spindly 41mm forks, a 19”/17” wheel combo, and suspension travel in the 4 inch range. Nevertheless, it was a hit and a new modern Scrambler category was jump started. ADVERTISEMENT Fast forward a dozen years and fans of Scramblers have been longing for a more capable machine that still retains a classic look. After more than three years of development, Triumph has delivered on a completely new Scrambler 1200 with more power, cutting-edge technology and real off-road suspension. As one of the biggest surprise announcements of 2018, we were eager to get our first test and finally got it last week at the press intro in Portugal. So let’s take a look. A True Modern Classic The all-new Triumph Scrambler 1200 has all the markings of a traditional Scrambler — the long bench seat, round headlight, high pipes, twin shocks, and engine cooling fins. Yet it’s packed with modern tech such as ride modes, ride-by-wire, LED lighting, cruise control, full-color TFT display, beefy front forks, and large twin 320mm floating front discs. The powerplant is also completely modern, sporting a 1200cc parallel twin with 8 valves and a 270° crank that produces a formidable sound from its twin pipes. The Scrambler 1200 motor is water cooled, despite its faux cooling fins, and it’s mated to a 6-speed transmission. The SOHC engine is tuned for low-end grunt, producing 89 horsepower and 81 ft-lbs of torque, with a torque curve that is as flat as Florida. Two Scrambler 1200 Versions: XC and XE The XC (right) is the standard ‘all-road’ version, whereas the XE is the ‘extreme’ version with more off-road capability and higher-spec components. Triumph Scrambler 1200s come in two flavors, the XC and XE. The XC is the standard ‘all-road” model, whereas the XE is the ‘extreme’ version with more off-road capability and higher-spec components. While the XC may be the base model, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fully loaded as well. To start, the XC has an Ohlins rear suspension and Showa front fork sporting 7.9 inches of travel, and it’s fully adjustable at both ends. It also gets a full-color TFT display, Brembo brakes, 21”/17” cross-spoke tubeless wheels, 1-⅛” fat bars, USB charging ports, keyless ignition, cruise control, 45mm forks, along with ABS, Traction Control, 5 ride modes, and LED lighting all around. Twin 320mm discs with Brembo M50 monoblock calipers bring superbike braking to this modern classic. The Scrambler 1200 XE takes it to the next level with 2 inches more suspension travel (9.8 inches), an Off-Road Pro rider mode, lean-angle sensitive ABS and Traction control, 1-inch bar risers, wider bars, gold 47mm forks, Brembo MCS brake levers, an adjustable foot brake pedal, heated grips, full wraparound aluminum-braced hand guards, a longer swing arm, and a slightly increased steering head rake. First Look The Scrambler 1200 gets Daytime Running Light, Low Beam and High Beam settings on its LED headlight. Whichever flavor you pick, both models tastefully blend modern tech with classic styling in a way that you might not even notice at first glance. Triumph has done an impressive job of being minimalistic and hiding technology so that the Scrambler 1200 retains a vintage look. The fit and finish are also top notch with alluring paint schemes, a variety of brushed aluminum parts, a rib-stitched bench seat, and beautifully-curved exhaust pipes. Seat hs are on the high side at 33.1 inches for the XC and 34.2 inches for the XE. Although at around 450 pounds dry, it weighs less than most 1200cc ADV Bikes. Riding at slower speeds, the weight and bulk of the bike is noticeable but it does carry the mass low. As far as the ergos, the long, flat, cushy seat makes it easy to slide forward or back to adjust your position on the seat. The XC handlebars feel about right for an off-road bike, with the XE putting the bars higher and wider for a more commanding off-road position. Footpegs are wide and grippy with the rubbers removed, although the airbox on the left side and the exhaust pipes on the right bow your legs out more than usual and gives the bike a wide feel. Firing up the motor, the Scrambler 1200 makes an ear-pleasing sound at idle. The 1200cc parallel twin with 270° crank sounds almost harley-esque at certain RPMs. Fueling is very refined but the initial burst of torque does take some getting used to. Luckily, the motor is very tractable so you don’t have to worry too much about spinning the tire unintentionally on most surfaces. And with the traction control on, you’ve got an extra safety net. VIDEO: Quick close-up look at the Triumph Scrambler 1200 with the optional high fender and sound sample of the 8 valve parallel-twin engine with 270° crank. Acceleration isn’t that dramatic compared to most modern 1200cc Adventure Bikes but it’s deceptively fast. Crack the throttle at 3,000 RPM and you’ve got full power instantly. It’s great for passing a line of cars and there’s no need to wait for the engine to spool up. The sound it makes with its 270° crank is also half the fun! But with only a 7,000 RPM redline, you do feel left wanting a little more on top. While it may not be as racy as an R1200GS or KTM 1290 Adventure, the power delivery works well for both off-road and cruising on the street. Controls and Ride Modes This minimalistic TFT display handles everything from rider modes to cruise control, even turn-by-turn navigation and remote control of your GoPro. The TFT and thumb controls are easy to get acquainted with if you are already familiar with Triumph’s Tiger line. It has all the same gizmos as the Tiger 1200 but they’ve managed to fit it all into a much smaller display that doesn’t detract from its classic appearance. The TFT also works great in direct sunlight. And with a few intuitive clicks of the thumb controls, you can switch ride modes, turn off traction control universally, cycle through High/Low/DRL lighting, adjust heated grips (XE only), or activate cruise control. Triumph is also working on adding in a few months Google Maps Turn-by-Turn navigation and GoPro integration to the display. Six Ride Modes are available: Sport, Rain, Road, Rider, Off-Road, and Off-Road Pro (XE only). Road mode is your average rider mode for the daily commute and cruising with a smooth fuel map and standard TC. Rain takes the power delivery down a notch and increases TC/ABS intervention. Sport gives you snappy throttle response and a little less TC, while Off-Road mode is optimized for smooth throttle inputs, allowing a little rear wheel spin, and rear ABS is disabled. With the XE’s Off-Road Pro, you get traction control and ABS completely off for high-performance riding in the dirt. On the XE, you also get an IMU that constantly measures acceleration, yaw, roll and pitch to determine more precise levels of TC and ABS – a great confidence boost on the slick, wet roads of Portugal. One thing that’s not so great for 2019 is that you can no longer disable ABS universally (due to liability concerns) across all rider modes. Rear ABS is disabled in “Off-Road” mode, and both front and rear are disabled in “Off-Road Pro” mode, but you can’t disable ABS in any of the other modes. Even the custom configurable “Rider” mode won’t allow you to turn ABS off, which was a disappointment. In The Dirt Our first day in Portugal, we started our ride at a local off-road park. We spent the day sessioning everything from dirt track, to motocross, with a few loops on dirt roads exploring the surrounding countryside. Recent rains made for slightly muddy conditions but traction was good and no dust. Starting out on the XE model, it has a very stable feel and it’s able to cut through the chop without getting unsettled. The suspension utilizes progressive springs for a plush feel over the small stuff, yet it’s got plenty of spring to hold up the suspension through bigger bumps. Dive and squat were hardly noticed under acceleration and braking, which was a surprise for a bike with 9.8 inches of suspension travel. Only the Honda Africa Twin L2 bests the XE’s suspension travel numbers in the ADV category with 9.9 inches in the front. But the Scrambler XE has .7 inches more suspension travel than the L2 in the rear. The Triumph’s suspension has a more composed feel than the L2 as well. The only time the XE bottomed out was on the Motocross track when jumping and landing on flat ground from a h of several feet. Just the fork bottomed, but it was unexpected considering the big suspension travel numbers. Potentially, this could be alleviated with some adjustment in the fork settings. Out on the dirt roads, I pointed the Scrambler toward every hole and rut I could find to see how well the suspension worked. On these moderate trails, the XE’s suspension never seemed fazed and the bike felt very stable at speed with its longer wheelbase and rake. On slower speed technical terrain, it feels a little less confidence inspiring. You notice the weight most in tighter turns and the front wheel input feels a little vague. Turning radius is also not great when you need to do a u-turn on the trail. Where Scrambler 1200 XE feels most fun to ride is when you sit down and get your leg out riding dirt track style through fast flowing s-turns. It still works great riding in the stand up position, but with a flat seat and low tank, it feels better as a sit-down bike than your average adventure touring bike with a long tank and scooped out seat. While the twin Brembo Monoblocks may seem like overkill for the dirt, they offer excellent feel off-road and one-finger stopping power. The MCS brake lever also has adjustability to customize the braking force. Just be careful not to grab a handful of brake with front ABS disabled in Off-Road Pro mode or you’ll be eating a dirt sandwich. The Scrambler’s ergos are friendly for sit-down, dirt track-style riding. Switching over to the XC, what stood out was how close it felt in performance compared to the XE. However, we didn’t ride any gnarly terrain, so it was hard to get the XE into situations where you could fully explore its capability. I’d suspect you would have more separation between the two models on rougher trails, where the XE’s increased bump absorption and higher ground clearance are an advantage. When the trail did get fairly bumpy, you could feel the XC running through its suspension travel sooner than the XE and it was bounced around a little more. Even so, the XC’s shorter wheelbase and lower suspension gave it a slight advantage in maneuverability in tighter turns than the XE. It’s clearly a competent off-road bike and more than capable of going places an experienced adventure rider might want to go. On the Street Day two greeted us with rain in the morning. Riding through town on slick cobblestone streets was our first challenge of the day. We were soon riding through twisty mountain roads and it wasn’t long before one rider went down on a slick spot — not the only incident of the day either. Before the press launch, I wondered how the bulbous metal tank would hold up in a fall. After assessing the damage, the tank looked unscathed and the hand guards also held up well. A loose exhaust heat shield was the only visually noticeable damage. After riding with it locked in rain mode for some time on wet Portuguese roads, I gained enough confidence to try switching TC and ABS off, just to see how well the bike would grip without intervention. The traction still felt good under acceleration and braking. The smooth fueling and tractable low-RPM motor clearly helped keep the bike stuck to the ground. Even so, I was happy to end my experiment at the next stop. A tractable motor, excellent braking feel and ‘Rain Mode’ all helped the Scrambler hook up well on the slick wet asphalt roads of Portugal. After lunch, the skies began to clear and we upped our pace significantly behind our lead rider Joe – a current Isle of Man TT racer. I was surprised how easily the Scrambler 1200 could turn sporty. The Metzeler Tourance tires offered excellent grip and it wasn’t easy to break loose the rear tire with TC disabled on dry pavement. On the other hand, we tested the factory optional Pirelli Scorpion Rallys (50/50 dual sport knobbies) on pavement for a short stint, and the tires were a little scary when on edge. With its tall suspension, the XE doesn’t scrape pegs until you are really pushing it. The lower XC touches down pegs sooner and requires a bit more hanging off the bike for aggressive riding in the twisties. Neither bike felt sport bike flickable in the turns but both were a lot of fun and surprisingly competent on asphalt considering the 21” front wheel and enduro bike ergos. Traveling The biggest weakness for the Triumph Scrambler 1200 is its long-distance travel capability. With no windscreen, you get blasted by wind from chest to head at 65 mph. A fly screen is available as a factory option but it is so tiny that it doesn’t look like it will do much. Having cruise control on a bike like this seems a little unnecessary, but if a decent screen can be attached, it will be a nice touch. Speaking of nice touches, the heated grips were definitely appreciated on our cold wet ride. Also, the big bench seat was comfy during our two days in the saddle. What’s missing in this picture? We hope the aftermarket comes up with a functional windscreen that doesn’t detract from the look of the Scrambler. Luggage is another big question mark. With the high right-side exhaust, fitting any type of saddle bags over it is probably unlikely. Triumph offers an optional left-side saddle bag but it’s only 30 liters. An optional top rack is available that would make it possible to add a top bag, but you’ll probably still be limited on storage capacity for camping. Finding a luggage system that offers enough room for real overland travel, that doesn’t detract from the look of the bike, will be a challenge. Fuel range is another consideration for true Adventure riding. With only 4.2 gallons of capacity and a 48 mpg average consumption, range for heavy handed riders will be well under 200 miles. For those using the Scrambler for commuting, heat coming off the pipe’s catalytic converter right next to your leg could be a nuisance. Although, if you live in a cold climate, it could be a bonus. Look to the aftermarket to fill these gaps. The optional left-side pannier offers 30 liters of capacity for traveling. The Bottom Line Triumph has built a Scrambler that finally offers as much go as it does show. It’s an athletic, versatile, muscular machine that is more capable than any Scrambler that’s come before it. Styling hasn’t suffered in the process either, with the Scrambler 1200 offering a perfect blend of classic lines with modern touches. Yet it’s the brutish torque, throaty exhaust note, and refined fit and finish that really make this bike art on wheels. It has crossover potential as an Adventure Bike too, offering more off-road prowess than adventure bikes in the 1200cc category. It didn’t feel quite on par with the Africa Twin or KTM 1090 Adventure R off-road, but it’s definitely in the conversation. However, it does need a little help from the aftermarket to make it a true long-range adventure tourer. The Triumph Scrambler 1200 is the perfect bike for those with an eye on both form and function, and a nostalgia for the ’60s and ’70s — a single motorcycle you can put in the garage that can legitimately do a little bit of everything, and do it in style. Pricing starts at $14,000 for the XC and $15,400 for the XE, with several option packages that make customizing your ride more cost effective. That’s pricey in the Scrambler category, but not so much for the adventure segment. It slots right into that $14k-16k range where bikes like the F850GS, 1090 ADV R and Africa Twin live. When you look at the componentry and level of detail the Scrambler offers, the price tag is no surprise. Stripping off some of the high-end bits (e.g. Brembo, Ohlins, cruise control, TFT, etc.) on the XC to make it a lower-priced version may have been a smarter move, but we’ll see how the market reacts in the coming year. Look for the Scrambler 1200 XE and XC to arrive on US and Canadian showroom floors starting this February. Triumph Scrambler 1200 Specs Engine Type: Liquid-cooled 8-valve, SOHC, parallel twin Displacement: 1200cc Bore & Stroke: 97.6 x 80mm Max. Power Output: 89 HP @ 7400rpm Max. Torque: 81 ft-lbs (110 Nm) @ 3950rpm Compression: 11.0:1 Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection Exhaust: Brushed 2-into-2 with brushed aluminum silencers Final Drive: X-ring chain Clutch: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch Gearbox: 6 speed Frame: Tubular steel with aluminum cradles Swingarm: Twin-sided aluminum – XC: 547mm; XE: 579mm Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21″ x 2.15″ Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17″ x 4.25″ Front Tire: 90/90-21 Rear Tire: 150/70-17 Front Suspension: Showa fully adjustable USD forks – XC: 45mm, XE: 47mm Rear Suspension: Twin Ohlins fully adjustable piggy-back RSUs Suspension Travel: XC: 7.9″ (200mm); XE: 9.8″ (250mm) Front Brake: Twin 320mm discs, Brembo 4-piston M50 monoblock calipers, radial master cylinder Rear Brake: Single 255mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper ABS: XC: Switchable Rear; XE: Switchable Front/Rear with cornering ABS Fuel consumption: 48 US mpg (4.9 l/100 km) Length: XC: 89.96″ (2,285mm); XE 91.54″ (2,325mm) Width (Handlebars): XC: 33.07″ (840mm); XE 35.63″ (905mm) Height Without Mirrors XC: 47.24″ (1,200mm); XE 49.27″ (1,250mm) Seat Height Options: XC: 33.07″ (840mm); XE: 34.25″ (870mm) Wheelbase: XC: 60.24″ (1,530mm); XE: 61.81″ (1,570mm) Dry Weight: XC: 452 lbs (205Kg); XE: 456 lbs (207 Kg) Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.2 US Gallons (16L) First Major Service: 10,000 miles Color Options: XC: Jet Black & Matt Black, Khaki Green & Brooklands Green; XE: Fusion White & Brooklands Green, Cobal Blue & Jet Black Pricing USD: XC: $14,000; XE: $15,400 Gear We Used • Helmet: 509 Delta R3 Black Ops • Jacket: REV’IT! Trench GTX • Pants: REV’IT! Globe GTX • Boots: Forma Terra EVO • Gloves: REV’IT! Livengood GTX Photos by Kingdom Creative
  15. When the first modern Triumph Scrambler was launched in 2006, the new model was one of the most visually striking in the Bonneville lineup. But at 452-pounds dry with just 55 horsepower, performance was a bit sluggish. Some might say disappointing, when you consider the 70s-era Scramblers were pushing 50 horsepower and weighed about 100 pounds less. Off-road capability also wasn’t great with spindly 41mm forks, a 19”/17” wheel combo, and suspension travel in the 4 inch range. Nevertheless, it was a hit and a new modern Scrambler category was jump started. ADVERTISEMENT Fast forward a dozen years and fans of Scramblers have been longing for a more capable machine that still retains a classic look. After more than three years of development, Triumph has delivered on a completely new Scrambler 1200 with more power, cutting-edge technology and real off-road suspension. As one of the biggest surprise announcements of 2018, we were eager to get our first test and finally got it last week at the press intro in Portugal. So let’s take a look. A True Modern Classic The all-new Triumph Scrambler 1200 has all the markings of a traditional Scrambler — the long bench seat, round headlight, high pipes, twin shocks, and engine cooling fins. Yet it’s packed with modern tech such as ride modes, ride-by-wire, LED lighting, cruise control, full-color TFT display, beefy front forks, and large twin 320mm floating front discs. The powerplant is also completely modern, sporting a 1200cc parallel twin with 8 valves and a 270° crank that produces a formidable sound from its twin pipes. The Scrambler 1200 motor is water cooled, despite its faux cooling fins, and it’s mated to a 6-speed transmission. The SOHC engine is tuned for low-end grunt, producing 89 horsepower and 81 ft-lbs of torque, with a torque curve that is as flat as Florida. Two Scrambler 1200 Versions: XC and XE The XC (right) is the standard ‘all-road’ version, whereas the XE is the ‘extreme’ version with more off-road capability and higher-spec components. Triumph Scrambler 1200s come in two flavors, the XC and XE. The XC is the standard ‘all-road” model, whereas the XE is the ‘extreme’ version with more off-road capability and higher-spec components. While the XC may be the base model, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fully loaded as well. To start, the XC has an Ohlins rear suspension and Showa front fork sporting 7.9 inches of travel, and it’s fully adjustable at both ends. It also gets a full-color TFT display, Brembo brakes, 21”/17” cross-spoke tubeless wheels, 1-⅛” fat bars, USB charging ports, keyless ignition, cruise control, 45mm forks, along with ABS, Traction Control, 5 ride modes, and LED lighting all around. Twin 320mm discs with Brembo M50 monoblock calipers bring superbike braking to this modern classic. The Scrambler 1200 XE takes it to the next level with 2 inches more suspension travel (9.8 inches), an Off-Road Pro rider mode, lean-angle sensitive ABS and Traction control, 1-inch bar risers, wider bars, gold 47mm forks, Brembo MCS brake levers, an adjustable foot brake pedal, heated grips, full wraparound aluminum-braced hand guards, a longer swing arm, and a slightly increased steering head rake. First Look The Scrambler 1200 gets Daytime Running Light, Low Beam and High Beam settings on its LED headlight. Whichever flavor you pick, both models tastefully blend modern tech with classic styling in a way that you might not even notice at first glance. Triumph has done an impressive job of being minimalistic and hiding technology so that the Scrambler 1200 retains a vintage look. The fit and finish are also top notch with alluring paint schemes, a variety of brushed aluminum parts, a rib-stitched bench seat, and beautifully-curved exhaust pipes. Seat hs are on the high side at 33.1 inches for the XC and 34.2 inches for the XE. Although at around 450 pounds dry, it weighs less than most 1200cc ADV Bikes. Riding at slower speeds, the weight and bulk of the bike is noticeable but it does carry the mass low. As far as the ergos, the long, flat, cushy seat makes it easy to slide forward or back to adjust your position on the seat. The XC handlebars feel about right for an off-road bike, with the XE putting the bars higher and wider for a more commanding off-road position. Footpegs are wide and grippy with the rubbers removed, although the airbox on the left side and the exhaust pipes on the right bow your legs out more than usual and gives the bike a wide feel. Firing up the motor, the Scrambler 1200 makes an ear-pleasing sound at idle. The 1200cc parallel twin with 270° crank sounds almost harley-esque at certain RPMs. Fueling is very refined but the initial burst of torque does take some getting used to. Luckily, the motor is very tractable so you don’t have to worry too much about spinning the tire unintentionally on most surfaces. And with the traction control on, you’ve got an extra safety net. VIDEO: Quick close-up look at the Triumph Scrambler 1200 with the optional high fender and sound sample of the 8 valve parallel-twin engine with 270° crank. Acceleration isn’t that dramatic compared to most modern 1200cc Adventure Bikes but it’s deceptively fast. Crack the throttle at 3,000 RPM and you’ve got full power instantly. It’s great for passing a line of cars and there’s no need to wait for the engine to spool up. The sound it makes with its 270° crank is also half the fun! But with only a 7,000 RPM redline, you do feel left wanting a little more on top. While it may not be as racy as an R1200GS or KTM 1290 Adventure, the power delivery works well for both off-road and cruising on the street. Controls and Ride Modes This minimalistic TFT display handles everything from rider modes to cruise control, even turn-by-turn navigation and remote control of your GoPro. The TFT and thumb controls are easy to get acquainted with if you are already familiar with Triumph’s Tiger line. It has all the same gizmos as the Tiger 1200 but they’ve managed to fit it all into a much smaller display that doesn’t detract from its classic appearance. The TFT also works great in direct sunlight. And with a few intuitive clicks of the thumb controls, you can switch ride modes, turn off traction control universally, cycle through High/Low/DRL lighting, adjust heated grips (XE only), or activate cruise control. Triumph is also working on adding in a few months Google Maps Turn-by-Turn navigation and GoPro integration to the display. Six Ride Modes are available: Sport, Rain, Road, Rider, Off-Road, and Off-Road Pro (XE only). Road mode is your average rider mode for the daily commute and cruising with a smooth fuel map and standard TC. Rain takes the power delivery down a notch and increases TC/ABS intervention. Sport gives you snappy throttle response and a little less TC, while Off-Road mode is optimized for smooth throttle inputs, allowing a little rear wheel spin, and rear ABS is disabled. With the XE’s Off-Road Pro, you get traction control and ABS completely off for high-performance riding in the dirt. On the XE, you also get an IMU that constantly measures acceleration, yaw, roll and pitch to determine more precise levels of TC and ABS – a great confidence boost on the slick, wet roads of Portugal. One thing that’s not so great for 2019 is that you can no longer disable ABS universally (due to liability concerns) across all rider modes. Rear ABS is disabled in “Off-Road” mode, and both front and rear are disabled in “Off-Road Pro” mode, but you can’t disable ABS in any of the other modes. Even the custom configurable “Rider” mode won’t allow you to turn ABS off, which was a disappointment. In The Dirt Our first day in Portugal, we started our ride at a local off-road park. We spent the day sessioning everything from dirt track, to motocross, with a few loops on dirt roads exploring the surrounding countryside. Recent rains made for slightly muddy conditions but traction was good and no dust. Starting out on the XE model, it has a very stable feel and it’s able to cut through the chop without getting unsettled. The suspension utilizes progressive springs for a plush feel over the small stuff, yet it’s got plenty of spring to hold up the suspension through bigger bumps. Dive and squat were hardly noticed under acceleration and braking, which was a surprise for a bike with 9.8 inches of suspension travel. Only the Honda Africa Twin L2 bests the XE’s suspension travel numbers in the ADV category with 9.9 inches in the front. But the Scrambler XE has .7 inches more suspension travel than the L2 in the rear. The Triumph’s suspension has a more composed feel than the L2 as well. The only time the XE bottomed out was on the Motocross track when jumping and landing on flat ground from a h of several feet. Just the fork bottomed, but it was unexpected considering the big suspension travel numbers. Potentially, this could be alleviated with some adjustment in the fork settings. Out on the dirt roads, I pointed the Scrambler toward every hole and rut I could find to see how well the suspension worked. On these moderate trails, the XE’s suspension never seemed fazed and the bike felt very stable at speed with its longer wheelbase and rake. On slower speed technical terrain, it feels a little less confidence inspiring. You notice the weight most in tighter turns and the front wheel input feels a little vague. Turning radius is also not great when you need to do a u-turn on the trail. Where Scrambler 1200 XE feels most fun to ride is when you sit down and get your leg out riding dirt track style through fast flowing s-turns. It still works great riding in the stand up position, but with a flat seat and low tank, it feels better as a sit-down bike than your average adventure touring bike with a long tank and scooped out seat. While the twin Brembo Monoblocks may seem like overkill for the dirt, they offer excellent feel off-road and one-finger stopping power. The MCS brake lever also has adjustability to customize the braking force. Just be careful not to grab a handful of brake with front ABS disabled in Off-Road Pro mode or you’ll be eating a dirt sandwich. The Scrambler’s ergos are friendly for sit-down, dirt track-style riding. Switching over to the XC, what stood out was how close it felt in performance compared to the XE. However, we didn’t ride any gnarly terrain, so it was hard to get the XE into situations where you could fully explore its capability. I’d suspect you would have more separation between the two models on rougher trails, where the XE’s increased bump absorption and higher ground clearance are an advantage. When the trail did get fairly bumpy, you could feel the XC running through its suspension travel sooner than the XE and it was bounced around a little more. Even so, the XC’s shorter wheelbase and lower suspension gave it a slight advantage in maneuverability in tighter turns than the XE. It’s clearly a competent off-road bike and more than capable of going places an experienced adventure rider might want to go. On the Street Day two greeted us with rain in the morning. Riding through town on slick cobblestone streets was our first challenge of the day. We were soon riding through twisty mountain roads and it wasn’t long before one rider went down on a slick spot — not the only incident of the day either. Before the press launch, I wondered how the bulbous metal tank would hold up in a fall. After assessing the damage, the tank looked unscathed and the hand guards also held up well. A loose exhaust heat shield was the only visually noticeable damage. After riding with it locked in rain mode for some time on wet Portuguese roads, I gained enough confidence to try switching TC and ABS off, just to see how well the bike would grip without intervention. The traction still felt good under acceleration and braking. The smooth fueling and tractable low-RPM motor clearly helped keep the bike stuck to the ground. Even so, I was happy to end my experiment at the next stop. A tractable motor, excellent braking feel and ‘Rain Mode’ all helped the Scrambler hook up well on the slick wet asphalt roads of Portugal. After lunch, the skies began to clear and we upped our pace significantly behind our lead rider Joe – a current Isle of Man TT racer. I was surprised how easily the Scrambler 1200 could turn sporty. The Metzeler Tourance tires offered excellent grip and it wasn’t easy to break loose the rear tire with TC disabled on dry pavement. On the other hand, we tested the factory optional Pirelli Scorpion Rallys (50/50 dual sport knobbies) on pavement for a short stint, and the tires were a little scary when on edge. With its tall suspension, the XE doesn’t scrape pegs until you are really pushing it. The lower XC touches down pegs sooner and requires a bit more hanging off the bike for aggressive riding in the twisties. Neither bike felt sport bike flickable in the turns but both were a lot of fun and surprisingly competent on asphalt considering the 21” front wheel and enduro bike ergos. Traveling The biggest weakness for the Triumph Scrambler 1200 is its long-distance travel capability. With no windscreen, you get blasted by wind from chest to head at 65 mph. A fly screen is available as a factory option but it is so tiny that it doesn’t look like it will do much. Having cruise control on a bike like this seems a little unnecessary, but if a decent screen can be attached, it will be a nice touch. Speaking of nice touches, the heated grips were definitely appreciated on our cold wet ride. Also, the big bench seat was comfy during our two days in the saddle. What’s missing in this picture? We hope the aftermarket comes up with a functional windscreen that doesn’t detract from the look of the Scrambler. Luggage is another big question mark. With the high right-side exhaust, fitting any type of saddle bags over it is probably unlikely. Triumph offers an optional left-side saddle bag but it’s only 30 liters. An optional top rack is available that would make it possible to add a top bag, but you’ll probably still be limited on storage capacity for camping. Finding a luggage system that offers enough room for real overland travel, that doesn’t detract from the look of the bike, will be a challenge. Fuel range is another consideration for true Adventure riding. With only 4.2 gallons of capacity and a 48 mpg average consumption, range for heavy handed riders will be well under 200 miles. For those using the Scrambler for commuting, heat coming off the pipe’s catalytic converter right next to your leg could be a nuisance. Although, if you live in a cold climate, it could be a bonus. Look to the aftermarket to fill these gaps. The optional left-side pannier offers 30 liters of capacity for traveling. The Bottom Line Triumph has built a Scrambler that finally offers as much go as it does show. It’s an athletic, versatile, muscular machine that is more capable than any Scrambler that’s come before it. Styling hasn’t suffered in the process either, with the Scrambler 1200 offering a perfect blend of classic lines with modern touches. Yet it’s the brutish torque, throaty exhaust note, and refined fit and finish that really make this bike art on wheels. It has crossover potential as an Adventure Bike too, offering more off-road prowess than adventure bikes in the 1200cc category. It didn’t feel quite on par with the Africa Twin or KTM 1090 Adventure R off-road, but it’s definitely in the conversation. However, it does need a little help from the aftermarket to make it a true long-range adventure tourer. The Triumph Scrambler 1200 is the perfect bike for those with an eye on both form and function, and a nostalgia for the ’60s and ’70s — a single motorcycle you can put in the garage that can legitimately do a little bit of everything, and do it in style. Pricing starts at $14,000 for the XC and $15,400 for the XE, with several option packages that make customizing your ride more cost effective. That’s pricey in the Scrambler category, but not so much for the adventure segment. It slots right into that $14k-16k range where bikes like the F850GS, 1090 ADV R and Africa Twin live. When you look at the componentry and level of detail the Scrambler offers, the price tag is no surprise. Stripping off some of the high-end bits (e.g. Brembo, Ohlins, cruise control, TFT, etc.) on the XC to make it a lower-priced version may have been a smarter move, but we’ll see how the market reacts in the coming year. Look for the Scrambler 1200 XE and XC to arrive on US and Canadian showroom floors starting this February. Triumph Scrambler 1200 Specs Engine Type: Liquid-cooled 8-valve, SOHC, parallel twin Displacement: 1200cc Bore & Stroke: 97.6 x 80mm Max. Power Output: 89 HP @ 7400rpm Max. Torque: 81 ft-lbs (110 Nm) @ 3950rpm Compression: 11.0:1 Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection Exhaust: Brushed 2-into-2 with brushed aluminum silencers Final Drive: X-ring chain Clutch: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch Gearbox: 6 speed Frame: Tubular steel with aluminum cradles Swingarm: Twin-sided aluminum – XC: 547mm; XE: 579mm Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21″ x 2.15″ Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17″ x 4.25″ Front Tire: 90/90-21 Rear Tire: 150/70-17 Front Suspension: Showa fully adjustable USD forks – XC: 45mm, XE: 47mm Rear Suspension: Twin Ohlins fully adjustable piggy-back RSUs Suspension Travel: XC: 7.9″ (200mm); XE: 9.8″ (250mm) Front Brake: Twin 320mm discs, Brembo 4-piston M50 monoblock calipers, radial master cylinder Rear Brake: Single 255mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper ABS: XC: Switchable Rear; XE: Switchable Front/Rear with cornering ABS Fuel consumption: 48 US mpg (4.9 l/100 km) Length: XC: 89.96″ (2,285mm); XE 91.54″ (2,325mm) Width (Handlebars): XC: 33.07″ (840mm); XE 35.63″ (905mm) Height Without Mirrors XC: 47.24″ (1,200mm); XE 49.27″ (1,250mm) Seat Height Options: XC: 33.07″ (840mm); XE: 34.25″ (870mm) Wheelbase: XC: 60.24″ (1,530mm); XE: 61.81″ (1,570mm) Dry Weight: XC: 452 lbs (205Kg); XE: 456 lbs (207 Kg) Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.2 US Gallons (16L) First Major Service: 10,000 miles Color Options: XC: Jet Black & Matt Black, Khaki Green & Brooklands Green; XE: Fusion White & Brooklands Green, Cobal Blue & Jet Black Pricing USD: XC: $14,000; XE: $15,400 Gear We Used • Helmet: 509 Delta R3 Black Ops • Jacket: REV’IT! Trench GTX • Pants: REV’IT! Globe GTX • Boots: Forma Terra EVO • Gloves: REV’IT! Livengood GTX Photos by Kingdom Creative
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