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  1. Scurrying across the parking lot about as gracefully as one can wearing a pair of moto boots, I wondered to myself “why am I always the last one ready?”. I was a minute or three late for the test ride of the new Dunlop Trailmax Mission dual sport tires and I could see most of the other journalists raring to go. I arrived at a long row of the latest and greatest adventure bikes, ranging from the Honda CB500X to the BMW R1250GS – all there for the taking and I’m the last to pick. One bike that didn’t already have a helmet on it was a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. I coyly asked, “Is anyone on this?” Since no one answered, I eagerly hopped on. The 1290 Super Adventure R is one of my favorites – wicked power, long-range capable (except for the stupid little windscreen) and amazing off-road suspension that is head and shoulders above anything in the Liter+ Class. And what better bike to test a set of tires with than a 1290 Super Adventure? With 160 horsepower and 103 ft-lbs of torque, its roost can be lethal and it does power wheelies in 4th gear. Plus its tall suspension can achieve sportbike-like lean angles on asphalt making it punishing on a set of tires. Soon we were off for a full-day of riding in the mountains around Lake Arrowhead, California – an ideal testing ground with hundreds of miles of dirt roads, trails and twisty asphalt. Dunlop reps spoke confidently about their new Trailmax Mission dual sport tire’s versatility and performance in the previous evening’s presentation, marketed as a 50/50 tire and claiming it “delivers knobby-like performance off-road, has impressive grip on the street, plus great ride quality and stability everywhere it goes.” A bold statement, especially after getting a first look at them. They appear fairly smooth, more like the tires that come on your adventure bike from the factory than a proper set of knobs. Aiming High Just based on appearances, I had a feeling the Trailmax Mission tires wouldn’t be great in the dirt but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and keep an open mind. This was Dunlop right? One of the largest manufacturers of tires in the world, who’ve been putting rubber on vehicles since the 1800s. And they were ‘all in’ with this project, starting with a ton of consumer research, rider surveys, meeting folks face to face at ADV Rallys to gather requirements… That all led to two years of development and no less than 30 prototype tires before coming up with the final design. ADVERTISEMENT Dunlop Tire Design Engineer, Ron Winkelman, admitted this was the most challenging project of his career, and one of the most rewarding. He fondly reminisced about hand cutting tires on the trail during testing to get immediate feedback from riders on different tread patterns. You could feel the sense of pride, dare I say ‘mission’ in this project. For many years Dunlop has been absent from the premium 50/50 dual sport tire segment. With the healthy growth of dual sports, scramblers and adventure bikes in the market, it was clear they needed to get into the game.. And when you are late to the game, you’ve got to get it right. But you also have the advantage of seeing what everyone has been doing wrong. Their goal was to reinvent the 50/50 tire, with a primary focus of delivering longevity and durability above all. The front uses a symmetrical tread for more even wear. The 17” and 19” diameter tires use a coffered out area on the knobs for greater traction to compensate for the smaller tread blocks compared to the 21″.“We developed a product that reaches both sides equally [street and dirt]. A product customers can run with confidence, and not feel like they have to compromise, and oh by the way, they are going to get that killer mileage they’ve been looking for,” said Mike Buckley, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing. With 50/50 dual sport tires typically lasting between 2500 to 4000 miles, some ‘killer mileage’ would be greatly appreciated. Dunlop confidently claims their new Trailmax Mission is able to rack up 8,000 miles on a rear and even more on the front. That is based on an independent test on a 250-mile mountain loop with mixed terrain on a 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 1000. They say even if you are aggressive on the throttle, those numbers should still be within reach. If true, that’s something we can all get excited about, especially with the high cost of tire changes at your local dealer. Trailmax Mission Technology So what could Dunlop do that hasn’t been done before to achieve this next-level performance and versatility? Reps claim they used all of their years of knowledge and experience in building both high-performance street and dirt tires to come up with the ideal 50/50 dual sport tire. They even integrated technology from their Falken tire division that makes off-road tires for light trucks. The Missions use ‘staggered step’ technology to increase rigidity and create additional edge grip surface area. Front and rear tires have distinctly different patterns and you might think they are two different tires at first glance. The front uses a symmetrical tread for more even wear, and 17” and 19” diameter tires use a coffered out area on the knobs for greater traction. Both front and rear tires use ‘staggered step’ technology on specific knobs to increase rigidity and create additional edge grip surface area. Like shark teeth, as one edge wears, there’s another one that steps in behind it to take its place. And deep tread grooves with connector blocks help the Missions grip in loose terrain while keeping lugs stabilized. Dunlop used all of their bags of tricks to help ensure the Trailmax Missions punch above their weight. One of the most distinctive tire characteristics is the use of wraparound sidewall lugs to increase durability, allow lower tire pressures off-road, and keep the tire tracking straight in muddy or sandy conditions. The sidewall tread is even said to assist in steering out of ruts by providing extra side grip. Interestingly, the final design of the Trailmax Mission was so different from anything Dunlop has created before, that it required retooling of their existing machinery to build them. Street Test So with my interest piqued, it was time to put rubber to the road. We started off with a street test on a brisk spring morning. After getting warmed up (where’s that heated grips button again?), we eased into a relaxed pace on tight twisty roads. Not quite fast enough to push the tires though, so I backed off the rider in front of me a bit so I could get enough space to ride more aggressively through the next set of bends. Some knobby-style tires like the Continental TKC 80 are pretty good in the twisties, so I expected the Dunlops would perform at least as well on the road portion of our test based on their smooth appearance. And perform well they did. As I turned up the pace a notch, I was not acclimated to the powerful front calipers on the KTM 1290 Adventure R quite yet. I ended up grabbing more brake than I should have while entering the turn, causing the front end to dive. A lesser tire, might have tucked the front but the Trailmax Mission was unfazed by my mistake. As the tires heated up, I was able to get the bike leaned deeper and deeper into turns. To my surprise, they gripped more like a sport bike tire than any dual sport tire I have been on before. And this was with a somewhat compromised 30psi in the tires for mixed on- and off-road testing. Front and rear tires have distinctly different patterns and you might think they are two different tires at first glance. During a quick break, we were told that we had a photo stop coming up. Normally, photographers setup for a shot in ideal conditions, but sometimes they aren’t thinking about the riders and pick a turn based on what looks good for their photos. As I came in fast for a tight 25mph turn, wanting to get that awesome shot, I noticed the road was covered with pine needles. With eyes wide open, I delicately tried to keep the bike upright as I maneuvered it toward a less furry section of road. The tires didn’t seem to notice any lack of traction though and I was able to precisely change my line on the slippery surface. With such smooth riding, I began to wonder if it was the KTM’s sophisticated ABS and Traction Control systems keeping this beast in check. So with a big gulp, I turned off all the rider aids and threw it into ‘Sport’ mode. Normally that’s a recipe for disaster on a bike with this much power, but we’ve got to test these tires right? Riding other 1290s unleashed, I’ve come out of turns blistering the tires on pavement with handlebars near full lock. Yet somehow on this day, my power slides were significantly subdued riding on the Trailmax Missions. These things just hook up! And if you do get a power slide going, it’s gradual and controllable. Without any abrupt slides to worry about, I could ride faster with a lot more confidence. But after testing full steam for a bit, I was relieved to put my electronic parachute back on again. We didn’t get on any highway stretches during the day but some long straights had us clocking well over highway speeds. There was no discernable whirring noise typical of dual sport knobbies. I also tried to ride in all the cracks and tar snakes I could find but the Missions remained as stable as any street tire. Even though I was expecting these tires to be good on the street, they still managed to exceed my expectations. Off-Road Test The off-road portion of our test was where I was less confident these tires were going to impress based on their appearance. But keeping an open mind, we set out on some flowing dirt roads and jeep trails that were a blast on the 1290 Super Adventure R. These were primo big bike roads with just enough rocks, whoops and the occasional soft spot to keep things fun and interesting. For the average big-bike rider who ventures off-road, this is the typical terrain they ride – staying clear of the technical rocky sections, mud and deep sand. To make sure I was testing the tires and not the electronics, I turned off traction control and ABS, then selected ‘offroad’ mode throttle response to keep it at a usable 100 horsepower. On the mostly hard-packed terrain, the Dunlops gripped at a high level and offered a stable twitch-free ride. Just like on asphalt, they have a predictable slide once they break loose and overall good traction on anything from mild to medium off-road terrain. Since we had a mixed group of riders with varying skills, we didn’t get into anything too challenging other than a short stretch of sand, so I got creative to push the limits of the tires. During a short break, I found a nice steep hill climb and descent for a quick test. The 1290 SAR had no problem powering up the hill and gripped slip-free like a tractor on the way up. Big bikes on smooth tires get good traction on hill climbs as long as it’s not soft, so I wasn’t all that impressed. But a heavy bike on a steep downhill running smooth tires is less graceful. During the descent, I anticipated a premature slide to kick in at any moment while delicately modulating the front and rear brakes. I could feel my rear tire start to get unweighted but the Trailmax Mission rear held on for dear life and it gripped far better than a smooth tire should. It will require further testing before I can be sure about its downhill performance, but for this particular descent it was better than expected. Scouring the terrain for the rough stuff, I found a stretch of side trail that was filled with soft sand and rocks. I headed into the chunky dirt you normally avoid like the plague during a ride, to see how much I could challenge the Trailmax Missions. To my surprise, the front tire tracked straight and didn’t wander, tuck or dive. I rode through the muck with good feel in the front end and it stayed up on top of it all. The rear tire was another story though. It began to spin and lost traction as soon as the soft stuff was more than a few inches thick. Repeating this experiment a few different times resulted in similar behavior. Not as bad as other smooth rear tires I’ve tested but ‘knobby-like’ it wasn’t. Emergency braking, on dirt covered with a thin film of soft sand, was another test I performed. Grabbing a handful of front brake with ABS disabled, I was able to slow down the big 1290 Super Adventure to a rapid halt without tucking the front – a testament to the front tire’s exceptional grip. Overall, both tires offered confidence on the tracks we rode. Yet it was the front tire that excelled the most, while the rear tire revealed its limitations in loose terrain. Who Are They For? The Mission’s excellent street performance and good control in most off-road terrain, make them a nice option for Adventure riders who love eating twisties and opt for less technical off-road routes. Assuming the 8,000-mile longevity is true, they would be a strong contender for long-range adventure travelers that don’t want to be burdened with changing tires on the road. They’d also make a great tire for most BDR routes, with enough longevity and versatility to link up several different states. However, if you are looking for the hard routes at your local dual sport ride, you’d be better off with something more aggressive. The Bottom Line Is the Dunlop Trailmax Mission a 50/50 tire? Just as good on asphalt as they are in the dirt? Unfortunately no. Partly because they are so good on the street that they’d have to perform like a full-on DOT knobby to be equal in the dirt, and that wasn’t the case. We know of some dual sport tires that are just as bad on the street as they are in the dirt, so are those more of a true 50/50 tire than the Trailmax Missions under that rating system? Some view the rating from a perspective of how much you ride street vs. dirt but that depends a lot on ‘how’ you ride. The point is, the whole dual sport tire rating system is flawed because the math assumes the higher the tire is rated at one end of the spectrum, takes away equally from the other. Can we get a new rating system please? We don’t blame Dunlop for rating these as a 50/50 tire though, following in the footsteps of other tire makers in the industry. While they do look fairly smooth, they wouldn’t appear out of place next to other tires rated 50/50 by their manufacturer like the Metzeler Karoo 3, Heidenau K60, Motoz Tractionator GPS, or Mitas E-07. Do the Missions offer knobby-like performance? Not quite. Using the popular TKC 80 as a benchmark though, I’d say the Missions have a significant advantage on the street where they are grippy, quiet and stable. Off-road they were a close match for traction, up until you got into softer, looser terrain. The Missions have no problem handling any trails in the typical “Adventure” range though. And if you are able to get roughly 3x the mileage out of a set of Trailmax Missions as Dunlop claims, then that is a major selling point. While some riders might be disappointed they don’t offer more grip off-road, the engineers at Dunlop seemed to be focused on achieving their mileage goals as first priority based on consumer research. Personally, I was pleased with the front tire grip but wouldn’t have minded sacrificing 2,000 of that 8,000 miles of longevity on the rear for a little more traction in the dirt. Then again, I was testing on a 160 horsepower, 530-pound monster of a bike. On a lighter, less powerful machine, the Mission rear might feel significantly better. Clearly more testing is needed. The jury is still out on wet asphalt, deeper sand, mud, and rocky terrain, not to mention longevity. Luckily, we’ve got a fresh set of Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires sitting at the office ready to spoon on for a long-term test. And if claims are anywhere near accurate, we’ll have roughly 8,000 miles of great riding to fully analyze them. We’ll report back after giving them a proper test, including the gnarly stuff. Stay tuned! Gear We Used • Helmet: Arai XD-4 • Jacket: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 • Pants: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 • Boots: Alpinestars Tech 10 • Gloves: A.R.C Battle Born Air Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  2. Scurrying across the parking lot about as gracefully as one can wearing a pair of moto boots, I wondered to myself “why am I always the last one ready?”. I was a minute or three late for the test ride of the new Dunlop Trailmax Mission dual sport tires and I could see most of the other journalists raring to go. I arrived at a long row of the latest and greatest adventure bikes, ranging from the Honda CB500X to the BMW R1250GS – all there for the taking and I’m the last to pick. One bike that didn’t already have a helmet on it was a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. I coyly asked, “Is anyone on this?” Since no one answered, I eagerly hopped on. The 1290 Super Adventure R is one of my favorites – wicked power, long-range capable (except for the stupid little windscreen) and amazing off-road suspension that is head and shoulders above anything in the Liter+ Class. And what better bike to test a set of tires with than a 1290 Super Adventure? With 160 horsepower and 103 ft-lbs of torque, its roost can be lethal and it does power wheelies in 4th gear. Plus its tall suspension can achieve sportbike-like lean angles on asphalt making it punishing on a set of tires. Soon we were off for a full-day of riding in the mountains around Lake Arrowhead, California – an ideal testing ground with hundreds of miles of dirt roads, trails and twisty asphalt. Dunlop reps spoke confidently about their new Trailmax Mission dual sport tire’s versatility and performance in the previous evening’s presentation, marketed as a 50/50 tire and claiming it “delivers knobby-like performance off-road, has impressive grip on the street, plus great ride quality and stability everywhere it goes.” A bold statement, especially after getting a first look at them. They appear fairly smooth, more like the tires that come on your adventure bike from the factory than a proper set of knobs. Aiming High Just based on appearances, I had a feeling the Trailmax Mission tires wouldn’t be great in the dirt but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and keep an open mind. This was Dunlop right? One of the largest manufacturers of tires in the world, who’ve been putting rubber on vehicles since the 1800s. And they were ‘all in’ with this project, starting with a ton of consumer research, rider surveys, meeting folks face to face at ADV Rallys to gather requirements… That all led to two years of development and no less than 30 prototype tires before coming up with the final design. ADVERTISEMENT Dunlop Tire Design Engineer, Ron Winkelman, admitted this was the most challenging project of his career, and one of the most rewarding. He fondly reminisced about hand cutting tires on the trail during testing to get immediate feedback from riders on different tread patterns. You could feel the sense of pride, dare I say ‘mission’ in this project. For many years Dunlop has been absent from the premium 50/50 dual sport tire segment. With the healthy growth of dual sports, scramblers and adventure bikes in the market, it was clear they needed to get into the game.. And when you are late to the game, you’ve got to get it right. But you also have the advantage of seeing what everyone has been doing wrong. Their goal was to reinvent the 50/50 tire, with a primary focus of delivering longevity and durability above all. The front uses a symmetrical tread for more even wear. The 17” and 19” diameter tires use a coffered out area on the knobs for greater traction to compensate for the smaller tread blocks compared to the 21″.“We developed a product that reaches both sides equally [street and dirt]. A product customers can run with confidence, and not feel like they have to compromise, and oh by the way, they are going to get that killer mileage they’ve been looking for,” said Mike Buckley, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing. With 50/50 dual sport tires typically lasting between 2500 to 4000 miles, some ‘killer mileage’ would be greatly appreciated. Dunlop confidently claims their new Trailmax Mission is able to rack up 8,000 miles on a rear and even more on the front. That is based on an independent test on a 250-mile mountain loop with mixed terrain on a 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 1000. They say even if you are aggressive on the throttle, those numbers should still be within reach. If true, that’s something we can all get excited about, especially with the high cost of tire changes at your local dealer. Trailmax Mission Technology So what could Dunlop do that hasn’t been done before to achieve this next-level performance and versatility? Reps claim they used all of their years of knowledge and experience in building both high-performance street and dirt tires to come up with the ideal 50/50 dual sport tire. They even integrated technology from their Falken tire division that makes off-road tires for light trucks. The Missions use ‘staggered step’ technology to increase rigidity and create additional edge grip surface area. Front and rear tires have distinctly different patterns and you might think they are two different tires at first glance. The front uses a symmetrical tread for more even wear, and 17” and 19” diameter tires use a coffered out area on the knobs for greater traction. Both front and rear tires use ‘staggered step’ technology on specific knobs to increase rigidity and create additional edge grip surface area. Like shark teeth, as one edge wears, there’s another one that steps in behind it to take its place. And deep tread grooves with connector blocks help the Missions grip in loose terrain while keeping lugs stabilized. Dunlop used all of their bags of tricks to help ensure the Trailmax Missions punch above their weight. One of the most distinctive tire characteristics is the use of wraparound sidewall lugs to increase durability, allow lower tire pressures off-road, and keep the tire tracking straight in muddy or sandy conditions. The sidewall tread is even said to assist in steering out of ruts by providing extra side grip. Interestingly, the final design of the Trailmax Mission was so different from anything Dunlop has created before, that it required retooling of their existing machinery to build them. Street Test So with my interest piqued, it was time to put rubber to the road. We started off with a street test on a brisk spring morning. After getting warmed up (where’s that heated grips button again?), we eased into a relaxed pace on tight twisty roads. Not quite fast enough to push the tires though, so I backed off the rider in front of me a bit so I could get enough space to ride more aggressively through the next set of bends. Some knobby-style tires like the Continental TKC 80 are pretty good in the twisties, so I expected the Dunlops would perform at least as well on the road portion of our test based on their smooth appearance. And perform well they did. As I turned up the pace a notch, I was not acclimated to the powerful front calipers on the KTM 1290 Adventure R quite yet. I ended up grabbing more brake than I should have while entering the turn, causing the front end to dive. A lesser tire, might have tucked the front but the Trailmax Mission was unfazed by my mistake. As the tires heated up, I was able to get the bike leaned deeper and deeper into turns. To my surprise, they gripped more like a sport bike tire than any dual sport tire I have been on before. And this was with a somewhat compromised 30psi in the tires for mixed on- and off-road testing. Front and rear tires have distinctly different patterns and you might think they are two different tires at first glance. During a quick break, we were told that we had a photo stop coming up. Normally, photographers setup for a shot in ideal conditions, but sometimes they aren’t thinking about the riders and pick a turn based on what looks good for their photos. As I came in fast for a tight 25mph turn, wanting to get that awesome shot, I noticed the road was covered with pine needles. With eyes wide open, I delicately tried to keep the bike upright as I maneuvered it toward a less furry section of road. The tires didn’t seem to notice any lack of traction though and I was able to precisely change my line on the slippery surface. With such smooth riding, I began to wonder if it was the KTM’s sophisticated ABS and Traction Control systems keeping this beast in check. So with a big gulp, I turned off all the rider aids and threw it into ‘Sport’ mode. Normally that’s a recipe for disaster on a bike with this much power, but we’ve got to test these tires right? Riding other 1290s unleashed, I’ve come out of turns blistering the tires on pavement with handlebars near full lock. Yet somehow on this day, my power slides were significantly subdued riding on the Trailmax Missions. These things just hook up! And if you do get a power slide going, it’s gradual and controllable. Without any abrupt slides to worry about, I could ride faster with a lot more confidence. But after testing full steam for a bit, I was relieved to put my electronic parachute back on again. We didn’t get on any highway stretches during the day but some long straights had us clocking well over highway speeds. There was no discernable whirring noise typical of dual sport knobbies. I also tried to ride in all the cracks and tar snakes I could find but the Missions remained as stable as any street tire. Even though I was expecting these tires to be good on the street, they still managed to exceed my expectations. Off-Road Test The off-road portion of our test was where I was less confident these tires were going to impress based on their appearance. But keeping an open mind, we set out on some flowing dirt roads and jeep trails that were a blast on the 1290 Super Adventure R. These were primo big bike roads with just enough rocks, whoops and the occasional soft spot to keep things fun and interesting. For the average big-bike rider who ventures off-road, this is the typical terrain they ride – staying clear of the technical rocky sections, mud and deep sand. To make sure I was testing the tires and not the electronics, I turned off traction control and ABS, then selected ‘offroad’ mode throttle response to keep it at a usable 100 horsepower. On the mostly hard-packed terrain, the Dunlops gripped at a high level and offered a stable twitch-free ride. Just like on asphalt, they have a predictable slide once they break loose and overall good traction on anything from mild to medium off-road terrain. Since we had a mixed group of riders with varying skills, we didn’t get into anything too challenging other than a short stretch of sand, so I got creative to push the limits of the tires. During a short break, I found a nice steep hill climb and descent for a quick test. The 1290 SAR had no problem powering up the hill and gripped slip-free like a tractor on the way up. Big bikes on smooth tires get good traction on hill climbs as long as it’s not soft, so I wasn’t all that impressed. But a heavy bike on a steep downhill running smooth tires is less graceful. During the descent, I anticipated a premature slide to kick in at any moment while delicately modulating the front and rear brakes. I could feel my rear tire start to get unweighted but the Trailmax Mission rear held on for dear life and it gripped far better than a smooth tire should. It will require further testing before I can be sure about its downhill performance, but for this particular descent it was better than expected. Scouring the terrain for the rough stuff, I found a stretch of side trail that was filled with soft sand and rocks. I headed into the chunky dirt you normally avoid like the plague during a ride, to see how much I could challenge the Trailmax Missions. To my surprise, the front tire tracked straight and didn’t wander, tuck or dive. I rode through the muck with good feel in the front end and it stayed up on top of it all. The rear tire was another story though. It began to spin and lost traction as soon as the soft stuff was more than a few inches thick. Repeating this experiment a few different times resulted in similar behavior. Not as bad as other smooth rear tires I’ve tested but ‘knobby-like’ it wasn’t. Emergency braking, on dirt covered with a thin film of soft sand, was another test I performed. Grabbing a handful of front brake with ABS disabled, I was able to slow down the big 1290 Super Adventure to a rapid halt without tucking the front – a testament to the front tire’s exceptional grip. Overall, both tires offered confidence on the tracks we rode. Yet it was the front tire that excelled the most, while the rear tire revealed its limitations in loose terrain. Who Are They For? The Mission’s excellent street performance and good control in most off-road terrain, make them a nice option for Adventure riders who love eating twisties and opt for less technical off-road routes. Assuming the 8,000-mile longevity is true, they would be a strong contender for long-range adventure travelers that don’t want to be burdened with changing tires on the road. They’d also make a great tire for most BDR routes, with enough longevity and versatility to link up several different states. However, if you are looking for the hard routes at your local dual sport ride, you’d be better off with something more aggressive. The Bottom Line Is the Dunlop Trailmax Mission a 50/50 tire? Just as good on asphalt as they are in the dirt? Unfortunately no. Partly because they are so good on the street that they’d have to perform like a full-on DOT knobby to be equal in the dirt, and that wasn’t the case. We know of some dual sport tires that are just as bad on the street as they are in the dirt, so are those more of a true 50/50 tire than the Trailmax Missions under that rating system? Some view the rating from a perspective of how much you ride street vs. dirt but that depends a lot on ‘how’ you ride. The point is, the whole dual sport tire rating system is flawed because the math assumes the higher the tire is rated at one end of the spectrum, takes away equally from the other. Can we get a new rating system please? We don’t blame Dunlop for rating these as a 50/50 tire though, following in the footsteps of other tire makers in the industry. While they do look fairly smooth, they wouldn’t appear out of place next to other tires rated 50/50 by their manufacturer like the Metzeler Karoo 3, Heidenau K60, Motoz Tractionator GPS, or Mitas E-07. Do the Missions offer knobby-like performance? Not quite. Using the popular TKC 80 as a benchmark though, I’d say the Missions have a significant advantage on the street where they are grippy, quiet and stable. Off-road they were a close match for traction, up until you got into softer, looser terrain. The Missions have no problem handling any trails in the typical “Adventure” range though. And if you are able to get roughly 3x the mileage out of a set of Trailmax Missions as Dunlop claims, then that is a major selling point. While some riders might be disappointed they don’t offer more grip off-road, the engineers at Dunlop seemed to be focused on achieving their mileage goals as first priority based on consumer research. Personally, I was pleased with the front tire grip but wouldn’t have minded sacrificing 2,000 of that 8,000 miles of longevity on the rear for a little more traction in the dirt. Then again, I was testing on a 160 horsepower, 530-pound monster of a bike. On a lighter, less powerful machine, the Mission rear might feel significantly better. Clearly more testing is needed. The jury is still out on wet asphalt, deeper sand, mud, and rocky terrain, not to mention longevity. Luckily, we’ve got a fresh set of Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires sitting at the office ready to spoon on for a long-term test. And if claims are anywhere near accurate, we’ll have roughly 8,000 miles of great riding to fully analyze them. We’ll report back after giving them a proper test, including the gnarly stuff. Stay tuned! Gear We Used • Helmet: Arai XD-4 • Jacket: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 • Pants: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 • Boots: Alpinestars Tech 10 • Gloves: A.R.C Battle Born Air Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  3. Scurrying across the parking lot about as gracefully as one can wearing a pair of moto boots, I wondered to myself “why am I always the last one ready?”. I was a minute or three late for the test ride of the new Dunlop Trailmax Mission dual sport tires and I could see most of the other journalists raring to go. I arrived at a long row of the latest and greatest adventure bikes, ranging from the Honda CB500X to the BMW R1250GS – all there for the taking and I’m the last to pick. One bike that didn’t already have a helmet on it was a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. I coyly asked, “Is anyone on this?” Since no one answered, I eagerly hopped on. The 1290 Super Adventure R is one of my favorites – wicked power, long-range capable (except for the stupid little windscreen) and amazing off-road suspension that is head and shoulders above anything in the Liter+ Class. And what better bike to test a set of tires with than a 1290 Super Adventure? With 160 horsepower and 103 ft-lbs of torque, its roost can be lethal and it does power wheelies in 4th gear. Plus its tall suspension can achieve sportbike-like lean angles on asphalt making it punishing on a set of tires. Soon we were off for a full-day of riding in the mountains around Lake Arrowhead, California – an ideal testing ground with hundreds of miles of dirt roads, trails and twisty asphalt. Dunlop reps spoke confidently about their new Trailmax Mission dual sport tire’s versatility and performance in the previous evening’s presentation, marketed as a 50/50 tire and claiming it “delivers knobby-like performance off-road, has impressive grip on the street, plus great ride quality and stability everywhere it goes.” A bold statement, especially after getting a first look at them. They appear fairly smooth, more like the tires that come on your adventure bike from the factory than a proper set of knobs. Aiming High Just based on appearances, I had a feeling the Trailmax Mission tires wouldn’t be great in the dirt but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and keep an open mind. This was Dunlop right? One of the largest manufacturers of tires in the world, who’ve been putting rubber on vehicles since the 1800s. And they were ‘all in’ with this project, starting with a ton of consumer research, rider surveys, meeting folks face to face at ADV Rallys to gather requirements… That all led to two years of development and no less than 30 prototype tires before coming up with the final design. ADVERTISEMENT Dunlop Tire Design Engineer, Ron Winkelman, admitted this was the most challenging project of his career, and one of the most rewarding. He fondly reminisced about hand cutting tires on the trail during testing to get immediate feedback from riders on different tread patterns. You could feel the sense of pride, dare I say ‘mission’ in this project. For many years Dunlop has been absent from the premium 50/50 dual sport tire segment. With the healthy growth of dual sports, scramblers and adventure bikes in the market, it was clear they needed to get into the game.. And when you are late to the game, you’ve got to get it right. But you also have the advantage of seeing what everyone has been doing wrong. Their goal was to reinvent the 50/50 tire, with a primary focus of delivering longevity and durability above all. The front uses a symmetrical tread for more even wear. The 17” and 19” diameter tires use a coffered out area on the knobs for greater traction to compensate for the smaller tread blocks compared to the 21″.“We developed a product that reaches both sides equally [street and dirt]. A product customers can run with confidence, and not feel like they have to compromise, and oh by the way, they are going to get that killer mileage they’ve been looking for,” said Mike Buckley, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing. With 50/50 dual sport tires typically lasting between 2500 to 4000 miles, some ‘killer mileage’ would be greatly appreciated. Dunlop confidently claims their new Trailmax Mission is able to rack up 8,000 miles on a rear and even more on the front. That is based on an independent test on a 250-mile mountain loop with mixed terrain on a 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 1000. They say even if you are aggressive on the throttle, those numbers should still be within reach. If true, that’s something we can all get excited about, especially with the high cost of tire changes at your local dealer. Trailmax Mission Technology So what could Dunlop do that hasn’t been done before to achieve this next-level performance and versatility? Reps claim they used all of their years of knowledge and experience in building both high-performance street and dirt tires to come up with the ideal 50/50 dual sport tire. They even integrated technology from their Falken tire division that makes off-road tires for light trucks. The Missions use ‘staggered step’ technology to increase rigidity and create additional edge grip surface area. Front and rear tires have distinctly different patterns and you might think they are two different tires at first glance. The front uses a symmetrical tread for more even wear, and 17” and 19” diameter tires use a coffered out area on the knobs for greater traction. Both front and rear tires use ‘staggered step’ technology on specific knobs to increase rigidity and create additional edge grip surface area. Like shark teeth, as one edge wears, there’s another one that steps in behind it to take its place. And deep tread grooves with connector blocks help the Missions grip in loose terrain while keeping lugs stabilized. Dunlop used all of their bags of tricks to help ensure the Trailmax Missions punch above their weight. One of the most distinctive tire characteristics is the use of wraparound sidewall lugs to increase durability, allow lower tire pressures off-road, and keep the tire tracking straight in muddy or sandy conditions. The sidewall tread is even said to assist in steering out of ruts by providing extra side grip. Interestingly, the final design of the Trailmax Mission was so different from anything Dunlop has created before, that it required retooling of their existing machinery to build them. Street Test So with my interest piqued, it was time to put rubber to the road. We started off with a street test on a brisk spring morning. After getting warmed up (where’s that heated grips button again?), we eased into a relaxed pace on tight twisty roads. Not quite fast enough to push the tires though, so I backed off the rider in front of me a bit so I could get enough space to ride more aggressively through the next set of bends. Some knobby-style tires like the Continental TKC 80 are pretty good in the twisties, so I expected the Dunlops would perform at least as well on the road portion of our test based on their smooth appearance. And perform well they did. As I turned up the pace a notch, I was not acclimated to the powerful front calipers on the KTM 1290 Adventure R quite yet. I ended up grabbing more brake than I should have while entering the turn, causing the front end to dive. A lesser tire, might have tucked the front but the Trailmax Mission was unfazed by my mistake. As the tires heated up, I was able to get the bike leaned deeper and deeper into turns. To my surprise, they gripped more like a sport bike tire than any dual sport tire I have been on before. And this was with a somewhat compromised 30psi in the tires for mixed on- and off-road testing. Front and rear tires have distinctly different patterns and you might think they are two different tires at first glance. During a quick break, we were told that we had a photo stop coming up. Normally, photographers setup for a shot in ideal conditions, but sometimes they aren’t thinking about the riders and pick a turn based on what looks good for their photos. As I came in fast for a tight 25mph turn, wanting to get that awesome shot, I noticed the road was covered with pine needles. With eyes wide open, I delicately tried to keep the bike upright as I maneuvered it toward a less furry section of road. The tires didn’t seem to notice any lack of traction though and I was able to precisely change my line on the slippery surface. With such smooth riding, I began to wonder if it was the KTM’s sophisticated ABS and Traction Control systems keeping this beast in check. So with a big gulp, I turned off all the rider aids and threw it into ‘Sport’ mode. Normally that’s a recipe for disaster on a bike with this much power, but we’ve got to test these tires right? Riding other 1290s unleashed, I’ve come out of turns blistering the tires on pavement with handlebars near full lock. Yet somehow on this day, my power slides were significantly subdued riding on the Trailmax Missions. These things just hook up! And if you do get a power slide going, it’s gradual and controllable. Without any abrupt slides to worry about, I could ride faster with a lot more confidence. But after testing full steam for a bit, I was relieved to put my electronic parachute back on again. We didn’t get on any highway stretches during the day but some long straights had us clocking well over highway speeds. There was no discernable whirring noise typical of dual sport knobbies. I also tried to ride in all the cracks and tar snakes I could find but the Missions remained as stable as any street tire. Even though I was expecting these tires to be good on the street, they still managed to exceed my expectations. Off-Road Test The off-road portion of our test was where I was less confident these tires were going to impress based on their appearance. But keeping an open mind, we set out on some flowing dirt roads and jeep trails that were a blast on the 1290 Super Adventure R. These were primo big bike roads with just enough rocks, whoops and the occasional soft spot to keep things fun and interesting. For the average big-bike rider who ventures off-road, this is the typical terrain they ride – staying clear of the technical rocky sections, mud and deep sand. To make sure I was testing the tires and not the electronics, I turned off traction control and ABS, then selected ‘offroad’ mode throttle response to keep it at a usable 100 horsepower. On the mostly hard-packed terrain, the Dunlops gripped at a high level and offered a stable twitch-free ride. Just like on asphalt, they have a predictable slide once they break loose and overall good traction on anything from mild to medium off-road terrain. Since we had a mixed group of riders with varying skills, we didn’t get into anything too challenging other than a short stretch of sand, so I got creative to push the limits of the tires. During a short break, I found a nice steep hill climb and descent for a quick test. The 1290 SAR had no problem powering up the hill and gripped slip-free like a tractor on the way up. Big bikes on smooth tires get good traction on hill climbs as long as it’s not soft, so I wasn’t all that impressed. But a heavy bike on a steep downhill running smooth tires is less graceful. During the descent, I anticipated a premature slide to kick in at any moment while delicately modulating the front and rear brakes. I could feel my rear tire start to get unweighted but the Trailmax Mission rear held on for dear life and it gripped far better than a smooth tire should. It will require further testing before I can be sure about its downhill performance, but for this particular descent it was better than expected. Scouring the terrain for the rough stuff, I found a stretch of side trail that was filled with soft sand and rocks. I headed into the chunky dirt you normally avoid like the plague during a ride, to see how much I could challenge the Trailmax Missions. To my surprise, the front tire tracked straight and didn’t wander, tuck or dive. I rode through the muck with good feel in the front end and it stayed up on top of it all. The rear tire was another story though. It began to spin and lost traction as soon as the soft stuff was more than a few inches thick. Repeating this experiment a few different times resulted in similar behavior. Not as bad as other smooth rear tires I’ve tested but ‘knobby-like’ it wasn’t. Emergency braking, on dirt covered with a thin film of soft sand, was another test I performed. Grabbing a handful of front brake with ABS disabled, I was able to slow down the big 1290 Super Adventure to a rapid halt without tucking the front – a testament to the front tire’s exceptional grip. Overall, both tires offered confidence on the tracks we rode. Yet it was the front tire that excelled the most, while the rear tire revealed its limitations in loose terrain. Who Are They For? The Mission’s excellent street performance and good control in most off-road terrain, make them a nice option for Adventure riders who love eating twisties and opt for less technical off-road routes. Assuming the 8,000-mile longevity is true, they would be a strong contender for long-range adventure travelers that don’t want to be burdened with changing tires on the road. They’d also make a great tire for most BDR routes, with enough longevity and versatility to link up several different states. However, if you are looking for the hard routes at your local dual sport ride, you’d be better off with something more aggressive. The Bottom Line Is the Dunlop Trailmax Mission a 50/50 tire? Just as good on asphalt as they are in the dirt? Unfortunately no. Partly because they are so good on the street that they’d have to perform like a full-on DOT knobby to be equal in the dirt, and that wasn’t the case. We know of some dual sport tires that are just as bad on the street as they are in the dirt, so are those more of a true 50/50 tire than the Trailmax Missions under that rating system? Some view the rating from a perspective of how much you ride street vs. dirt but that depends a lot on ‘how’ you ride. The point is, the whole dual sport tire rating system is flawed because the math assumes the higher the tire is rated at one end of the spectrum, takes away equally from the other. Can we get a new rating system please? We don’t blame Dunlop for rating these as a 50/50 tire though, following in the footsteps of other tire makers in the industry. While they do look fairly smooth, they wouldn’t appear out of place next to other tires rated 50/50 by their manufacturer like the Metzeler Karoo 3, Heidenau K60, Motoz Tractionator GPS, or Mitas E-07. Do the Missions offer knobby-like performance? Not quite. Using the popular TKC 80 as a benchmark though, I’d say the Missions have a significant advantage on the street where they are grippy, quiet and stable. Off-road they were a close match for traction, up until you got into softer, looser terrain. The Missions have no problem handling any trails in the typical “Adventure” range though. And if you are able to get roughly 3x the mileage out of a set of Trailmax Missions as Dunlop claims, then that is a major selling point. While some riders might be disappointed they don’t offer more grip off-road, the engineers at Dunlop seemed to be focused on achieving their mileage goals as first priority based on consumer research. Personally, I was pleased with the front tire grip but wouldn’t have minded sacrificing 2,000 of that 8,000 miles of longevity on the rear for a little more traction in the dirt. Then again, I was testing on a 160 horsepower, 530-pound monster of a bike. On a lighter, less powerful machine, the Mission rear might feel significantly better. Clearly more testing is needed. The jury is still out on wet asphalt, deeper sand, mud, and rocky terrain, not to mention longevity. Luckily, we’ve got a fresh set of Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires sitting at the office ready to spoon on for a long-term test. And if claims are anywhere near accurate, we’ll have roughly 8,000 miles of great riding to fully analyze them. We’ll report back after giving them a proper test, including the gnarly stuff. Stay tuned! Gear We Used • Helmet: Arai XD-4 • Jacket: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 • Pants: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 • Boots: Alpinestars Tech 10 • Gloves: A.R.C Battle Born Air Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  4. Touratech is launching an all-new modular adventure helmet, the Aventuro Traveller, which replaces the outgoing Aventuro Mod in their lineup. The new Aventuro Traveller features a flip-up design with huge airflow, yet Touratech says it is designed to remain quiet on the highway. It offers the communication convenience that only a modular helmet can provide, while still being lightweight for all-day comfort. A helmet’s job is to keep you protected. A side effect of this protection is often excessive heat for the rider. The Aventuro Traveller solves this problem with a peak design that directs airflow into the oversized vent on the forehead, which distributes air through the liner keeping the rider’s head cool. In fact, Touratech claims the flow is so great that the helmet liner comes with a ‘low-flow’ flap that can be closed to reduce airflow for riding in cooler weather. Further airflow cools the rider’s face by entering through the large chin vent. The glove-friendly vents are easy to open and close while riding. The Aventuro Traveller is lighter than its predecessor, the Aventuro Mod, and most other modular helmets on the market. The carbon version is a half-pound lighter than the previous model and the multi-fiber version is a third-of-a-pound lighter. The benefit is reduced neck strain and improved rider comfort for long days in the saddle. ADVERTISEMENT “We expect this helmet to hit the sweet spot for many travelers and adventure riders because it has the flip-up feature we love for interacting with people at the gas station or communicating with our riding buddies, but it’s lightweight and has lots of airflow like a good off-road helmet should. It’s the best of both worlds.” — Paul Guillien, CEO, Touratech-USA An innovative double seal on the shield and chin bar closure keeps rain and dust out while reducing sound levels for a comfortable ride. A large opening provides better peripheral vision and accommodates goggles & glasses. It also features an integrated sun visor that quickly flips down with a glove friendly control to reduce glare while riding. The shield is easy to open with either hand using grip tabs located on both sides and it stays open in 4 positions with strong detents and comes with a Pinlock© insert to prevent fogging. The ‘no-grab’ peak design cuts through the wind minimizing neck strain and includes an optional extension with two length settings. Weight Comparison Touratech Helmet Model Weight (lbs) Aventuro MOD 4.14 Aventuro Traveller (Fiberglass) 3.82 Aventuro Traveller (Carbon Fiber) 3.65 A gravity-defying chin bar stays in the up position without surprise closings like other modular helmets. A quick-ratchet buckle with stainless steel mechanism provides quick closure of the chinstrap and reliable performance for years. The helmet, manufactured by Nexx, is set up to accommodate most communication systems including SENA, Scala Rider and more. Cavities for speakers and microphone and easy routing paths for wires make communication installation a snap. Price & Styles The Aventuro Traveller is available in 3 graphics styles for the carbon fiber version which retails for $749, and 2 solid colors for the Multi-fiber version which retails for $649. Sizes range from XS to 3XL. They are available for pre-order now and will be in the USA in early 2020. The Aventuro Traveller will be on display at Touratech’s booth during the Long Beach IMS show November 22nd to the 24th. For more information go to touratech-usa.com Aventuro Traveller Features Peak & vents work together to maximize cooling airflow around head Offers 40% more airflow than the Aventuro Mod it replaces Large closeable chin vent for cooling rider’s face Easy-open & easy-close, glove-friendly vent controls Lightweight design for reduced neck strain and all-day comfort ‘No-grab’ peak design cuts through wind cleanly Anti-gravity chin bar stays up with no surprise closures Double seals keep rain and dust out while reducing sound levels Wide field of vision to take in sights and boost safety Eyeglasses friendly, with opening large enough for goggles Quick-ratchet chinstrap for easy action and smooth operation COOLMAX liners for moisture wicking dry comfort One-piece liner & neck-roll for easy removal for cleaning Internal sunshade that flips down Includes Pinlock© shield and insert to minimize fogging Intercom system ready, with speaker cavities, wire routing paths, clamp-on mount Camera mount for top included Made in Portugal DOT and ECE certified
  5. [embedded content] Sidi has announced an all-new flagship motocross boot for for 2020 – the Sidi Atojo SR. The Atojo is designed to be light, sleek for excellent bike control, and sits above the Crossfire 3 in Sidi”s motocross boot line. When designing the Atojo SR with input from professional riders, Sidi wanted to create a boot that was lighter in the upper area while still offering the ankle protection and replaceable parts the Italian bootmaker is known for. Nine-time MXGP World Champion Antonio Cairoli, two-time MX2 champion Jorge Prado, and long-time MXGP racer Alessandro Lupino worked with Sidi’s technicians to finalize every detail on the Atojo. The riders were so essential in the development of the boot that Sidi named it after them in recognition of their efforts – A (Alessandro Lupino) TO (Tony Cairoli) JO (Jorge Prado). The Atojo has a unique ‘dual’ ankle pivot design, with one hinge above the ankle and one below. There is also support bracing inside the boot that is designed to prevent hyperextension of the ankle, instep and Achilles tendon. Three hyperextension systems are built into the boot, including a replaceable insert on the front of the boot that allows a specific amount of tibia movement but freezes if bending becomes excessive. Rubber inserts along the suede and plastic inner shin provide grip on the bike and the sole is easily replaceable via four bolts. ADVERTISEMENT The overall h of the Atojo is 1-cm lower than the Crossfire 3 and the sole base is thicker for greater engagement with the upper boot. In addition, the dual hinge system improves fluidity of movement in the ankle without compromising rigidity and lateral protection. Better yet, the new Atojo boot is over one pound lighter ‘per boot’ than the Crossfire 3. ATOJO SR Hinge System Atojo SR has two flex points: the first hinge is positioned under the ankle, to reduce thickness and make the boot smoother on the inside and more aerodynamic overall. Ankle support bracing inside the boot allows for only a limited range of movement to prevent hyper-extension of the ankle, of the instep and of the back tendon. This technology gives the rider greater security. The second joint, above the ankle, working in sync with the lower hinge, improves the flexibility of the boot, making the bending movement fluid without compromising rigidity and lateral protection. There are three anti hyperextension systems for the foot. The first is located on the first hinge, the second on the back of the boot (the bootleg leans on the ankle avoiding extra bending backwards), the third is frontal and is made up of an innovative system that, through a screw on replaceable insert, allows a specific tibia flexion range and freezes if bending is excessive. A bootleg in PU, connected to the ankle strap through the second hinge, protects the back of the boot and is positioned between the upper and the lining. SRS SOLE: SR Dovetail Sole The SR (Sole Replacement System) interchangeable sole has an innovative design and replacement system. Design and technology are patented by Sidi. The central part of the sole is made up of a rubber insert with a new interlocking Dovetail system and 4 screws for easy replacement. The sole base is slightly higher than the Crossfire 3 for greater engagement with the upper. The tip, with traction grooves, and heel are fixed for race level use. An enduro lug sole is also available. The heel area has a fixed insert in soft PU that makes the boot more stable and offers grip against the bike. The new Sidi Atojo SR MX boots will be available March 2020 with an MSRP of $599.99. For more details go to the Motonation website. [embedded content] Atojo SR Technical Data The ATOJO SR’s upper uses proven “TECHNOMICRO” microfiber panels equipped with high impact plastic protection. The tongue and front and rear joints are padded with materials resistant to water and the absorption of sweat, dust and mud. The boots toe area outer surface is entirely wrapped in high impact plastic with a grip enhancing surface. The Atojo is equipped with a rigid and replaceable nylon insert for metatarsus protection which protects the inside of the boot in case the rider’s foot slips off the footpeg. The Atojo SR plastics have an all new design. The high impact plastic heel is shaped and specially molded to improve foot safety in case of torsional twists and is shaped to ensure comfort and stability. On the inner shin, the boot leg is built of protective suede with embossed rubber inserts which, in addition to providing good grip on the bike, protect the leg from engine heat. Rubber inserts for a smoother surface area, greater grip and control are strategically located on the inside of the ankle. The high impact plastic shin plate is anatomically shaped, its structure also extends under the upper to increase protection. The ATOJO SR uses a 3-buckle closure system. Each buckle works independently of the other. The buckle, micrometric memory adjustment strap and hook are user replaceable. The buckles have only one fixed point at the attachment screw which ensures easy closing allowing the boot to adapt to the leg of the rider and to provide greater comfort. A spoiler has been added to the lower buckle to deflect debris away from the buckle. Cambrelle is used to line the foot contact surface. The polyamide structure of Cambrelle has a high resistance to abrasion and a great degree of moisture absorption, thus ensuring a rapid drying of the fabric and preventing the onset of mold. From the ankle to mid-calf the Atojo is lined with a jersey treated material with a Teflon fabric protector. The Teflon treatment prevents absorption of water and sweat. The malleolus area is protected by ergonomic padding with memory. Around the calf there’s an elastic gaiter with an anti-heat protection panel/calf plate. The gaiter is closed with a Velcro flap to prevent the entry of rocks and dirt and features a wide adjustment. The ankle panel with the central strap is replaceable using 4 screws that connect it to the boot The shin plate is anatomically shaped PU and extends under the upper for extra protection
  6. [embedded content] It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas for adventure bike fans, especially those looking for a mid-range ADV with all the fixings: off-road chops, on-road performance and touring-friendly amenities. Of course we’d already had a sneak peek at Triumph’s new Tiger, set to replace the Tiger 800 range, via spy photos taken in Germany back in August. The prototype revealed a raft of revisions including a new frame, tubeless wire-spoke wheels, and what appears to be new suspension components. These changes also appear in the latest teaser video showing a Tiger 900 honed for adventure, tearing up landscapes ranging from snowy fields, to steep, loose trails and a bit of highway to boot. The only text on the teaser page promises that the two new Tiger models, a Rally and GT, have been transformed in every possible way: “Off-road, on road, technology, specification, handling, performance and character.” ADVERTISEMENT Yup, that’s a lot. What we are sure about is that in addition to new chassis and suspension, there will be a new larger TFT likely to display an array of IMU-based e-goodies on-point with the inertial-metrics offered on the KTM 790 ADV and BMW F850GS. Triumph’s famously smooth liquid-cooled 800cc, 12-valve triple, which already offered an impressive 95 horsepower for its size, will undoubtedly see a bump in power, though most of the new Tiger 900’s transformation appears to center around new suspension likely to offer more travel, as well as other nods to off-road use such as a new bolt-on subframe and passenger footpegs. As we reported in August after reviewing spy shots of the bike, attention has been paid to the undercarriage of the now-900cc Tiger, including the addition of a beefy, new skip plate. Routing the header pipe to the left side of the bike will likely improve ground clearance, while new, radial-mounted, four-piston calipers for the dual front discs are sure to improve braking feel. Spy photos back in August seem to have caught a completely revised Tiger 800. Assumed to be the new 900 adventure bike teased by Triumph. (Photo by Motorrad)The new 900cc Tiger’s looks are definitely more streamlined and distinctive, with a sharpened beak and narrowed twin headlamp arrangement that flows down into front fairing shrouds that are lower than the current model’s. The windscreen appears unchanged, but we can see a new handlebar and auxiliary lights. The bike’s tail section, edged by an all-new exhaust, is much slimmer than previous, adding to the impression this Tiger might be lighter than the XC’s near 500 pounds. We’ll know soon enough, as we’ll be attending the official launch of Triumph’s new Tiger 900 Rally and GT on December 3rd and will fill you in on its details straight away. Christmas or no, you’ll want to keep space on your wish list for this promising, new machine. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  7. [embedded content] It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas for adventure bike fans, especially those looking for a mid-range ADV with all the fixings: off-road chops, on-road performance and touring-friendly amenities. Of course we’d already had a sneak peek at Triumph’s new Tiger 900, set to replace the Tiger 800 range, via spy photos taken in Germany back in August. The prototype revealed a raft of revisions including a new frame, tubeless wire-spoke wheels, and what appears to be new suspension components. These changes also appear in the latest teaser video showing a Tiger 900 honed for adventure, tearing up landscapes ranging from snowy fields, to steep, loose trails and a bit of highway to boot. The only text on the teaser page promises that the two new Tiger models, a Rally and GT, have been transformed in every possible way: “Off-road, on road, technology, specification, handling, performance and character.” ADVERTISEMENT Yup, that’s a lot. What we are sure about is that in addition to new chassis and suspension, there will be a new larger TFT likely to display an array of IMU-based e-goodies on-point with the inertial-metrics offered on the KTM 790 ADV and BMW F850GS. Triumph’s famously smooth liquid-cooled 800cc, 12-valve triple, which already offered an impressive 95 horsepower for its size, will undoubtedly see a bump in power, though most of the new Tiger 900’s transformation appears to center around new suspension likely to offer more travel, as well as other nods to off-road use such as a new bolt-on subframe and passenger footpegs. As we reported in August after reviewing spy shots of the bike, attention has been paid to the undercarriage of the now-900cc Tiger, including the addition of a beefy, new skip plate. Routing the header pipe to the left side of the bike will likely improve ground clearance, while new, radial-mounted, four-piston calipers for the dual front discs are sure to improve braking feel. Spy photos back in August seem to have caught a completely revised Tiger 800. Assumed to be the new 900 adventure bike teased by Triumph. (Photo by Motorrad)The new 900cc Tiger’s looks are definitely more streamlined and distinctive, with a sharpened beak and narrowed twin headlamp arrangement that flows down into front fairing shrouds that are lower than the current model’s. The windscreen appears unchanged, but we can see a new handlebar and auxiliary lights. The bike’s tail section, edged by an all-new exhaust, is much slimmer than previous, adding to the impression this Tiger might be lighter than the XC’s near 500 pounds. We’ll know soon enough, as we’ll be attending the official launch of Triumph’s new Tiger 900 Rally and GT on December 3rd and will fill you in on its details straight away. Christmas or no, you’ll want to keep space on your wish list for this promising, new machine. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  8. Suddenly everyone wants a piece of the mid-weight adventure market. After years when it seemed like monster adventure bikes were the norm, middleweight adventure bikes keep popping up. The latest, debuting at EICMA, is from Moto Morini, a storied Italian brand that never made it big in the United States. The Trivolzio-based manufacturer surprised us with the X-Cape. The bike is powered by a 650cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin and features a six-speed transmission, beefy 50mm, fully adjustable forks with 160mm (6.3 inches) of travel and a seat h of 32.7 inches, comparable to the KTM 790 Adventure in the low position and at the low end of the adventure market. It will come with either a “standard” or “limited” engine, the company says. Moto Morini didn’t publish horsepower figures for the standard, but says the “limited” will put out 48 hp. Morini also didn’t post weight for the bike, but from the spec sheet it seems like they are aiming at an accessible, beginner friendly adventure bike instead of a fire-breathing beast. ADVERTISEMENT Not that the X-Cape is short on technology. It comes with dual front disc brakes, full ABS, a 7” Bluetooth-connectable TFT display that Morini says is among the biggest in the market, LED lighting and a large windscreen that’s adjustable with one hand. The bike rides on spoked wheels, 19 inches at the front and 17” at the rear, a combination that address both off- and on-road capabilities. From a styling perspective, the X-Cape has a strong resemblance to the first-gen Honda Africa Twin, with a pronounced “swoop” from the high fuel tank to the low-ish seat. That means a lower seat h, but makes it tough to move around much. The dual front headlights blend into a fairing that should provide adequate weather protection, and there’s a skid plate, possibly plastic, that covers many of the essentials low on the engine but appears to leave the low-slung exhaust a bit vulnerable. Founded in 1937, Morini isn’t new to the game. Although the company has been passed around among owners and sporadically out of business, it is still well known in Europe. There the company’s offerings include a naked bike called the Corsaro, a “modern classic” dubbed the Milano, the v-twin powered Super Scrambler, and a larger v-twin powered adventure bike called the Granpasso 1200. In 2018 Moto Morini was purchased by the Chinese giant Zhongneng Vehicle Group. Production and design remains in Italy, but with an infusion of cash we could see a more global push from the brand. Whether that means Morini’s coming to the U.S. remains to be seen. Would you buy one? Moto Morini X-Cape Specs engine 649 cc, 2 cylinders, 6-speed cooling Liquid cooled seat h 830 mm and 845 mm overall lenght 2200 mm overall w (excluding mirrors) 850 mm steering ability 34-degrees front brake double disc, 300 mm diam., floating caliper rear brake single disc, 255 mm diam., double piston caliper front wheel 2.50″x19″ spoked rim rear wheel 4.25″x17″ spoked rim front tire 110/80-19″ rear tire 150/70-17″ engine management Bosch ECU Dashboard TFT 7″ Bluetooth connection front suspension Ø 50 mm Upside down telescopic fork , fully adjustable front wheel travel 160 mm rear suspension Single shock absorber adjustable in preload and rebound damping rear wheel travel 135 mm Rake angle 25,5° Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  9. Suddenly everyone wants a piece of the mid-weight adventure market. After years when it seemed like monster adventure bikes were the norm, middleweight adventure bikes keep popping up. The latest, debuting at EICMA, is from Moto Morini, a storied Italian brand that never made it big in the United States. The Trivolzio-based manufacturer surprised us with the X-Cape. The bike is powered by a 650cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin and features a six-speed transmission, beefy 50mm, fully adjustable forks with 160mm (6.3 inches) of travel and a seat h of 32.7 inches, comparable to the KTM 790 Adventure in the low position and at the low end of the adventure market. It will come with either a “standard” or “limited” engine, the company says. Moto Morini didn’t publish horsepower figures for the standard, but says the “limited” will put out 48 hp. Morini also didn’t post weight for the bike, but from the spec sheet it seems like they are aiming at an accessible, beginner friendly adventure bike instead of a fire-breathing beast. ADVERTISEMENT Not that the X-Cape is short on technology. It comes with dual front disc brakes, full ABS, a 7” Bluetooth-connectable TFT display that Morini says is among the biggest in the market, LED lighting and a large windscreen that’s adjustable with one hand. The bike rides on spoked wheels, 19 inches at the front and 17” at the rear, a combination that address both off- and on-road capabilities. From a styling perspective, the X-Cape has a strong resemblance to the first-gen Honda Africa Twin, with a pronounced “swoop” from the high fuel tank to the low-ish seat. That means a lower seat h, but makes it tough to move around much. The dual front headlights blend into a fairing that should provide adequate weather protection, and there’s a skid plate, possibly plastic, that covers many of the essentials low on the engine but appears to leave the low-slung exhaust a bit vulnerable. Founded in 1937, Morini isn’t new to the game. Although the company has been passed around among owners and sporadically out of business, it is still well known in Europe. There the company’s offerings include a naked bike called the Corsaro, a “modern classic” dubbed the Milano, the v-twin powered Super Scrambler, and a larger v-twin powered adventure bike called the Granpasso 1200. In 2018 Moto Morini was purchased by the Chinese giant Zhongneng Vehicle Group. Production and design remains in Italy, but with an infusion of cash we could see a more global push from the brand. Whether that means Morini’s coming to the U.S. remains to be seen. Would you buy one? Moto Morini X-Cape Specs engine 649 cc, 2 cylinders, 6-speed cooling Liquid cooled seat h 830 mm and 845 mm overall lenght 2200 mm overall w (excluding mirrors) 850 mm steering ability 34-degrees front brake double disc, 300 mm diam., floating caliper rear brake single disc, 255 mm diam., double piston caliper front wheel 2.50″x19″ spoked rim rear wheel 4.25″x17″ spoked rim front tire 110/80-19″ rear tire 150/70-17″ engine management Bosch ECU Dashboard TFT 7″ Bluetooth connection front suspension Ø 50 mm Upside down telescopic fork , fully adjustable front wheel travel 160 mm rear suspension Single shock absorber adjustable in preload and rebound damping rear wheel travel 135 mm Rake angle 25,5° Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  10. Published on 11.13.2019 Since 1992, Wolfman Luggage has been creating high-quality, durable soft bags for moto travelers, adventure riders and trail riders alike. Many of their most popular bags like the Enduro Tank Bag, Expedition Duffel and E-12 saddlebags have been around for years with only small refinements in their design. Now for 2020, Wolfman is announcing they have completely revised and refreshed their entire line of soft bags. Yes, everything is new! Starting with a blank slate, Eric Hougen, owner of Wolfman Luggage, used his decades of knowledge in product design, combined with the latest materials and Radio Frequency (RF)-welding construction technologies available, to re-envision the lineup. His goal was to reinvigorate the product line while maintaining the Wolfman DNA to ensure the company’s leadership position in the motorcycle soft luggage industry well into the future. We got a confidential sneak peek of the new line recently during the KTM Adventure Rally and the new bags are impressive. Bags that were previously made with a vinyl or stitched ballistic nylon fabric are now made with a new 3-layer heavy-duty TPU shell. A layer of 840 D TPU on the outside, 840 D Nylon in the center, and bright yellow (to make it easy to find items) 840 D TPU on the inside are precision RF Welded together for a completely waterproof, significantly more durable shell, and a more-modern look. ADVERTISEMENT The new material and construction process also opens up new possibilities for sophisticated features, while maintaining a 100% waterproof shell that does not require additional inner liners or plastic covers. All of Wolfman’s 2020 bags will share the new high-tech construction for a waterproof, durable design that is ready for the harshest conditions. Many of Wolfman’s most popular bags will return to the lineup using the new watertight construction, along with a refined look and redesigned features. There’s even a refreshed logo with a reflective Wolf on every bag. Wolfman will unveil their 2020 luggage line to the public at the 2019 IMS Long Beach motorcycle show November 22nd to the 24th. Be sure to stop by the Wolfman booth at 3 pm Friday Nov 22nd for the big reveal! The next gen Wolfman soft luggage will be available late winter 2020. Look for the latest information and details about each product on their website at www.wolfmanluggage.com.
  11. It’s been almost 13 years since KTM hit on the simple-yet-brilliant idea of adding a few bits to its enduro bikes to create barely-street-legal dual sport machines. It didn’t take much – different lighting, brake switches, keyed ignition, turn signals, bare bones emissions – to turn the whole segment on its head. EXC buyers who lived where it’s possible to plate a dirt bike had been making them street legal for years anyway, so why not capitalize on the demand while making it easier for people? Despite the naysayers who claimed high-power, lightweight singles were ticking time bombs, the KTMs have proven remarkably durable. Check Adam Riemann’s Motonomad film series, or Aaron Steinmann’s 77,000-mile around-the-world journey if you still doubt it. The KTM 500 EXC is a proven platform. ADVERTISEMENT Kurt Forgét, the owner of Black Dog Cycle Works, understood the appeal of a featherweight, go anywhere adventure bike. He’s been dreaming of building one for 10 years. He wasn’t after a pavement queen, but needed something that would do more than just survive the highway. The perfect bike would do longer journeys and retain the agility and performance of a lightweight enduro. His goal was a bike that’s much more versatile than a standard 500 EXC, but with better performance off-road than a KTM 690 Enduro R, a bike Kurt could use to explore the vast expanses of Baja. This is how he built it. IMPROVE COMFORT & RANGE The stock 500 EXC is many things: ultra-capable dual sport, single-track weapon, tire-shredding supermoto, commuter in a pinch. But a comfortable mile muncher it is not. The seat is narrow and hard; fuel capacity is limited and vibration, while less of an issue than it used to be, will still add to your fatigue. In stock form the bike has little wind protection, anemic lighting and short oil-change intervals. As fixes Forgét added: KTM 500 EXC Rally Kit KTM 500 EXC Rally Kit This single product solved several issues at once. The bolt-on rally tower increases dashboard space for a USB charger, extra switches and a mounting spot for a phone or GPS. The windshield is a clear unit from a KTM 450 Rally bike, with fairing lowers, that will punch a better hole in the elements for increased rider protection. And the lighting gets a huge upgrade to dual Baja Designs LED lights: the Squadron Sport for the low beams and the Squadron Pro for the high beams. Together they put out a paint blistering 8,050 lumens. Cold hands add to rider fatigue, so Forgét added grip heaters from Kimpex. The inside design allows riders to use whatever grips they prefer. It uses 26.8 watts on the high setting and 21 watts on low, and uses a simple-but-effective rocker switch control. KTM singles come factory-equipped with vinyl-covered two-by-fours for seats. It’s been that way for years, and the factory isn’t giving your backside a break on the latest models. You’re supposed to be standing up anyway, otherwise you’re not “ready to race.” But anyone who dual sports an EXC will spend seat time on the saddle and quickly realize the need for something more comfortable Renazco Racing builds quality seats, one at a time, keeping the bike’s intended purpose in mind. Their enduro models are wider than stock in the rear, but taper in front so riders can grip the tank with their knees in the standing position. Kurt opted for the full suede model, which is grippy, good looking and durable. It makes sense that this throttle lock ended up on the build; it’s the company owner’s bike, after all. But this mod fits with the mission of the bike no matter whose name is on the title. Having a throttle lock significantly decreases fatigue by allowing the rider to rest their right wrist during the extended on-road stints necessary to get Forgét to the good stuff. As we noted when we tested the Black Dog Throttle Lock, the unit is easy to install, is inconspicuous, takes up very little space on your handlebars and works consistently every time via a simple on/off “click” mechanism. When engaged it will hold an opening but still allow for emergency throttle chops. When disengaged the throttle snaps closed like it should. The “flex” part sounds strange, but you can’t actually feel any movement in the bars while you ride. What you do feel is a noticeable reduction in vibration thanks to a bushing that eliminates any metal-to-metal contact between the part you grip and the part connected to the handlebar clamps. That means less fatigue and no cramped wrists at the end of a long ride. The stock tank on an 500 EXC is 2.25 gallons, a nod to the bike’s hardcore off-road genetics. But when you press the bike into adventure service, you’ll quickly note there are many places that lack gas stations every 100 miles or so. The Acerbis nearly doubles your range, maintains the bike’s slim profile, works with the radiator fan and seat, and is made out of tough polyethylene. The translucent color makes it easy to see how much fuel you have left. Another clue to the bike’s nature is its 1.5 liter oil capacity. That’s not a lot, and it means frequent oil changes if you rack up a lot of miles. Forgét addressed this issue by adding a Twin Air auxiliary cooler. It bolts on behind the left radiator so it’s out of harm’s way, keeps oil temps down and increases capacity by 10 percent. Overpacking a lightweight off-road bike like the 500 EXC can make it handle like a boat. Mosko’s Reckless 40L System attaches directly to the bike via a harness that stays in place and rugged, removable, waterproof dry bags. The design is light, secure and easy to take off for packing/moving into your tent. The 14-liter dry bags (two), eight-liter tail bag and stash pockets add just enough capacity for overnighters if you take your minimalism seriously. PERFORMANCE MODS The KTM is no slouch right off the showroom floor, but Forgét added a few pieces that tailored the bike more to his mission of on-road capability without sacrificing off-road prowess. A steering stabilizer is like insurance for nasty surprises: the rock you hit that tries to rip the bars out of your hands, the sand-induced weave you didn’t see coming, the sudden head shake from the air blast of a passing semi. Stabilizers smooth out the feedback and help you stay pointed in the right direction. Scotts is an industry leader, and the BRP SUB mount fits under the bars, leaving space to mount a GPS or phone up top. They also use the stock handlebar mounts and triple clamps. You need to stand up off road. Unfortunately, manufacturers often see footpegs as a place to trim costs rather than a means of providing a stable, comfortable way to increase control of your bike. Kurt addressed the issue on his bike with BDCW’s Traction Footpegs. They‘re made of aluminum alloy, 2.5 inches wide and 4 inches long with traction cleats around the perimeter and removable spikes for additional grip on your boot soles. The voids are large and widely spaced so the pegs shed mud and snow. Galfer’s Tsunami discs are grooved to allow more air flow to the pad, keeping brake temps down and performance consistent. The advantage is twofold: increased braking power and, more importantly off road in slippery conditions, better ability to modulate that power. Forgét coupled them with sintered pads, which are heat resistant and long wearing in a variety of conditions. Think about the hundreds of times you’ll pull the clutch lever on a ride. Now think about riding long distances day after day in situations that demand good clutch control. You’re expending a lot of mental and physical energy on a single aspect of bike control. An auto clutch frees up that energy so the rider can concentrate on momentum, line choice, weight distribution, body positioning, etc.,all of which come into play as soon as you leave the pavement. Forgét chose the Rekluse RadiusCX for this 500 EXC build, which incorporates the company’s latest technology for optimized power delivery and long life. Rekluse clutches eliminate stalling, but the clutch lever still functions normally in situations where you might need it, such as popping the front wheel over a log. Properly setting up the suspension is one of the best ways to improve a bike’s performance. And while the KTM 500 EXC’s suspension is very good off the showroom floor, it is biased toward racing and some riders may find the ride harsh or choppy in slower, less aggressive riding. Konflict takes riding style, anticipated terrain, rider weight and ability into account in their suspension work, tailoring the bike to the purpose. The Level III Service includes complete disassembly of forks and shock, polishing certain components, replacing worn parts and revalving to suit the rider’s needs. BIKE PROTECTION It’s one thing to damage a bike in a race and lose time or points; it’s another to break something 100 miles from anywhere and have to figure out how you’re going to get back to civilization. With remote riding in mind, Kurt did the following to armor his hardcore adventure bike: The simple, nearly indestructible design holds steady on the road or trail, thanks to the Ram mount you can crank down hard, and it neatly folds away behind the headlight when the trail gets tight. It will give way instead of break if you fall with it extended, and If you do manage to break the glass part, Doubletake sells replacements. Small bikes go places big bikes can’t, or shouldn’t, and that means more exposure rocks, roots, sticks and other nasty stuff that can break things. BDCW’s Ultimate Skid Plate covers the engine block, water pump, clutch cover and ignition cover. It’s frame mounted and made out of an aluminum alloy designed to absorb hits, not transmit them. And we learned during our own testing that it goes on and comes off easily, a good thing given the shorter oil-change intervals on the KTM 500 EXCs. In stock form the KTM 500 EXC comes with flimsy plastic handguards that aren’t going to protect your fingers, or levers, in a crash. Kurt Forgét replaced them with beefy Cycra Probend CRM (center reach mount) units that put billet aluminum between your fingers and tree branches or rocks. The center-mount design leaves more room on the bars for other things, like RAM mounts, and plenty of clearance for levers. The BRP Handguard Mounts provide additional room on the bars for controls and cables, and integrate well with the Scotts SUB Mount steering stabilizer. Made out of tough billet aluminum and deeper than stock, the Rekluse clutch cover will stand up to abuse and provides a small increase in engine oil capacity, a good thing on a bike that doesn’t hold much oil in the first place. The Kurt Caselli Limited Edition honors the legacy of the late Baja racer. Rekluse donates $125 from every sale to the Kurt Caselli Foundation, which promotes off-road rider safety. KTM 500 EXC Build Parts List Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  12. It’s been almost 13 years since KTM hit on the simple-yet-brilliant idea of adding a few bits to its enduro bikes to create barely-street-legal dual sport machines. It didn’t take much – different lighting, brake switches, keyed ignition, turn signals, bare bones emissions – to turn the whole segment on its head. EXC buyers who lived where it’s possible to plate a dirt bike had been making them street legal for years anyway, so why not capitalize on the demand while making it easier for people? Despite the naysayers who claimed high-power, lightweight singles were ticking time bombs, the KTMs have proven remarkably durable. Check Adam Riemann’s Motonomad film series, or Aaron Steinmann’s 77,000-mile around-the-world journey if you still doubt it. The KTM 500 EXC is a proven platform. ADVERTISEMENT Kurt Forgét, the owner of Black Dog Cycle Works, understood the appeal of a featherweight, go anywhere adventure bike. He’s been dreaming of building one for 10 years. He wasn’t after a pavement queen, but needed something that would do more than just survive the highway. The perfect bike would do longer journeys and retain the agility and performance of a lightweight enduro. His goal was a bike that’s much more versatile than a standard 500 EXC, but with better performance off-road than a KTM 690 Enduro R, a bike Kurt could use to explore the vast expanses of Baja. This is how he built it. IMPROVE COMFORT & RANGE The stock 500 EXC is many things: ultra-capable dual sport, single-track weapon, tire-shredding supermoto, commuter in a pinch. But a comfortable mile muncher it is not. The seat is narrow and hard; fuel capacity is limited and vibration, while less of an issue than it used to be, will still add to your fatigue. In stock form the bike has little wind protection, anemic lighting and short oil-change intervals. As fixes Forgét added: KTM 500 EXC Rally Kit KTM 500 EXC Rally Kit This single product solved several issues at once. The bolt-on rally tower increases dashboard space for a USB charger, extra switches and a mounting spot for a phone or GPS. The windshield is a clear unit from a KTM 450 Rally bike, with fairing lowers, that will punch a better hole in the elements for increased rider protection. And the lighting gets a huge upgrade to dual Baja Designs LED lights: the Squadron Sport for the low beams and the Squadron Pro for the high beams. Together they put out a paint blistering 8,050 lumens. Cold hands add to rider fatigue, so Forgét added grip heaters from Kimpex. The inside design allows riders to use whatever grips they prefer. It uses 26.8 watts on the high setting and 21 watts on low, and uses a simple-but-effective rocker switch control. KTM singles come factory-equipped with vinyl-covered two-by-fours for seats. It’s been that way for years, and the factory isn’t giving your backside a break on the latest models. You’re supposed to be standing up anyway, otherwise you’re not “ready to race.” But anyone who dual sports an EXC will spend seat time on the saddle and quickly realize the need for something more comfortable Renazco Racing builds quality seats, one at a time, keeping the bike’s intended purpose in mind. Their enduro models are wider than stock in the rear, but taper in front so riders can grip the tank with their knees in the standing position. Kurt opted for the full suede model, which is grippy, good looking and durable. It makes sense that this throttle lock ended up on the build; it’s the company owner’s bike, after all. But this mod fits with the mission of the bike no matter whose name is on the title. Having a throttle lock significantly decreases fatigue by allowing the rider to rest their right wrist during the extended on-road stints necessary to get Forgét to the good stuff. As we noted when we tested the Black Dog Throttle Lock, the unit is easy to install, is inconspicuous, takes up very little space on your handlebars and works consistently every time via a simple on/off “click” mechanism. When engaged it will hold an opening but still allow for emergency throttle chops. When disengaged the throttle snaps closed like it should. The “flex” part sounds strange, but you can’t actually feel any movement in the bars while you ride. What you do feel is a noticeable reduction in vibration thanks to a bushing that eliminates any metal-to-metal contact between the part you grip and the part connected to the handlebar clamps. That means less fatigue and no cramped wrists at the end of a long ride. The stock tank on an 500 EXC is 2.25 gallons, a nod to the bike’s hardcore off-road genetics. But when you press the bike into adventure service, you’ll quickly note there are many places that lack gas stations every 100 miles or so. The Acerbis nearly doubles your range, maintains the bike’s slim profile, works with the radiator fan and seat, and is made out of tough polyethylene. The translucent color makes it easy to see how much fuel you have left. Another clue to the bike’s nature is its 1.5 liter oil capacity. That’s not a lot, and it means frequent oil changes if you rack up a lot of miles. Forgét addressed this issue by adding a Twin Air auxiliary cooler. It bolts on behind the left radiator so it’s out of harm’s way, keeps oil temps down and increases capacity by 10 percent. Overpacking a lightweight off-road bike like the 500 EXC can make it handle like a boat. Mosko’s Reckless 40L System attaches directly to the bike via a harness that stays in place and rugged, removable, waterproof dry bags. The design is light, secure and easy to take off for packing/moving into your tent. The 14-liter dry bags (two), eight-liter tail bag and stash pockets add just enough capacity for overnighters if you take your minimalism seriously. PERFORMANCE MODS The KTM is no slouch right off the showroom floor, but Forgét added a few pieces that tailored the bike more to his mission of on-road capability without sacrificing off-road prowess. A steering stabilizer is like insurance for nasty surprises: the rock you hit that tries to rip the bars out of your hands, the sand-induced weave you didn’t see coming, the sudden head shake from the air blast of a passing semi. Stabilizers smooth out the feedback and help you stay pointed in the right direction. Scotts is an industry leader, and the BRP SUB mount fits under the bars, leaving space to mount a GPS or phone up top. They also use the stock handlebar mounts and triple clamps. You need to stand up off road. Unfortunately, manufacturers often see footpegs as a place to trim costs rather than a means of providing a stable, comfortable way to increase control of your bike. Kurt addressed the issue on his bike with BDCW’s Traction Footpegs. They‘re made of aluminum alloy, 2.5 inches wide and 4 inches long with traction cleats around the perimeter and removable spikes for additional grip on your boot soles. The voids are large and widely spaced so the pegs shed mud and snow. Galfer’s Tsunami discs are grooved to allow more air flow to the pad, keeping brake temps down and performance consistent. The advantage is twofold: increased braking power and, more importantly off road in slippery conditions, better ability to modulate that power. Forgét coupled them with sintered pads, which are heat resistant and long wearing in a variety of conditions. Think about the hundreds of times you’ll pull the clutch lever on a ride. Now think about riding long distances day after day in situations that demand good clutch control. You’re expending a lot of mental and physical energy on a single aspect of bike control. An auto clutch frees up that energy so the rider can concentrate on momentum, line choice, weight distribution, body positioning, etc.,all of which come into play as soon as you leave the pavement. Forgét chose the Rekluse RadiusCX for this 500 EXC build, which incorporates the company’s latest technology for optimized power delivery and long life. Rekluse clutches eliminate stalling, but the clutch lever still functions normally in situations where you might need it, such as popping the front wheel over a log. Properly setting up the suspension is one of the best ways to improve a bike’s performance. And while the KTM 500 EXC’s suspension is very good off the showroom floor, it is biased toward racing and some riders may find the ride harsh or choppy in slower, less aggressive riding. Konflict takes riding style, anticipated terrain, rider weight and ability into account in their suspension work, tailoring the bike to the purpose. The Level III Service includes complete disassembly of forks and shock, polishing certain components, replacing worn parts and revalving to suit the rider’s needs. BIKE PROTECTION It’s one thing to damage a bike in a race and lose time or points; it’s another to break something 100 miles from anywhere and have to figure out how you’re going to get back to civilization. With remote riding in mind, Kurt did the following to armor his hardcore adventure bike: The simple, nearly indestructible design holds steady on the road or trail, thanks to the Ram mount you can crank down hard, and it neatly folds away behind the headlight when the trail gets tight. It will give way instead of break if you fall with it extended, and If you do manage to break the glass part, Doubletake sells replacements. Small bikes go places big bikes can’t, or shouldn’t, and that means more exposure rocks, roots, sticks and other nasty stuff that can break things. BDCW’s Ultimate Skid Plate covers the engine block, water pump, clutch cover and ignition cover. It’s frame mounted and made out of an aluminum alloy designed to absorb hits, not transmit them. And we learned during our own testing that it goes on and comes off easily, a good thing given the shorter oil-change intervals on the KTM 500 EXCs. In stock form the KTM 500 EXC comes with flimsy plastic handguards that aren’t going to protect your fingers, or levers, in a crash. Kurt Forgét replaced them with beefy Cycra Probend CRM (center reach mount) units that put billet aluminum between your fingers and tree branches or rocks. The center-mount design leaves more room on the bars for other things, like RAM mounts, and plenty of clearance for levers. The BRP Handguard Mounts provide additional room on the bars for controls and cables, and integrate well with the Scotts SUB Mount steering stabilizer. Made out of tough billet aluminum and deeper than stock, the Rekluse clutch cover will stand up to abuse and provides a small increase in engine oil capacity, a good thing on a bike that doesn’t hold much oil in the first place. The Kurt Caselli Limited Edition honors the legacy of the late Baja racer. Rekluse donates $125 from every sale to the Kurt Caselli Foundation, which promotes off-road rider safety. KTM 500 EXC Build Parts List Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  13. It’s been almost 13 years since KTM hit on the simple-yet-brilliant idea of adding a few bits to its enduro bikes to create barely-street-legal dual sport machines. It didn’t take much – different lighting, brake switches, keyed ignition, turn signals, bare bones emissions – to turn the whole segment on its head. EXC buyers who lived where it’s possible to plate a dirt bike had been making them street legal for years anyway, so why not capitalize on the demand while making it easier for people? Despite the naysayers who claimed high-power, lightweight singles were ticking time bombs, the KTMs have proven remarkably durable. Check Adam Riemann’s Motonomad film series, or Aaron Steinmann’s 77,000-mile around-the-world journey if you still doubt it. The KTM 500 EXC is a proven platform. ADVERTISEMENT Kurt Forgét, the owner of Black Dog Cycle Works, understood the appeal of a featherweight, go anywhere adventure bike. He’s been dreaming of building one for 10 years. He wasn’t after a pavement queen, but needed something that would do more than just survive the highway. The perfect bike would do longer journeys and retain the agility and performance of a lightweight enduro. His goal was a bike that’s much more versatile than a standard 500 EXC, but with better performance off-road than a KTM 690 Enduro R, a bike Kurt could use to explore the vast expanses of Baja. This is how he built it. IMPROVE COMFORT & RANGE The stock 500 EXC is many things: ultra-capable dual sport, single-track weapon, tire-shredding supermoto, commuter in a pinch. But a comfortable mile muncher it is not. The seat is narrow and hard; fuel capacity is limited and vibration, while less of an issue than it used to be, will still add to your fatigue. In stock form the bike has little wind protection, anemic lighting and short oil-change intervals. As fixes Forgét added: KTM 500 EXC Rally Kit KTM 500 EXC Rally Kit This single product solved several issues at once. The bolt-on rally tower increases dashboard space for a USB charger, extra switches and a mounting spot for a phone or GPS. The windshield is a clear unit from a KTM 450 Rally bike, with fairing lowers, that will punch a better hole in the elements for increased rider protection. And the lighting gets a huge upgrade to dual Baja Designs LED lights: the Squadron Sport for the low beams and the Squadron Pro for the high beams. Together they put out a paint blistering 8,050 lumens. Cold hands add to rider fatigue, so Forgét added grip heaters from Kimpex. The inside design allows riders to use whatever grips they prefer. It uses 26.8 watts on the high setting and 21 watts on low, and uses a simple-but-effective rocker switch control. KTM singles come factory-equipped with vinyl-covered two-by-fours for seats. It’s been that way for years, and the factory isn’t giving your backside a break on the latest models. You’re supposed to be standing up anyway, otherwise you’re not “ready to race.” But anyone who dual sports an EXC will spend seat time on the saddle and quickly realize the need for something more comfortable Renazco Racing builds quality seats, one at a time, keeping the bike’s intended purpose in mind. Their enduro models are wider than stock in the rear, but taper in front so riders can grip the tank with their knees in the standing position. Kurt opted for the full suede model, which is grippy, good looking and durable. It makes sense that this throttle lock ended up on the build; it’s the company owner’s bike, after all. But this mod fits with the mission of the bike no matter whose name is on the title. Having a throttle lock significantly decreases fatigue by allowing the rider to rest their right wrist during the extended on-road stints necessary to get Forgét to the good stuff. As we noted when we tested the Black Dog Throttle Lock, the unit is easy to install, is inconspicuous, takes up very little space on your handlebars and works consistently every time via a simple on/off “click” mechanism. When engaged it will hold an opening but still allow for emergency throttle chops. When disengaged the throttle snaps closed like it should. The “flex” part sounds strange, but you can’t actually feel any movement in the bars while you ride. What you do feel is a noticeable reduction in vibration thanks to a bushing that eliminates any metal-to-metal contact between the part you grip and the part connected to the handlebar clamps. That means less fatigue and no cramped wrists at the end of a long ride. The stock tank on an 500 EXC is 2.25 gallons, a nod to the bike’s hardcore off-road genetics. But when you press the bike into adventure service, you’ll quickly note there are many places that lack gas stations every 100 miles or so. The Acerbis nearly doubles your range, maintains the bike’s slim profile, works with the radiator fan and seat, and is made out of tough polyethylene. The translucent color makes it easy to see how much fuel you have left. Another clue to the bike’s nature is its 1.5 liter oil capacity. That’s not a lot, and it means frequent oil changes if you rack up a lot of miles. Forgét addressed this issue by adding a Twin Air auxiliary cooler. It bolts on behind the left radiator so it’s out of harm’s way, keeps oil temps down and increases capacity by 10 percent. Overpacking a lightweight off-road bike like the 500 EXC can make it handle like a boat. Mosko’s Reckless 40L System attaches directly to the bike via a harness that stays in place and rugged, removable, waterproof dry bags. The design is light, secure and easy to take off for packing/moving into your tent. The 14-liter dry bags (two), eight-liter tail bag and stash pockets add just enough capacity for overnighters if you take your minimalism seriously. PERFORMANCE MODS The KTM is no slouch right off the showroom floor, but Forgét added a few pieces that tailored the bike more to his mission of on-road capability without sacrificing off-road prowess. A steering stabilizer is like insurance for nasty surprises: the rock you hit that tries to rip the bars out of your hands, the sand-induced weave you didn’t see coming, the sudden head shake from the air blast of a passing semi. Stabilizers smooth out the feedback and help you stay pointed in the right direction. Scotts is an industry leader, and the BRP SUB mount fits under the bars, leaving space to mount a GPS or phone up top. They also use the stock handlebar mounts and triple clamps. You need to stand up off road. Unfortunately, manufacturers often see footpegs as a place to trim costs rather than a means of providing a stable, comfortable way to increase control of your bike. Kurt addressed the issue on his bike with BDCW’s Traction Footpegs. They‘re made of aluminum alloy, 2.5 inches wide and 4 inches long with traction cleats around the perimeter and removable spikes for additional grip on your boot soles. The voids are large and widely spaced so the pegs shed mud and snow. Galfer’s Tsunami discs are grooved to allow more air flow to the pad, keeping brake temps down and performance consistent. The advantage is twofold: increased braking power and, more importantly off road in slippery conditions, better ability to modulate that power. Forgét coupled them with sintered pads, which are heat resistant and long wearing in a variety of conditions. Think about the hundreds of times you’ll pull the clutch lever on a ride. Now think about riding long distances day after day in situations that demand good clutch control. You’re expending a lot of mental and physical energy on a single aspect of bike control. An auto clutch frees up that energy so the rider can concentrate on momentum, line choice, weight distribution, body positioning, etc.,all of which come into play as soon as you leave the pavement. Forgét chose the Rekluse RadiusCX for this 500 EXC build, which incorporates the company’s latest technology for optimized power delivery and long life. Rekluse clutches eliminate stalling, but the clutch lever still functions normally in situations where you might need it, such as popping the front wheel over a log. Properly setting up the suspension is one of the best ways to improve a bike’s performance. And while the KTM 500 EXC’s suspension is very good off the showroom floor, it is biased toward racing and some riders may find the ride harsh or choppy in slower, less aggressive riding. Konflict takes riding style, anticipated terrain, rider weight and ability into account in their suspension work, tailoring the bike to the purpose. The Level III Service includes complete disassembly of forks and shock, polishing certain components, replacing worn parts and revalving to suit the rider’s needs. BIKE PROTECTION It’s one thing to damage a bike in a race and lose time or points; it’s another to break something 100 miles from anywhere and have to figure out how you’re going to get back to civilization. With remote riding in mind, Kurt did the following to armor his hardcore adventure bike: The simple, nearly indestructible design holds steady on the road or trail, thanks to the Ram mount you can crank down hard, and it neatly folds away behind the headlight when the trail gets tight. It will give way instead of break if you fall with it extended, and If you do manage to break the glass part, Doubletake sells replacements. Small bikes go places big bikes can’t, or shouldn’t, and that means more exposure rocks, roots, sticks and other nasty stuff that can break things. BDCW’s Ultimate Skid Plate covers the engine block, water pump, clutch cover and ignition cover. It’s frame mounted and made out of an aluminum alloy designed to absorb hits, not transmit them. And we learned during our own testing that it goes on and comes off easily, a good thing given the shorter oil-change intervals on the KTM 500 EXCs. In stock form the KTM 500 EXC comes with flimsy plastic handguards that aren’t going to protect your fingers, or levers, in a crash. Kurt Forgét replaced them with beefy Cycra Probend CRM (center reach mount) units that put billet aluminum between your fingers and tree branches or rocks. The center-mount design leaves more room on the bars for other things, like RAM mounts, and plenty of clearance for levers. The BRP Handguard Mounts provide additional room on the bars for controls and cables, and integrate well with the Scotts SUB Mount steering stabilizer. Made out of tough billet aluminum and deeper than stock, the Rekluse clutch cover will stand up to abuse and provides a small increase in engine oil capacity, a good thing on a bike that doesn’t hold much oil in the first place. The Kurt Caselli Limited Edition honors the legacy of the late Baja racer. Rekluse donates $125 from every sale to the Kurt Caselli Foundation, which promotes off-road rider safety. KTM 500 EXC Build Parts List Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  14. Ducati’s been teasing us with sketches of its Desert X Scrambler concept, positioning it as a throwback to the glory days of Paris-Dakar, circa 1990, when Edi Orioli won the race on a Ducati-powered Cagiva Elefant. And now that the Italian marque has pulled the wraps off an actual concept bike at the EICMA show, it looks like they weren’t kidding. First impression: there’s a lot of fuel capacity on this bike. It sports front and rear tanks, which appear to be split into left and right compartments. That means four separate gas caps, so plan a little extra time at fuel stops if this design sees production. We’ve seen reports that the tanks hold 30 liters (7.9 gallons) of gas, so at least those stops won’t be frequent. The Desert X is equipped with dirt-oriented 21″/18″ spoked wheels and 8.3 inches (210 mm) of suspension travel. Total fuel capacity is 30 liters (7.9 gallons).At the heart of the Desert X is a 1079cc, two-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-twin pumping out 86 horsepower and 65 ft.-lbs of torque. The tanks and fairing lend the bike a muscular, sculptured look that both honors and updates the Elefant’s aesthetics. Twin, round LED headlights are another nod to the original, as is the tall windscreen that looks like it would actually be useful at blocking wind. Videos of the reveal show a TFT display nestled behind the screen. The spot where the pillion seat would normally go is inhabited by a cargo rack. And there are no passenger footpegs on the concept bike, but we’d guess that a production model would come with a passenger seat and pegs. The Desert X’s spoked wheels are shodded with Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires. ADVERTISEMENT The engine is from the current Scrambler 1100, a 1079cc, two-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-twin that produces 86 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 65 ft.-lbs of torque at 4,750 rpm. The upswept Termignoni exhaust system, a work of art in itself, terminates in a single silencer. Ducati has not announced official complete specs for the bike yet, but the Italian website Moto.it put the bike’s weight at 190 kilograms, just under 420 pounds. Wet weight of the current Scrambler 100 is 465 pounds, so that number may be in the ballpark. The concept has also been revealed to have 10.8 inches (275mm) of ground clearance, 8.3 inches (210mm) of suspension travel and a carbon fiber skid plate. Ducati has further reported the bike is equipped with dirt-oriented 21-inch front and 18-inch rear spoked wheels wearing Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires. [embedded content] The Desert X debuted alongside the 800cc Motard Scrambler, and both concepts are aimed at broadening Ducati’s lineup using existing platforms. Ducati seems to want input on the designs, so leave a comment below and let them know if you think they should put these bikes into production. Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  15. Ducati’s been teasing us with sketches of its Desert X Scrambler concept, positioning it as a throwback to the glory days of Paris-Dakar, circa 1990, when Edi Orioli won the race on a Ducati-powered Cagiva Elefant. And now that the Italian marque has pulled the wraps off an actual concept bike at the EICMA show, it looks like they weren’t kidding. First impression: there’s a lot of fuel capacity on this bike. It sports front and rear tanks, which appear to be split into left and right compartments. That means four separate gas caps, so plan a little extra time at fuel stops if this design sees production. We’ve seen reports that the tanks hold 30 liters (7.9 gallons) of gas, so at least those stops won’t be frequent. The Desert X is equipped with dirt-oriented 21″/18″ spoked wheels and 8.3 inches (210 mm) of suspension travel. Total fuel capacity is 30 liters (7.9 gallons).At the heart of the Desert X is a 1079cc, two-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-twin pumping out 86 horsepower and 65 ft.-lbs of torque. The tanks and fairing lend the bike a muscular, sculptured look that both honors and updates the Elefant’s aesthetics. Twin, round LED headlights are another nod to the original, as is the tall windscreen that looks like it would actually be useful at blocking wind. Videos of the reveal show a TFT display nestled behind the screen. The spot where the pillion seat would normally go is inhabited by a cargo rack. And there are no passenger footpegs on the concept bike, but we’d guess that a production model would come with a passenger seat and pegs. The Desert X’s spoked wheels are shodded with Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires. ADVERTISEMENT The engine is from the current Scrambler 1100, a 1079cc, two-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-twin that produces 86 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 65 ft.-lbs of torque at 4,750 rpm. The upswept Termignoni exhaust system, a work of art in itself, terminates in a single silencer. Ducati has not announced official complete specs for the bike yet, but the Italian website Moto.it put the bike’s weight at 190 kilograms, just under 420 pounds. Wet weight of the current Scrambler 100 is 465 pounds, so that number may be in the ballpark. The concept has also been revealed to have 10.8 inches (275mm) of ground clearance, 8.3 inches (210mm) of suspension travel and a carbon fiber skid plate. Ducati has further reported the bike is equipped with dirt-oriented 21-inch front and 18-inch rear spoked wheels wearing Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires. [embedded content] The Desert X debuted alongside the 800cc Motard Scrambler, and both concepts are aimed at broadening Ducati’s lineup using existing platforms. Ducati seems to want input on the designs, so leave a comment below and let them know if you think they should put these bikes into production. Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  16. Published on 11.07.2019 Husqvarna has pulled the wraps off its 2020 lineup and there are some surprises for the dual sport/adventure rider crowds. We’ve already written about the stunning Norden 901 adventure concept, which may or may not actually see production (fingers crossed it will). But the revised, refined and updated 701 models are not vaporware, and there’s one version in particular that should interest riders seeking a bike that can go the distance: The 701 LR. The LR stands for “long range,” and with a claimed ability to cover 500 kilometers (310 miles) between fill ups, the 701 LR can scratch that itch. The 701 LR features new advanced electronics and a claimed ability to cover 310 miles between fill ups.The 701 lineup consists of the Supermoto, Enduro and Enduro LR. All three get updated electronic aids that Husqvarna says will improve both safety and performance. There are new switchable ride modes, a Bosch cornering ABS system that takes lean angle into account, a new “easy” shift feature that shortens gear changes and supposedly improves rear wheel traction, lean-sensitive traction control, and new slimmer bodywork for improved ergonomics. The engine is still a 74-horsepower, throttle-by-wire, 692cc powerhouse. It’s all good stuff, improving a bike that’s already a standout among dual sport and adventure enthusiasts. New switchable Ride Modes allow riders to change power characteristics on the fly.The LR model adds a separate 12-liter (3.2 gallon) fuel tank to the bike, located where you’d find a traditional fuel tank, in front of the seat. (The 701s, like KTM 690s, carry their fuel in the combination tank/subframe that supports the seat.) Dual, switchable fuel pumps allow the rider to pull gas from either tank. Videos of the bike show the tank flaring around the radiator like a shroud, similar to some of the larger aftermarket tanks. Combined with the rear tank’s 13 liters (3.4 gallons), the total capacity of 25 liters should be good for just about anywhere you’d want to ride. An additional fully-integrated 12 liter front tank increases the total fuel capacity to 25 liters (6.6 gallons).Technical Highlights Dual fuel tank set up for a total capacity of 25 liters (6.6 gallons) Switchable Ride Modes – change power characteristics while riding Bosch cornering ABS – lean angle specific braking technology Easy Shift function – shorter shift times & improved rear wheel traction Lean-angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control – perfect rear wheel traction New graphics & slim bodywork – carefully engineered ergonomics ADVERTISEMENT For the sake of comparison, that’s over a gallon more than a KTM 790 Adventure. Which means that Husqvarna has essentially built the adventure bike fans of the big single have been clamoring for since KTM introduced the platform in 2008. With some added wind protection, this Husky could stake a claim to finally being a modern version of the legendary KTM 640 Adventure. That bike carried 7.4 gallons of fuel, but it was carbureted and didn’t get the fuel mileage the 701 should return. Add in all the other features modern technology has brought, and it really does look like Husqvarna has built a worthy successor. [embedded content] WATCH: Husqvarna 701 LR live at EICMA.Husqvarna 701 LR Specs displacement 692.7 cc Power 55 kW (73.8 hp) design 1-cylinder, 4 stroke engine bore 105 mm STROKE 80 mm starter Electric transmission 6-speed cooling liquid cooled clutch APTC (TM) slipper clutch rear suspension WP shock absorber Pro-Lever linkage Suspension travel (front) 250 mm suspension travel (rear) 250 mm front brake Brembo twin-piston floating caliper, brake disc rear brake Brembo single-piston floating caliper, brake disc front brake disc diameter 300 mm rear brake disc diameter 240 mm abs Bosch 9ME combined ABS Chain X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4″ Wheel front/rear 21″/18″ ground clearance 270 mm seat h 925 mm (36.4 in) tank capacity (approx.) 25 L (6.6 gallons) weight without fuel 155 kg (341.7 lbs) Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  17. Published on 11.07.2019 Husqvarna has pulled the wraps off its 2020 lineup and there are some surprises for the dual sport/adventure rider crowds. We’ve already written about the stunning Norden 901 adventure concept, which may or may not actually see production (fingers crossed it will). But the revised, refined and updated 701 models are not vaporware, and there’s one version in particular that should interest riders seeking a bike that can go the distance: The 701 LR. The LR stands for “long range,” and with a claimed ability to cover 500 kilometers (310 miles) between fill ups, the 701 LR can scratch that itch. The 701 LR features lean-angle sensitive traction control.The 701 lineup consists of the Supermoto, Enduro and Enduro LR. All three get updated electronic aids that Husqvarna says will improve both safety and performance. There are new switchable ride modes, a Bosch cornering ABS system that takes lean angle into account, a new “easy” shift feature that shortens gear changes and supposedly improves rear wheel traction, lean-sensitive traction control, and new slimmer bodywork for improved ergonomics. The engine is still a 74-horsepower, throttle-by-wire, 692cc powerhouse. It’s all good stuff, improving a bike that’s already a standout among dual sport and adventure enthusiasts. New switchable Ride Modes allow riders to change power characteristics on the fly.The LR model adds a separate 12-liter (3.2 gallon) fuel tank to the bike, located where you’d find a traditional fuel tank, in front of the seat. (The 701s, like KTM 690s, carry their fuel in the combination tank/subframe that supports the seat.) Dual, switchable fuel pumps allow the rider to pull gas from either tank. Videos of the bike show the tank flaring around the radiator like a shroud, similar to some of the larger aftermarket tanks. Combined with the rear tank’s 13 liters (3.4 gallons), the total capacity of 25 liters should be good for just about anywhere you’d want to ride. A fully integrated front tank provides an additional fuel capacity of 12 liters (3.2 gallons), giving the 701 Enduro LR 500 km (310 miles) of range.Technical Highlights Dual fuel tank set up for a total capacity of 25 liters (6.6 gallons) Switchable Ride Modes – change power characteristics while riding New Bosch cornering ABS – lean angle specific braking technology Easy Shift function – shorter shift times & improved rear wheel traction Lean-angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control – perfect rear wheel traction New graphics & slim bodywork – carefully engineered ergonomics ADVERTISEMENT For the sake of comparison, that’s over a gallon more than a KTM 790 Adventure. Which means that Husqvarna has essentially built the adventure bike fans of the big single have been clamoring for since KTM introduced the platform in 2008. With some added wind protection, this Husky could stake a claim to finally being a modern version of the legendary KTM 640 Adventure. That bike carried 7.4 gallons of fuel, but it was carbureted and didn’t get the fuel mileage the 701 should return. Add in all the other features modern technology has brought, and it really does look like Husqvarna has built a worthy successor. [embedded content] WATCH: Husqvarna 701 LR live at EICMA.Husqvarna 701 LR Specs displacement 692.7 cc Power 55 kW (73.8 hp) design 1-cylinder, 4 stroke engine bore 105 mm STROKE 80 mm starter Electric transmission 6-speed cooling liquid cooled clutch APTC (TM) slipper clutch rear suspension WP shock absorber Pro-Lever linkage Suspension travel (front) 250 mm suspension travel (rear) 250 mm front brake Brembo twin-piston floating caliper, brake disc rear brake Brembo single-piston floating caliper, brake disc front brake disc diameter 300 mm rear brake disc diameter 240 mm abs Bosch 9ME combined ABS Chain X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4″ Wheel front/rear 21″/18″ ground clearance 270 mm seat h 925 mm (36.4 in) tank capacity (approx.) 25 L (6.6 gallons) weight without fuel 155 kg (341.7 lbs) Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  18. [embedded content] WATCH: Harley-Davidson gives a glimpse of the Pan America in action.I don’t know about you guys, but this new video Harley-Davidson released showing its Pan America eating up some high country trails is not a turn off. In fact, seeing – and hearing – that big V-twin harmonizing with dirt spray is quite the opposite. We’ve learned some interesting new things about the 2021 Pan America, expected in dealerships late 2020, since its official unveiling at the International motorcycle show going on this week in Milan, Italy. After more than a year of rumors and prototypes, Harley has finally revealed the production version of the Pan America. Expected to launch in late 2020 as a 2021 model.Firstly, there can be no doubt, the Motor Company is dead serious about this model being a true off-road-ready adventure bike, as illustrated by its spoked wheels, Michelin/H-D co-branded knobbies, burly skid plate, crash bars, bolt-on rear sub-frame and brush guards. ADVERTISEMENT Harley has further revealed the Pan America will be powered by an all-new, liquid-cooled 60-degree 1250cc V-twin engine dubbed the Revolution Max, the largest in a series of Revolution powerplants destined to power the entire Harley line. At the heart of the Pan America is an all-new liquid-cooled 1,250cc ‘Revolution Max’ engine, pumping out a claimed 145 hp and 90 ft-lbs of torque.Harley claims the Revolution Max will generate a very impressive 145 horsepower, a huge leap in top-end over its current big gun, the torque-heavy 1868cc Milwaukee Eight, which delivers less than 100 hp. Promised torque from the engine will be “more than 90 ft-lbs,” plenty of grunt for trials-speed trail gunning. Harley describes the Max’s powerband as broad as it builds “to a surge of high-rpm power.” Interestingly, these numbers are right in the ballpark with performance outcomes from BMW’s R1250GS, the bike and audience that’s most likely Harley’s target. The new machine will likely feature a full-color, touchscreen display, similar to that included in the LiveWire.Press materials describe the Pan America’s powertrain as physically “narrow” and mentions that it features an “internal counter balancer” to dampen vibration as the huge V-twin does double duty as a stressed frame member. Appropriately, the bike’s final drive will be chain. Stopping power will be supplied by two big custom-for-H-D Brembo discs with four-piston calipers up front and a single disc out back. Suspension appears to be semi-active and we expect the bike to offer a raft of rider aids and switchable modes navigated via the big TFT screen we see in the photos. Other notable features evidenced by the cockpit view is a trim, manually adjustable windscreen and switchgear that promises cruise control and also hints of a full infotainment capability. Stopping power will be delivered by all-new Brembo monoblock calipers.The bike will sport H-D/Michelin co-branded knobbies created exclusively for the Pan America. The sideview of the rider ripping around on the Pan America gives the impression the bike will offer a low seat h, a sure way to get in the door with new riders and brand loyalists wanting to try their hand at adventure riding. Harley calls the Pan America its “two-wheeled multi-tool. Equal parts campfire, wanderlust and grit.” It also says the bike has been “Engineered for the unknown,” which is far more profound than their marketing team intended. Indeed, the Pan America, Harley’s unlikely adventure bike, is on course to touch down on a foreign planet, before an audience of motorcycling’s hardest-to-please customers. What’s “unknown” is how the newcomer will fare in the “perform-or-go-home” adventure bike market. Queue the popcorn, as the next model year promises one heck of a show. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  19. [embedded content] WATCH: Harley-Davidson gives a glimpse of the Pan America in action.I don’t know about you guys, but this new video Harley-Davidson released showing its Pan America eating up some high country trails is not a turn off. In fact, seeing – and hearing – that big V-twin harmonizing with dirt spray is quite the opposite. We’ve learned some interesting new things about the 2021 Pan America, expected in dealerships late 2020, since its official unveiling at the International motorcycle show going on this week in Milan, Italy. After more than a year of rumors and prototypes, Harley has finally revealed the production version of the Pan America. Expected to launch in late 2020 as a 2021 model.Firstly, there can be no doubt, the Motor Company is dead serious about this model being a true off-road-ready adventure bike, as illustrated by its spoked wheels, Michelin/H-D co-branded knobbies, burly skid plate, crash bars, bolt-on rear sub-frame and brush guards. ADVERTISEMENT Harley has further revealed the Pan America will be powered by an all-new, liquid-cooled 60-degree 1250cc V-twin engine dubbed the Revolution Max, the largest in a series of Revolution powerplants destined to power the entire Harley line. At the heart of the Pan America is an all-new liquid-cooled 1,250cc ‘Revolution Max’ engine, pumping out a claimed 145 hp and 90 ft-lbs of torque.Harley claims the Revolution Max will generate a very impressive 145 horsepower, a huge leap in top-end over its current big gun, the torque-heavy 1868cc Milwaukee Eight, which delivers less than 100 hp. Promised torque from the engine will be “more than 90 ft-lbs,” plenty of grunt for trials-speed trail gunning. Harley describes the Max’s powerband as broad as it builds “to a surge of high-rpm power.” Interestingly, these numbers are right in the ballpark with performance outcomes from BMW’s R1250GS, the bike and audience that’s most likely Harley’s target. The new machine will likely feature a full-color, touchscreen display, similar to that included in the LiveWire.Press materials describe the Pan America’s powertrain as physically “narrow” and mentions that it features an “internal counter balancer” to dampen vibration as the huge V-twin does double duty as a stressed frame member. Appropriately, the bike’s final drive will be chain. Stopping power will be supplied by two big custom-for-H-D Brembo discs with four-piston calipers up front and a single disc out back. Suspension appears to be semi-active and we expect the bike to offer a raft of rider aids and switchable modes navigated via the big TFT screen we see in the photos. Other notable features evidenced by the cockpit view is a trim, manually adjustable windscreen and switchgear that promises cruise control and also hints of a full infotainment capability. Stopping power will be delivered by all-new Brembo monoblock calipers.The bike will sport H-D/Michelin co-branded knobbies created exclusively for the Pan America. The sideview of the rider ripping around on the Pan America gives the impression the bike will offer a low seat h, a sure way to get in the door with new riders and brand loyalists wanting to try their hand at adventure riding. Harley calls the Pan America its “two-wheeled multi-tool. Equal parts campfire, wanderlust and grit.” It also says the bike has been “Engineered for the unknown,” which is far more profound than their marketing team intended. Indeed, the Pan America, Harley’s unlikely adventure bike, is on course to touch down on a foreign planet, before an audience of motorcycling’s hardest-to-please customers. What’s “unknown” is how the newcomer will fare in the “perform-or-go-home” adventure bike market. Queue the popcorn, as the next model year promises one heck of a show. Author: Jamie Elvidge Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
  20. Published on 11.05.2019 Husqvarna Motorcycles just stunned motojournalists at EICMA after lifting the covers off their new adventure bike concept – the Norden 901. The new machine is based on the KTM 790 Adventure platform and sports the new 890 Duke powerplant. This latest concept signals the continued growth of the Swedish brand into new sectors and Husqvarna says it highlights their historic focus on performance, technology and design. Unveiled for the first time, the Norden 901 is Husqvarna’s first ever adventure touring machine. “A dynamic and versatile long-distance concept designed to deliver both outstanding street and off-road performance,” says the brand. And it doesn’t hurt that the bike’s aesthetics are a head turner. Styling is very modern with hints of the past like the large round LED headlight and a windscreen silhouette that is reminiscent of the KTM 990 Adventure. The Norden 901 is powered by a parallel twin, liquid cooled 889.5cc engine tuned for adventure use, although no official power numbers have been revealed yet. The new machine sits atop high quality WP suspension and features 21” front and 18” wheels fitted with Pirelli Rally Scorpion tires. Also notable is a full color two-piece TFT display that splits general and navigation information and looks like it may have a clamshell closing design. The Norden 901 also features a seat with grip fabric, auxiliary lights, beefy crashbars and what looks like a generous fuel tank armoured with aluminum plating. The Norden carries its fuel low and has a similar skidplate design to the 790 Adventure. Norden 901 Technical Highlights Designed to be a slim and light explorer motorcycle 889.5 cc parallel twin engine specifically tuned for adventure usage Versatile for both off-road performance and touring ability Rides on 21” front and 18” rear wire-spoke wheels High quality WP suspension components ADVERTISEMENT Although Husqvarna has not announced its intentions to bring this bike to production, it definitely seems like they have put a lot of work into this concept. It has the benefit of being based on an existing engine and chassis, and the refinement is higher than what is typically expected at this stage. Even small details like a USB port, integrated LED tail lights and a functional tank rack give hints that the brand may be taking this concept to the next step. All we can say is, Husqvarna can’t get it here fast enough. With a proven off-road travel platform and premium styling, the Norden 901 could take the adventure segment by storm. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that if and when the new Husky hits the market, it stays true to the original concept.
  21. Published on 11.05.2019 Husqvarna Motorcycles just stunned motojournalists at EICMA after lifting the covers off their new adventure bike concept – the Norden 901. The new machine is based on the KTM 790 Adventure platform and sports the new 890 Duke powerplant. This latest concept signals the continued growth of the Swedish brand into new sectors and Husqvarna says it highlights their historic focus on performance, technology and design. Unveiled for the first time, the Norden 901 is Husqvarna’s first ever adventure touring machine. “A dynamic and versatile long-distance concept designed to deliver both outstanding street and off-road performance,” says the brand. And it doesn’t hurt that the bike’s aesthetics are a head turner. Styling is very modern with hints of the past like the large round LED headlight and a windscreen silhouette that is reminiscent of the KTM 990 Adventure. The Norden 901 is powered by a parallel twin, liquid cooled 889.5cc engine tuned for adventure use, although no official power numbers have been revealed yet. The new machine sits atop high quality WP suspension and features 21” front and 18” wheels fitted with Pirelli Rally Scorpion tires. Also notable is a full color two-piece TFT display that splits general and navigation information and looks like it may have a clamshell closing design. The Norden 901 also features a seat with grip fabric, auxiliary lights, beefy crashbars and what looks like a generous fuel tank armoured with aluminum plating. The Norden carries its fuel low and has a similar skidplate design to the 790 Adventure. Norden 901 Technical Highlights Designed to be a slim and light explorer motorcycle 889.5 cc parallel twin engine specifically tuned for adventure usage Versatile for both off-road performance and touring ability Rides on 21” front and 18” rear wire-spoke wheels High quality WP suspension components ADVERTISEMENT Although Husqvarna has not announced its intentions to bring this bike to production, it definitely seems like they have put a lot of work into this concept. It has the benefit of being based on an existing engine and chassis, and the refinement is higher than what is typically expected at this stage. Even small details like a USB port, integrated LED tail lights and a functional tank rack give hints that the brand may be taking this concept to the next step. All we can say is, Husqvarna can’t get it here fast enough. With a proven off-road travel platform and premium styling, the Norden 901 could take the adventure segment by storm. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that if and when the new Husky hits the market, it stays true to the original concept.
  22. It’s been 7 years since KTM CEO Stefan Pierer first mentioned in an interview they would be producing an all-new dual-sport model based on the Duke 390 platform, and every year since then it seemed like its release was imminent. Over time, we grew numb to any rumors about the KTM 390 Adventure ‘soon to be launched,’ yet there were some solid spy photos released last year that got our attention. Well the big day has finally arrived. The Austrian manufacturer unveiled the latest edition to their adventure range – the 2020 KTM 390 Adventure – on the first day of the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy. Better yet, it’s coming to North America too! The long-awaited KTM 390 Adventure harnesses DNA from its big brother KTM 790 Adventure, which it shares a strong resemblance with (minus the low bulbous tank). And with nearly two decades of competing in Dakar Rally racing, we expect KTM incorporated R&D information gathered from it’s long-running success. According to KTM, the new machine is a light, agile, entry-level model for those looking to discover the world of adventure riding. A versatile motorcycle designed with both touring and light off-roading in mind. Using elements of the KTM 390 Duke platform as a base, while incorporating performance cues from the KTM 450 Rally, the 390 Adventure was created with off-road capability and impressive road manners as part of the package. KTM’s smallest travel enduro is powered by a Bosch fuel injected, liquid cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke 373.2 cc engine. Twin overhead cams, four valves and refined fuel injection, together with a balancer shaft are integral to the KTM 390 Adventure’s smooth power output. Its versatile ergonomics, smooth power delivery and innovative technology all come together in a comfortable, lightweight package. No horsepower or torque figures have been released as of yet, but if we assume similar numbers to the KTM 390 Duke (43 horsepower), the 390 Adventure will have class-leading horsepower compared to its rivals the BMW G310GS, Kawasaki Versys-X 300, Suzuki DR-Z400S or Royal Enfield Himilayan. [embedded content] WATCH: KTM 390 Adventure walkaround live at EICMA. ADVERTISEMENT Taking a closer look, we can see straight away a steel trellis frame that looks very similar to the 390 Duke’s – only some minor differences in exhaust routing, frame brackets, rear subframe, and swing arm length to accommodate the additional suspension travel. Seat h is reasonable, if not a bit high, at 33.6 inches and a claimed 65 mpg will get you 249 miles of range out of its 3.8 gallon fuel tank under ideal conditions. In terms of components, the 390 Adventure sports some premium equipment for a bike in its price range like a tapered aluminum handlebars, LED lighting, BYBRE (Brembo) brakes, 5″ color TFT display with Bluetooth integration, MTC traction control, cornering ABS, slipper clutch, and optional Quickshifter+. Ground clearance is somewhat limited at 7.8 inches and suspension travel figures aren’t too impressive with 6.7 inches up front and 6.9 in the rear. We don’t expect a high flier at the track but with WP APEX 43mm front forks and rear shock absorber, we are hopeful the 390 Adventure’s suspension will offer good off-road performance for bikes in this category. The one obvious disappointment for dirt fans is the choice of 19″ front / 17″ rear cast wheels rather than a proper set of 21″ front / 18″ rear wire-spoke wheels, a decision that was probably made to hit a specific price point. We hope an ‘R’ model with higher-spec suspension and off-road wheels won’t be far behind this initial release. With a range of advanced technology and electronic rider aides, new adventure riders can get their start with greater confidence and control. It’s an impressive set of features for an entry-level bike priced at $6,199 USD and we look forward to getting our first test on this exciting new KTM. Read on for full details and specs: 2020 KTM 390 ADVENTURE HIGHLIGHTS powerful single cylinder, 4-stroke, 373.2 cc DOHC engine, electronic fuel injection, 3-way catalytic converter and balancer shaft, PASC slipper clutch and a Ride-by-Wire throttle for a smoother and more refined response. State-of-the-art engine management system featuring the most modern electronic fuel injection system with a 46 mm throttle body. Lightweight, precision-crafted exhaust system, comprising of a stainless steel header pipe and pre-muffler, which flow perfectly into a slim silencer. Ultralight trellis frame strikes a forgiving balance of flex and stiffness and is designed for straight-line stability and agile and precise steering. Bolt-on trellis subframe is compact and lightweight, but strong enough to carry a passenger and luggage, while negotiating extreme terrain. Die-cast, open-lattice swingarm is a signature element of the KTM Adventure range. Precision manufactured with optimized stiffness, while still offering excellent flex characteristics. Its long design offers stability and the space needed for off-road tire tread. WP APEX 43 mm upside-down fork was originally developed for enduro riding and is the leader when it comes to suspension in this class. It features a spring on both sides, but each fork leg has a separate function: compression damping is fitted on the left side, while rebound is on the right. Cutting-edge WP APEX shock absorber provides 177 mm of travel and is ideal for traveling long distances in tough conditions. Thanks to an adjustable spring preload and rebound damping, it can be fine-tuned to different situations. Extra robust cast wheels specifically designed for demanding terrain—19” front wheel and 17” rear wheel, both fitted with tubeless CONTINENTAL TKC 70 tires for a blend of street performance and offroad grip. High-quality BYBRE brakes featuring a large 320 mm front brake disc and a 230 mm rear disc work perfectly with a 4-piston radially mounted front caliper and a 2-piston floating rear caliper to provide the ideal mix of control and stopping power. Ergonomically designed fuel tank with impressive 14.5 liter (3.8 gallons) fuel capacity, together with its exceptional fuel economy, is set for more than 400 km (249 miles) of non-stop exploring on a full tank. High-end, tapered aluminum handlebar that importantly, provides a comfortable riding position and maximum control. Windshield profile that allows the rider to move around the bike freely and offers an unobstructed view directly in front of the bike, even when covered in dirt. It can also be mounted in either a lower or higher position to suit the rider’s size or needs. LED lights are used as the main headlight and taillight and offer great illumination and visibility while being compact and light. Multifunctional dashboard with full-color 5” TFT display is bright and clear and offers a configurable set up via the menu switch on the handlebar. Off-road ABS function improves braking control in off-road situations. In this mode, ABS is deactivated on the rear wheel, while ABS activation on the front wheel is reduced. Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) reduces the engine output with an extremely smooth, barely perceptible intervention if the rotational speed of the rear wheel is disproportionate to the speed of the engine, until the system has reduced slippage to manageable proportions for the current angle of lean. Cornering ABS system allows riders to always use the full power of their brakes, while the system adjusts brake pressure to match the lean angle of the motorcycle for more predictable braking across a range of situations. KTM MY RIDE comes as standard and allows for Bluetooth connection to control incoming calls and audio player through the full-color TFT display. The KTM 390 ADVENTURE can optionally be equipped with a race-derived Quickshifter +. Up and down-shifts can be performed without the need to pull the clutch lever. KTM 390 Adventure Specs Engine Type: Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke, DOHC Displacement: 373.2 cc Bore/Stroke: 89/60 mm Starter: Electric; 12V 8Ah Transmission: 6 Gears Fuel System: Bosch EFI, 46 mm Throttle Body Lubrication: Wet Sump Cooling: Liquid Cooling Clutch: PASC Slipper Clutch, Mechanically Operated Ignition: Bosch EMS with Ride-By-Wire Frame: Steel Trellis Subframe: Steel Trellis Handlebar: Aluminum, Tapered, Ø 26/22 mm Front Suspension: WP APEX USD Ø 43 mm Rear Suspension: WP APEX Monoshock Suspension Travel Fr./Rr.: 6.7 in (170mm)/6.9 in (177mm) Front/Rear Brakes: Disc Brake 320 mm/230 mm Front/Rear Wheels: 2.50 x 19”, 3.50 x 17” Front/Rear Tires: 100/90-19”; 130/80-17” Steering Head Angle: 26.5º Wheelbase: 1,430 mm ± 15.5 mm / 56.3 ± 0.6 in Ground Clearance: 7.8 in (200mm) Seat Height: 33.6 in (855mm) Tank Capacity: 3.8 gal (14.5 L) Dry Weight, Approx: 348.3 lbs (158 kg) MSRP: $6,199 USD/ $6,799 CAD
  23. It’s been 7 years since KTM CEO Stefan Pierer first mentioned in an interview they would be producing an all-new dual-sport model based on the Duke 390 platform, and every year since then it seemed like its release was imminent. Over time, we grew numb to any rumors about the KTM 390 Adventure ‘soon to be launched,’ yet there were some solid spy photos released last year that got our attention. Well the big day has finally arrived. The Austrian manufacturer unveiled the latest edition to their adventure range – the 2020 KTM 390 Adventure – on the first day of the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy. Better yet, it’s coming to North America too! The long-awaited KTM 390 Adventure harnesses DNA from its big brother KTM 790 Adventure, which it shares a strong resemblance with (minus the low bulbous tank). And with nearly two decades of competing in Dakar Rally racing, we expect KTM incorporated R&D information gathered from it’s long-running success. According to KTM, the new machine is a light, agile, entry-level model for those looking to discover the world of adventure riding. A versatile motorcycle designed with both touring and light off-roading in mind. Using elements of the KTM 390 Duke platform as a base, while incorporating performance cues from the KTM 450 Rally, the 390 Adventure was created with off-road capability and impressive road manners as part of the package. KTM’s smallest travel enduro is powered by a Bosch fuel injected, liquid cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke 373.2 cc engine. Twin overhead cams, four valves and refined fuel injection, together with a balancer shaft are integral to the KTM 390 Adventure’s smooth power output. Its versatile ergonomics, smooth power delivery and innovative technology all come together in a comfortable, lightweight package. No horsepower or torque figures have been released as of yet, but if we assume similar numbers to the KTM 390 Duke (43 horsepower), the 390 Adventure will have class-leading horsepower compared to its rivals the BMW G310GS, Kawasaki Versys-X 300, Suzuki DR-Z400S or Royal Enfield Himilayan. [embedded content] WATCH: KTM 390 Adventure walkaround live at EICMA. ADVERTISEMENT Taking a closer look, we can see straight away a steel trellis frame that looks very similar to the 390 Duke’s – only some minor differences in exhaust routing, frame brackets, rear subframe, and swing arm length to accommodate the additional suspension travel. Seat h is reasonable, if not a bit high, at 33.6 inches and a claimed 65 mpg will get you 249 miles of range out of its 3.8 gallon fuel tank under ideal conditions. In terms of components, the 390 Adventure sports some premium equipment for a bike in its price range like a tapered aluminum handlebars, LED lighting, BYBRE (Brembo) brakes, 5″ color TFT display with Bluetooth integration, MTC traction control, cornering ABS, slipper clutch, and optional Quickshifter+. Ground clearance is somewhat limited at 7.8 inches and suspension travel figures aren’t too impressive with 6.7 inches up front and 6.9 in the rear. We don’t expect a high flier at the track but with WP APEX 43mm front forks and rear shock absorber, we are hopeful the 390 Adventure’s suspension will offer good off-road performance for bikes in this category. The one obvious disappointment for dirt fans is the choice of 19″ front / 17″ rear cast wheels rather than a proper set of 21″ front / 18″ rear wire-spoke wheels, a decision that was probably made to hit a specific price point. We hope an ‘R’ model with higher-spec suspension and off-road wheels won’t be far behind this initial release. With a range of advanced technology and electronic rider aides, new adventure riders can get their start with greater confidence and control. It’s an impressive set of features for an entry-level bike priced at $6,199 USD and we look forward to getting our first test on this exciting new KTM. Read on for full details and specs: 2020 KTM 390 ADVENTURE HIGHLIGHTS powerful single cylinder, 4-stroke, 373.2 cc DOHC engine, electronic fuel injection, 3-way catalytic converter and balancer shaft, PASC slipper clutch and a Ride-by-Wire throttle for a smoother and more refined response. State-of-the-art engine management system featuring the most modern electronic fuel injection system with a 46 mm throttle body. Lightweight, precision-crafted exhaust system, comprising of a stainless steel header pipe and pre-muffler, which flow perfectly into a slim silencer. Ultralight trellis frame strikes a forgiving balance of flex and stiffness and is designed for straight-line stability and agile and precise steering. Bolt-on trellis subframe is compact and lightweight, but strong enough to carry a passenger and luggage, while negotiating extreme terrain. Die-cast, open-lattice swingarm is a signature element of the KTM Adventure range. Precision manufactured with optimized stiffness, while still offering excellent flex characteristics. Its long design offers stability and the space needed for off-road tire tread. WP APEX 43 mm upside-down fork was originally developed for enduro riding and is the leader when it comes to suspension in this class. It features a spring on both sides, but each fork leg has a separate function: compression damping is fitted on the left side, while rebound is on the right. Cutting-edge WP APEX shock absorber provides 177 mm of travel and is ideal for traveling long distances in tough conditions. Thanks to an adjustable spring preload and rebound damping, it can be fine-tuned to different situations. Extra robust cast wheels specifically designed for demanding terrain—19” front wheel and 17” rear wheel, both fitted with tubeless CONTINENTAL TKC 70 tires for a blend of street performance and offroad grip. High-quality BYBRE brakes featuring a large 320 mm front brake disc and a 230 mm rear disc work perfectly with a 4-piston radially mounted front caliper and a 2-piston floating rear caliper to provide the ideal mix of control and stopping power. Ergonomically designed fuel tank with impressive 14.5 liter (3.8 gallons) fuel capacity, together with its exceptional fuel economy, is set for more than 400 km (249 miles) of non-stop exploring on a full tank. High-end, tapered aluminum handlebar that importantly, provides a comfortable riding position and maximum control. Windshield profile that allows the rider to move around the bike freely and offers an unobstructed view directly in front of the bike, even when covered in dirt. It can also be mounted in either a lower or higher position to suit the rider’s size or needs. LED lights are used as the main headlight and taillight and offer great illumination and visibility while being compact and light. Multifunctional dashboard with full-color 5” TFT display is bright and clear and offers a configurable set up via the menu switch on the handlebar. Off-road ABS function improves braking control in off-road situations. In this mode, ABS is deactivated on the rear wheel, while ABS activation on the front wheel is reduced. Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) reduces the engine output with an extremely smooth, barely perceptible intervention if the rotational speed of the rear wheel is disproportionate to the speed of the engine, until the system has reduced slippage to manageable proportions for the current angle of lean. Cornering ABS system allows riders to always use the full power of their brakes, while the system adjusts brake pressure to match the lean angle of the motorcycle for more predictable braking across a range of situations. KTM MY RIDE comes as standard and allows for Bluetooth connection to control incoming calls and audio player through the full-color TFT display. The KTM 390 ADVENTURE can optionally be equipped with a race-derived Quickshifter +. Up and down-shifts can be performed without the need to pull the clutch lever. KTM 390 Adventure Specs Engine Type: Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke, DOHC Displacement: 373.2 cc Bore/Stroke: 89/60 mm Starter: Electric; 12V 8Ah Transmission: 6 Gears Fuel System: Bosch EFI, 46 mm Throttle Body Lubrication: Wet Sump Cooling: Liquid Cooling Clutch: PASC Slipper Clutch, Mechanically Operated Ignition: Bosch EMS with Ride-By-Wire Frame: Steel Trellis Subframe: Steel Trellis Handlebar: Aluminum, Tapered, Ø 26/22 mm Front Suspension: WP APEX USD Ø 43 mm Rear Suspension: WP APEX Monoshock Suspension Travel Fr./Rr.: 6.7 in (170mm)/6.9 in (177mm) Front/Rear Brakes: Disc Brake 320 mm/230 mm Front/Rear Wheels: 2.50 x 19”, 3.50 x 17” Front/Rear Tires: 100/90-19”; 130/80-17” Steering Head Angle: 26.5º Wheelbase: 1,430 mm ± 15.5 mm / 56.3 ± 0.6 in Ground Clearance: 7.8 in (200mm) Seat Height: 33.6 in (855mm) Tank Capacity: 3.8 gal (14.5 L) Dry Weight, Approx: 348.3 lbs (158 kg) MSRP: $6,199 USD/ $6,799 CAD
  24. [embedded content] Suzuki’s legacy of adventure touring performance and reliability is revitalized for 2020 with the all-new V-STROM 1050 series. At this year’s EICMA motorcycle show, Suzuki is excited to announce each model in the series including the V-STROM 1050, V-STROM 1050XT, and V-STROM 1050XT Adventure. These new adventure models offer sharper styling and advanced technological updates. Inspired by the legendary DR-Z800 Dakar Rally bike and the DR800S, also known as the DR-Big, the new generation of V-STROM 1050 models share similar characteristics with its distinct design and color schemes that hearken back to its historical race livery. The V-STROM 1050XT model comes coated in the Championship Yellow color that resembles the legendary DR-Z rally bike while the orange and white combination pays homage to the DR-Big. For 2020, riders can also experience the open road on the V-STROM 1050XT Adventure with travel-ready capabilities including cruise control, a set of aluminum panniers and heated grips that help keep them prepared for any conditions. Suzuki’s strong, established community of V-Strom riders are sure to seek new territory with its wide array of accessories and improved technology. Read on for more details and specs for each V-Strom 1050 model: V-STROM 1050 ADVERTISEMENT Riding on cast aluminum wheels, the new V-STROM 1050 arrives in trim, new black and gray bodywork. The updated 1037cc V-twin engine has more horsepower than ever before (106 hp @ 8,500 rpm), retaining its strong pull in the lower RPM range with good fuel economy while complying with the latest worldwide emissions standards. The V-STROM 1050 can take on diverse road conditions, or adjust to the rider’s preference through its advanced electronic aids including new Ride-by-Wire dual electronic throttle assemblies, refined traction control with four sensitivity modes, a new three-mode Drive Mode Selector to select power delivery characteristics, and a new Easy Start System that fires the V-STROM’s engine up with just a momentary press of the starter button. Above the new, vibration-damping tapered aluminum handlebar is the V-STROM’s all-new, multifunction instrument panel that presents all required information and rider necessities on a full LCD screen via a clean and intuitive layout. Overhead of the instrument panel is a mounting bar that’s ideal for putting accessories like a GPS in the rider’s forward vision. Located near the left side of the instrument panel and mounting bar is a new USB port is that can power a GPS, smartphone or other accessories. V-STROM 1050XT and V-STROM 1050XT Adventure In addition to the upgrades found on the V-STROM 1050, additional features have been integrated into the V-STROM 1050XT and the V-STROM 1050XT Adventure models through the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.). Suzuki claims the new V-STROM’s now lead the Adventure category in technology with an advanced suite of features interconnected to a new ECM via a Controller Area Network (CAN) wire harness that quickly transmits information from a new six-direction, three-axis IMU. The S.I.R.S. includes Cruise Control that effectively maintains road speed though the new Ride-by-Wire electronic throttle bodies. The updated Motion Track Antilock & Combined Brake System now includes a Hill Hold Control system to aid the rider when stopped uphill while the Slope Dependent Control System helps manage braking force to avoid rear wheel lift when riding downhill. The Motion Track Brake System also includes a Load Dependent Control System that monitors and retains braking force information to optimize braking force when riding with a passenger or heavy cargo. The V-STROM 1050XT comes with a new adjustable, wind-tunnel developed windscreen, redesigned handguards and mirrors, a new h-adjustable two piece seat, plus a rugged accessory bar (i.e. crash bars) and center-stand, and more. The 1050XT has two exciting color schemes; the Championship Yellow color that resembles the legendary DR-Z rally bike while the Orange and White combination pays respectful homage to the DR-Big. The 2020 V-STROM 1050XT Adventure has a deep Glass Sparkle Black color and adds to the 1050XT’s impressive standard equipment list with a set of Suzuki’s quick-release aluminum panniers and heated hand grips. Each V-STROM 1050 is ready for adventure and Suzuki has a wide range of accessories specially developed so riders can personalize their ride. This includes side and top cases, high or low seats, engine protectors, LED fog lamp set and turn signals, aluminum chain guard, and a side stand extension plate, plus tanks bags that clip on and off of the fuel tank mount in seconds. Release date and pricing information for the new V-Strom 1050 models is yet to be announced. [embedded content] 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 Specs V-Strom 1050 V-Strom 1050XT Engine 1037cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin 1037cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin Horsepower 106 hp @ 8,500 rpm 106 hp @ 8,500 rpm torque 73.8 ft.-lbs 73.8 ft.-lbs Bore x Stroke 100.0 mm x 66.0 mm (3.9 in. x 2.6 in.) 100.0 mm x 66.0 mm (3.9 in. x 2.6 in.) Compression Ratio 11.5:1 11.5:1 Fuel System Fuel injection, Ride-by-Wire equipped Fuel injection, Ride-by-Wire equipped Starter Electric Electric Lubrication Wet sump Wet sump Clutch Wet, multi-plate type Wet, multi-plate type Transmission 6-speed constant mesh 6-speed constant mesh Final Drive Chain, O-ring type, RK525SMOZ8, 116 links Chain, O-ring type, RK525SMOZ8, 116 links Suspension Front Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped Suspension Rear Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped Brakes Front Tokico, 4-piston calipers, twin disc Tokico, 4-piston calipers, twin disc Brakes Rear Nissin, 2-piston, single disc Nissin, 2-piston, single disc Tires Front 110/80R19 M/C (59V), tubeless 110/80R19 M/C (59V), tubeless Tires Rear 150/70R17 M/C (69V), tubeless 150/70R17 M/C (69V), tubeless Fuel Tank Capacity 20.0 L (5.3 US gal.) 20.0 L (5.3 US gal.) Color Glass Sparkle Black / Solid Iron Gray Pearl Brilliant White/Glass Blaze Orange or Champion Yellow No. 2 Ignition Electronic ignition (transistorized) Electronic ignition (transistorized) Headlight LED LED Tail Light LED LED Overall Length 2265 mm (89.2 in.) 2265 mm (89.2 in.) Overall Width 870 mm (34.3 in.) 940 mm (37.0 in.) Overall Height 1515 mm (59.6 in.) 1465 mm (57.7 in.) Wheelbase 1555 mm (61.2 in.) 1555 mm (61.2 in.) Ground Clearance 165 mm (6.5 in.) 160 mm (6.3 in.) Seat Height 855 mm (33.7 in.) 850 mm (33.5 in.) Curb Weight 236 kg (520.4 lb.) 247 kg (544.6 lb.) Warranty 12-month unlimited mileage limited warranty 12-month unlimited mileage limited warranty
  25. [embedded content] Suzuki’s legacy of adventure touring performance and reliability is revitalized for 2020 with the all-new V-STROM 1050 series. At this year’s EICMA motorcycle show, Suzuki is excited to announce each model in the series including the V-STROM 1050, V-STROM 1050XT, and V-STROM 1050XT Adventure. These new adventure models offer sharper styling and advanced technological updates. Inspired by the legendary DR-Z800 Dakar Rally bike and the DR800S, also known as the DR-Big, the new generation of V-STROM 1050 models share similar characteristics with its distinct design and color schemes that hearken back to its historical race livery. The V-STROM 1050XT model comes coated in the Championship Yellow color that resembles the legendary DR-Z rally bike while the orange and white combination pays homage to the DR-Big. For 2020, riders can also experience the open road on the V-STROM 1050XT Adventure with travel-ready capabilities including cruise control, a set of aluminum panniers and heated grips that help keep them prepared for any conditions. Suzuki’s strong, established community of V-Strom riders are sure to seek new territory with its wide array of accessories and improved technology. Read on for more details and specs for each V-Strom 1050 model: V-STROM 1050 ADVERTISEMENT Riding on cast aluminum wheels, the new V-STROM 1050 arrives in trim, new black and gray bodywork. The updated 1037cc V-twin engine has more horsepower than ever before (106 hp @ 8,500 rpm), retaining its strong pull in the lower RPM range with good fuel economy while complying with the latest worldwide emissions standards. The V-STROM 1050 can take on diverse road conditions, or adjust to the rider’s preference through its advanced electronic aids including new Ride-by-Wire dual electronic throttle assemblies, refined traction control with four sensitivity modes, a new three-mode Drive Mode Selector to select power delivery characteristics, and a new Easy Start System that fires the V-STROM’s engine up with just a momentary press of the starter button. Above the new, vibration-damping tapered aluminum handlebar is the V-STROM’s all-new, multifunction instrument panel that presents all required information and rider necessities on a full LCD screen via a clean and intuitive layout. Overhead of the instrument panel is a mounting bar that’s ideal for putting accessories like a GPS in the rider’s forward vision. Located near the left side of the instrument panel and mounting bar is a new USB port is that can power a GPS, smartphone or other accessories. V-STROM 1050XT and V-STROM 1050XT Adventure In addition to the upgrades found on the V-STROM 1050, additional features have been integrated into the V-STROM 1050XT and the V-STROM 1050XT Adventure models through the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.). Suzuki claims the new V-STROM’s now lead the Adventure category in technology with an advanced suite of features interconnected to a new ECM via a Controller Area Network (CAN) wire harness that quickly transmits information from a new six-direction, three-axis IMU. The S.I.R.S. includes Cruise Control that effectively maintains road speed though the new Ride-by-Wire electronic throttle bodies. The updated Motion Track Antilock & Combined Brake System now includes a Hill Hold Control system to aid the rider when stopped uphill while the Slope Dependent Control System helps manage braking force to avoid rear wheel lift when riding downhill. The Motion Track Brake System also includes a Load Dependent Control System that monitors and retains braking force information to optimize braking force when riding with a passenger or heavy cargo. The V-STROM 1050XT comes with a new adjustable, wind-tunnel developed windscreen, redesigned handguards and mirrors, a new h-adjustable two piece seat, plus a rugged accessory bar (i.e. crash bars) and center-stand, and more. The 1050XT has two exciting color schemes; the Championship Yellow color that resembles the legendary DR-Z rally bike while the Orange and White combination pays respectful homage to the DR-Big. The 2020 V-STROM 1050XT Adventure has a deep Glass Sparkle Black color and adds to the 1050XT’s impressive standard equipment list with a set of Suzuki’s quick-release aluminum panniers and heated hand grips. Each V-STROM 1050 is ready for adventure and Suzuki has a wide range of accessories specially developed so riders can personalize their ride. This includes side and top cases, high or low seats, engine protectors, LED fog lamp set and turn signals, aluminum chain guard, and a side stand extension plate, plus tanks bags that clip on and off of the fuel tank mount in seconds. Release date and pricing information for the new V-Strom 1050 models is yet to be announced. [embedded content] 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 Specs V-Strom 1050 V-Strom 1050XT Engine 1037cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin 1037cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin Horsepower 106 hp @ 8,500 rpm 106 hp @ 8,500 rpm torque 73.8 ft.-lbs 73.8 ft.-lbs Bore x Stroke 100.0 mm x 66.0 mm (3.9 in. x 2.6 in.) 100.0 mm x 66.0 mm (3.9 in. x 2.6 in.) Compression Ratio 11.5:1 11.5:1 Fuel System Fuel injection, Ride-by-Wire equipped Fuel injection, Ride-by-Wire equipped Starter Electric Electric Lubrication Wet sump Wet sump Clutch Wet, multi-plate type Wet, multi-plate type Transmission 6-speed constant mesh 6-speed constant mesh Final Drive Chain, O-ring type, RK525SMOZ8, 116 links Chain, O-ring type, RK525SMOZ8, 116 links Suspension Front Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped Suspension Rear Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped Brakes Front Tokico, 4-piston calipers, twin disc Tokico, 4-piston calipers, twin disc Brakes Rear Nissin, 2-piston, single disc Nissin, 2-piston, single disc Tires Front 110/80R19 M/C (59V), tubeless 110/80R19 M/C (59V), tubeless Tires Rear 150/70R17 M/C (69V), tubeless 150/70R17 M/C (69V), tubeless Fuel Tank Capacity 20.0 L (5.3 US gal.) 20.0 L (5.3 US gal.) Color Glass Sparkle Black / Solid Iron Gray Pearl Brilliant White/Glass Blaze Orange or Champion Yellow No. 2 Ignition Electronic ignition (transistorized) Electronic ignition (transistorized) Headlight LED LED Tail Light LED LED Overall Length 2265 mm (89.2 in.) 2265 mm (89.2 in.) Overall Width 870 mm (34.3 in.) 940 mm (37.0 in.) Overall Height 1515 mm (59.6 in.) 1465 mm (57.7 in.) Wheelbase 1555 mm (61.2 in.) 1555 mm (61.2 in.) Ground Clearance 165 mm (6.5 in.) 160 mm (6.3 in.) Seat Height 855 mm (33.7 in.) 850 mm (33.5 in.) Curb Weight 236 kg (520.4 lb.) 247 kg (544.6 lb.) Warranty 12-month unlimited mileage limited warranty 12-month unlimited mileage limited warranty
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