Monday, July 30, 2018

KTM 690 Enduro Motorcycle 2018

I am so enjoying my new 2018 KTM 690 Enduro Motorcycle.  Derek at Holeshot Motorsports in Langley took a trade of my Honda Pioneer 500 Side by Side Quad.  I really loved that machine until Gilbert, hunting cockapoo, hurt his back and also became blind. The Pioneer just took up a lot of storage space and only got used for a couple of weeks in fall. I”d only put a thousand km on it in 2 years.
When I’d had a Honda 250 CRF motorcycle I’d loved it for hunting and used it year round as it was street legal. 250 cc is more than enough for all the off roads needs but it was a little light on the highway, able to just make 110 km on the flat but really screaming, not good for passing up hill. I have a Harley Electroglide 1600 cc and that is the ultimate freeway machine. I loved riding from the west coast to Sturges one year on that and still love it. But it’s a bit big for a commuter and I store it at Trev Deeley for the winter because the leaves make the streets too greasy for the Harley but not  for an enduro.
I read all the reviews and sat on the choices in that category.  Kawasaki’s 650 is a beauty but heavier. The BMW was fine and I liked the Triumph.  Suzuki’s 650 is sweet and for the price the best out there. But KTM just grabbed me at the Abbotsford Motorcycle Show.  Everyone I talked to loved them.   The adventure bikes were the best to sit but I didn’t need another big machine.  I wanted a bike I could carry on a hitch rack off the back or front of my truck. The KTM 690 is only 300 lbs.  The hitch mount is good for 500.  I’d bought a second hand Palomino Maverick truck camper so had no room to carry a motorcycle like I had the Pioneer in the box of my Ford F350 long box truck.  I loved reading of all the races the KTM had won.
Leaving Holeshot with the bike on the rack at back I worried some it would fall off. I then picked up the Camper mounting it myself for the first time without any destruction. With the help of a young guy, son of the Chilliwack RV Storage, I loaded the KTM on the hitch rack.  I was all geared up for a long weekend.
1 am in the morning,  I pulled into a wilderness campsite off the road short of Princeton.  It’s great to be able to pack and sleep.  Gilbert and my alarm had me up at 7 am.   I had planned on camping beyond Princeton near Stemwinder where there are logging roads.  I found the perfect camp site.  Setting up the camper, putting out the slide, levelling the camper and stowing the food I’d bought en route in the fridge I unloaded the bike. The hitch extension I got from Burnaby Hitch allows me to open the back door with the bike in place.
It’s a tall bike. Mounting it I was taken back to a ballet class too many years ago.   Riding the Pioneer was like driving a little car about in the backwoods.  I’ve got a truck for that. This motorcycle thing is a whole other level of adventure. I pulled out of the campsite onto the main highway surprised at how fast I was at  70 then 90 km.  Then was backing offf having to let cars by so I could turn onto the logging road.
That’s where the KTM 690 got stupendous.  The KTM is the most amazing off road motorcycle. I just stayed on logging roads.  This can do deer trails. I did those with my Honda 250 CRF. But this is another level of design. It just feels right.  I was going 80 km an hour on the straights, faster than I’d normally go in my truck. It likes speed and hugs the road. But where it really performed was in the sand. I was fishtailing and thought I’d lose it a couple of times in these new corduroy soft roads with sand and lose gravel, doing about 50 km hr till I slowed to 30 and the bike took care of me.  It was work. I had to focus.  I had ridden to the top of the mountain on a spur to where there was no more road.  I was a little concerned about going back down that last stretch but the bike was amazing in first gear. I loved how it walked down the mountain.  I could give it gas and it would be off to the races but without gas it just hummed along safely walking down the mountain. Now that’s what I like in an off road bike.  I prefer safety to speed coming down and the KTM gave me that.
What I also liked was the brakes. Normally I have to balance the back brake with a little front brake. On all my bikes the front brake has been a real stopper and the KTM was no different there. What was different was the back brake. Normally they’re just not so sure.  The KTM back brake gripped perfectly. Not too much. Not to little. Brilliantly engineered for off road conditions. A big black cow startled by me coming around the corned jumped into the centre of the road and looked like ti was a bout to charge. I had to slow down fast and then deake around the big beast. That’s when I noticed how perfect the back brake was set up.  No collision between bike and cow and no me going over the handle bars or dropping the brand new bike.  Just a really good feeling.
It was a couple of hours of fun. Some racing. Some moseying along looking at the spectacular mountain landscape.  Purple, yellow, white flowers. Pine, Spruce and Fir. Great views.  The air smelt so good.  I love riding old logging roads without encountering another soul.
Today I drove the bike the hour drive along the river and old paved road.  Great winding 80 km highway.  Sunshine. Little traffic. Lots of folk along the river. I love all the ways people carry their gear and the tents and RV’s , the kayaks, bicycles. I passed several campgrounds.  Just enjoying the winding ride.  Nice bike.  Light maneuverable.  I’ve ridden my Harley on this road and loved it , probably more but this was a close second.  Kind of a European sports car to my comfortable big cadillac Harley motorcycle.  It’s less Easy Rider and younger, more enduro.  In the town it was easy to park and shop.  Getting my leg up and over was still a challenge but with a potential audience I did the Swan Lake thing swiftly and without the groans.  It’s going to come easier. I liked the lightness of the bike in the traffic. Tourist town summer.
Then back on the highway.  That was exciting.  90 to 100 km/hr it was a happy machine. I need a windshield. I love wind therapy but at high speed, and I was doing 110 and 120 passing, I really missed a wind breaker.  Still it was intense.  Nice machine on the highway at high speed with lots of power for passing. I liked that.  Passing with the Honda 250 or the Yamaha 250 I had wasn’t great except on back roads, not on the freeway. This bike will do any asphalt and performed just fine though it’s real glory was off road.
Now I’m back at the camp. I’m going out on it again. But it really is sweet. I’m pleased. ith the simple Quad you can stand up and it’s a whole lot less daunting.  I’d rather load this motorcycle and this rear hitch mount from Princess Auto is quite ht thing.  I’m really satisfied with the KTM 690 Enduro.  Years of fun and joy. Now to begin the slow process of accessorizing, first the windshield then the luggage. I already have the protected handle bars and like them.  I like the wide range of choices that come with enduro motorcycles.

Thank you KTM.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard about them 10 years ago
but I wasn't really sure how they fit in to the rest of the bikes

then you became interested in them

through you I understand

Good for you