After I got my motorcycle license in 1993 my best friend asked me if I would like to try off-road motorcycling. I could use an old Yamaha XT 500 and he would use his Yamaha XT 600 Ténéré. So I did and after a few hours through the woods I was sold and spread the word that I was in the market for an off road motorcycle. A friend of a friend needed money and sold me his KTM 600, never heard from this brand, but I had seen this bike in action before and it looked awsome. In fact it looked so scary that I decided to let my mate do the test drive and even after I bought it I let him drive it for a while. This way I could learn my way around dirt roads and single tracks on his Ténéré. But it didn’t took long for me to jump on the KTM, and what a machine it was. You could fly over bumpy terrain and it would still feel like tarmac….
After 6 years of using this bike another friend who owned a BMW F650 convinced me to join him on a trip to the Vosges massive in France. We would take a small tent and be camping in free nature. This was a success and soon we were planning a trip to the Alps using as much off road we could find on the Garmin navigation software. My KTM wasn’t the appropriate bike for it, so I bought a second hand Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin. I always loved the looks of this bike and on the brochure it was driven in the African dunes by a guy with a MX outfit… so why not. Well on the road it was a fantastic bike, but it was a hand full off road. I couldn’t resist to take part in local enduro trips with it and soon wished for something else.
So after three years, I bought the ultimate dual purpose bike: the KTM 640 Adventure, and it was: one of my mates finished the Rally Albania on it in 2012, on my old Adventure! It is a great bike in terms of reliability, power to weight ratio, and looks. You can’t buy closer to a (former-)Dakar bike than this one. It did well both on the vacation trips and local enduro trips, what do you want more… nothing obviously.
But when KTM Belgium sent me a DVD with their latest bike that they had specially build for the Ertzberg rodeo: The KTM 950 SuperEnduro I was sold. Great marketing stunt (it worked with me..). I always loved the 950 Adventure, test drived it once but –after the experience with the Africa Twin- thought it was way too heavy. But the SuperEnduro was 30 kilo’s lighter and it drove so well I couldn’t resist it. And it was in fact a fantastic bike, far too much power off road of course, but I managed to handle it quite well. Only stationary I would fall over sometimes because it was very tall, quite heavy and therefore difficult to hold when your not standing on a flat surface. Not the ideal bike afterall.
So when KTM introduced their new LC4 a few years later with the 690 Enduro, it only took until the introduction of the “R” version for me to buy one. I still regret I didn’t keep the 950 but who needs two bikes right..? After 3 years of using it I can conclude the 690 is the best bike I have ever owned. It’s very powerful, the Rally conversion works fine, it’s certainly a reliable and competitive bike. You can read more about the Rally conversion under “Bike” in the menu.
The story continues with my new Aprilia RXV 550, a two cylinder and there is a trend visible here; From my first motorcycle, one and two cylinders succeeded each other. This motorcycle is pretty exclusive and therefore it was very difficult to find one. It’s the latest red frame model, full throttle tuned at 78 BHP. That is a lot from only 550cc.. It’s a high performance racing engine which can rev up to 11.500rpm! With only 128 kg it is slightly lighter than my 690 (at 138) but I will be adding weight by mounting a 12 liter fuel tank. Before I do a rally conversion, I will have a few weeks to get to learn it a little bit before the winter starts. This will give me the opportunity to decide which parts to keep and which ones I will change. I will start a separate post for the build.