Some trivial facts after a couple of weeks ownership.
- It's tall - seat height 98cm. I'm 186cm/6'3" and enter from starboard side after some swing-a-leg practice.
That way it's stabilized on the sidestand while I slide over and in place on the seat.
Thereafter it's a tiptoe experience even for my 36" inseam legs.
- It starts easy, and the choke has yet to be used.
- Fuel consumption is not that bad for ordinary road work - around 0,5 litre per 10km - until you give it buckets
of throttle Dakar-style - wherefrom it guzzles, ahem substantially more. At such achieved speeds it won't matter anyhow.
( Trivia: Ullevålseter ususally refuels every 250kms when racing. )
- Rear suspension is harsh and needs fine-tuning. Pål Anders Ullevålseter gave me some basic advice which will be tried later.
- It's fully capable of relatively comfortable commuting, although the indicator/light switchgear is relatively cumbersome to operate
- The ICO-switchgear and roadbook switch are prioritized on this rally-beast on the port handlebar side, so that takes some fumbling
and swearing to get used to when operating hi/lo-beam and indicator switches further inward on the LH handlebar side.
But heck, who cares. This thing roars and was not designed for ordinary roadwork - but will actually do that quite well.
With some minor quirks and effort.
- When i bought it, it had covered 260km and the gearbox was still a bit tight. This improved considerably after 800-1000kms.
Gear operation is now quite smooth and effortless.
- It vibrates strongly, but never uncomfortably. Since it's not equipped with a rev counter I have no idea about those values either.
I consider mounting a Vaportech enduro computer for that purpose. I won't race it, so the non-used extra ICO space under the
roadbook will provide a good place for the Vapor housing.
Adventure-riding a rally bike.
I've just done a 2-day gravel event this weekend and put some mileage on it on rough gravel, dirt roads, tractor tracks, deserted wood
paths and river crossings. Needless to say that worked very well and I had a blast. It's a very stable platform and performs very well on
dry and moist dirt surfaces. I'm not that experienced or skilled to really put it through its paces, but really enjoy it's immense capabilities.
Luggage, you say?
Hmm, that's its' main weakness, but a decently lightly packed luggage roll can be strapped on. That's about it, unless an
advanced, hi-tech & lightweight luggage rack is tailor-welded for it. I'll research that later on, but obviously that's not a high priority.
And no way will that nice 18 litre supporting membre rear tank be jeopardized or modified unless it's integrity is 100% guaranteed.
I strapped on a waterproof pack roll with a fleece blanket underneath for paintwork protection, donned a rucksack and did the 5 hour transport
to/from that event on ordinary tarmac roads. Then unloaded and rode that thing on everything from extremely bumpy rough gravel trails to nice
dirt roads and forest trails without any luggage other than my daypack rucksack with tools, rain gloves and some energy-rich food.
If you want long-haul touring luggage capability: Get yourself a 690 Enduro or any other dual-purpose motorcycle that can take
proper, stock luggage racks and panniers. I'll use my F800GS for that touring purpose and keep this beast for non-luggage dirt rides at most requiring
a lighweight roll bag and a rucksack.
Want your own 690 Rally Replica?
Expect more of these beasts for sale from now on, since the Dakar 450cc limit may influence the other races and most riders can only
afford one bike class... If you get your hands on a competition-used 690 Rally Replica, check out the reputation of the team mechanics and if
possible interview them politely to get the necessary facts about the history of the bike. It's basically a high-quality 70hp 653ccm LC4 engine
with a race camshaft and should easily be serviced by your favourite KTM mechanic. According to Pål Anders Ullevålseter this engine is extremely
reliable and won't budge even under tough races, but his favourite mechanic is a true perfectionist and I've seen him in action.
The most expensive parts are mainly the front fairing CF panels, front CF mudguard, bottom CF bashplate, both front tanks, rear tank and rear
CF tooltray/tail fixture with rear light assembly. Mudguard, front fairing and bashplate can easily be swapped with cheaper components in glass fibre etc.
I most definitely won't play too much around with those CF components in place and will get the somewhat heavier replacements in place before
really gunning it in the dirt and mixing with some other amateur enduro-dudes on the few events this bike can do. It most definitely is too big and
cumbersome for ordinary Norwegian enduro tracks and is totally out of place on most motocross tracks.