3-29-12: Updated thread to consolidate multiple ride reports...2012 rides will be here as well, if it ever quits snowing...
The path to insanity is varied. It may be short, it may be long; brought on by trauma, environment,
circumstance, or breeding; some are just born crazy. For me, a solid year of 40-50 hour weeks, plus
6, 24 hour call shifts per week, was enough to loosen a screw somewhere in the back of my psyche; a
screw, it seems, that was holding the last shred of moto-reason in place, a screw that held the lid
on the place that screams, "MORE! It doesn't have to work ALL the time! Reliable, sensible bikes
The monster jumped out on a rare day off. I'd driven in the snow to Redding, a drive of about an
hour in good weather, to run some errands and somehow, unaccountably, found myself in the KTM
dealership. I've never been attracted to KTM; it's always struck me as a boutique brand, more
popular for it's perceived exclusivity than any particular inherent value. Japan provides many
bikes that will do anything a KTM will, for less money and with better reliability and less
maintenance than any KTM...I've always viewed KTM as the Harley of the dirt world; popular more
for the "prestige" than any objective measurement of their value or performance...
...and yet, as awareness returned, I found myself wandering the floor of the KTM dealership; seeking
nothing but everything
, running my hands over the 690 Super Enduro, visions of "real" dual-sport
rides raging in my feverish brain, envisioning rides that never included the thought, "I'm on the
Dimly, through my fugue state, reason spoke: "You have too many bikes already. You know the RULE."
Ah yes, the RULE. My wife is an amazingly tolerant lady who puts no limitations on bike ownership
save one: I can own no more wheels than she does. She cuts me some slack by claiming that the
truck I drive when I need four wheels is hers, and she grandfathered the Trihawk:
since it was my Dad's, but I'm still overdrawn on the wheels front. She has 12, a Pacifica, the
truck, and her Fiat Spider. I have...lessee...VFR=2, Magna=2, CRF150F=2, WR250F(plated)=2, YSR=2,
the boy's XR50=2, the boy's TTR90=2...14 if I don't look too hard.
No more bikes for me.
Right about then that loose screw, having spent a year working it's way out, lost its final grip and
fell clean out, and the monster whispered, "...If you got a bigger bike, you could sell the Magna,
and the kids could still ride with you..."
And I found myself muttering, "Yeah...I could sell the Magna...." as I turned and spotted the 2010
990 Adventure sitting between me and the door.
Reason was probably shouting about that time, but if it was, I never heard it. I walked around the
bike a few times, and, improbably, left.
Went home. Didn't buy it. Started thinking about big adventure bikes. Thought (briefly) about
BMW, but the simple fact is that I've never met one that pushed my buttons. I've ridden more than a
few, but the BMWs just don't speak to me. Not bad bikes, but....not for me.
At the price of the 990, I had to spend at least a few minutes lusting after an Aprilia RSV4; as a
longtime V4 fan, how couldja not? And, once you spend 990 money, it's not much of a jump at all...
...but it simply won't do what the 990 will. And that ability--to go about wherever I want, without
regard for road surface, is definitely what I want. I understand that it's a big heavy monster, and
that a short guy like me who rides almost exclusively alone would be insane to tackle technical
single track on a bike like this, but I have the WR250 for that; and it does it VERY well. Terrible
street bike, but single track, it'll do.
Plus, there's the jail thing. I'd give the RSV4 a week, tops.
Mulled it over for a couple of weeks.
...and then, one stressful afternoon at work, found myself on the phone with the KTM shop. Best
price? Geeze, I haven't even sat on it...
Kept calling and the price kept getting better. This is a bad sign. It's a 2010 leftover,
they're hungry, and I've got the wants.
Ran it past the boss; a year of standby gets me a lot of leeway. Maybe "do what you want" really
does mean what I think it does...
Mid-April and the tax refund's back; this means tires for the car and the truck. I take the tires
down in the trailer behind the truck to Redding to get 'em swapped and Tina (my wife) meets me in
the pacifica for hers. Hmmm....got an empty trailer....
Once again, I wake up at the KTM shop...sitting on the 990. I can pretty much forget
getting anything but my toes down, but it's called "riding", not walking. The monster is out in
Excess...she flashes her bass-boat orange flake in the sun.
Wretched....that seat height!
Excess...but think of where she can carry you.
Wretched....all that weight to push up the ramp into the trailer!
Excess....all that weight to push up the ramp into the trailer!
Day 1, Mile Zero: