When I share my current choice of bike for these two upcoming races, Vegas to Reno and Rally dos Sertoes, Iím going to be criticized for it. I want to make clear that such critique is well-founded and welcomed, so please donít try to jump and defend me, or be rude to critics, they are correct in being concerned.
Thatís because Iím planning to use a 2008 KTM 990 Adventure, which Iím converting to a 990 Rally. Why, you ask? Good question.
First, itís the bike I currently have. I bought her used, with about 5,000 miles, in June of 2010.
Second, it is the bike Fabrizio Meoni used to win the 2002 edition of the Dakar. Sure, it was heavily modified, and it was actually a 950, basically the same motor but carbureted instead of fuel injected. And sure, Fabrizio was a world-class rider. But a lot of the parts were the same, so I know the bike, at least, with some modifications, is capable of doing it. And considering Iím not really planning on being competitive, just finishing these races, I donít think I need to be a fantastic rider to be able to do this.
Third, I love tough challenges. I know having a bigger, heavier bike will make it harder, but I thrive on that. Whenever I help friends move, I always volunteer to move the hardest, heavier pieces. When in a team and tasks are being divvied up, I pick the toughest assignments. If on a trail and I come up on a fork that later joins back, I pick the toughest way. So call it a masochistic tendency, or what have you, I like to make things harder.
All that being said, Iím a realist. I know thereís a chance I canít handle a bike this big well enough to complete these races. So like the engineer that I am, I need testing. A future post will cover that in more detail, but Iím headed to Utah over Thanksgiving to spend a week riding terrain very similar to the Vegas to Reno, and some high-speed sections that can approach the Rally dos Sertoes, to make sure I want to stick with this bike. I would love to be able to race it, because I think thereís a cool factor in finishing riding such a beast, but Iím not married to it. If I am not confident after the week in Utah, sheíll go on the market and Iíll get a 450, in preparation for future races that only allow that and smaller displacements.
Speaking of which, this was something I had to check, that Vegas to Reno and Sertoes would allow this big of a motor. They do. Vegas to Reno has unlimited displacement, and Sertoes allows bikes up to 1300cc. I think thatís so someone crazier than I am can run it on a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure
Several future posts will cover the bike build, whatever bike that is. I have already done some necessary mods to the 990 to be much better off-road than a stock one, but none are mods that compromise the riding on-road, or would make it harder to sell it if I decide to. Iíll cover those first in a soon-to-be written post. Should I decide to keep it, then the heavy mods begin and sheíll never be the same bike again.
If you want to see what Meoniís 950 looked like thereís a great page on the HOW about it, check it out here