What an opportunity
After riding motorcycles for over 40 years I was faced with a gifted opportunity. Craig Johnson from CJDesignsllc.com
offered his KTM 950 Super Enduro to me for the weekend. It should be noted this was not any weekend, it was the 2012 Big Woods 200 in Wabeno Wisconsin. The Big Woods 200
offers two incredible days of riding with friends you may only see once a year. Even now just talking about it makes my body tingle with excitement
Some may say the KTM 950 SE is overkill for this ride. After all, Saturday‘s 150-200 miles (depending on how much you double back) is full of forest roads, two track, single track, ATV trails, deep sandy roads and technical Hero sections. Overkill? Hell Yes! With that said Craig's 950 SE is no pack mule, in fact it is more of a high strung black stallion with a hard mouth. The bike looks angry just sitting on the center stand. After several test laps on a private track I had to decide if I was man enough. Could I tame the mighty SE through the tight hero sections and endless single track, or would it shake me off like a fly out in the pasture? With a smile of uncertainty I put the bike in my truck and asked Craig to wish me luck.
Saturday morning Craig and I decided we would ride at a conservative pace. So I put my gear on... had a silent talk with the angry SE... and mounted up. "Ahhh the saddle feels so good!" I could not stop smiling as I sat there listening to the 950 Vtwin wake up. In my head I just kept thinking "Are you kidding me, this day is going to be nuts". Craig mounted his KTM 950 Adventure and our "moral coach" for the day Jim Fitzgerald mounted his KTM 450, we were ready to head out.
Taking to the pavement for a few miles was a great way for the SE and I to get to know each other. In the first Hero section we became one, I used a smooth throttle approach and the SE responded with predictable precision. The deep sand was conquered by the throttle stop, and speeds that kept the front tire floating. By the time we hit the single track we were old friends like the Lone Ranger and Trigger. After a short swimming break
, the SE and I once again took to the trails like we were competing in a pony express job interview.
Early afternoon Craig asked me to swap bikes... WOW! Not only did Craig give me his mighty SE for the day, now he is offering a chance to ride the world's only Two Wheel Drive KTM 950 Adventure
. Yes two wheel drive, I watched Craig build this incredible bike from the frame up. It is truly a master piece of motorcycling technology. Once rolling it was very apparent that I was no longer on the high strung stallion, but instead on a very strong work horse. In short order my riding style changed from aggressive to relaxed. At first I thought the extra weight might be too much for me. After I was moving my brain kept trying to understand where all the weight went, the bike was not fighting me at all, It was like I had been put on a rail. In two wheel drive the deep sandy roads were almost like riding pavement. Steep long hill climbs were a joke, with stability from bottom to top. The traction and control were unlike anything I had ever ridden before. Truly an amazing experience!
I finished the day smiling and wishing my middle age body had more to give.
BIG THANK YOU to Craig and CJ Designs for burning more great memories into my mind's eye!