Originally Posted by PPiA
Great pics, but how is it on the dirt?
Compared to a decent 450, how much harder is the R to ride?
To be honest, this is a tricky one to answer. I think it largely depends on your riding style and how fast you like to get through the bush.
For a big bike, the weight distribution is incredibly good and the bike feels considerable lighter to ride than the spec sheet would indicate. Once you get past initial perceptions and ride it like a dirt bike, it is surprising where the bike will go.
For dirt roads and gravel tracks, I would take one of these any day of the week. The extra weight settles them and transforms the bike into a stable, almost guided missile. They do take a bit to pull up though and the speed can creep up on you if you aren't mindful of it. Don't know if this equates to being outright faster but it is certainly enjoyable.
Stepping up to flowing forest trails, the big bike is a lot of fun to ride and I have seen numerous instances of mates on 990's flying past enduro bikes as long as things aren't too snotty or loose. Personally, I love riding the big bikes on these sorts of trails but I try to keep things fairly smooth and composed. Given the comparison between the 1190 and my DRZ, I would still be considerably quicker on the DRZ (more room for error) but I wouldn't be surprised to see an 1190 float past me at speed in the right hands.
For soft surfaces (sloppy mud or loose sand) the little bike certainly makes things a whole lot easier. Same goes for snotty single track and the like where the weight, size and slow speed works against you. Plus they don't tend to crash as well as the more dedicated dirt bikes so it becomes an expensive hobby if you want to bash 'n' crash your way through the forest.
Sorry I can't be more definitive but I think it all comes down to rider ability, preference and style. If you are loose on a dirt bike and ride a 230kg / 150hp adventure bike accordingly, it is probably going to hurt you in the long run. Put the right mix of riding in front of an 1190R though and you will struggle to have more fun on two wheels.