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Old 07-02-2013, 01:30 PM   #43
bigdave-gs's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Central Texas
Oddometer: 2,658
Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post

This is an outstanding question and I'll do my best to answer it from my perspective.

I hope SR chimes in from his perspective - that of a much more experienced and capable off-road rider than I.

Let me give you my short answer first:




First of all, let's look at the roster of motos on the ride: there was't 1 bike in the 990 class that I know of.

I was on SR's DRZ400 and he on his new fuel injected Yammy WR450R

I think this class of bikes is the way to go: lighter and more powerful.

Now, there are, IMO, plenty of sections where the 990 would be right at home. But it also depends on the skill and fitness of the rider. The 990 is about, what, 500 pounds gassed up? I think that's on the heavy side. But what do I know, maybe not too heavy.

What you have to remember are the "gotcha" sections of the Ruta DGO-MAZ. There are some, albeit fairly short, sections that will choke all but the most experienced riders.

Can you ride that bike on really, really, I mean really rocky downhill sections?

Can you ride that bike in long stretches of mud?

Can you ride that bike in long stretches of sand?

There aren't too many "choke point" obstacles, but SR and Hector Jr., both very experienced riders, had their hands full getting through one particularly gnarly section on relatively light bikes. NO WAY would a GSA have made it through without a team of helpers pushing, prodding, and lifting.

So, your 990 would make it through a huge chunk of this route, especially if you accept help in sections, but the price you might pay for a bike of that weight might exact a toll on your body. Exactly how much of a toll you would pay depends upon age, skill, fitness, and experience.

I was very lucky SR held onto his DRZ long enough for me to use it for this ride.

The DRZ had power and lightness, but for me, the one key thing it lacked was a fitting to my dimensions. The bars weren't high enough and in a perfect world, I would have had risers.

You have to stand a LOT on this ride to not punish your body, but you will see video and photos of me sitting a LOT - too much, actually, for the terrain. But I sat more than stood simply because it was more comfortable - standing meant hunching over in a just too uncomfortable position. So make sure the bike you bring is "dialed in" in terms of fit.

This ride starts just as rainy season starts in the Sierra. A truly wild card is just how much it is going to rain. This year, I think it was just about perfect - it rained just enough to keep the dust down (for the most part).

I lost any fear I might have had over deep sand sections, rocks, baby heads, etc. This ride will simply drive that out of you, because you get so tired you want to push through anything to finish.

Trust me, I started CrossFit last September to get ready for this. I cycle pretty long distances every other day. When I read your post (on my IPhone) I was in the middle of a 60 mile training ride today. I think I'm pretty fit for a mid-50s guy. To enjoy this ride, you'll need to bring the fitness for the bike you are riding. A 990? You better be in great shape and have plenty of gnarly experience on it.

You will no doubt see some of the ride photos that look like graded service roads or some stretches that look like Switzerland, perfect dirt surrounded by lazy cows and butterflies drifting about as in some bucolic scene. Do not be deceived!

I know SR is getting the "Wuss" stamp out and is ready to place the ink on my forehead - like I said - he'll have a different take given his experience level.

Since he sold his DRZ, if I do this ride next year, I'll be back on my KTM 500.

I think that's the perfect bike for this type of event.

Thanks for the question
Thanks for the reply. I too am a 50+ rider and I do more technical riding than speed. Sand and rocks (baby head up to car hood size)...well that's all I have here in central Texas hill country so no problem there. No mud ! ! ! I have ridden in the mud but a heavy bike is even heavier in the mud. I currenty ride a 1150 GSA but I am looking at the KTM 1190 R when it gets here because the BMW has gotten too heavy for my 50 year old body. I grew up on cross country and hare scrambles but that was many, many years ago, so I to would have to train a bunch to get the stamina up to ride long mountain runs.
I'd be unstoppable if not for Law Enforcement and Physics !
When your 6'8" with a 40" inseam, the bikes that fit you are limited ! ! !

2004 BMW R1150GS Adventure for street work / KTM 950 Super Enduro for Dirt work !
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