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Old 05-19-2014, 06:38 AM   #1
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: West Tn, USA
Oddometer: 609
990 on the Hatfield McCoy Trails ride report

Hatfield McCoy Pocahontas trails in Bramwell(said "Bramel" by the locals), WV, USA. WV is truly one of the most beautiful areas of the USA and the people are very warm and hospitable. We were treated beyond nice by everyone we encountered. A special thanks to the owner of the brand new Buffalo Trail cottages and restaurant for going way out of his way to give us a very memorable dinner(and free at that). Talk about hospitality!

A little background here so everyone has a reference point as to my thoughts and comments. The three of us are relatively new to the 990 but we have a pretty extensive background in off-road riding. Not trying brag here but we are comfortable in about any off-road setting. We've done the Blackwater 100, GNCC races, and Colorado 500(multiple times).
We chose the Pocahontas section of the Hatfield McCoy trail system for two reasons. One, it was centrally-located for us to meet up as I am from Tennessee and they are from Maryland. Two, it seemed to have the easiest trails on paper. We wanted to make sure we didn't get the 990 in over it's head....or us.
The ride was almost put off because of a tremendous amount of rain they received. We went in thinking maybe we'd just ride local roads and dirt roads but we immediately gravitated to the trails. The initial hill up into the trails was maybe a bit intimidating looking to us but the 990 shot right up the trail. No real problems other than some of us just not trusting the bike's capabilities. After that we became more comfortable and ventured into harder and harder trails, even onto some of the very limited single track in Pocahontas.
All in all the bike did much better than we expected. It did everything we asked of it, even handling a fair amount of mud and some pretty steep hills. Going up is no problem with the 990. Coming down can be a bit tricky.
I have to give a lot of credit to a recently-mounted Continental TKC 80 front tire. It did EVERYTHING! Handled mud well, stayed planted in loose rocks, and was a pleasant surprise on the road! I doubt I will even try another front tire from here on out. Now the real surprise. I had a 3/4 worn out Scorpion on the back. I wasn't expecting much out of it. But I really had zero problems from it. Now, when I say "mud" you have to realize this section of the trails has ground that has a lot of small rock substrate in it and that makes for good traction. I doubt that Scorpion would have gotten me 10 feet in typical mud in Tennessee where I'm from.
If you are looking to venture onto trails with the 990 I think the Pocahontas trail system is a good starting point. There is nothing in there that I would call that hard. The initial climb could be a bit intimidating to the novice off-roader but the rest of the trails are quite benign. If you are wanting to ride a good dirt bike on some challenging trails, look elsewhere. There is not much in there that would appeal to me on my KTM 520.
Pictures and vids and more commentary to come. Ron and Harry, my riding buddies, tend to be the lurker type on discussion boards but I invite their comments.

Probably the steepest hill in Pocahontas. As usual, video does it no justice:
Hatfield McCoy:
The before. Ron and Harry looking all cheery and shit:

One of the more entertaining highlights of the ride. Branch 1, Ron 0:

Mid day break at a very convenient road side eatery:

The scenery up the road in Beckley, WV at Grandview:

Grandview from last year when I drove my car up there:

'08 990 Adventure Orange of course
'00 520 EXC
'14 500 XCW

ADVill screwed with this post 05-19-2014 at 04:58 PM
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