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Old 08-05-2018, 09:02 AM   #16
Kestrel
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You've got a lot of bike. No amount of magic KTM suspension is going to hide the reality that you are on a 500lb bike. Even your XR650L is a pig compared to what most folks take off road.

Whatever you were doing on the XR, you can probably do on the KTM. I'd sell the XR, and find a proper dirt bike. Learn to be a 'hero' on that, and you'll probably find that those skills transfer quite well to the KTM.
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:36 PM   #17
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You've got a lot of bike. No amount of magic KTM suspension is going to hide the reality that you are on a 500lb bike. Even your XR650L is a pig compared to what most folks take off road.

Whatever you were doing on the XR, you can probably do on the KTM. I'd sell the XR, and find a proper dirt bike. Learn to be a 'hero' on that, and you'll probably find that those skills transfer quite well to the KTM.
The issue that I have is that I don't want to own a truck or a trailer, so I need something street legal. And the XR isn't worth all that much retail, but worth quite a bit to me. I could consider a third bike, like maybe a WR250R or something similar that weighs in at almost 300 pounds. I doubt I could find anything decent in the 250 pound range that I wouldn't have to haul to the dirt.

I spent years riding motocross bikes off road, so I know what a good dirt bike can do in rough condition. When you now have twice the weight, few skills transfer.
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:33 PM   #18
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Ride it and drop it a bit, you'll get the hang quick. My 950 i actually goes over stuff amazingly well (steps, curbs, rocks ect) but the power is a little higher up in the rpms and it will launch with all that power. All the body stuff is the same save one: bail off earlier and don't try to save it. Once the big bikes get off line the only way you have to save it is brakes/throttle; a leg stem will just get you hurt and 400 lbs dropping on you will be an issue.
The bikes are tough, after T boning a truck at 30 mine was in better shape than the truck; still rideable with just a broken hand guard.
You're better off to weight a little forward so the rear spins than be back and have the front lift up, off line and headed in the wrong direction. Keep your momentum up a little higher than normal and use the pegs. I've got a trials buddy who has taken his 990 with bags on No Whimps in Baja over big stuff, says it handles that stuff great.

Also, when you start out keep the fuel level lower to keep the c of g lower, not a big thing but it will help with tip over. Most likely you'll get a little tentative and go too slow; this will cause a small bump to stop you and you'll go over...just let it go and have fun.
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Old 08-05-2018, 09:45 PM   #19
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The issue that I have is that I don't want to own a truck or a trailer, so I need something street legal.
If you've ridden motocross, then you definitely know. To me... I wouldn't really want to deal with the hassle of a big bike in really bad terrain. Obviously YMMV.

On the trailer thing... I didn't want one either, but nevertheless have ended up with a Harbor Freight folding trailer in the garage. One car garage, and I still manage to fit that trailer, two motorcycles, a lot of tools, and some other stuff/bicycles inside It's a bit packed, but either way... The folding trailers do store relatively nicely, and for the price, it's not a bad way to go. If space is a concern, then it may be something that helps. If you want plated vehicles regardless, that does make it harder to find something that will do well in the dirt. I wouldn't say a WR250R is significantly better than what you've got in the XR.
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Old 08-05-2018, 10:10 PM   #20
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Fear of dropping a big heavy brand spanking new bike would slow any of us down. Get some scratches on it, get it over with, and then ride it like you just don't care.
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:03 AM   #21
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Fear of dropping a big heavy brand spanking new bike would slow any of us down. Get some scratches on it, get it over with, and then ride it like you just don't care.
I was able to feel that way about the 990, even though I only ever dropped it one time and that was on pavement. I'll get to that point.
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:26 AM   #22
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Fear of dropping a big heavy brand spanking new bike would slow any of us down. Get some scratches on it, get it over with, and then ride it like you just don't care.
Thankfully got over that pretty quickly on my F8, as I ran it during the SI300 a few months after getting it. Took quite a few dirt naps and had one legit over the bars and into the rocks crash. After my protection worked in those crashes and the scratches were had, I cared less and got more comfortable.

Also, Scott, you can always put tubes in for running lower pressures. Tubes are a PITA, but have their advantages, as I'm sure you know.

For big bikes, there's quite a few more options beyond the TKCs these days. Golden Tyre and Shinko have big block knobbies available, both with good reviews.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:59 AM   #23
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For big bikes, there's quite a few more options beyond the TKCs these days. Golden Tyre and Shinko have big block knobbies available, both with good reviews.
Yes, I'm curious about the Shinko 804/805. I've been pretty happy with the 705 as my dual sport tire on my XR650L. But they're not great in the dirt.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:29 AM   #24
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Yes, I'm curious about the Shinko 804/805. I've been pretty happy with the 705 as my dual sport tire on my XR650L. But they're not great in the dirt.
I've read reviews that the inline big-block configuration of the Shinko gives better forward traction in mud/sand, and less humming than the TKC80 on road. But suffers a bit from the same block pattern for lateral grip.

For the price, I'd try em out.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:10 AM   #25
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The issue that I have is that I don't want to own a truck or a trailer, so I need something street legal. And the XR isn't worth all that much retail, but worth quite a bit to me. I could consider a third bike, like maybe a WR250R or something similar that weighs in at almost 300 pounds. I doubt I could find anything decent in the 250 pound range that I wouldn't have to haul to the dirt.

I spent years riding motocross bikes off road, so I know what a good dirt bike can do in rough condition. When you now have twice the weight, few skills transfer.
You're in Idaho, you can get a plate for anything you want, $3 for 7 years for an OHV plate (not allowed on state or federal highways), I think you can get a normal plate without much work too.
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:24 PM   #26
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I'd put the most aggressive knobby on the front as you can and go ride it. Knowing you have a great knobby out front will inspire confidence. Not so secretly I'd love to own a 990 or 1090, as they are so capable. I had a guy on the Sheetiron drift around me on a fire road on a 990. I just smiled and thought to myself "I need one of those!"
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:07 PM   #27
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I just smiled and thought to myself "I need one of those!"
Those were my thoughts about 30 seconds into my first test ride on the 990 Adventure. "I gotta get one of these." They're not boring bikes.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:31 AM   #28
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My fear of off-road riding is the unpredictable trail difficulties, not being able to pick up a dropped bike alone or get stuck on tricky terrain. The weight and cost of adventure bikes amplify that fear so I try to stick to tame fire roads and not get too adventurous. There are definitely technical and mental roadblocks to overcome.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:35 AM   #29
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I put the dirt tires and lower gearing on the XR650L, then headed up into the hills and rode over 30 miles of dirt roads up there. I felt much more confident on the XR on those roads. Interestingly, both bikes have the same front tire, a 90/90-21 TKC-80. With the front air pressure down around 18 psi it steers fairly well in loose stuff. The biggest issue is in the sandy sections, or whatever you want to call the two inch deep loose dirt that is common on these roads. I know that an extra 50-100 pounds on the front tire is going to make it harder to steer through that stuff, so the KTM will be more difficult up there, at least until we get some rain.

I figure two or three more outings on the XR and I'll be ready to tackle that road on the KTM.

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Old 08-18-2018, 02:41 PM   #30
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I put the dirt tires and lower gearing on the XR650L, then headed up into the hills and rode over 30 miles of dirt roads up there. I felt much more confident on the XR on those roads. Interestingly, both bikes have the same front tire, a 90/90-21 TKC-80. With the front air pressure down around 18 psi it steers fairly well in loose stuff. The biggest issue is in the sandy sections, or whatever you want to call the two inch deep loose dirt that is common on these roads. I know that an extra 50-100 pounds on the front tire is going to make it harder to steer through that stuff, so the KTM will be more difficult up there, at least until we get some rain.

I figure two or three more outings on the XR and I'll be ready to tackle that road on the KTM.



If the deep soft stuff is trouble, perhaps go spend a bunch of time riding it.
It will eventually become a piece of cake for you.
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