In sev­enth heaven with Freeride Mud is good 1 2 Two-strokes don’t have to be peaky 3 Light­ness beats fear 4 Slow is the new fast 5 I made the most bor­ing on­board video of all time 6 The Freeride has a seat but I hardly seem to use it 7 This is freedo

From ex­pe­ri­enced road rider to off road novice, but Tim’s lov­ing the mud

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Mcn garage - Tim Thomp­son, Head of Con­tent tim.thomp­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­ Time 12 hours Mods None by a moun­tain biker. Like a rookie road rider I have to force my­self to look up and ahead and plan my route.

In my old life I strug­gled to sleep if one of my bikes was put away dirty. Now I em­brace mud like a team of U11s on a boggy pitch in Fe­bru­ary. Cured! This 250 R ver­sion of the KTM Freeride makes all the right stro­ker noises plus the tra­di­tional cloud of pre­mixed blue smoke as it warms on the choke, but it’s the op­po­site of peaky. It churns out soft pulses of torque, waft­ing me over (mi­nor) ob­sta­cles on a mil‘ of throt­tle.

This is a bike that says, ‘I’m here for you, please re­lax.’ It has a 915mm seat height, some 45mm lower than a full-fat en­duro, and sim­ply be­ing able to throw a leg over with­out tak­ing a run up halves the fear fac­tor. Bet­ter still, at just 92.5kg it’s barely heav­ier than me.

Crit­i­cally aware of my lack of tech­nique and ex­pe­ri­ence I ride crosscoun­try at 15mph or slower, know­ing that any mo­ment I could be over­taken

It felt so Red Bull rad­i­cal at the time. I leave home like a 17-year-old sit­ting too far back on a barely in­sured DT125, then turn onto the trail and the Freeride trans­forms like a swan slid­ing into the river. That’s also the last time I sit down all af­ter­noon.

Up there with pass­ing my test.

From dirt-hater to mud-lover in 12 hours of rid­ing

Thirty-six years a road rider, it’s all gone peaks and gog­gles for Thomp­son

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