Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - KAWASAKI ZX-10R KRT REPLICA £13,799

to man­han­dle. The big­gest cul­ture shock for any­one rid­ing off road for the first time is learn­ing to live with a bike that, even af­ter a 45-minute flurry of brushes and mi­crofi­bre cloths is not, in the nor­mal sense of the word, clean; it’s just not dirty.

There’s also the re­al­i­sa­tion that the own­er­ship of a dirt bike en­tails watch­ing its cos­metic con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rate week in, week out in front of your eyes. I have fallen off, let’s see now, at least 15 times. Each crash has taken its toll, be it in the form of tiny scratches to the plas­tics or, my worst so far, a rock chip in the frame paint­work.

Be­yond fuel, pre­mixed with syn­thetic 2T oil at a clean and lean 80:1, I’ve had zero run­ning costs so far. Even the blocks on the Miche­lin En­duro Com­pe­ti­tion tyres KTM fit­ted to my bike have barely worn.

Mean­while, I have booked my­self onto an off-road tour in France in the au­tumn. My dirt skills need to im­prove be­fore then, but it’s great to have some­thing to aim for. I’ve been tak­ing it easy on my ZX-10R for its first miles and the up­side of the ten­ta­tive rid­ing is the fuel economy. I’ve squeezed up to 49mpg out of it − not ex­actly racy, but good for the wal­let. That’s around 130-140 miles be­fore the re­serve light comes on.

The bike has also just had its 600mile ser­vice, which in­cluded a re­call to re­place some mi­nor steer­ing damper bolts.

It hasn’t been su­per­bike weather since I col­lected the bike and al­most ev­ery time I’ve hit the road it’s been rain­ing or damp. But the stan­dard Bridge­stone RS10 tyres of­fer de­cent grip, de­spite hav­ing only a few to­ken slots for tread. In the rare times it’s been dry they’ve hung on ad­mirably, but in all this time, I still haven’t leaned it right over yet. Just call me Mr Chicken strip.

My first big trip of the year was to But­lin’s in Skeg­ness for the last-ever MCNLIVE! The cur­tains were drawn af­ter 22 years, but it went out with a bang with live mu­sic, stunt shows and a ride­out to Cad­well, in­clud­ing a few laps of the cir­cuit. Hav­ing the likes of John Mcguin­ness, Chris Walker and John Reynolds join­ing in the fun was the ic­ing on the cake and there were smiles all round.

The next big MCN event is the MCN Fes­ti­val in Peter­bor­ough on May 1415 with Colin Ed­wards head­lin­ing the Transat­lantic short-track tro­phy.

When it comes to mod­i­fi­ca­tions, I’ve got a Skid­marx screen on or­der for the Kawasaki to cut down on wind­blast, and the first pieces of the jig­saw to ‘de-euro 4’ it are also in­com­ing. An Akrapovic de-cat link pipe (£239) and end can (£749) are on the way from Per­for­mance Parts (www.per­for­man­ceparts-ltd.com), to­gether with a self-learn­ing Rapid Bike fuel in­jec­tion con­trol mo­d­ule (£414).

With the weather im­prov­ing, I’ve booked a track­day for Rock­ing­ham, which takes place be­fore I’ll have chance to fit the new ex­haust, but I’ll have it on in time for a day at Oulton Park with MSVT track­days, and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see what dif­fer­ence the changes make.

Even af­ter a 45-minute scrub, the Freeride’s never clean Plas­tic case shields air fil­ter from mud ZX-10R makes Suzuki BSB champ Reynolds green with envy April show­ers didn’t dampen Neevesy’s Cor­dura-clad spir­its on the MCNLIVE! ride­out

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