Light is right for solo trail­ing

Lit­tle Kawasaki shows its worth as heavy­weight fool gets it prop­erly bogged down

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - On The Bench -

here are sev­eral things you’re ad­vised to do when rid­ing trail bikes. One of those is to alert any­one who cares as to where you’re go­ing and when you might be back. And not to ride alone. So af­ter a brief stint rid­ing with Jim and a beam­ing Harry on his new RT100, I headed off down Pick­worth Drift on my Tod into the un­known mud­scape.

OK, it’s not ex­actly a stage of the Dakar Rally, but with re­cent heavy rain, and an al­ready rut­ted, chewed sur­face, it was not the eas­i­est. And of course I got stuck. Up to the wheel spin­dles stuck. I’ve been bogged-in be­fore, in re­moter, less hos­pitable places too, but usu­ally with some other fools pre­pared to pitch in and help re­lease a mud­bound bike.

For­tu­nately, the TR is light. Just light enough to heave from the sticky morass with some mild curs­ing and an un­sea­sonal amount of sweat for a late Jan­uary morn­ing. Semi-road trail tyres are never ideal for re­ally heavy go­ing and the Dun­lop Tri­als Univer­sals were not the rub­ber you’d choose. But it’s a poor trail rider who blames tyres when other routes through the bog were avail­able. The mas­sive plus, once the TR was ex­tri­cated, was the feel­ing of soli­tude up on the windswept rise. Flanked by noth­ing but the odd Hawthorn or Beech tree, the ex­posed old by­way re­minds you of why trail rid­ing is such a re­fresh­ing way to ride a mo­tor­cy­cle. No traf­fic, no rules, just get to the end of the ride in your own time, and lux­u­ri­ate in mother na­ture.

If I was se­ri­ous about the TR as a trail bike, I’d most likely lace a 21-inch rim to the front hub, but frankly that would be more for aes­thetic rea­sons than any­thing else. The 19-incher cur­rently on there has no doubt got al­most the same rolling ra­dius as a 21, and it would only be the nar­rower sec­tion that would help slic­ing into sticky clay. It would also in­volve cost and ef­fort, and for the amount of time the TR spends in filth, com­pared to on tar­mac, it’s not worth the bother. The sen­si­ble thing is to un­der­stand that some dual pur­pose ma­chines are less dual in dirt than oth­ers, and if you’re se­ri­ous about trail rid­ing, buy a KTM. I’ll stick with the TR. It’s the right bike for me.

It’s a bit small yes, but spot-on for my skill lev­els Mark Gra­ham

Greasy trail got gloop­ier, TR got stuck

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