Yeah, yeah I know it's been two months since you last heard from me but I have been busy.
So where to start?
First off I had arrived at the decision that due to Myasthenia, the KTM 1090 Adventure R was simply too large and heavy for me. The lack of muscle strength MG causes had meant even manoeuvering it in and out of the garage was really difficult and I was in constant danger of dropping it. Riding was fine but every time I stopped I felt like I could drop it any moment, clearly something had to be done:
At first I started looking at the "middleweight" contenders, KTM 790/890 Adventure or Yamaha Tenere 700 were the obvious choices but were deemed not suitable for a couple of reasons. A) both were more expensive than what the 1090 could be reasonably sold for and I simply didn't have the spare cash available to make up the difference and B) the weight saving of less than 30kg was simply not enough to make a difference. Trying both they felt just as unwieldy as the 1090 when maneuvering.
So I started looking at the small adventure bike market and decided the following were contenders:
Honda CRF 250 Rally
Or the replacement, Honda CRF 300 Rally
BMW G310 GS
Royal Enfield Himalayan
KTM 390 Adventure
So a quick comparison showed:
Bike Cost Wet weight Power Torque Seat Height
250 Rally £5599 157kg 23hp 22.0Nm 895mm
300 Rally £6039 153kg 27hp 26.6Nm 885mm
310 GS £5435 169.5kg 34hp 28.0Nm 835mm
Himalayan £4599 191kg 24.5hp 32.0Nm 800mm
390 ADV £5849 165kg 43.5hp 35.3Nm 855mm
Red text indicates the worst scorer in the category, green text indicates the best.
As the CRF 250 Rally has been replaced by the 300, I would have to either buy second hand or find a dealer with old stock. But to be honest I rejected it because of its low power output (the lowest here) and its tall seat height. It is also more focussed as a trail bike with the "correct" 21"/18" wheel set up but as a result would be less suitable for road trips. In its favour was its light weight but this was not enough on its own.
The CRF 300 Rally is essentially the same bike but lighter, with more power and torque and a slightly lower seat but this wasn't enough of an improvement with only 4kg off the weight and an extra 4hp and 4.6Nm in its favour to make the grade. Additionally there are simply none available at present and I could have waited several months plus there would be no opportunity for a test ride as a result. I was actually offered a cancelled order (thanks George) but by then I had pretty much made my decision.
The BMW G310 GS is pretty much a known quantity as Gráinne has the road version, the G310 R. so i'm familiar with the engine but other factors were against it, the power was better but it was middle of the road in all categories. It also has 19"/17" cast alloy wheels that can limit tyre choice and ground clearance.
The Himalayan has the advantage of cheapest price and lowest seat but despite being the largest capacity at 411cc it has barely more power than the CRF250 Rally. Also the seat height is not so much of an advantage as having sat on one I found it too low and therefore too cramped for me. It does have a 21" front wheel but the 17" rear wheel limits tyre choice again. The other major factor is I simply don't like the look of them.
So that left the KTM 390 Adventure, this was well priced, a good weight, had the perfect seat height and available for both a demonstration ride and for sale. It also had the most power and torque of all the bikes. I was still a bit concerned about the 19"/17" cast alloy wheel combination but after riding one I was blown away, a fantastic little bike!
On top of the considerations above, was the cost of getting them ready for the trails. The Hondas are well known for their poor suspension and so I would have to budget to improve this but this would only be a few hundred pounds.
The BMW has cast wheels which are not ideal for trail riding and have fairly basic suspension but spoked wheels and suspension upgrades are available from Rally Raid Products but at a cost of £2036, bringing the overall price to £7191.
The Himalayan works as it is but I still don't like them 😟
KTM have recently brought out a spoked wheel set for a quite reasonable £814* and the WP suspension needs no upgrading.
*By comparison a Talon wheelset for the EXC is over £1100 😱
All I had to do was sell the 1090! So it promptly went up for sale.
Next up was a Rallymoto training day on Salisbury Plain. Having cleaned the 1090 thoroughly, I was reluctant to take it and get it muddy. So Instead I travelled down in the van with the EXC in the back. Only to have it constantly cut out on me. Nothing I did would fix it and I've subsequently learnt it's almost certainly the pilot jet blocked by the fuel I left in it for over a year. This is apparently very common with unleaded containing ethanol. So a carburettor rebuild is on the cards. I ended up marshalling in the van.