On a recent trip over to Peru to check out the superb KTM 1290 Super Adventure, I found myself in the company of a guy by the name of Chris Birch. I’m sure most of you reading this will have heard of Chris, and if you haven’t, just Google or YouTube his name and be prepared to go weak at the knees or dribble down your shirt when you see what this guy can do on a big adventure bike.
Having the opportunity to ride with Chris over in Peru was the football equivalent of playing a game with Ronal- do or Messi. It was simply amazing to see the balance and control the guy exerts over a 200kg plus machine at balls-out speeds and at walking pace.
Amazing is probably the right word here, but I also found it inspiring and confidence building to know what these huge bikes are actually capable of doing, though I hasten to add, not in my hands. As well as being a great rider, I’d also class Chris as a superb athlete, a characteristic needed to ride at the intensity and level he does.
Anyway, let’s cut from a world-class athlete taking on the barren, parched deserts of Peru on a 1290 and move to an overweight, old geezer on a KTM 1090 Adventure R on a green lane in the luscious Cotswolds countryside.
Having gotten to know the 1090 on a road tour of Scotland I was keen to find the Chris Birch in me on the muddy back lanes of middle England, and in the process, take on a couple of off-road sections I’d never attempted nor fancied on a 1000cc plus adventure bike in the past.
I knew the bike could do it, I knew I could do it as I’ve ridden these sections many times in the past on bikes such as a Suzuki DRZ400 and a Yamaha XT660Z Ténéré. The only question was, could we do it together.
The section in question comprised of a steep drop off a bank down into a narrow and very deep rut which eventually turned into a steep climb littered with rocks of all sizes and tree roots.
For some inexplicable reason, my confidence was way high, I was hoping not too high, as I rode to the lip of the bank, and whereas I’d normally stop and take a deep breath before edging over, I just kept rolling and let the front drop over the steep incline and went for it.
What happened next was, in my mind at least, heroic, epic, brave, skilful (insert as many adjectives as you want here) and amazing as I cleared the section with ease and without even being anywhere near taking a small dab to steady myself.
Thinking it must have been some kind of fluke, I thought let’s do that again, and went through the same experience once again. And again. And once more for luck.
I’m not getting cocky here. My sentiments are more that the 1090 R is one amazing piece of off-road kit for such a big bike when applied with the right attitude and a sliver of skill. Mid Wales here I (and the 1090 R) come.