Yeah, well, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m sure I’ve been accused of having that kind of dirty mind more than once, but that’s not what I want to talk about. It is real terra firma, you know, dirty dirt that’s on my mind. The kind you played in as a kid, though I’ve got to confess that most of my playing in the dirt as a kid involved two wheels and a combustion engine.
Dirt bikes have been occupying my cerebral space a lot lately. Ditch diggers as my father fondly referred to them. Seeing as how I was only 6 or 7 years old when I started riding, my first motorcycle was a dirt bike…a pretty lame one at that. Actually the first motorcycle that I really learned to rip around woods on was a Honda SL 70 which wasn’t much of a dirt bike. Here, see for yourself:
I absolutely trashed that bike. I mean, I gave it a beating until it could take no more. Eventually I had to move up and by the time I was a teenager I had the motocross lust. My first really exciting dirt bike was a Suzuki RM 125. Loved that thing and did my best to help Dad keep the fields aerated!
As I got older, I picked up a few dual sport bikes and eventually another RM. However, it seemed I rarely made the effort to load up the dirt bike and haul it somewhere to ride. Eventually I gave up on those and played around with a few more dual sports before giving in to street riding only.
When Adventure bikes became popular, it seemed like the genre was made just for me; a street bike with dirt bike “pretense” and at least a little capability. I’ve owned several of them and can safely say that I will likely own more. They have their place and I can certainly see myself wanting to put another one in the garage eventually.
However, what I really want right now is something lighter and more dirt worthy…a real dual sport. It’s not that I wouldn’t like a true dirt bike. Heck, I’d love to have a KTM Freeride or a 350 EXC, but I’m afraid it would be just like before; I’d never take the time to load it up, drive 100 miles away, unload it and ride. Plus, in case you didn’t know, I’m getting older. Not old yet, just older…and I bruise easy these days…and get sore…and probably break bones! I tore my hamstring a year and a half ago and it still hurts when I stretch my leg. On top of that, the 26+ years I spent working on the assembly line have taken their toll on many of my joints, so I’m thinking a full on dirt bike is not the wise choice for me.
Aside from loving to ride and having a history steeped in woods and dirt riding, maybe one of the things pulling me back toward this type of riding is the fact that I live in the city these days. A pretty large city. And on top of that, I live in a condo…and will be moving permanently to a patio home soon. Having been raised on a farm, I feel like I need to reconnect with the woods and rural America…walking, hiking, mountain biking…sure…but even better, riding!
I’ve owned several of the old school Japanese dual sports like the DRs and I had a brief relationship before moving to Kentucky with a WR250 and would consider one of those again if it comes to that. But what I’m really lusting for at the moment is this big boy: the KTM 690 Enduro.
Only one problem that I see: well, maybe 2. First they cost $10,000, which is a lot of money for a bike I plan on crashing regularly. Secondly, they are tall…and I am short. If I decide to cut loose with the cash sometime over the next six months or so, I will see if my friend and mechanic, Chad at Commonwealth, can bring this beast down to Earth a little bit for me.
So, keep your ears peeled for any news…sirens, hospital admissions in the local newspaper or rescue stories on the Six O’clock News…any of which may signal I have reentered the dual sport/off road market once again!